Temperatures and Conclusion
To ensure accurate thermal results, we installed the same hardware in each case in virtually the same way. The test was performed with the Asrock 890FX Deluxe4 loaded with a Phenom II X6 1100T which was cooled using the Prolimatech Megahalems in passive mode (i.e. no fan actively dispelling heat). We also stuffed in the Inno3D GeForce GTX 580 OC, half a dozen Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB hard drives and OCZ's ZX power supply.
When set to low, the Storm Trooper is barely audible. While making almost no noise the Trooper provided our lowest hard drive results keeping the WD drive at just 20 degrees. The processor results were equally impressive as the idle temperature of 25 degrees was better than Corsair Obsidian 650D.
Unfortunately, the Trooper's GPU results were somewhat mediocre as it kept the GTX 580 around 41 degrees at idle. Increasing the fan speed to high reduced GPU temperature to 38 degrees, putting Cooler Master's enclosure on par with the Lian-Li Lancool PC-K63.
We used Prime95 and FurMark to generate as much heat as possible and the Cooler Master Storm Trooper handled itself very well. When set to low, it achieved similar performance to the Chaser MK-1 and Obsidian 650D. Again the only weakness was the Trooper's GPU temperature, but 81 degrees isn't downright abysmal either.
Cranking the fan speed up to high didn't help the GPU temperature much, but it did have a profound impact on the CPU temperature. The Phenom II X6 1100T load temperature was reduced to just 53 degrees. Keep in mind, during our testing, the Prolimatech Megahalems heatsink had no active cooling, so the amount of air the case directs over this heatsink has a huge impact on performance.
Cooler Master's Storm Trooper is possibly the best full tower case we've ever reviewed, at least for gamers and other performance fiends. At $190, we feel the enclosure is hard to beat. There are at least half a dozen worthy contenders that are more affordable, but none offer the same overall package.
Some immediate competition include the Silverstone Raven 3 ($148), Antec Twelve Hundred V3 ($150), Antec DF-85 ($150), Thermaltake Chaser MK-I ($160), Lian Li PC-A70F ($170) and of course the Cooler Master HAF X ($190).
Prices skyrocket beyond that. The Silverstone Temjin TJ09 costs $260, the Corsair Obsidian 800D retailed for $280, while there are a number of Lian Li cases priced at $300 and over such as the PC-V2120. Honestly, we feel the Trooper's closest rival is the HAF X and frankly, the former is superior in almost every way. We wish the Trooper had some hot-swappable SATA bays and we think its X-Dock would've been more useful if it supported 3.5" devices. Besides that, there's not much to complain about without being picky.
The case performed well in our thermal test -- even if the GPU temperatures were just average. Cooler Master could've improved this with a side mounted fan to help feed cool air to the graphics card(s). Naturally, you can take matters into your own hands by installing a pair of 120mm fans on the left case door if necessary. The inclusion of an integrated fan controller is much welcomed as it means when gaming the fans can be cranked up and when working in Windows they can be turned down to near silent levels.
Aesthetically speaking, the power button is a little chunky for our taste but if you enjoyed the style of the HAF 932 and HAF X, you will undoubtedly like what the Trooper has to offer. It's similarly aggressive, yet clean and semi-pro looking. From a functional standpoint, the case's handle should make it easier to transport if you're a frequent LAN-goer, the bulge in the right case door will make it easier for neat freaks to keep loose cables under control and the liberal use of mesh should help improve the case's airflow.
The Trooper is an exciting new addition to Cooler Master's Storm series and possibly the company's best case yet in terms of features, functionality and in our opinion, aesthetics. Therefore, we've stamped it with our Outstanding award.
Pros: The Storm Trooper is a step up from CM's HAF flagship. Integrated fan controller is a welcome addition, excellent feature set and design.
Cons: X-Dock doesn't support 3.5" drives, GPU temperatures are average. Competition is really good at this price point, so the ST's pricing is just adequate.