Coolermaster HAF X Full Tower

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colermaster haf xLike the HAF 932, the HAF X displays the same rugged style that gamers have come to love. The industrial look even appealing to me as much as I love the fine tuned lines of the ATCS 840 is awesome to look at. Offering more than looks the HAF X has features that the HAF 932 can only dream of. How do two HDD docks sound? How about USB 3.0 in the front display? Or nine expansion slots in the rear of the case to support triple GPU cards? Yeah, all this and more is what the HAF X is about. Lets read on.

Introduction to the Coolermaster HAF X

Last week we took a look at one of Coolermaster’s biggest products of the year which was the Silent Pro Gold 1200 watt power supply. In our simple test we saw the unit to be more than what most people would need but for those that need this massive amount of power there isn’t many power supplies in its class. 1200 watts is impressive but the Gold 80Plus efficiency rating at load is incredible.

The Silent Pro Gold is an ideal mate for many of the cases we have reviewed like the ATCS 840 and the HAF 932. These cases are legendary and with these cases being well over a year old are selling like mad. Each of these cases were aimed at the gamer and enthusiast that wanted to take their build to the next level.  My personal favorite was the ATCS 840 as its fine lines and sleek styling was a perfect representation of my personal touch. But both cases offered the flexible needed change out components with ease, offered great cable management possibilities as well as offered unparallel air circulation to keep all your well earned components running at peak levels.

The thing about Coolermaster and their engineers is they never seem to be at rest. To enhance on the features that made the HAF 932 famous Coolermaster has hit the market with the HAF X. The newest offering from the High Air Flow series is bigger (slightly), better and heavier than the HAF 932. Does that transform into another hit for Coolermaster? From the reactions from the press release on the case the answer to that question is a huge yes.

Like the HAF 932, the HAF X displays the same rugged style that gamers have come to love. The industrial look even appealing to me as much as I love the fine tuned lines of the ATCS 840 is awesome to look at. Offering more than looks the HAF X has features that the HAF 932 can only dream of. How do two HDD docks sound? How about USB 3.0 in the front display? Or nine expansion slots in the rear of the case to support triple GPU cards? Yeah, all this and more is what the HAF X is about. Lets read on.

A short introduction to the HAF X by Coolermaster

The much anticipated HAF X arrives as the flagship of the popular HAF (High Air Flow) series. Designed for performance systems, this chassis is able to house today's latest and hottest CPUs, motherboards, graphics cards and is even compatible with USB 3.0 devices.  With specialized support and cooling for graphic cards, massive airflow with the help of up to four gigantic fans and easy access to installed components, this as close as it gets to a system builder's 'dream case'.


Specifications

Model RC-942-KKN1
 
Material Steel + Plastic
 
Dimension Main unit: 230 x 550 x 590 mm / 9.1 x 21.7 x 23.2 inch
 
Weight Net: 14.35 kg / 31.6 lbs
Gross: 16.08 kg / 35.5 lbs
 
Motherboards Micro-ATX / ATX / E-ATX / XL-ATX
 
5.25" Drive Bay 6
 
3.5" Drive Bay 5 hidden
 
2.5" Drive Bay 2 (converted from 5.25" drive bay)
 
I/O Panel USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 x 2
Audio x 1
Mic x 1
e-SATA x 1
1394a x 1
 
Cooling System Front: 230 x 30 mm red LED on/off fan x 1
Top: 200 x 30 mm fan x 2 (one optional)
Side: 200 x 30 mm fan x 1
Rear: 140 x 25 mm fan x 1
VGA Fan Duct: 120 x 25 mm or 120 x 38 mm fan x 1 (optional)
VGA Holder: 80 x 15 mm fan x 1 (optional)
 
Expansion Slots 9
 
Power Supply Bottom mounted / ATX PS2 (optional)
 
UPC Code 884102009136

Features

  • SATA Dock for easy installation without the need of removing side panel.
  • USB 3.0 on front I/O panel.
  • Air duct to cool the latest graphic cards.
  • Up to 1 x 230 mm red LED fan and 3 x 200 mm fans.
  • 9 slots support 3-way and 4-way SLI, and Quad CrossfireX.
  • Adjustable VGA card holder to support heavier GPU cards.
  • Power supply partition to conceal cables.
  • Advanced cable management with rubber grommets.
  • Spacious interior for larger component parts.
  • Rugged black coated interior.
  • GPU air duct with fan for SLI cooling (a 150cfm fan is recommended to be installed by nVidia for cooling GTX 480 SLI ).

