A couple months back I took a look at the Cooler Master Test Bench V1.0, but it seems like it has been a while since I had a look at a case from CM. The last couple of cases I looked at were the HAF-X, CM690II and the Storm Sniper. The Sniper had some very cool features and a style all its own, keeping most of what made those cases a success while adding a fair bit of individualism to this new concept. Aesthetically this case looks like no other I have seen and almost looks like the case is in motion with the rounded design and stamped in designs in the steel.
There were a ton of features in the chassis I named above, and some that while very nice to have, aren't needed in every case build, such as a built in fan controller. Not that Cooler Master overlooked the obvious and made this chassis any better or worse to work in than the other Storm chassis designs; it's just done a bit differently this time. The Bezel is different, and even has a door to cover the optical bays. The exterior shape and overall styling is different; even the way the tool-free features work is a bit different.
Today we are going to be looking at the Enforcer from Cooler Masters Storm Series of cases. Things we have come to expect like a sleek and smooth looking exterior, all black, both inside and out, LED lighting showing through mesh in the front bezel, wire management options, and the ease of installation I have seen in all these cases before. But without showing you images of the case, I could type to death and I don't think I would do it the justice it deserves. Let's get through these specs and pricing information so I can show you, for the price they are asking in stores, the Storm Enforcer is a very equipped case for the price in this mass of mid towers to choose from.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Externally this is one of the coolest designs I have seen in the Storm Series - more original than the others with the sectioned door panel that is rounded both top to bottom as well as side to side. The lower half has large sections cut from the plastic bezel, backed with mesh that allow for the red LED fan to show through. With the I/O in easy access, angled forty-five degrees to the top and front makes them easy to use in any position. On the top you will find a tray and a large area that reminds me of my HAF 922 behind it. The left door panel also takes on a new look I haven't seen from CM yet. It has pressed in designs that almost look like gill slits or louvers on an old car hood. Along with the punched steel design, the window in this chassis takes an unusual shape to fit in with the design.
Internally you will find room for four 5.25" devices, and if you have a floppy drive, one bay converts to a 3.5" bay for that instance. Below the optical drives you will find a hard drive rack that is built in a 4+2 configuration. The top four come in a rack that can rotate and remove all together, while the bottom two drive bays are mounted to the floor. If you want to install 2.5" drives, there is a tray on the floor next to the hard drive rack, as well as converting the 3.5" bays. With a trio of water cooling holes and a 7+1 expansion card layout, the only thing left is the motherboard tray. Wire management and little tabs punched out all over the tray give you a ton of options for routing and tidying the wires.
Cooling is handled with a red LED 200mm fan in the front of the chassis dumping air past the hard drives, or not if you remove them, and starts the cooling of air into the chassis. It then gets drawn through the roof of the chassis via convection and out the back via a 120mm fan. If you plan to water cool, there is room for a dual 120mm radiator in the roof of the chassis with the holes already in place, and of course you can even hang an all-in-one water cooler from Antec, CoolIt, Corsair, etc. Actually, I'm surprised Cooler Master isn't in that market yet!
The Enforcer is new to the game and was just recently released to the market. Even with this in mind, I was able to track down about seven e-tailers that carry the Enforcer currently, aside from various e-Bay listings. Pricing across the board is within $13 no matter where you seem to locate it, so look at the shipping charges to find yourself the best deal. Right in the middle of the crowd was of course Newegg.com with an $89.99 pricing. With shipping it comes to right around $105 dollars in my market. Looking to pretty much put this right up against the IN WIN I just looked at with a very similar price, I hope to show you that the Enforcer could sway that decision.
An all black box fitting the Storm series is what the Enforcer arrived in. The case very much resembles the "Enforcer" behind the case, which also resembles Robocop.
The side of the box has another image of the Enforcer lit up and shows the Storm Tactics; strength, security, and control.
