CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Page: 1
Introduction
 
Cooler Master realised some time ago that gaming was becoming big business, so it recruited a hoard of hardcore enthusiasts and gaming specialists to help them research and design a range of components specifically aimed at gamers - CM Storm was born. The original CM Storm Sniper was a raging success, the technology and gaming press were falling over themselves to grace the CM Storm mantle piece with with over 60 awards. The CM boffins have continued working harder than ever lately with even more products for us fraggers, the first being the new and improved CM Storm Sniper Black Edition. The new version inherits all the features of the previous version plus many others that we will look at today to bring it bang up to date with the latest technologies. The new Sniper is available in 3 different versions, AMD Dragon, Windowed and the one we have here today the Mesh version. We were lucky enough to review the original Storm Sniper, so the review today is an overview of the Black Editions new features.
 
Here is some information on the trio from the CM Storm website
 
Available Colour Interior/Exterior: Black
Material Steel, ABS Plastic, Mesh bezel
Dimensions (D)566.6 x (W)254.6 X (H)551 mm
(D)22.3 x (W)10 x (H)21.7 inches
Net Weight 12 kg / 26.46 lbs

M/B Type Micro-ATX/ATX
5.25" Drive Bay 5 Exposed (without the use of exposed 3.5" Drive Bay)
3.5" Drive Bay 5 Hidden
1 Exposed (converted from one 5.25" Drive Bay)
2.5" Drive Bay 1 Hidden (Converted from one 3.5" Drive Bay)
Cooling System Front: 200x30mm Blue LED Fan x 1 (500 - 1000rpm, 17 - 23 dBA)
Top: 200x30mm Blue LED Fan x 1 (500 - 1000rpm, 17 - 23 dBA)
(can be swapped for two 120mm fans or 120x240mm Radiator)
Side: 200x30mm Blue LED Fan x 1 (500 - 1000rpm, 17 - 23 dBA)
120x25mm Fan x 2 (optional)
Rear: 120x25mm Standard Fan x 1 (1200rpm, 17 dBA)
(can be swapped for 92mm fan or 80mm fan)
Bottom: Supports 140mm Fan x 1 or 120mm Fan x 1 w/ Dust Filter (optional)

Expansion Slots Standard x 7, Special x 1
I/O Panel USB2.0 x 4; IEEE1394 x 1; eSATA x 1; Mic x 1; HD Audio+AC’97 x 1
Power Supply Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)
Included Accessories StormGuard™ - groundbreaking security system for safeguarding your gaming peripherals.
Solid Bridge - 1.8" or 2.5" to 3.5" mounting bracket for SSD or HDD.
 
Move over the page to see the packaging and our first look at the case.


CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Page: 2
Packaging
 
The front of the box has a blue and black theme which hints to whats inside, you can see a picture of the case from a sniper sight style target. The front of the box also give information about a bundled mouse mat.  On the back there is a large picture of a sniper for obvious reasons, information about the built in fan controller, SSD support amongst other features we will cover today.
 
Packaging     Packaging
 
The case arrived as expected protected by polystyrene ends and a thick plastic bag cover to help it survive shipping. As ever it has done its job very well and the case arrived fine.
 
Internal Packaging
 
 
Externals
 
Taking our first look at the externals on the Black edition it all feels very familiar, for a good reason too as the outside is exactly the same as the old case. Its not till we look at the rear of the case we get our first glimpse of its dark internals.
 
Externals     Externals
 
The lack of changes are not a bad thing, this case has been endorsed with many awards, so it is a good thing that the case is still raised from the desk with large feet and big intakes. The roof vent doubles as a handle perfect for those of you that attend LAN's. I'm a big fan of the side panels, the bulges help not only help conceal the most untidy PSU but it also helps make the mesh panel even more of a feature.
 
Base View     Top View
 
The externals of this case are Marmite with many, you either love it, or you hate it. The front I/O panel is one of these Marmite moments, the large power power switch next to the even larger fan controller dial and fan led switch. There is no denying it is very easy to use, plus the being able to disable the fan LED's is perfect for late gaming sessions but its hardly Megan Fox to look at now is it, more like Jo Brand! Also situated on the front panel is 4 USB's, a Firewire port, eSATA, head phone and microphone jacks plus a power and hard drive activity lights.
 
I/O Panel
 
Head over the page for a closer look inside.


CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Page: 3
Internals
 
This is where the biggest change is with the Black edition, as the internals are powder coated black to match the externals. One less thing to have to spend out on can never be a bad thing, it also give the case a quality high end feel. The fact that all the plastics inside are also black to match just helps everything blend in but also makes the mass of cables for the fan controller stand out as well.
 
