|Cooler Master HAF-XB Computer Case Enclosure|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 12 November 2012|
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Closer Look: Exterior
The Cooler Master HAF XB is a squat, almost cubical, case. Next to a more traditional full size ATX tower it looks rather strange. As you can see, compared to an HAF 932, the HAF XB is smaller in height and front-to-back dimensions, but much wider.
My review unit was delivered in a box marked "SAMPLE ONLY. NOT FOR RESALE." and didn't include any documentation. The accessories pack consisted of these two small plastic baggies, one containing screws and motherboard standoffs, the other containing zip ties, a small speaker, and mounting rails for 2.5" drives.
The front of the case comprises a large ventilated panel that occupies the top half; below that are the front panel buttons, audio, and USB ports, and the two 5.25" device bays and the two 3.5" hot-swap drive bays. Given the large swath of unused space above the hot swap bays, it would have been nice to see some more USB ports or perhaps an e-SATA port. The power switch illuminates with a red LED when the power is on, and a red drive activity light is positioned just below the reset button. The top of the case has a raised mesh panel with four grommeted holes for mounting an optional Cooler Master 200mm fan. The recessed area in the top panel ensures that the fan will not encroach on any internal components.
The front panel snaps off easily to reveal the two 120mm intake fans. There's an integrated air filter in the front panel, but it doesn't slide out; you have to remove the front panel to clean it, and that means removing the top and side panels first. The front panel's reset switch is designed with an integrated plastic spring so that it has a definite "push" action, but oddly the power switch has no spring mechanism provided. This means the power switch feels "dead" and provides almost no tactile feedback. Also, remember my complaint about not having some more front panel ports in the previous paragraph? In this images you can see the design of the case allows for the front printed circuit board to be an inch or two wider than it is, which is plenty of room for a few more ports. Oh well...
Both sides of the case are identical: a plain steel panel with large ventilation holes and a deep, sturdy handle for carrying the case. The design of the handles places the recessed area directly under the bottom of the sturdy side rails, which will bear the weight of the case when you carry it.
The rear of the case shows the two-level design, with the motherboard tray mounted above the other components. A 120mm exhaust fan mount is positioned above the I/O panel cutout, and there's a small ventilation panel above the seven card slot openings (there seems to be plenty of room for an eighth slot, and it's a mystery why the HAF XB doesn't include one). Two 80mm fan mounts to the right of the power supply opening offer the option of adding some air flow to the lower part of the case. There are knockouts for water cooling hoses at the left of the back panel should you need them.
At the bottom of the case we see a slide-out filter for the power supply air intake, four rubber feet, and a recurring theme in this case: lots of tie-down points. There are nine such points visible in this shot.
Let's take a look at the interior of this case in the next section...