A large number of air current openings on all sides is a must, and the L-shaped transparent side panel is there to complete the impression. The front panel contains three main parts: the bottom one with the cooler, on top of which are an impressive six slots for 5.25" devices, up to the I/O panel. This panel contains everything you might expect - standard connectors and signal LEDs, as well as a welcome addition in the form of two blue-coloured USB 3.0 connectors. The top contains power and reset buttons, as well as a button for turning off the red LED lighting on the aforementioned front fan. A protective sliding cover can be used to prevent dust intrusion, and we liked this detail more because of its visual than its functional qualities. Since HAF's weight and size are remarkable even when it's empty, those that have the need to displace their case a lot will rejoice to see optional wheels which can be mounted on the enclosure and arrive in the bundle.
The interior is coloured in black, as the trend goes around these days, and as expected from this class, all the edges have been neatly processed, which reduces the chance of hurting oneself while manipulating the enclosure to the minimum. Only after you've opened the side panels (which is very simple, using the two thumbscrews on each panel) will you be able to realise how much space there actually is inside the enclosure. You can easily fit a large motherboard with more than enough free space remaining on each side. In the lower right corner, right behind the large fan, you'll find the disk cage, with "drawers" for easier installation. Each "drawer" has rubber pins for repressing vibrations, and the upper one has a mounted adapter allowing for a pair of 2.5" SSDs to be installed. 5.25" device slots are located above, and Cooler Master has made sure to simplify their installation via a mounting mechanism that eliminates screws. The two lower slots have electronic components as well, so they can pose as hot swap drawers for 3.5" and 2.5" SATA disks, which can come in rather handy when a mate pops around to transfer a load of data, or if you test disk drives a lot.
The lower section of the enclosure leaves space for an impressively-sized PSU if needed, and it was an excellent idea by Cooler Master to install a plastic shield that hides a forest of power cables until they are conducted to some other cabling canal in the enclosure. The section above the PSU has enough space to accommodate even the longest of graphics cards, such as Radeon 5970, and still pack enough room on the side. This section sees Cooler Master introducing certain very interesting novelties, such as the air tunnel that has been certified by Nvidia for their 480GTX cards. It's basically a plastic tunnel that enables intake air to be distributed to the fan intake on the graphics card with minimum heat acquired from the surrounding components. According to the specifications that Cooler Master has supplied us with, this enclosure supports up to three dual-slot graphics cards, but we've seen four in practice working flawlessly. In order to achieve this, you'll need to remove the plastic shield hiding PSU cables from sight, and the lowest card will have to be backed by only one screw instead of two. Another novelty introduced by Cooler Master is the additional strain prevention method, with a plate installed on the back of the enclosure and streching in parallel with the card, thereby reducing strain to the PCI-E connector on the motherboard.
The CPU section contains two powerful fans, which serve the purpose of efficiently removing heat at a maximum of only 700 RPM and 19 dBa of noise, which is stunning. A largish opening on the motherboard carrier, used to remove the cooler from the CPU without braking up the entire configuration, is present as ever, and unusually spacious, enabling easy access from the back. Regardless of the large number of fans and just as many vacant slots, water cooling fans have not been left out of the picture. Cooling liquid pipe openings are present on the back, as well as a special compartment on top which can be used to house radiator blocks. The bizarre thing is that there are three pipe openings in the back, even though only two are required and necessary, and it took us a bit of going through the manuals to deduce what their purpose was. Since motherboard manufacturers haven't started installing USB 3.0 connectors internally just yet, this third opening leaves the space for front panel connectors to be extended outside the case and connected to an external connector. These openings, as well as those intended for hiding cables behind the motherboard, have rubber curtains that keep cables fixed and hide them from sight.
WOW! This was the most common reaction by editorial office members after the first glance on this enclosure. And they really have the reason for that, as HAF X is unlikely to leave any PC hardware enthusiast indifferent. Despite targeting enthusiasts and gamers primarily, it's bound to leave an impression on ordinary users as well. Its design, robustness, quality, design and all other small things that make up a big one, it's evident that this model was given Cooler Master's full attention and that we've received a proper heir to 932.
|Cooler Master HAF X|
|Size||230 x 550 x 599 mm|
|Material||steel + ABS plastic|
|Supported motherboard form factors||Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX|
|5.25" slots||6 (2 Hot Swap for SATA drives)|
|3.5" slots||5 + 2|
|I/O panel||2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA, 1 x IEEE 1394a (Firewire), 1 x Mic, 1 x Audio|
|Fans||LED 230 mm (front), 200 mm (top), 200 mm (side), 140mm (back)|
|Price||around 200 €|
Four huge and high-quality coolers with dust filters are included, and if you find this many insufficient, you can add two additional ones, and make a hurricane inside your enclosure. A rather high price for a model without a PSU is hardly a factor which would deter enthusiasts from buying this model, since a higher-quality, better-cooled casing is difficult to find. An Editor's Choice award should express our feelings about it rather clearly.