|Cooler Master HAF-XB Computer Case Enclosure|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 12 November 2012|
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Building a System
Building a system in the Cooler Master HAF XB is different from building a system in a traditional tower case. For this build I used a Seasonic X750 modular power supply, a 256GB SSD, a 1TB 3.5" drive, and a generic optical drive. In this shot all these components are installed in the lower section of the case. Before you install the motherboard tray, you need to consider your cable routing, since it will be difficult to change once the tray's in place. From this perspective, I routed the ATX and EPS power cables out the left side, the SATA cables between the hot swap bays and 5.25" bays coming up at the front of the motherboard, and the PCI-E power cables for the video cards around the right side.
This side shot shows the potential interference problem between the power supply cables and the back of the hot swap bays. The Seasonic X750 is a 160mm-long power supply, which is standard, and the HAF XB's design keeps about 20mm of this length outside the case proper. A larger wattage power supply of 180mm or 200mm length might be problematic, though.
With the motherboard tray and components installed, one of the advantages of this case design becomes apparent: you can keep the motherboard area mostly free of cabling, since most of the cable runs are under the tray. With an Antec water cooler and two Radeon graphics cards, there's still plenty of open space. There's even room for nonstandard motherboard sizes like ASUS' Rampage series, although the case will not accommodate an Extended ATX motherboard. There's also ample room for a 2x120mm radiator such as used by the Corsair H100 cooler at the front of the case.
There's just over an inch of clearance between the rails supporting the motherboard tray and the side panels, providing plenty of room for even the thick main ATX power cable. The side rails are festooned with tie down points, too.
All in all this was a very easy build. The design of the case keeps the motherboard area clear of cable clutter, so swapping out your memory, CPU, and video cards is easier than it would be in most other cases, especially since the motherboard's laying flat rather than at 90 degrees. Also, the case side rails are very sturdy, and exhibited no flexing at all even when they were used to pick up a fully loaded case.
In the next section I'll present my final thoughts and conclusion on this case.