Introducing the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer

It's a treat to get one of Cooler Master's enclosures in for review: they've been at it for a long time, and they have cases that cover virtually every price point on the market. They manufacture my personal favorite Micro-ATX budget enclosure, the Elite 360, an attractive $40 devil that makes for a fantastic budget HTPC case. They're also responsible for the crowd favorite enthusiast juggernaut, the Cosmos. What we have in today isn't the beast the Cosmos is, but it's not the pint size player the Elite 360 is either. From their Storm series of gaming cases we have the Enforcer. At an MSRP of $79 it lands right between our incumbent In-Win BUC and the budget ninja BitFenix Shinobi. Can it beat them both?

I wound up reviewing the Enforcer fresh off of working with the BitFenix Shinobi, so that entrant is still fresh in my mind. Opening the box and pulling out the Enforcer made me again feel refreshed to see that an inexpensive case doesn't necessarily mean "cheap;" while it's $10 more than the Shinobi, opening the case and poking around its insides revealed a modern design with more than a few thoughtful touches that we'll discuss in greater detail in just a bit. But first, the specs:

Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25" (includes 5.25"-to-3.5" external bay adapter)
Internal 6x 3.5", 2x 2.5" (includes adapter to add two additional 2.5" bays in 3.5" bay)
Cooling Front 1x 200mm red LED intake fan (3-pin header w/ molex adaptor)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan (3-pin header w/ molex adaptor)
Top 2x 120mm or 1x 200mm fan mount
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 7 normal plus 1 for fan controller/extra ports
Front I/O Port -
Top I/O Port 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, headphone and mic jacks
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 15" without drive cage/11" with drive cage (Expansion Cards), 175mm (CPU HSF), 290mm without 2.5" drive cage/180mm with 2.5" drive cage (PSU)
Weight 19.5 lbs.
Dimensions 20.6" x 9.0" x 19.0"
Price $79

The Enforcer also has a door that covers the external drive bays with a hinge on the right-hand side, which actually struck me as a little unusual since the Antec cases I've tested all hinged on the left. It's a minor point in the grand scheme of things, what may be less minor is the way the Enforcer supports USB 3.0: this is the first enclosure I've tested that uses the USB 3.0 motherboard header instead of just running a pass-through to the back of the case. Cooler Master includes a slotted expansion bay cover expressly for routing an adaptor cable to the back, but unfortunately the Enforcer doesn't include that cable, so if your motherboard is decidedly old school that way (since when did USB 3.0 become old school?) you'll have to buy it separately.

In and Around the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer
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  • CloudFire - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    I, for one, definitely look at my case on a daily basis. I open it practically almost everyday just to look inside at the perfectly clean cable management job that I worked so hard on. I have the Corsair 600T Special Edition (white) case. I believe that thing is a work of art and it is a joy to look at and use! I'm sure many other people have bought other cases that they think look amazing and performs exactly to their tastes as well. Reply
  • chaoticlusts - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    Hey all I just finished building using this case in the past week so thought I'd add my impressions...granted it's the first case I've worked with that uses cabling in the motherboard tray (last was a thermaltake kandalf monstrosity from years and years back) so I'm a little bias for comparison

    kk first off it *definitely* fits a 6950/6970 without removing the HDD if your wondering (though only just and only cause AMD put the power pins on the side rather than the back of the card) this is something I was wondering about..

    I've got 1SSD 3HDD (about to add one more) and a Optical drive in there no worries with the cabling (and I"m messy as hell with that stuff normally) like the review said only some PSU's will have the needing to be upside down problem I'm running a Corsair AX750 which is fully modular and could be installed the normal way without interfering with the SSD bay

    I've got every cable that could save space by running up the back of the case running up there and can get the side back on ok (yes it's a damn squeeze but it's not that bad and like I said I fail at making things neat)

    random pro's and cons from a layman

    btw I don't actually find it too noise..just played with my fan speeds and discovered the noise from my case 90% of it was from my CPU cooler fans..the case fans added some...but far less..but I'm used to noisy cases so yeah

    Pro's
    HDD trays are fantastic installing/removing a drive is a matter of a second or two (not the little 2.5" bay though)

    USB3 front headers were a great sell for me :)

    over in Australia the case is really cheap for what it offers compared to other cases (though the Shinobi is available and cheaper over here if you want that)

    basically aside from the two problems mentioned below actually installing in this case was a breeze everything fits nicely (CM 212+ CPU cooler and 6950 GPU) the HDD's seem to have a nice little bit of spacing in between them so they don't block the front intake too badly if you put a lot in

    I personally like the look though would prefer a blue fan but can fix that :P in the end looks are very individualistic :P

    very light which is great coming from my Kandalf (which was about 18KG's empty!) though again the Shinobi mentioned above is apparently lighter)

    Cons
    putting in the optical drive accidentally pulled the pins out for the front audio headers...this took a while to discover and was a $#^&* to plug back in

