CoolerMaster CMStacker Case
|CoolerMaster CMStacker Case|
|Inside, Installation and Conclusion|
A computer case is often overlooked when doing a system upgrade. More often than not we tend to jam our new gear in our old enclosure and make do. Typically, we spend all of our money on the upgrade component and leave the case out of the equasion. Today, we are going to take a look at the CMStacker case from CoolerMaster and find out if it is worth spending some money on, or if you're better off grabbing another drive.
From what I've read and see in other reviews, I expected this case to be a monster. It has a total of 11 - 5.25" bays, and can easily hold up to 12 - 3.5" drives as well 2 - 5.25" drives all at the same time! (With additional drive adapters). When I first picked up the box from Dallmann Computers, I'll admit I was a little disappointed. The box wasn't near as tall as I thought it would be, and the case was a bit lighter than I expected. Both features are really quite nice, but I was suprised nonetheless.
Before we get any farther, let's take a look at the specs of this case and see just how much gear it can hold.
|Dimension (mm)||L584 x W227 x H536 mm|
|Material||Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis|
|M/B Type||Extend ATX;ATX;BTX|
|5.25 Drive Bay||7 (Exposed)|
|3.5 Drive Bay||1 (Exposed),
|Cooling System||One 120 x 120 x 25 mm Front Fan (Intake) 1200RPM 16.4 dBA
One 120 x 120 x 25 mm Rear Fan (Exhaust) 1200RPM 16.4 dBA
One 80 x 80 x 25 mm Top Fan (Intake) 1800RPM 23.8dBA
|I/O Panel||USB 2.0 x 6
IEEE 1394 (FireWire) x 1
Earphone jack x 1
MIC x 1
|Optional Component||Cross Flow Fan for CM Stacker
4-in-3 Device Module
According to the specs listed above the case only has 7 Exposed 5.25" bays. That is because CoolerMaster doesn't count the 3 bays that are used to hold the 4 hard drives in the included rack, as well as the floppy bay. In all honesty, there are 11 bays in which you can shuffle stuff around. If you place your Hard Drives at the top, you have all sorts of room at the bottom.
How does this case get so much room if it's not super tall? The answer lies in it's length from bezel to backpane. This is one of the longest cases that I've seen, and this allows for a lot of room on the inside of the case. Notice in the picture on the left below, that you have a choice on where to place your PSU - top or bottom. In fact CoolerMaster includes a pair of mounting plates that will enable you to install two PSU's at the same time. This can be extremely useful for a redundant PSU situation or for powering a pair of TEC coolers as well.
The CMStacker is all about ventilation. The entire front of the case is vented with perforated 5.25" bay covers. The left side has a large mesh vented section with a plastic holder for another 80mm fan, and the right side has a vented area designed for CM's optional Cross-Flow Fan. This should allow for plenty of airflow accross your components.
If you are believer in fans, you'll be quite happy. The CMStacker ships with two 120mm fans, as well as one 80mm fan on the top of the case. These fans use the standard 4-pin Molex connector and therefore lack rpm monitoring. The fans are so quiet however that most hard drives will be heard over the noise of the fans.
The CMStacker comes with enough accessories to get you started although they do not include the cross-flow fan. What they do include is enough to get most people setup and running however. The box of goodies has enough drive slides to fill the entire case with 5.25" devices. Also included are a coule of drive rails to attach to a 3.5" floppy drive. You also get enough screws to really screw things up, as well as a pair of PSU mounting adapters as previously mentioned. CoolerMaster also includes a very sturdy set of Casters for this case, a nice manual, case badge and even a bridge to allow 2 PSU's to be used.
When installing drives into the included 5.25" to 3.5" drive bracket, you will need to use a screwdriver. Other than installing the PSU and Hard Drives, no tools are needed at all in this case. As you can see in the picture on the right, there is quite a tight hole pattern to allow the 120mm fan to cool the drives. Thankfully, this can be removed by unclipping the fan and then twisting each of three metal pieces until they fall off. This allows unrestricted airflow and cooling for your drives.
Things just get better and better with this case, so make sure you head on over to the next page to take a peek inside!