In front of the Scout’s handle framework is the case’s front panel, which packs in plenty of connectivity along with another nifty feature in: to control the case’s fan LEDs independent from the fans themselves. We first saw this with Cooler Master’s other CM Storm branded case, the Sniper
, and it works just as well here.
For those who have their PCs in their rooms and want to leave the system on overnight, sans "alien abduction light-show", or just want a case without the ambient glow of LED fans, it’s a great inclusion, and one you’ll struggle to find on any comparable product.
The rest of the front panel is rounded off with four USB 2.0 ports, eSATA and the customary microphone and headphone ports, all of which are set in an attractive aluminium plate. There’s also the requisite power and reset buttons, along with power and HDD activity LEDs too, with the whole panel pleasantly sloped to avoid accidental button presses from the front and also resisting the inevitable "nice place to put a drink".
Below the front panel, the Scout’s plastic front fascia is pretty nondescript, with the familiar all over meshing that’s now common with high airflow chassis. There are five 5.25” drive bays, along with an included 3.5” drive bay adapter, below which is the Scout’s front 120mm intake fan. Popping off the fascia, achieved with a firm tug at the base, reveals the inside is lined with dust filtering foam, although the foam is unfortunately only removable by bending back mesh tabs to release it, making it far from easy or practical to clean and fundamentally prone to metal fatigue, breaking them after just one or two uses.
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Popping off the side panel reveals an attractive interior of black painted steel to match the outside, a nice touch that, while inconsequential to a case’s performance, we still appreciate it if only for the feeling of aesthetic consistency it lends to the case, with everything, from the drive cages to expansion slot covers painted in the same matching matte black.
However, while the excellent Cooler Master quality is once again apparent in the Scout’s interior metal and framework, we were surprised to find that the case’s tool free plastic drive bay and expansion slot fittings were both of disappointing quality. On other Cooler Master products, such as the similarly priced HAF 932
, you’re treated to Cooler Master’s excellent push button system for securing 5.25in drive bays, but here the plastic drive bay clips are stiff, cheap and unwieldy.
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Instead of perfectly functional thumb screws to secure expansion cards like graphics cards or sound cards Cooler Master has instead chosen to use fiddly, flimsy and ultimately ineffective toolless plastic clips, which are so useless that we simply gave up on them and removed them entirely. It’s a real disappointment, especially as so much of the Scout interior is impressive.
On the plus side, one such highlight is the simply fantastic pre-routed front panel cabling. We’ve gotten used to manufacturers simply shipping enclosures with the front panel cabling hanging lose in the case, but with the Scout it’s all pre-cable tied and routed away behind the motherboard, making a tidy looking system a whole lot easier to accomplish. There’s also a handful of cable routing holes cut into the motherboard tray to help you in this cause, but the pre-tidied cabling is the real clincher.