The back will show you visually everything going on inside and out of the Enforcer. I count fourteen key features that Cooler Master is proud to show off on this mid tower.
The last panel contains a full list of the specifications. You can find everything here from dimensions and materials, to cooling options, all the way down to cooling and VGA room inside.
Yet another case shipped in the typical Styrofoam and plastic liner. There were added measures taken to protect the window just in case. In this instance there is no "in case"; the Enforcer arrived in perfect shape and ready for some action!
The Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Mid Tower Case
The front of the chassis is made mostly from plastic. The top sectioned part is a door that opens to the right and allows access to the drive bays. Below this is a four sectioned area of thick plastic bars and inserted mesh panels. This allows for a cool look with the LEDs behind it while offering plenty of room for the intake.
Just above the CM STORM logo you will find the I/O panel. The strip contains two USB 3.0 connections with a first to my desk; motherboard connector, versus a standard cable end. There is of course USB 2.0 ports, audio jacks and a power button, with no signs of a reset switch.
Up top there is a large indented area that acts as a tray for all your small goods. Behind this is a large area that currently doesn't have a fan installed. There is room for a 200mm or a pair of 120mm fans in this spot.
Once the door is open, you now can find the reset at the top and you can see you need to remove this panel to get the bay covers out.
I peeled the outer plastic to give you a clean look at the windows shape and the plastic caps that secure the window around it. The indents in front of the window combined with the shapes from the front almost give this chassis the effect of motion while sitting still.
Around the back we see a panel we are used to. Water cooling holes at the top, the 7+1 configuration of the expansion slots, and the spot for a lock loop to be installed for added security.
Inside The Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Mid Tower Case
With the steel door panels removed we can now see what's going on inside of the Enforcer. Right off the bat I see a similarity to the CM690II, but yet there are enough subtle differences to differentiate the two.
The optical bays have a switch-like mechanism to latch any of the four drives into place. Covering most of the intake fan is the 4+2 hard drive rack. The top four drives can swivel ninety degrees, or come out altogether to allow for much longer graphics cards. Just to the left of the hard drives is a dual bay rack for 2.5" drives as well.
The motherboard tray is clearly labeled for which holes go to what motherboard along with a "designed by Cooler Master" stamped into the tray. There are six large wiring holes and sixteen, yes, sixteen, places to tie up wiring.
In the back hangs an all black 120mm fan to exhaust the case and draws power from a 3-pin connection, but ships with a Molex adapter attached. The 7+1 vented slots are all held in with thumbscrews.
Looking behind the motherboard tray you can see how all those wiring tabs come into play in allowing full control of your wiring to give you the cleanest finished product as can be imagined.
The wiring from the front I/O is pretty standard with the power, reset and such along with the USB 2.0 connection and audio connectors. What is brand new to me is the direct to motherboard connection that comes attached to the USB 3.0 headers.
The floor of the chassis only has room for the vented area under the power supply since the front two-thirds is taken up with drive bays. There is, however, a thin plastic dust cover that is somewhat easy to remove, as long as the case is tipped over.
Accessories and Documentation
In the box you saw in the opening image to the inside of the chassis you saw the cardboard box. It contains quite a kit, so let's get started on covering it. The bag contains all the screws, for everything from extra fans to all your drive and motherboard installation needs. Cooler Master added a special socket like what came with their coolers to drive the risers into the motherboard tray too, a handy little addition! You also get the padlock loop, the speaker and some wire ties to keep things tidy.
This is a 2.5" drive adapter to allow you to install one into one of the 3.5" drive bays or act as a tray mounted to the top of the little SSD rack. Cooler Master also includes a "wire tender" expansion slot cover. This allows you to wrap up a USB cable and install it into the chassis. Even if someone was to unplug it, the device is securely locked to the chassis via a thumbscrew on the inside.
To install the bulk of the drives Cooler Master sends along slides to slip onto both sides of the drive, then slide it all into the rack. There is also a set of metal drive adapters in case you need yet another option to transform a drive bay if you have to remove the four to allow for a longer graphics card.
