|Cooler Master HAF 912 Case RC-912-KKN1|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Monday, 06 September 2010|
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Closer Look: Interior
With all the paneling removed the HAF 912 sports a sturdy steel chassis. The top of the case is not removable and provides both style and structure. The guts of the IO panel can be accessed by removing the low-profile panel at the top-front of the case. In order to remove the front and top panels it is necessary to remove both sides of the case to access the locking tabs. This is a minor inconvenience, but during the initial build and testing I had to do this more than I liked. Another reason that thumb-screws on the right-panel would have been nice.
One reason for removing the top panel was due to an audio issue I encountered when switching cases. The USB worked fine, but the microphone and headphones wouldn't "play nice". The main symptom was a DPC/Interrupt issue that consumed CPU cycles and caused lag every few seconds. A quick look in the sound control panel showed the devices dropping and reconnecting. The pinouts shown in the manuals are the same between my old case and the HAF 912, but the actual cable wiring is different. The pinout on my motherboard shows pins 6 and 10 as grounded and doesn't seem to exactly match the HD spec. My motherboard probably can't handle the specified wiring, so I immediately unplugged the audio header before anything got damaged. It's a good reminder to check specs for compatibility before turning on the power.
In order to keep costs low the interior has plain finish. I think a coated interior looks very snazzy, but it apparently costs alot. For a budget case I consider interior coating an unnecessary expense. Even though this is a mid-sized tower there are still a slew of drive bays. The 3.5" drive bay has space for 6 drives; 4 in the middle section and two in the bottom section. At the bottom of the case and to the left of the 3.5" bays is a small bracket designed to hold smaller 2.5" drives like an SSD.
Further to the left is the PSU mount. It is a very simple mount with a metal tab to keep the PSU on the floor of the case relying on the screws to keep the PSU secured. The PSU sits on four small rubber pads to help cushion the unit and dampen noise. The pads are small compared to the nicer PSU mounts in the HAF X, but noise was quiet and the fit feels secure.
The backside of the motherboard tray sits well above the right cover giving ample room for running thick cables. The cutout in the tray is huge compared to most that I have used. Several additional cutouts in the tray and a score of cable-tie anchors give many options for running cables. All of this combined makes a great situation for running everything underneath the motherboard tray. I normally orient my drives facing the front since I change cables and drives frequently, but in the HAF 912 I couldn't resist running everything to the back.
Here's a closeup of the 5.25" bay. I find a big irony when looking at this bay. Only one tool-less mount was provided for an optical drive. Why have 4 bays with only one outfitted for an easy install? Because most people typically use only one optical drive. So why even bother with the other bays? To take up space. The irony is that they spent the money to stamp out four entire bays but tried to save a smidge by leaving off the tool-less connectors. I can't imagine that molding a few extra quick mounts could add that much to the cost, but I guess if the rubber feet had to go, the plastic tabs have to go too.
I was happy to see one innovation in the HAF 912 that more closely fits the way people use cases. Since the case is wider than normal an extra PCI expansion port was installed above the normal array. While this seemed odd at first I thought back through my past hardware and realized that I have always installed or thought about installing extra expansion ports of some kind. In the earlier years there were never enough USB ports, and recently there are an even wider variety of interfaces. My current motherboard has several options available, but if I run multiple video cards then my normal PCI slots are blocked. In this regard the HAF 912 is a great case for budget gamers who want pay for high performance core components by saving money on the peripherals.
In the next section we'll take a more detailed look at how model RC-912-KKN1 can be configured to suit a variety of needs.