Internals     Looking at the PCI brackets
 
Although its the same as the old case its worth reminding you that the 'plastic body kit' on this case does serve a purpose, it adds extra height to allow the power supply and optional 120mm or 140mm breathe. Many case's on the market have similar features but unlike the Sniper their fans have very restricted airflow.
 
PSU Vents     PSU Vents
  
CM Storm do state that the case is water cooling ready, and for all intents purposes it is, you just remove the top 200mm fan and you can fit either 2 120mm fans and also a 240mm radiator. The problem is that the fan spacings are 20mm and as far as I'm aware only Cooler Master make radiators with 20mm fan spacings, slightly restricting any radiator choices.
 
Roof Fan     Rear View
 
It may seem like a small easy detail, but it is one that so many manufacturers miss out on, powder coating the rear of the doors. Id have expected nothing else on the Black edition but its worth noting all the same. The 200mm side fan is a very welcome addition, components are getting hotter rather than cooler recently and this means that cases manufacturers needed to up their game. We will see later in testing how much difference this makes to the Sniper.
 
Side Panel & Fan
 
Move over the page for installation and testing.


CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Page: 4
Installation
 
Multi graphics systems are far more common nowadays, and place more strain on a cases cooling system. This is why we now test all of our case's in for review with a Cross Fire 4870 1GB set up and a q6600. Its good marker point both for price and the heat that the system creates.
 
Test set up

Intel Core2Duo Q6600
Nexus HOC-9000
Asus Rampage Extreme
4GB Corsair XMS3 PC3-12800 Ram @ 9-9-9-24 1.9v
2x HIS 4870 1GB IceQ 4+
Corsair HX1000w
Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB
Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
Externals     Externals
 
The Sniper is large enough to follow our test system with ease, the surprising thing is how messy it all seems inside. There is not only wires for the fans, but also separate wires to control the LED's. This is a great feature but it makes concealing the wires very difficult. The wires really annoy me actually, it would be nice if Cooler Master had actually made a better attempt at routing them so they are better concealed. The wires as they are do not really allow for creative routing, hence the reason why they are very much on show.
 
Instalation     Instalation
 
 
Testing
 
Idle temperatures were taken after thirty minutes of booting up, and load temperatures after thirty minutes of torture tests using Prime95 to max out the 4 cores. Ambient temperature during testing was 22c controlled by an air conditioner. The Sniper was tested against a HAF922 for comparison.
 
• Everest Ultimate was used to monitor temperatures
• Prime95 - CPU & Ram testing
• HD Tach - To Simulate Random Reads on the hdd
• ATI Tool - GPU testing
 
There were no big surprises with the idle testing, the 922 and the Sniper could be seen as being chassis brothers as they are very similar, the results prove this.
 
 
The load tests are again very similar, the Sniper just that smidgen cooler on the GPUs and CPU. I can only imagine this is due to the mesh side panel allowing better movement. 
 
 
When I installed the side panel fan it took a further 2c off of the GPUs, I actually think that if the cards were not exhausting their hot air outwards that the side panel fan would have made an even bigger difference. 
 
 
Testing over with, no great surprises so lets move on to the conclusion & review videos. 


CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Page: 5
Bundled Extras
 
The case comes bundled with one of CM Storms new gaming surfaces. Ok ok I know its a mouse mat, but 'gaming surfaces' sounds like I know what I'm talking about. I'm a recent review we featured a selection of CM Storms new mats and also its new mouse. I think its a great touch that they decided bundle one with the case. Its great quality, you can use it for hours and it will add a comedy element to your set up and the next LAN.
 
Bundle Mouse Mat     Bundled Mouse Mat
 
 
Conclusion
 
The Sniper was a winner from the outset, its won many awards, since release its also gained many fans. So it was the right choice for CM to leave the design as it was. The Black Edition brings the case bang up to date with the latest trend The side fan made little difference in our tests, but I have a feeling that if your graphics cards do not exhaust their hot air out the back of the case this fan will play a much more important role in cooling the case. I did also notice a low end hum when the fans were on maximum, but to be honest I never actually needed to run them up that high to keep the system cool. The long and short of it is by keeping the Black Edition simple it made a great case better. Its kept all the award winning features but just made the package feel more mature. The black internals really do bring a feel of quality to the table.
 
 
Video Review
 
 
 
 
The Good
- Black Edition brings the Sniper Bang up to date
- Additional side panel fan
- They kept it simple
 
Mediocre
- Fan controller cables are still a pain
- When using the fans at maximum the case hums.
 
The Bad
- not a sausage
 
 
 
We would like to thank Cooler Master for the chance to review the Storm Sniper Black Edition. You can discuss this further in our forums.