|Cooler Master HAF-X Case RC-942-KKN1|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Sunday, 11 July 2010|
Page 6 of 6
HAF-X Case Final Thoughts
The High Air Flow series by Cooler Master began and has continued a strong theme in computer chassis. This series is designed to accommodate the top end of technology. For now this means four video cards, a huge motherboard, a high performance CPU with cooler to match, and oodles of drives and peripherals. All that stuff needs a PSU to match, lots of cabling, and room to install everything simultaneously. That many parts can add up to a heavy mass. The huge number of electronics also amounts to massive wattage being dissipated. At 90% efficiency there is easily the potential for generating 150 W of pure heat inside the case. To put it in perspective that's 1 cup of boiling hot cocoa every three minutes.
For a chassis running the latest and greatest setup there are thus three main needs; more space, more strength, and more cooling. These are the core components of the HAF series. In addition to the core components Cooler Master has also included other useful feature to add convenience and style. These core components seem to be consistent across the chassis spectrum with various companies and series focusing more on some core components and less on others. As the technology treadmill continues rolling, new developments will continue to push the maximum possible performance. Expect to see the HAF series continue to accommodate this space.
It should be interesting to see whether the technology advancements will continue the same trends of increasing size and power consumption. If the current trend continue then eventually cases will be so mammoth that even enthusiasts will balk. Imagine the case required for a computer that projects life-size 3D immersive games. We'd be back to the '70s when the computer consumes an entire room. So obviously at some point the trend needs to change for even the cutting edge hardware. Maybe the way we see case dimension can change to get rid of the excess space consumed by drive bays. Or perhaps case layout can go 3D and get away from ever expanding footprints. In the short run expect to see more dual chip cards, many large fans and heavy duty cases.
RC-942-KKN1 ConclusionThis case will hold almost any setup you could want. The HAF-X comes with four stock fans and has mounts for three additional fans. The input fans are larger than the output fans making for a positive pressure case and better cooling. Despite the number of fans the case still runs quiet. Large fans at lower RPMs helps push higher volumes with lower noise. The entire system can be setup in under an hour and there were no significant barriers encountered during the install. There was plenty of working space and the kit provided reduced many of the hassle typically experienced during an install.
Model RC-942-KKN1 is a big, big chassis. It makes a mid sized case look like a micro ATX. Because the dimensions are proportional to smaller cases it's difficult to comprehend the actual scale from images alone. Despite the size it looks sharp. Hard lines, sturdy metal mesh and a black matte finish give a sturdy, rugged appearance. But the look appropriately projects the actual construction of the case. The interior is also a matte black which provides excellent contrast for the flashy hardware contained inside.
As was just mentioned, the case is built just how it appears. Big, strong and heavy. Since the case is designed to hold so many components it must be strong. It must also be safe to carry under the additional weight. Having panels that remove under low forces is not an option. One nice thing about the HAF-X is that none of the panels or covers will come undone unless you want them to. Everything is secured by sturdy tabs, thumbscrews and levers.You won't have to worry about something slipping and dropping thousands of dollars of precious equipment. But there are finer points that also lend to the high integrity of the HAF-X. The power buttons are covered by a sliding panel which keep wandering fingers from making costly mistakes. There are several options for providing extra cooling and ducting through the provided VGA Holder, VGA Fan Duct, and a large side fan with cowling.
The HAF-X keeps up with the times by providing USB 3.0 along side e-SATA, firewire and USB 2.0.For installation ease many tool-less installation features are also included. Several options are also provided for drive installation. There are the tool-less 5.25" bays, two front sliding trays with interior SATA docks, and a large tool-less drive cage. Every bay can be configured in multiple ways to accept different style drives, some requiring extra mounting hardware. Another welcome addition are locking wheels which can be mounted to the bottom of the tower. These wheels make it much easier to slide the tower into and out of its home. finally, the tool less design is adequate but not overbearing. Drive locks are quick, simple and reliable with the option to fall back on conventional installation. The PCI ports use thumb screws which are proven reliable with any PCI card unlike some tool-less PCI attempts.
What will you pay to store your 4-SLI system? Much less then you shelled out for everything else! Newegg.com now sells the HAF-X for $199.99 pre-shipping, or Buy.com offers the RC-942-KKN1 model for $198.82 shipped. As far as 4-SLI options go the HAF-X falls towards the middle to top of the pricing range. Although we've become accustomed to full tower cases over $200, the recent trend has pushed many sub-$200 cases. These less-expensive cases will get the job done with few if any frills. The HAF-X is well priced based on the features and construction offered. Personally, I feel...safe...keeping my expensive toys in the HAF-X. In addition, the price provides excellent features and style lacking in cheaper cases. Basically, the money spent on the HAF-X is well worth the investment.
Overall the HAF-X is an excellent case which fulfills the anticipation and demand. It has the right balance of construction, features and pricing that will tempt even budgeters to go for a top-end system. If you're going with a 4-SLI setup then you can't go wrong with the HAF-X.
+ Sturdy Construction
- Really Big
Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award
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