In today's installment of what case does Chad have now, we are going back to Cooler Master. I had seen these cases back in January at CES, but until now the design wasn't perfected for retail. It takes on quite a few of the styling cues from the Trooper chassis we reviewed back in October of last year, but with enough new things added to the latest design to make this latest release a product I think can stand on its own, even against its aging brother.
All of the things that made the Trooper a huge success were shifted right on over to this new chassis. Things that include native USB 3.0, the hideaway parts caddy, the SSD dock, the large handle at the top, even the fan controller and control panel are very familiar. Getting right down to brass tacks, the only things separating the Trooper for the chassis we are going to be peering at today comes down to two things.
The side panels have been changed and redesigned for starters. The second and most important in a buyers mind is the color. Where the Trooper was shipped to me in all black attire, this latest submission is a great mix of a little bit of black here and there accenting the all white paint scheme. As we all know by now, white is the new black.
The chassis we are going to examine today is the Cooler Mater Storm Stryker. As I say this isn't a total refresh, more of an accompaniment into battle. You don't just run into battle infantry, do you? Of course not, you need tanks and artillery to help get the job done.
Where the Trooper was the first wave of attack on this design, consider the Storm Stryker to be the reinforcements running through the field that the Trooper has cleared looking for more people to succumb to the design and features that these cases bring to the battle of chassis domination.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The SGC-5000W-KWN1 or Stryker as I will call it is a full tower chassis made mostly of steel with plastic on the front and top of the chassis giving the Stryker most of its design and shape. Down the front of the chassis there is a band of white plastic on both sides of the bezel, while the majority of it is taken up with nine 5.25" bay covers, all of which are removable from the outside of the chassis and the front ends at the bottom with a panel housing the CM Storm name and logo.
The top of the chassis is quite a bit taller than the steel body of the chassis as it offers the clean looking front I/O panel and a large handle right behind it to lug this chassis around. Near the back there are louvers and mesh that will allow the fan under it to blow through the top of the Stryker. On the left you get a large bump-out in the panel that offers not only a large window to look at your hardware, but it also offers a black mesh area to allow the HDD bays to breathe properly. The right side of the chassis features a similar bump-out, but only offers the black mesh ventilation at the HDD bays to allow the exhaust of air through it.
On the inside the chassis it offers three 5.25" bays at the top followed by six 3.5" drive bays found in two, three drive, hard drive cages. These two cages are removable, but are installed from the factory blowing from left to right with the fans attached to each of the HDD racks. Not only can you pull them out and store them if not needed, if you don't like the orientation that can be changed as well. In the main area of the chassis you get a motherboard tray with a huge CPU cooler access hole, six various sized wire management holes and 20 places to tie up the wiring. Above the tray in the top of the Stryker CM has placed a 200mm white fan to get the heat out of the top of the chassis. There is also a fan in the rear of the chassis above the 9+1 expansion slot configuration, but since the HDD cages blow side to side, cooler air is drawn from the bottom and through the floor in this design. One last thing I almost forgot about. There is also a removable 2.5" drive rack on the floor that can house three additional drives.
Since the release and I do believe I have had this chassis for around three weeks now as I caught up with other samples first, it is odd for a CM product to not be selling virtually everywhere. As I went to search for the pricing via Google, I found that as of this moment there is only four places listed currently carrying stock of the Stryker. The cheapest deal was found at Newegg for $159.99. With shipping included, to me at least, the Stryker will set you back $184.95. With shipping added, the price does jump quite a bit, but that is because this case is large and heavy and both are things which kill you on shipping.
All things considered and knowing already what the Stryker is all about, I will say the pricing shouldn't be a stopping point if its style and design suit you. You will be very happy with everything the CM Storm Stryker has to offer, let me tell you about it more right now.
The CM Storm Stryker uses the all black with red accents as does any Storm product packaging. This time on the front there is an image of the all white Stryker over the image of a tank. Maybe I had the analogy backwards and this is the tank and the Trooper was the infantry leading in.
On the side of the box you get to see the right side of the chassis this time just above strength, security and control listed as the Storm Tactics. At the bottom, it lists that this is a computer case in 21 languages.
On the back of the packaging there are three images of the chassis covering 12 features found with the Stryker. There are five other features listed at the bottom covering things that couldn't be shown above.
On the last side of the packaging you are give the full specifications chart large enough to easily read. Below the chart is regional company addresses and information and at the bottom is a check-box for included parts with the chassis. Even though I have a windowed version, it is marked that I do not.
Keeping the Storm Stryker safe during transit, CM chose to cover the front and rear of the chassis with Styrofoam caps. While it keeps the front and back protected, it does leave a lot of room open to attack in transit on the door panels. I'm not really sure why, but the plastic line isn't exactly covering the chassis, but the Stryker arrived in perfect shape, so even though I feel it may be inadequate for a case this large and heavy, it did work.
