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First Impressions CountRating
When pulling this computer case out of the box for the first time I noticed that this is a unusually wide case. I also noticed the handles on the top which told me this case is intended to be taken to LAN party's.
I love the rounded corners on this case. The side and front have a meshed design. The Sniper was the first of two cases released for the CM Storm line.
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The Front panel has a BIG power button, and next to that is a fan control knob. The center of that knob also switches the LED lights of the fans on or off (a feature that we don't see a lot in computer cases). Next to the buttons we find eSATA, USB, Firewire, headphone and MIC jacks. Cooler Master refers to this as the “Control Center". The Sniper has 5 external 5.25" bays. In one of those bays you could fit a 3.5" external device with the included bracket. Floppy drives are archaic, but a multi card reader is a good option.
Below the bays we find the 200mm fan. Yup, on the front, I told you the case was wide.There is a foam filter behind the mesh, which was very effective. Along with the large intake fan keeping the air coming in through the filter (and not every gap in the machine), the case interior was essentially dust free after a month of constant use. The back of the computer case features the normal holes and cavities. With the exception of one hole. This is a “StormGuard®" it will “safe guard your gaming peripherals" if you accidentally pull a mouse or controller too hard, the StormGuard® will stop you from ripping the plugs out of the back of the computer case, damaging the peripherals and possibly the motherboard. A nice thoughtful feature that I know will save some motherboards from damage. I know of one instance that I could have used this StormGuard®.
The back also has 120mm fans and two places that you can run water cooling hoses through. The left side panel has a 200mm fan and both side panels are easily removed using the thumb screws. It has feet that can be rotated out for better stability. If you don't rotate these feet out and you have the case sitting on carpet the case wobbles, so the feet are needed.
Inside we see that this computer case has another 200mm fan at the top of the case. The power supply will be fitted in the bottom of the case. The case has fan holes below the PSU so you can fit a power supply with a fan on the bottom. There are five internal 3.5" bays. They are plastic but do keep the HDDs in place as expected. All of the drives, 5.25" and 3.5", can be installed with out screws. This case has excellent airflow and temperatures stay well below range of what is acceptable for an air cooled case. Even in our extremely hot cabinet (that holds the settop box and the DVD audio combo which run hot also). As said this case features a fan control dial on the top, which I don't find on many of the cases I review or use for a build. It is usually something you have to put in to the case yourself. As seen in the picture you could put the V10 CPU cooler in the Sniper for the lowest temperatures I have ever seen.
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I only had one problem with this case while installing hardware. The PCI slot mechanisms are of very poor quality and I broke two while installing the graphics card and extra network cards. This is easily fixed because below the plastic you find the regular screw holes which I used to install the PCI cards. With that in mind, this is still a great case for Lan party's the handles on top are very sturdy, not at all of the poor quality we normally see on LAN cases. 4 stars instead of 5 because of the PCI issue.
If you have one or would like to share your opinion about why you wouldn't like to buy one then please leave a comment on the corresponding blog post to this article.