Closer at the exterior
Before we get this party started I would like to discuss some overall aspects of the new HAF X. after everything is all tallied up the HAF X weighs in at just over thirty pounds. Most of that weight comes from the thicker metal that makes up the case and the many different size fans that comes in the case.  After all is said and done and a complete rig is built chances of you towing this baby around is slim. Standing over twenty-one inches tall the HAF X is considered to be a full-sized tower.

The HAF X displays the industrial standards the HAF 932 did and like the HAF 932 was in the beginning only comes in black. Chances are good we may see other variations of the X in the future and we will be right there to tell you about it. But we are lovers of the all black case inside and outside.

At the top third of the case is the ever present front panel I/O area. And like many cases there are a couple of USB 2.0 ports, single eSATA and fire wire plugs along with audio jacks. But what is new is the addition of USB 3.0 ports. Motherboards with the feature have been around from a little while and it is great to see it integrated into cases as well.

Below the I/O panel are six mesh made 5.25” drive panels. The top four are of standard configuration that is meant for optical devices. The fifth and sixth bays are hot-swappable HDD docks that will become handy to all as time goes on. With the docks removed you can see they each can house either a standard 3.5” mechanical drive or a 2.5” SSD. Looking through the case you can see the SATA back-plane that the docks connect to.

Residing underneath the bays is the location of a single 230mm red glowing intake fan. The mesh panel can be removed to access the fan filter as well as the fan for cleaning. The fan can be powered on and off with the push of a button. If you are not a fan of the fan used in the front it can be replace with any of the following configuration: 120, 140 and 230mm.

More of the HAF X appeal lay in the side panels of the case. Beginning with the right which does not consist of a window or anything like that but there is evidence of better spacing behind the motherboard tray due to the bulging of the side panel. The left side panel has the same basic shape of the bulge in the right but 2/3 of the bulge is a clear arrow-shaped window. The rest is the location for a 200mm cooling fan. The fan is in the ideal location to aid in the cooling of any expansion cards and other motherboard components.

Located at the top of the HAF X are two large mesh areas that serve the purpose of letting warm air made by the rig to escape. You would keep there would be two fans sitting underneath the mesh but there is not. A single 200mm fan sits in the location but a second can be added. If and only if you wanted the fan can be removed altogether to recommend a triple radiator for a water-cooling loop. Forward of the mesh areas is the location of the power, reset and fan LED switches which can be protected by the sliding door.

Moving around to the rear of the case we see there is quite a bit of things doing on. At the top is what looks to be three opening for water-cooling tubing in reality only two are and the third is the pass-thru from the front mounted USB 3.0 cabling. There is also another large cooling fan mounted in the rear that measures 140mm.

For better ventilation the PCI expansion covers and the area to the right of them are vented. And if you count them you will see there are nine expansion slots for triple GPU setups. Great if you are looking to use a motherboard like the new Gigabyte X58-UD9. The HAF X is a bottom PSU mount enclosure.

Sitting the case on its side and looking at the bottom of the case is a vented area that is used to aid the PSU in operating popular with clean air intake. To cushion the case from the floor a four rubber feet glued in the four corners of the bottom. And for those that wish to move this monster around after the build is complete Coolermaster includes rolling casters with the case.


Closer look at the interior

The inside of the HAF X is one that is looked for in the cases purchasing process. The inside is spacious, well thought out and black. There is not funky compartments to try to keep heat in one area which in many cases become more of a detraction of proper air flow. Everything here is wide open for the eyes to see.

