The Cooler Master Storm Sniper, with its matte-black, mesh-covered shell and blue-glowing fans, looks like a prop from a sci-fi movie, the kind where cyber-soldiers rush into a building and start furiously hacking its defenses. And that’s awesome. It’s large for a midtower case, and looks even larger than it is, thanks to bowed-out side panels and feet that raise the bottom of the case an inch above the ground.
The Storm line is all about sturdiness, style, and portability—Cooler Master is apparently targeting LAN gamers—which it delivers. At 22.7 inches tall, 22.3 inches deep, 10 inches wide, and weighing in at more than 23 pounds, the Sniper is big-boned, but with sturdy handles on top, surprisingly luggable.
The Mesh bezels run from the bottom of the front panel all the way to the top, and the top panel has black mesh between its sturdy steel handles. The side panels are steel and bulge outward. The left side-panel has a large window covered by black mesh, to allow for air flow, and contains mounts for one 20cm or two 12cm fans.
The Sniper has a steel frame with a black ABS plastic shell, which Cooler Master says is inspired by military weapons.
The Sniper comes with front and top Force 200 blue LED fans and a rear 12cm non-LED fan. The two 20cm fans (and any additional Force 200 fans you install) are variable-speed and controlled by a knob on the front panel, which also includes a switch for the LEDs. Strangely, the 20cm fans and their controller use two-pin connectors with Molex for power, so the standard three-pin rear fan doesn’t work with the controller.
The rest of the case’s interior is reassuringly familiar. The Sniper contains five 5.25-inch drive bays and five 3.5-inch hard drive bays using Cooler Master’s by-now-familiar and efficient toolless mounting systems.
The motherboard tray extends just a bit past the confines of a standard ATX motherboard, and has cable tie-downs every few inches, perfect if you like neat routing jobs—and who doesn’t? Thanks to the side-panel bulges, there’s plenty of room behind the motherboard to route cables.
In addition to the aforementioned fan and light controller, the Sniper’s front-panel connectors include four USB 2.0 ports, mic and headphone jacks, and FireWire and eSATA.
As with the H.A.F. and ATCS 840 cases, the CM Storm Sniper includes a cutout in the motherboard tray for easy CPU cooler installs.
Though all the intake areas include dust filters, we wish Cooler Master had thought to make them easily removable. Any dust filters are better than none, but the lack of slide-out filters means you’ll have to take a vacuum to them every once in a while.
Installing a system in the Sniper is easy, thanks to its roomy interior and the large CPU cooler cutout on the motherboard tray, though you’ll definitely want to spring for a side fan, especially if you have two graphics cards.
The Storm Sniper definitely lives up to Cooler Master’s hype as a sturdy, roomy, and stylish midtower case. But given its $170 price, the lack of easily removable dust filters and the strange fan-connector choices, as well as the lack of side fans, the case is a bit disappointing. But we gotta give props where they’re due—in most respects, the Sniper is a sure shot, and it beats out a lot of similarly priced midtowers.
Cooler Master Storm Sniper
Stylish and sturdy; neat fan controller; hardy top handle for easy transport.
Dust filters not easily removable; strange connector choices on case fans.