    I'm not sure if it's the case or something I've put in but I"m occasionally getting some resonance from around the rear fan/MB rear panel area could be the rear panel that's resonating will find out it's annoying but not constant and can be stopped

    yes getting the side panel on after putting the cables back there was a squeeze...but not that bad and not something you should have to deal with reguarly

    might be a problem just with mine but the thumb screw on the side panel is crap...doesn't screw in properly seems to not quite match the hole...not mentioned in any reviews so I think I just got unlucky

    In the end this case has got some fantastic reviews I <3 it can see why they like the Shinobi more I think the main differences are aesthetic preference and USB3 support..if you don't care/can't use USB 3 on the front and don't like side windows you can save a lot of money going Shinobi (at least over here) otherwise I'm happy with my purchase ^_^
    Reply
  • SquattingDog - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Couple of interested queries for you: This case in NZ is $189 + GST, which does not make it value/bargain etc, and is around double the US RRP (if you convert). What is the pricing like in Aussie and who's got it at that price?

    How does your Kandalf end up being 18KG empty? I have one of those sitting around and it's less than 8KG empty, as it is all aluminium? Maybe it was offered in a steel chassis option when it was first intro'd. However I agree that it is not a quiet case...
    Reply
  • chaoticlusts - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    I payed $109 for mine (tax included) you can get it for $99 if you live in the eastern states in Australia staticice.com.au is your friend, not sure if there's an NZ equivalent hope there is cause it's soooo damn handy (search engine of basically every computer store in the country) agreed $189 is a bad price for it wayyyy too much >_<

    As for the Kandalf basically what you said, there was a steel option back when they were first out (actually the aluminium option had about a $100 premium attached too it as well when I bought it) the steel option is insanely heavy >_< very much a regretted purchase...though it filled it's requirements of giving me a crapton of space for HDD's and such over the years :P
    Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    Cons:

    1. Front door over external drive bays.

    2. Top mounted ports. These are only convenient if you kepp your PC on the floor. We advise people, especially older users, to get the PC up off the floor. This makes it simpler to access cables, etc.
    Reply
  • chaoticlusts - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    I guess I don't mind the front door at all and the thermals are still really good with it looking at it closely looks like you could remove it if you wanted too as well...

    as for the top mounted ports I like having my computer on the ground so it's a plus for me...definitely don't have the desk space to put it up there and also use the optical drive so little I was considering not even putting one in so the only bits I really need access too are the power button and ports which with my setup atm are a couple of inches from my hand when it's on the keyboard
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    Who keeps their PC on their desk? Is it so you can look at the pretty lighted fans thru your case's window? I'm glad you advise older users of the peril of clearing their desktop of clutter. For me having my computer's under the desk cuts the noise even further. I don't need to see my pc unless I am installing media or doing maintenance. When I do it's immediately to my right. Not that difficult. Seriously, who wants a large pc case on their desk? Reply
  • chaoticlusts - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    He did say access to cables etc so I guess if your unplugging/plugging things in the back/inside the case a lot it would make sense but I think that usage scenario would describe a fair minority of users. Also if you take into account front Audio/USB2/USB3 on the top you'd need to be using something other than those to have it being on the floor a problem for bending down

    Personally once my computers setup it sits where it is unless I get new hardware of some form so the ground is the most logical place but different people have different uses I can imagine scenarios where it being on the desk would save hassle in which case yeah top panel would be a problem...but you buy your hardware to suit your needs. Honestly I'd hate to have the front headers any lower than the top/upper panel of the case

    I do know people with they're cases on the desk, hell one of my housemates has his computer next to me setup behind his monitors..though obviously that poses problems if you ever want to get to it does keep it out of the way :P

    actually one extra odd little bit of note...the venting on the top panel with the positive pressure setup and good fans in there (I have 2 on my CPU cooler) blows quite a decent amount of air straight out the top of the case when the fans are up....if the case is on the floor next to you this can get a little chilly in winter :P probably love it in summer though ^_^...or I could just move my case across a bit :P
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Yeah, there is always exceptions. His post made it seem like his way was logical. I like quiet and under the desk helps out a lot. I have a pair of USB jacks on my monitor. If I didn't I probably would just buy a USB hub if I needed frequent access as I don't have top side access. To me having your pc on your desktop is so 90's. I like having the space to use my desktop. I even have a monitor arm to lift the monitor off the desktop. No problems. You are right. We all buy our equipment to suit our needs. Reply
  • at80eighty - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    guess its a ymmv thing, but i dig the case in person.

    Mid-tower - still Fits my 6990 and USB 3.0 headers is a win for me.
    case is by no means ugly - the front lines are clean and has good ventilation.

    also the lighting is nice - not overpowering. I got a CM V6 GT, Sidewinder X4 and a CM Sentinel - at night the cohesive black/red glow looks pretty nice.
    Reply

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