If space is any concern of yours don’t be alarmed. The HAF X has long enough to support the longest of graphic cards including the Radeon HD 5970 and Nvidia GTX480. And this is done without having to remove the HDD cage. All because of the twenty-two inches of depth. And the usage of big coolers will not be a problem as the case is almost ten inches wide.

The first thing besides the black interior that we notice about the case is the openings in the motherboard tray for easier CPU cooler installation and cable management. The CPU opening is a little bit on the small size making it difficult for all motherboards to line up properly. Cable management we see there is one obvious opening where the cables of the power supply would pass to the back of the motherboard tray. There are two other openings camouflaged by those two rubber coverings.

Up front we see Coolermaster used the same mounting mechanisms as in the HAF 932. The mounting of optical drives uses these tool-less locking mounts. And in order to secure a HDD these plastic holders are used. Each will be discussed more later. Here we also have a better shot of the SATA back pane of the HAF X. the pane supports only two drives and is powered by a single Molex connector. One would have wished CM used a SATA power connector instead of the Molex meaning one less cable I have to plug into the power supply.

Here we have a closer look at one of the HDD racks. Each supposes a single 3.5” drive but this one also supports solid state drives as well.

The plastic device is a cooling duct for adding cooling performance for your GPU. The duct can house a single 120mm cooling fan.

Another shot of the nine expansion slots of the HAF X. Metal thumbscrews are used to secure the cards in place. Gone are the not always seccure plastic levels we see in some cases.

Looking at the top of the case you will notice all the room there is for a large water-cooling radiator. Or if you are need of more general cooling just add in another 200mm Coolermaster fan.

Here we have the vented area for the PSU. And in order to protect your PSU's finish, it sits on this rubber seals.

Coolermaster went a step further when it came down to the side mounted cooling fan. They add a black shroud to aim the air directly into the area of the GPU.


Build images of the Coolermaster HAF X


Conclusion

Does the new HAF X have enough to become the king of the HAF series? In two words HELL YES. The HAF 932 was a great case and will continue to be but the HAF X takes things to a whole new level. The feature advantages of the HAF X are what will make it a new fan favorite. It all begins with the sturdy rugged industrial look. This here is a gamers’ favorite as it has a completely different look from anything else on the market. The case simply screams look at me.

What is behind the mask is what I really like. The HAF X offers a lot in the form of cooling and ventilation. All the  fan in the case are placed right where they are needed to cool all components running in a rig including that new Radeon HD 5970 GPU with the aid of the side mounted 200mm fan and the ducted 120mm fan on the HDD cage your video card should never overheat. You may even be able to lower the fans on the GPU to a more tolerable level.

Another great feature is the hot swappable HDD docks. This is a wonderful feature is you are in the need of moving to retrieve data from random drives. But the number storage feature of the HAF X is the USB 3.0 mounted ports up front. For some time now I have personal been waiting for a case with this option as I have many HDD enclosures that support the SuperSpeed transfer rates.

I want so much to get back into water-cooling but time doesn’t allow for it. But with the HAF X sitting around I may have to get it a shot. The HAF X is calling for a loop or two.

We can go on for hours talking about each of the feature so the HAF X but the absolute number feature of this case is the pricing. For $199 you can have one of the most advanced cases on the market. This undercuts the price of the Corsair 800D which is another favorite of the community. But in the case of the HAF X you get USB 3.0 up front. At the same price of the Corsair 700D, the HAF X has an advantage as it has hot-swappable HDD docks to go along with the USB 3.0.

There isn't too much one can say bad about the new HAF X from Coolermaster. Some would nickpick to find things. One comment I see often about cases is the amount of plastic on the front of cases. The use of plastic keeps cost down. I am sure that if the HAF X was made of aluminum as many would wish it would cost several ducketts more. Hopefully, Coolermaster will release a ATCS version using the internals of the HAF X.

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