|Cooler Master HAF 912 Case RC-912-KKN1|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Dan Ferguson|
|Monday, 06 September 2010|
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HAF 912 Case Final Thoughts
All in all the HAF 912 keeps alive the features and trends started with the HAF 932 and continued through the HAF series. The best feature of the HAF 912 is probably the large number of mounting options for fans and drives. I would say the weakest area is the lack of tool-less features. I spent too much time using my screw driver for routine tasks.
One thing that lingers in my mind is the lack of a side fan. In my mind they should have included the side fan as a default option. Since high air flow is the trademark signature of the series it seems silly to only include two normal sized fans. When the emphasis is on air flow why make a case that is very similar to other cases on the market with regards to fans? It seems smarter to overkill the cooling and stay true to the series with lots of large fans.
While it feels like too much may have been cut I keep going back to the number of options available on the case. One issue that frequently arises with smaller cases is incompatibility. Either there is not enough room for a video card, or the CPU cooler is too tall, or a myriad of other problems due to space. The HAF 912 is superior in this respect. It seems that regardless of your hardware there will be a way to make everything fit.
Finally, I want to retouch on the idea of building a budget case. Budget builders typically start with a fixed amount and try to balance that amount across all the necessary parts. You can't buy the best video card and run it with an atom processor and 128 MB of memory. Similarly, if I could run a computer in a cardboard case I would spend my entire budget on performance parts. The cost and design of HAF 912 make it easier to allocate a larger portion of your budget to the critical hardware like CPU, GPU, and memory.
RC-912-KKN1 ConclusionThere are a few jobs that cases should do well. For simple builds the HAF 912 makes the first installation go quite fast. If you have only one optical drive, a few smaller hard drives and a couple of PCI slots to fill then things will install quickly. There is plenty of room at the back of the case and many cutouts and tie downs which make the tedious routing job very easy. If your build has lots of parts and will utilize most of the bays and expansion slots offered then the build could take much more time. This is due to the limited number of tool-less features offered with the HAF 912. As far as cooling the chassis only comes with 2 x 120 mm fans. This is fairly standard for mid-towers. Even with these normal fans the HAF 912 had better than average cooling. Most likely this was a result of the open design of the air intakes.
The outside appearance stays true to the militaristic look of the HAF series. The HAF 912 uses simple lines but the accents are overstated. The chunky blocks on the front almost look like armor panels on a tank. Apart from the look of the front there is not much else to distinguish the case from others on the market, but the style is emphasized so much that you'll either love or hate the look. There are no interior lights or fan LED's for flare which keeps the look and the cost basic.
This case is just as solid as the other HAF cases. The tabs used to secure the front and top panels hold very well so the covers won't come off while moving the case around. Trying to remove panels can actually be a pain. In order to remove the front and top panels you first must remove both side panels. To make it more burdensome, the right panel uses regular screws instead of thumb-screws. You also have to remove the left cover in order to remove the 5.25" bay covers. The default case comes with dust covers for both the front intake and the PSU intake to keep things clean from gross particles. The internal layout is fairly standard but simplified over other HAF models. Drive cages are solid and secured firmly in place. To save costs Cooler Master skipped the interior coating for a plain grey finish. The PSU mount is also very simplified but gets the job done.
As mentioned earlier there are not many tool-less options on the HAF 912. There is only one tool-less 5.25" mount, thumb-screws only on the left exterior panel and any extra peripherals require screws for mounting. It can only be speculated that these extra features were cut to reduce the cost and offer an affordable platform that could still be semi-convenient yet be sufficient for high performance hardware. There are several features that merit praise. The modular 3.5" hard drive bay can be installed facing forwards, sideways or removed completely. This makes the case compatible with almost any video cards (up to 13"). There are also many options for installing cooling equipment. Additional fans can be mounted on the front, top and side. For water cooling the case can have a 240 mm radiator mounted on the top either interior or exterior or a 2 x 120 mm radiator installed on the exterior. Finally, the case width allows extra room for cables, drives and CPU coolers. The HAF 912 excels when it comes to the many options available for installing almost any equipment.
At launch the HAF 912 is expected to retail for $59.99. This price is at the lower range for respectable mid-tower cases, but there are an overwhelming number of cases at this competitive price point. Most of the cases in this range use a very standard arrangement of PCI slots and one tall array of drive bays at the front. Most of the differences between cases in this range are the exterior looks and number / size of fans. There are few exceptions to this trend, and the HAF 912 stands out in this regard. One other major difference worth pointing out is the construction quality. Other sixty dollar cases have an almost flimsy feel in the motherboard tray and hard drive cages, but the HAF 912 is rock solid and well crafted for it's price. It is definitely above average. About the only things keeping the HAF 912 from the top spot are the need for more tool-less features and more air flow.
Compared to top of the line cases the HAF 912 does not seem to stand out in any significant manner. It has some decent features that make it worth using but still has some lacking areas. But when compared to the mundane repetitive options at the same price it comes out ahead. In my mind the thing that stands out most is the ability to house any hardware. There are so many configuration options it is hard to think of normal setups that won't be compatible.
+ Can fit 13" video cards
- Not enough hard drive damping
Final Score: 8.9 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award
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