Cooler Master Storm Stryker Full-Tower Chassis
The front of the Stryker starts off with an angled front I/O panel with a thin black stripe under it housing a 2.5" HDD/SSD dock. Continuing down the face are two thick white sections flanking the nine mesh bay covers. At the bottom there is a hardware caddy behind the metal logo panel.
One thing that will lend to an easy build or adding of parts later is that all of the bay covers and the hardware caddy cover are removable from the outside of the chassis. While slightly different from the bay covers to the bottom cover, they use tabs on both sides to lock and unlock from the bezel.
The front I/O has activity LEDs to the left, the power, LED and fan controller all tied together in the black shiny buttons and the reset off to the right. Along the front you get two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports just above the dock in the thin black detail stripe.
Behind the I/O you run into the comfort grip handle for moving the Stryker. As the handle molds back into the top, there are louvers and mesh to allow the chassis to vent out the top.
On the left you get a large bump-out in the panel. Contained in that bump is the large angled window that tapers down at the front and leads to the mesh area that you can see the bay drive fans through.
The tab rolling over the top is a dust filer above the three water cooling holes. Then you get the rear I/O area next to the 140mm exhaust fan and the 9+1 expansion slots. That just leaves the area at the bottom for a PSU.
The right side of the chassis has the same shaped bump as the left side does. Of course there isn't a window behind the tray, but there is a matching mesh area that will allow those bay fans to blow out this side of the Stryker.
Under the Stryker you have plastic pucks with rubber pads on them as feet. I also slightly pulled both fan filters to show how you remove them for cleaning.
Inside the Cooler Master Storm Stryker
Looking inside the Stryker you see a lot of white with a splash of black here and there. Since the hardware is sent in the caddy at the bottom of the bays, there is nothing strapped up or tucked away inside, just the large bundle of wiring hanging near the bays.
The three 5.25" bays at the top of the chassis are well below all of the front I/O wiring to get full use of them. These bays will require you to use provided thumbscrews for the mounting of drives or devices.
There are two, three drive racks for 3.5" drives. Each has its own white fan to cool its three bays and these also have white LEDs when powered. You need to pull a thumbscrew from each side of both drives and then they become removable.
Not only will the bays come out, but the black support plates still in the chassis can be arranged to reinstall these racks from front to back. While it does make a waste of the vents on the sides, this arrangement will deliver more air to the main compartment of the chassis.
In the top of the chassis you have this white 200mm fan already in place. If you want to water cool, there is room for a dual 120mm radiator here, but fans on both sides may cause issues. There are also holes for a pair of 140mm fans or a dual 140mm radiator.
The motherboard tray starts with a trio of holes at the top for wiring, a huge CPU access hole and a trio of management holes with grommets in them. All over the tray you can locate the 20 tie points that really aid in wire management.
On the floor of the chassis there are two long rubber pads for the PSU to rest on at the back. Near the front there is a removable rack for three 2.5" drives that will allow for a 120mm fan to be installed there.
The back of the chassis also incorporates a white fan and this 140mm can be replaced with a 120mm fan for AIO coolers. As for the 9+1 expansion slots, they have replaceable slot covers that are all held in and secured with thumbscrews.
On the left is the Molex to power the fan controller and an extra LED power lead for a fan. Then you run into the front panel headers, USB 2.0, HD Audio and the native USB 3.0 connections. On the right are four 3-pin fan connectors and two LED power leads for the included fans in the chassis.
There is roughly 25mm of room to tie up wiring and keeping the inside clean. If that doesn't seem like a ton of room to you, don't forget there is near that inside of the door panel as well, so pile on the wiring, as there is plenty of room.
Accessories and Documentation
When I first removed the bay covers I found this box in the ODD bays. Opening the box shows that instead of sending these in the rack, Cooler Master has boxed all of the hard drive trays, so you just take what you need and leave the rest in the box.
Each tray looks like this and offers rubber grommets that support pins to go into the side of the 3.5" drives. They also offer holes in the middle that will allow 2.5" drives to go on these trays.
After removing a pair of screws, the hardware caddy slid out the front of the Stryker. For added security, you can screw this lid on, as well as the slits in the face are to accept loops in the chassis that will allow a tiny lock to go on as well.
Removing the lid on the caddy shows that Cooler Master stocks this thing completely full of goodies.
This is only part of what I found. There is a pair of 5.25" to 3.5" adapters for a floppy drive or card reader and 8-pin EPS cable extension, a motherboard speaker and a set of ten black wire ties.
As for screws and mounting hardware, you get this. There are eight long fan screws, a bunch of thumbscrews for the ODDs, risers and the lock loop, screw and riser socket. The bottom row has hex head screws for the PSU and motherboard, a bundle of 3.5" drive screws and a ton of 2.5" drive screws.
