Some cases are so drop-dead gorgeous and classically styled that you just know that any PC enthusiast worth their thermal paste is going to love them. Other cases take a more unique design approach, and you end up with something that folks are either going to love, or possibly hate.
We think the new CM Storm Tactics case, the Enforcer, falls into the latter category, and we’re still making up our minds. Let’s see if we can come to a decision by the end of the review.
What we’re talking about is the Enforcer’s front fascia. Sure, design like this doesn’t really hamper the case’s performance (it’ll still hold all your stuff and keep it moderately cool), but most of us like a case to look good. After all, we’re going to be staring at it a lot. The Enforcer’s curvy, almost clamshell-like design looks a touch too organic for our liking, but it’s certainly a different take on case aesthetics. Below the curving panels there’s a series of mesh intakes covering a 200mm red LED fan. Above the curve you’ve got a plasticky power button and the case’s IO ports. The top panel, in back of the ports, features a shallow dip for stowing screws and other bits of bumpf, and then cut-out mesh panel where you can mount some more internal fans should the included two not be enough.
While the right panel is traditionally plain (though our review copy did have some of the internal wiring caught between front and side panels – oops), the left sidepanel sports a curiously-shaped window, one that kind of matches the curving front fascia. The case’s rear has the usual expansion slots, including one perpendicular to the ground for things like USB hubs and other non-mobo-mounted cards. There’s a mesh panel for a 120mm exhaust fan, and all the expansion brackets feature slots for improved airflow. Continuing with the cooling theme, there are three watercooling grommets, which seem a touch optimistic given the case’s gamer styling.
Internally, everything’s as black as the exterior, which is great for the Goths amongst us. There are quite a few nice little features, too, that catch the eye, like the double-height SSD bracket on the bottom of the case, with room for two of the cool little devices, and an included extra bracket if you want to install two more. There’s also some rubber grommets for the PSU to sit on to damp down vibration.
There are two different tool-less solutions to securing drives in play in the Enforcer. On the one hand, optical drives are secured by a kind of toggle-bracket, while HDDs are secured by attaching a pair of brackets to each drive, and then sliding them into their bays. The latter we don’t mind, but the ODD mechanism seems a little too flimsy. The major portion of the HDD caddy can also be handily detached should you wish to remove an array of drives in one go.
The motherboard tray is peppered with cable-run and anchor points for cable-ties, so keeping the airflow in the Enforcer unimpeded should be quite easy. With a 200mm fan sucking air in, and only a 120mm fan exhausting it, you should easily attain positive air-pressure inside the case, which is great for keeping it dust-free.
Aside from the odd fascia design, there’s nothing to dislike about the Enforcer – apart from its price. $129 – and it’ll be cheaper on the streets – isn’t much for a good case, but the Enforcer isn’t all that different to BitFenix’s Shinobi, which is only $79.
We know which one we’d prefer...