If anyone was aware of this while designing their products, it's Cooler Master with their exceptional series of HAF enclosures, which is short for “High Air Flow”. Some may say that the name is enough to describe the intention these enclosures have, but we'll delve a bit deeper into the story nonetheless. The latest that this family has to offer has just arrived into our office, targeting gamers and all those who feel that way.
Cooler Master HAF 912 may be the smallest model in the series, but that doesn't mean that any quality compromises have been made. On the contrary, its compactness and smaller dimensions will make it much easier for it to fit in many environments, but also budgets, being the cheapest one yet. HAF 912 arrives in three variants: Basic, Plus and Advanced, with the difference being in the level of accessories included (fans/transparent side panel) and colour of the interior. The version we received was the Plus variant, without a transparent side panel, but packing a huge 200 mm intake fan on the front. Placed in the lower front corner, replete with attractive red LEDs, it covers the HDD/SSD cages, providing more than sufficient airflow. In the upper half of the front, one can find four 5.25” device slots, the lowest being convertible so that it can house a 3.5” device as well. The very top contains the I/O panel, with all the connectors you'd expect of one: two USB ports, one eSATA port, microphone/headphones plugs and power/reset buttons. The upper “holding” platform, although not too necessary and useful, may come in handy in some situations, for placing keys, USB flash drives, mobile phone etc. It seems more shallow than on previous models, which is a direct consequence of general dimension reductions. The entire front panel can be easily removed – pressing the clips lightly will unlock it, and you'll get easy access to whatever is on the other side. Elastic plastic nets, serving the purpose of filtering dust, are very easily removed from the mask and even simpler to clean and put back into place (plastic isn't prone to corroding, so using water is not a problem).
From the outside, HAF 912 Plus leaves a very rough, aggressive impression, which is hardly going to leave anyone indifferent. With extremely sharp edges, matted black, and rough plastic and steel surfaces, robust ends, it looks like a high-tech fortress which is going to resist any condition and retain its valued contents. The materials used are of utmost quality, as well as the finishing touches. Having in mind that both the basic construction and side panels are made of steel, one might be tricked into believing that this enclosure is heavy. However, 8.5 kg is more than acceptable for carrying around LAN parties and the likes – an additional plus in this enclosure's portfolio.
The left side panel is attached to the body via two large thumbscrews, enabling its removal without any tools. The entire enclosure has been designed with this idea in mind, so that almost everything can be installed without a screwdriver, including hard disks, graphics cards, optical devices etc.
The first thing that becomes obvious once you've glanced into the black-toned inside of the enclosure is its size. The longest graphics card from both ends of the spectrum fit without much ado, both ATI Radeon HD 5980 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 – a fact that Cooler Master hasn't been shy to include in the specification sheet. However, the truly stunning feat is the depth, or width, of the enclosure, which is sufficient for mounting even the highest CPU cooler, without it touching the side panel (the side panel has been additionally curved out just in case). The tin carrying the motherboard has a huge opening in the level of the CPU, so that any cooler can be removed without taking the entire motherboard out of the case. The mentioned tin section has another opening next to the PSU placement corner, while the spacing between the PSU and the side panel has been increased, so that all power cables leading to the motherboard be hidden behind the tin. Not only does this improve the aesthetic aspect of the enclosure, but also contributes to better cooling. There is even a removable dust filter under the PSU, located at the very bottom. The disk cage has been rotated by 90 degrees compared to conventional ones (although this setup seems to be evolving into a convention very rapidly), easing HDD/SSD removal and providing better cable management, both SATA and power ones. The cages are fully removable, providing extra space if needed, and the enclosure's bundle even contains adapters for mounting SSD and other 2.5” disks inside. The upper lid contains the opening for the optional 200 mm fan, which can also serve for mounting a water cooling system's external radiator. The backside contains a 120 mm exhaust fan, with a declared RPM rate of 1200 and noise output of 17 dB, creating a nice airflow tunnel over the CPU. Right below it are two holes for intake/outtake of a water cooling system (or advanced cabling), just like the ones featured on HAF X, followed by PCI slots beneath.
Cooler Master has definitely set new boundaries for PC enclosure design with their High Air Flow product line, reconciling several supposedly opposite concepts of what a really good gaming rig should be housed in. An aggressive and likeable design (even if this is a subjective impression), excellent airflow, low noise levels, large diameter fans, intelligent construction, easy cabling and component positioning, a tool-free principle, water cooling compatibility, price/performance ratio... All these are contained within this product series. The newest HAF 912 is no exception to this; in fact, its lower price will finally enable a wider range of users to assemble high-airflow systems with unprecedented levels of quality.
|Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus|
|Size||230 x 480 x 496 mm|
|Material||Steel + ABS plastic|
|Board form factors||Micro-ATX / ATX|
|Number of 5.25" / 3.5" slots||4 / 6|
|I/O panel||2 x USB 2.0, e-SATA, audio, mic|
|Fans||200mm LED front, 120mm back, 200 mm top (optional), 120/140 mm side (optional)|
|Expansion card slots||7 + 1|