Even the manual has a bit of style and keeps the red and black that the packaging offered for the Storm Series.
Inside of the manual you find images of the chassis to get associated with it and a full parts list with quantity count to be sure if you want to fill every bay, riser or fan holes you are good to go.
There isn't really much for words in the manual, but the step by step images do a great job leading you through the build.
When everything is assembled and you are ready to power things up, you may want to refer to page 14 to figure out how to turn on the chassis and work the fan controller.
The Build and Finished Product
The Build and Final Product
Having to do some remodeling to get the hardware I want in this chassis, I had to remove the top. This now gives you access to the fan screws at the top as well as showing the steel handle and that it is riveted to the roof of the chassis.
Putting in an ODD really does break up the lines of the bay covers, as would a bay res or anything like that. While I like the easy to remove covers, the lack of tabs on the side does throw the look out of whack.
Because of the superior wire management inside of the Stryker, I was able to do this and leave very little sticking out anywhere around the motherboard. On top of that I was able to install both AIO coolers into the chassis with just a bit of thought and pre-planning.
Even in the back, the dust shield snapped right in and the GTX 570 and TV tuner card went right in as well. As for the PSU, there isn't a gasket, but again, there were no issues aligning it or getting it mounted.
I know I have wiring going all over the pace, but there is some sense to the madness. On the left is the entire I/O and fan controller wiring and I had to roll up the USB 3.0 since this P55 system doesn't support it. On the right I was able to control all of the PSU wiring with all of the tie points and making it really easy to replace this side's panel.
With the side panel back on you can see how well the window is placed. It shows off all of the included goods inside the chassis without having to look at the sides of the bays too much.
This is just one last look at the Storm Stryker before we add power to the build.
It is very hard to see powered has been added here as the red LED lighting of the control panel isn't abusively bright. There is the CM Storm logo glowing in red and all three lights of the fan controller are illuminated. Even in a darkened room you need to be right on top of these to see the glow at all.
You also have to option to turn on an off any of the LEDs you connected to the fan controller. As for the ones strapped on the HDD bays, they have a nice glow of white. If you were to rotate the hard drive bays, of course this would be then showing through the front of the Stryker.
Once you step back a bit, you can see all of the lighting is a bit tough to see. While I know some love their case to glow like Times Square, but I find the fact that the lighting isn't obtrusive to be a good thing. Here it is more of an accent that something trying to illuminate your whole room.
Even though it has been nearly a year since we saw the Storm Trooper, once I got into the Storm Stryker, everything came flooding back. The aggressive styling, the ease of access through the bezel, the dock and the fan controls are all something everyone wants in a chassis.
Then you take into account there is a large window to keep an eye on your hardware through, plenty of airflow on the HDD bays and a heavy duty handle that is more than capable of handling the load of a fully built system inside of the Stryker. No matter where you look on the outside of the chassis, it is a nice blend of black trim on an all white chassis that drives buyers right to their door steps. The Stryker is much more aesthetically pleasing than the Trooper was, but most of the styling on the Trooper got lost in all the black and textured surfaces. The gloss white plays much better with the ambient lighting and shows every detail nicely.
I did set up the usual build in this chassis for testing before I installed the P55 build to test out the stock configuration of the cooling system. I left the drive bay fans in the position they are shipped in, blowing across the width of the chassis. Essentially that leaves the 140mm fan in the back and the 200mm fan in the top to do all of the cooling for the main compartment. Even so, the amount of airflow is sufficient to deliver above average results in the cooling capabilities. With that over I removed the top 200mm and the SSD drive bays from the floor and installed the pair of AIO coolers to give me even better results than what I had originally. While you can stick a radiator in the roof as I did, a thick radiator is going to cause you issues with clearance of the motherboard. Even if you only used a single fan on it, things are too tight. This is why my Tt AIO is offset to the left and not above the memory. As far as the rest of the build, everything went together like it was designed to do and even the wiring, while messy behind the tray, left me with a clean and pleasing interior build to view through the window.
Since this case is large and heavy, shipping is going to be a pretty serious hit to the overall pricing. I do think that the retail pricing of $159.99 is very reasonable and only slightly over that "magic price" of $150. Out of all the white cases I have seen over the last year or so, the Cooler Master Storm Stryker is my favorite and rightfully so is going to be used in my personal collection for some time to come. The last case to have that honor in all white dress was the Corsair 600T SE, but I have since grown bored with it and Cooler Master brought a fix to a void I wasn't even aware I had until I saw what the Storm Stryker brought to the table.
There isn't anything I can fault this design for, everything does what it is supposed to, works intuitively and is a pleasure to deal with from the minute it comes out of the box, all the way through until you either outgrow this design or something else comes along to pull at your heart strings. The CM Storm Stryker is a chassis that will have no issues finding buyers with this price and the amount of features and space you get with this chassis.
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