The last thing in the hardware box is a paper that describes how to use the socket included with the risers.
Then of course there is the Enforcer Operator's Manual. It shows you everything you need to know to get in, around, and completed with your build in no time.
The Build and Finished Product
Removing the front bezel, I found a few interesting things. The 200mm intake fan can be removed and two 120mm fans be put in its place here. With the front I/O mainly on the top of the chassis, there is only the reset wiring to contend with when removing the front of the chassis.
With the drive installed you of course have to open the door to see it at all. Typically I'm not a fan of doors, but this one has two things going for it. It is stylish, and it opens the correct way.
I left all the components in the case to show that you can still get a pretty powerful rig in here and still be able to run RAID, water cooling, whatever you think you might need. If you have bigger parts, things can easily be swapped around to fit your exact needs.
Nothing really special to show off in the rear of the chassis, so I added the cable lock to the +1 expansion slot. If you don't care about the security, this also makes a great spot for a fan or LED controller.
What I can't emphasize enough is not only was there a ton of room for wiring back here, I really loved all the punched tabs in the tray that made hiding all the wires a cinch, and offers a great looking build on the other side.
Of course, while I added the panels back on for the final images, I couldn't miss the time to show the view through the window. The addition of a few more LED fans would really set off the interior of the Enforcer.
Adding power to the Enforcer, you get the glow of red LEDs from the Intake fan, and as its shipped the only other lighting in or on the chassis is a strip of red LED indicating the unit is on, and mimicking the red stripe of the characters visor on the packaging.
I sit here and think over what we just saw and the experience I had with the Enforcer, and to be honest, I am completely satisfied with what this chassis offers. As we just saw with the IN WIN, loads of cases are in this segment, and everyone has their eye out to bring you over to their camp. The unique exterior is one of those love it or leave it designs. Personally I like the lines of the front, how they carried the lines around into the door, leaving room for a cool looking, but oddly shaped window. It reminds me a lot of my time with using the HAF 922, but with some pretty cool upgrades both inside and out.
While the usual case may offer drive trays versus the slides included with the Enforcer, I can see where the plan was more directed to those who want to create their own finished product. The attention to small details like good locations for wire management holes, and offering tabs virtually everywhere to tie wires to really made time installing and using the chassis pleasurable. As it sits, the two fan setup the Enforcer ships will be sufficient to not allow your components to stew in their own juices, but I do recommend some sort of additional cooling in the roof, if the budget allows for it. Taking that one step further, they should be LED fans so you can get a better view of your components inside the chassis while it's sitting on your desk.
Elements that are included like the removable hard drive rack, the cute 2.5" drive rack, the +1 expansion slot and the USB 3.0 connectivity are great and much appreciated. The one and only issue I see with the Enforcer is the type of connection. While they are stepping ahead of the game and offering early adopters of new tech a cleaner way to internally adapt for USB 3.0 connectivity, for those who don't have a motherboard connection for USB 3.0, they don't have the option to run the wire out and to a USB port in the rear I/O. Either way, with old tech, or even last year's tech, this case renders two of the USB ports worthless without some sort of adapter. I know we all want change, but I have to look out for everyone and hopefully Cooler Master will offer a solution for this soon.
Considering everything I just saw and discussed, I'm still personally sold on this chassis. I like to be able to add a bit if my own "flavor" to case builds, and I'm always a fan of new designs and tricks that can be shoved into a chassis. What impresses me the most is that even though there is the snafu with the USB 3.0 and a lack of every fan hole filled, this is a great looking chassis with what seems like almost every stone turned in the design of the Enforcer! With the budget friendly pricing, currently listing at Newegg.com for $89.99 and the additional $14.99, it puts this chassis in direct competition with the IN WIN BUC, and to be blunt, my money would go to Cooler Master.