Closer Look SF-17
Once the SF-17 or SF-15 has been completely unpacked you can really see the razor sharp edges. The design is really striking and has the feel of quality.
The color scheme is a simple monochromatic black. The harder plastic casing and mesh is a true black while the rubber sections are more of a light black. There is a white CM Storm logo on the upper section. The rubber sections keep the notebook up off the fan grill to aid in circulation and prevent the notebook from sliding around.
The top fine mesh grill is made of metal not plastic so it is sturdier then most of the notebook coolers I have reviewed. It does not have any flex when you press down on it so there are no worries about notebook weight. The holes are so fine that in some angles it appears to be completely opaque yet in others you can see right through it. The SF-17 has a massive 180mm fan that spins at 700-1200rpms. At the highest setting, the SF-17 fan is audible but not what I would call loud. If you are playing a game you will not notice it, with or without a headset.
On the bottom side of the SF there are some of the largest rubber feet I have ever seen on a notebook cooler. These will make sure your cooler never moves during use. There is a very clear view of the fan and intake vents. I like the swirl pattern CM Storm used instead of using another piece of mesh… a nice touch. However, this bottom section is not as sturdy as the top mesh. When lifting with your hands near this location, the bottom casing will touch the moving fans. Be mindful to turn the fan off before moving. Either that, or simply remember to grip it from the outer edges.
On the SF-17 you will find the four port expansion hub, one mini USB port, USB power in, On/OFF/Fan speed dial and LED Lighting ON/OFF button on the right hand side. The USB ports are only USB 2.0 as opposed to the USB 3.0 found on SF-19 USB 3.0 Gaming Notebook. One USB 3.0 port would have been nice to have. However, having four ports to plug in all your gaming accessories and charge your phone at once is a pretty good trade off.
The left side doesn’t have all of the ports like the right hand side. You can get a clear view of the thick rubber padding on the corner and the section for cable routing.
Located on the front of the SF-17 is a red LED light bar that goes across most of the front end. This will come in handy for those late night gaming sessions. It is not so bright that it will annoy you or disrupt your gaming night vision.
One of the improvements CM Storm made to the new SF models is cable management. The recesses are in the rubber padding and are in slightly different locations to grip the cables better. These are so you can run your mouse and headset from the USB ports around the SF-17 into a comfortable location without having loose cables everywhere.
Anyone that plays games or watches movies on a notebook knows that viewing angle is very important for a enjoyable experience. CM Storm made the SF-17 angle adjustable for that exact reason. There are four height levels for you to choice from when setting up for an extended gaming session: 3.5, 17, 21, and 28.5 degrees. It is really simple to adjust. You can separate the SF-17 by pulling up on the rear top section and place the stand in the appropriate notch for your needs. When you are done, lift the top section and fold the stand back and close.
When the SF-17 is at its maximum angle, you can use the retention tabs to add even more stability for your notebook. Flip these out and nestle your notebook on to them so it doesn’t slip downwards while gaming into the night.