Cooler Master HAF XB

Posted by on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 5:24am

HAF XB

You may be aware that everything contained within the HAF product line is geared towards the gamer and enthusiast and this new product is no different. The XB can play the role of the gamer rig as well as an open-air test bench. That’s right you can open up the sides and remove the top panel and have the ideal test bench platform.

HAF XB

Cooler Master HAF XB Review

 

Introduction

Today, we will be taking a look at a case that is quite different from today’s trend. The new HAF XB from Cooler Master is not your standard run -of-the-mill tower case but more of a desktop and test bench case all-in-one. Don’t get it confused with your standard horizontal case which would bring HTPC-style cases to mind. It’s much taller, much thicker and much wider than that.

You may be aware that everything contained within the HAF product line is geared towards the gamer and enthusiast and this new product is no different. The XB can play the role of the gamer rig as well as an open-air test bench. That’s right you can open up the sides and remove the top panel and have the ideal test bench platform.

Cooler Master’s take on the HAF XB

HAF XB’s form factor takes an innovative direction from its High Air Flow (HAF) brethren. The LAN box form enables you to put the latest and greatest motherboards, video cards and Coolers into a smaller chassis. Ensuring that it continues the tradition of its namesake, HAF XB supports up to two 140mm fans in the front, a large 200mm in the top, and a 120mm and two 80mm fans in the rear. Strategically placed cable tie areas occupy cable routing zones to assist in keeping cable clutter to a minimum and provide a clean look with minimal effort. In addition, steel reinforced side panel handles make traveling between LANs and other gaming destinations a far less stressful venture.


Specifications

Available Color

Black

Materials:

Appearance: Steel, Front and Top Mesh, Polymer Bezel

Case body: Steel

Dimensions (W / H / D)

442(W) x 330(H) x 423(D) mm

17.4(W) x 13(H) x 16.7(D) inch

Net Weight

18.2kg / 18.1 lb

M/B Type

ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX

5.25" Drive Bay

2

3.5" Drive Bay

2 (from X-dock)

2.5"/3.5" Drive Bay

6 (2 from X-Dock)

I/O Panel

USB 3.0 x 2, Audio In and Out

Expansion Slots

7

Cooling System

Front: 120mm fan x 2, 1800RPM, 21dBA (converted from 140mm x 2)

Top: 200mm fan x 1 (Optional)

Rear: 120mm Fan (Optional), 80mm x 2 (Optional)

Power Supply

Standard ATX PS2 (Max length 180mm)

Maximum Compatibility

CPU cooler height: 180mm/ 7.1 inch

GPU card length: 334mm/ 13.1 inch
Water Cooling: 240mm Radiator (Front), 120mm Radiator (Rear)

Features

• Supports up to 3-Way Crossfire or SLI
• Supports ATX, m-ATX, m-ITX Motherboards
• Removable Motherboard Tray
• Dual Chamber Design
• Two Front X-Dock Slots (Compatible with 3.5” & 2.5” Drives)
• Power supply is easy to access and remove when necessary
• Dust filters on the front bezel and removable dust filters under the PSU
• Supports up to one 240mm and one 120mm Radiator
• Top 200mm Fan (Optional)
• Easy to transport with steel reinforced handles
• Individual airflow chambers for system components


Closer look at the exterior

Granted the XB is smaller than many full-size towers volume-wise. The case measure 17.4” wide, 13” tall and 16.7” deep. CM states that is large enough to support 3-way GPU setups using the longest of video cards. The XB when completely empty weights just over 18 lbs.

The HAF XB is geared toward several genres of PC builders and it looks the part from the outside. The case has all the classic markings of the other cases in the HAF product line. The mixture of metal mesh, plastic and steel is true to the lineup visually.

The top half of the front of the XB is all mesh and where all the cooling is bought into the case. The XB case support and comes with two 120mm intake fans. If the user wanted to he/she can replace them with 140mm blowers. We can go as far as to say the case will support rads of the same total size.

The lower half is all about drives. The lower left is comprised of two optical drive bays while the right is dedicated to two hot-swap 3.5” bays. This is the ideal situation because many people who this case is geared toward would probably use solid state drives instead of mechanical ones. But in case you need to the option is there.

At the halfway point of the front fascia are the I/O ports which consist of two USB 3.0 and two audio jacks. There are your typical power and reset buttons as well.

Each of the side panels is identical as there are large areas for venting and two plastic handles for carrying the case from one place to another.

The top half of the XB's rear does resemble that of a mid-tower turned on its side. There are seven expansion slots with vented covers and place for a 120mm fan which is not included with the case. Beneath is the power supply location and two spots for two 80mm fans. Yes, I did say that…80mm fans.

Here we have the bottom of the case. The small loops you see here is for securing loose cables. A removable dust filter is used to keep the PSU fan clean and operational. Along the sides are opening for air intake.

The top panel has a large metal mesh with rubber grommets in all four corners to support installation of a 200mm fan.


Closer look at the interior

Removing the top panel from the XB allows access to the top half of the XB. This is where all you can get to the space where the motherboard would be. It is wide enough open that you will not need to remove the side panels to build this part of the system.

We removed the motherboard tray to give you a better view of it. There is a pretty large opening for the CPU cooler. You can see there are no openings for routing cables. That is because this side of the case is wide enough for cables to pass through.

Here is a visual of the two 120mm CM fans installed into the front of the case. The fans are 1800 RPM has a dBA level of 21.

Inside view of the side panels.

XB’s rear section.

All panels removed we can see just how open the case really is.

With the motherboard tray removed we see where the PSU and drives would be housed. A rubber gasket is used to keep the PSU from vibrating the rest of the case.

The XB is designed to support a total of six 3.5” drives using the X-Dock and this HDD cage on the left side of the case. This cage can also hold four 2.5” drives with aid of plastic brackets that comes with the case. Optical drives are secured to the case using the plastic mechanisms shown here.

 The rear of the X-Dock cage.


Build Images


Conclusion

The Cooler Master HAF XB is a prime example of getting two products for the price of one.  It can make for the perfect gaming chassis or it can be opened up to become the ideal test bench station. The purchaser is the one who has to decide what the better solution is for them.

Using it for a gaming rig you can house everything you could possibly want including triple GPU setups, fast storage media as well as a nice large and powerful power supply. granted many are not looking to use a desktop-style tower for a gaming machine but I can see a case like the XB changing that trend.

For after during this actual review I replaced my regular test bench platform with the XB. And to be honest I don’t plan on changing back. The XB serves every purchase I use a test bench for. I can easily change out motherboards, CPU coolers, drives and everything else in the matter of minutes. And plus it takes up a lot less room than my original test bench.

I like the fact the motherboard tray is removable but I like better that it serves as a border separating the heating building components from the rest of the build. The X-Dock is great when you need easy and quick data access for 3.5” drives. And there is plenty of locations to add additional fans if you need the cooling.

 If you are LAN gamer and isn’t into all these tiny ITX cases that are popping up, the XB is a great chance. You can have a full-fledge rig that can be easily carried from one party to the next using the built-in metal enforced handles. CM ready did plan this case out well.

With the XB you will have to sacrifice some space on your desktop because it is going to take up its share. If I was using it as an everyday rig case I would have to decide between my Canon MX882 multi-function printer and this case. Reason being they both take up quite a bit of territory.

The HAF XB is already showing up on some online retailer site at the MSRP of $99.99. I believe this is a great price for the case as it offered a lot for a little.

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