|Cooler Master HAF XM Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 23 April 2012|
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Gaming Chassis Final Thoughts
Even as a Mid-Tower case, the Cooler Master HAF XM is quite large. It is certainly one of the largest Mid-Tower cases I have looked at and it's heavier than some of the Full Tower cases I've seen. The Cooler Master HAF XM is also priced a little higher than most gaming or enthusiast targeted Mid-Tower cases. That being said, it provides a very wide feature set that steps into the realm of most Full Tower cases.
Generally speaking, I'd say most Mid-Tower cases, because of the smaller size, are more mobile than full tower cases. In the case of the Cooler Master HAF XM, I don't think that applies. Weighing in at 23 lbs before you've installed your enthusiast system means I don't want to be carrying this case around, even empty. It doesn't look like it was made to be all the portable anyway, with no handholds or any easy way to grab onto it to help you move it. The nice part about the HAF XM being a shorter case is that it will fit more comfortably on top of a desk than a Full Tower case would.
The Cooler Master HAF XM only came with three case fans. I would have liked to see at least one more, preferably on the main panel. One thing I've seen on cases recently that I really like is panel fans that are wired to connectors on either side so that the circuit is completed when you close the case. That way you don't have to pull the fan off the motherboard every time you want to open the case. That would be a nice feature to see here, especially with the easy latch system making it simple to take off the main panel. I can't complain too much about the fans included, however, since two of them were 200mm fans. The front fan even comes equipped with red LEDs. That's pretty cool.
Another thing about the fans that is missing on the Cooler Master HAF XM case is fan speed controllers. These are becoming increasingly more common on gaming and enthusiast chassis. Hopefully the fans are all running at highest in the Cooler Master HAF XM. After all, this is a High Air Flow case. The fans do run very silently, I noticed. When I had the full system installed and turned on, it took me until the loading screen came up to realize I hadn't placed the power switch cable on wrong. I didn't even realize the system was running. I can't really complain about silence, but high air flow usually means higher noise levels.
Despite the silence, the temperature within the Cooler Master HAF XM stayed within an average and normal range. I stuck two GTX 560's in the case and ran furmark for a while to try and build the temperatures up. The GPUs got up to around 50 degrees Celsius after a few hours, but didn't climb any higher than that. That seems like pretty good airflow to me, and with the silent operation and Full Tower features, I'd call this case a really good deal.
Cooler Master HAF XM Conclusion
Although we strive for objectivity here at Benchmark Reviews, please remember that each author perceives these points differently, and our conclusions and recommendations will necessarily differ from others. Also, prices can fluctuate and designs change after publication, so that the product we review might not have the same price and specifications of a product that's available later. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary of each of the areas that we rate.
Measuring a case in terms of performance generally means how it performs in noise level and cooling ability. With the three fans that came with it, the Cooler Master HAF XM was able to keep a dual GPU system quite cool. I wouldn't say it's the best cooling case I've ever seen, but it definitely outperformed a lot of much more expensive cases I've looked at. If water cooling is your thing, the Cooler Master HAF XM gives you plenty of room for your water cooling equipment, so keeping those components cool will not be an issue. Even using the fans for air flow, the Cooler Master HAF XM ran extremely silently. I was very impressed with low noise level, especially considering that isn't one of the features that Cooler Master touts for the case. A fan controller might be a nice addition, but it certainly doesn't seem necessary here.
Unfortunately for me, the stylized militaristic look of the Cooler Master HAF XM just doesn't do it. I've realized that I am a fan of white cases with black accents. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything specifically against the Cooler Master HAF XM case. I think it looks nice, but it just isn't my style. Style is very subjective, however, so you'll have to make that determination for yourself. I really like the red LED on the front panel, though.
As you can tell from the 23 lbs of empty weight, the Cooler Master HAF XM is a beast. I wouldn't worry about this case taking much damage. It is made from a coated steel mesh and other synthetic compounds on the outer body and the inner body is made from a coated enforced steel alloy. No light aluminum here. The HAF XM is quite durable all over. I did notice the bottom half of the front panel start to bend as I was putting the hot swappable bays back in but it didn't seem in danger of cracking or breaking. Throughout the installation process I didn't notice any weak points at all.
The Cooler Master HAF XM has all the functionality you are likely to find in many top of the line Full Tower cases. There is room for eight 3.5" hard drives or nine 2.5" drives and up to three 5.25" drives. Two of those hard drive bays are hot swappable. This is a feature I think you will start to see more and more. I love it. It definitely makes jumping from testbed to testbed with the same hard drive a breeze. Besides the drive bays, there is ninth, vertical expansion slot in the rear for extra USB ports, eSATA ports, or any number of other expansion options. Room for water cooling pumps or radiators in practically endless as well. The HAF XM even includes USB 3.0 ports on the front panel, another feature that many cases are adopting. It doesn't have an SD card reader, but I can live without that.
At an MSRP of $129.99, the Cooler Master HAF XM is priced near the top of most Mid-Tower cases. That being said, it's really a Full Tower case in sheep's clothing based on the functionality. It has room for up to E-ATX motherboards, four GPUs, and liquid cooling solutions. To top it all off, the case is extremely quiet. There is a lot of room for extra fans and tons of space for cable management throughout. Overall, while the price might be a little high, I have to say this case is worth it. It's a good deal.
+ Will fit all your water cooling needs
+ Up to E-ATX Motherboards in a Mid-Tower
+ Great Cable Management, tons of space
+ Two Hot-Swappable Drive Bays
+ Extremely Quiet Fans
+ Latching Release on Main Side Panel
- Heavy, Hard to Move
Final Score: 9.1 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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