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Cooler Master CM Stacker STC-T01
By Vijay Anand
Category : Casings And Coolers
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 28th May, 2004
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars   (Most Innovative Product Award)

The Exterior

Similar to many server/workstation-class casings, the front façade of the CM Stacker (for its entire height) is completely decked with drive bays. However, that’s where the external similarities end for there are no hot swap drive bay enclosures. The entire front is lined with drive bay faceplates that have a fine aluminum mesh and built-in dust filters within them. This provides an excellent source of fresh air intake for internal hard drives.

Frontal view of the CM Stacker and its impressive number of drive bays.

The casing ships with all the bays having their faceplates intact, but unfortunately there are no instructions to guide us on the removal of the faceplate itself. Our inspection within revealed that mounting any sort of drive or device will have to be performed from the front of the casing, hence the need to remove the faceplate. Surprisingly, there wasn't any easy method to take off the faceplate of this expensive casing (such as removing the entire casing's front bezel) apart from the primitive method of prying each faceplate out from inside the system. Once you pry a few of the faceplates out, the task of removing the others would be a lot easier.

Using a flat head screwdriver, this is how you pry the faceplates off. Take caution as the bezel is made from stiff plastic and it wasn’t as easy to remove as those bargain basement casings.

As mentioned above, the faceplates have a strong plastic frame and a fine aluminum mesh envelopes it. This allows the faceplate to incorporate a dust filter. All eleven drive faceplates are designed alike as well.

Here’s another view of them.

Note that the filters are removable according to the online manual but it is extremely tough to do so and you might risk damaging the mesh or hurting yourself. For maintenance, we suggest that you wash the entire faceplate and dry them thoroughly before slapping them back in.

The top-most bay on the front of the CM Stakcer is the control module as well as the forward input/output hub. Besides the power and reset buttons located at the far right of the module in the picture below, there are six USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire port, Mic-in and Headphones output. The bay just below it has a cut-out just right for an external facing 3.5-inch drive bay such as a floppy disk drive. If you don't plan to use any 3.5-inch external facing drive, you can always detach that faceplate, install an optical drive there and leave more room for other drives and other 5.25-inch devices.

The control module sits at the very top of the case, but it can be unscrewed and relocated.

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