CM Storm Trooper Performance Analysis
The first test of a case is how easy it is to build a system inside it and, thanks to its cavernous interior, the Trooper passed this test with flying colours. There is plenty of room to manoeuvre even chunky digits inside it, meaning you’re less likely to end up in a sweary, bloody mess trying to attach the 8-pin EPS12V power connection. One slight gripe, however, is that the motherboard standoffs don’t come already in place. Before you say anything, we’re aware this is a pretty minor quibble, but we’ve become spoilt by other cases coming with them already installed - doing it ourselves now somehow seems like a chore, especially in a £140 case. First world problems, eh?
It’s also simple to keep a build tidy in the Trooper thanks to its generously proportioned cable routeing holes. The space behind the motherboard is also just about adequate for hiding spare PSU cables and the like, although you'll have to arrange them carefully to make sure none of them are overlapping in order to be able to squeeze on the side panel again.
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Cooling was largely average in the case’s default state. The CPU delta T of 52o
C with its fans set to high speed was just below middle in our performance graphs. Interestingly, switching the fans down to their lowest speed made no difference to this temperature, or indeed to the amount of noise made by the fans, leading us to believe that the speed range offered by the controller is relatively narrow.
GPU cooling was also decidedly average with the two front 120mm fans blowing across the case. The delta T of 42o
C that we observed was on par with other meshed tower cases such as the Antec LanBoy Air and the Antec Twelve Hundred. Again, though, we saw no change in temperatures when we switched the fan controller down to its lowest setting.
In truth, we were a little disappointed by these results given the price of the case and the amount of fans with which it's equipped, but they’re hardly surprising given the default arrangement of the front two 120mm fans - blowing air across the front of the case is unlikely to help cool the components at the back of it. To remedy this, we switched the hard disk cages to their secondary, more traditional position.
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This provided a noticeable boost in cooling performance, as two 120mm fans shift a fair amount of air. Understandably, the GPU benefited more than the CPU, with its temperature dropping a significant 3o
C to a delta T of 39o
C, as it’s situated directly behind the two fans. The CPU temperature, on the other hand, only dropped by 2o
C with the front fans on full speed, or 1o
C with them spinning at low speed. These improvements pushed the Trooper well up the cooling charts, particularly in terms of GPU cooling, making the case look much better value.
There's a lot to like about the CM Storm Trooper, and it’s good to see CM Storm really giving it a go in the case market. It’s got plenty of useful features, such as its carry handle, fan controller and hidden storage box, and it looked distinctive enough to draw comments from passers by in the Dennis offices.
Our one niggle is the default perpendicular configuration of the front 120mm fans and the complex procedure for rotating them into a more traditional parallel arrangement. This is a relatively minor hangup, however, as any bit-tech
reader worth his or her salt shouldn’t baulk at the idea of getting involved in customising their build a little. As a result, if you like the styling, and the LAN party-focused features speak to you, then the Trooper comes with our hearty recommendation.