Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Case Page: 1
Introduction
 
With the enthusiast market ever expanding, as do the expectation's of consumers. We each have our own individual needs that need fulfilling. A component that needs careful choice is the case, not only is the part we see the most but it must comfortably house and cool our precious investment.
 
Cooler Master is one of the brands many enthusiasts turn to in search of that precious case to house our beloved components. And no wonder when they have brought us classics like the ATCS 201, Wavemaster and Stacker 810. Recently in a bold styling move the HAF 932 was released, looking very industrial in design but with its big fans, great airflow and native 360mm water cooling radiator support the 932 flew off the shelf. With more and more of us attending LAN events, or simply not having the room for a full tower chassis, Cooler Master answer our prayers and bring us the HAF 922 we are looking at today, will it be as feature packed as its bigger brother or just another small case with its sights set too high? Lets take a look at the specs taken from the Cooler Master website:
 
Available Color: Black
Material: Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel
Dimension (W / H / D) Main Unit: 253 x 502 x 563 mm / 10.0 x 19.7 x 22.2 inches
Box: 285 x 550 x 605 mm / 11.2 x 21.7 x 23.8 inches
Weight 8.7 / 10.9 kg ; 19.2 / 24.0 pounds
Motherboards ATX / Micro-ATX
5.25" Drive Bay 5 Exposed (one could convert to 3.5" drive bay)
3.5" Drive Bay 5 Hidden, 1 Exposed (converted from one 5.25" drive bay)
I/O Panel USB 2.0 x 2,
MIC x 1,
Audio x 1 (support HD / AC97 Audio),
eSATA x 1
Expansion Slots 7 + 1
Cooling System Front: 200 mm fan x 1 Red LED on / off fan x 1 / 700 RPM / 19 dBA
(can be swap for 120 / 140 mm fan x 1)
Top: 200 mm fan x 1 / 700 RPM / 19 dBA (can be swap to 120 mm fan x 2 )
Rear: 120 mm fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 17 dBA
Bottom: 120 / 140 mm fan x 1 (optional)
Side: 200 mm fan x 1 (optional)
(can be swap for 120 mm fan x 2)
Power Supply ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)
 
Looking over the spec list it looks promising, a multitude of fans and fan options from 120mm up to 200mm. This case certainly reads like its designed to keep everything cool but will it perform as a package? Cooler Master hasn't forgotten connectivity with USB, eSATA and MIC inputs all on the list. Lets take a a closer look over on the next page. 


Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Case Page: 2
Packaging & External Appearance
 
The box has the usual case picture and a moody red sky background to it that ties in nicely with the front red LED fan. When I spun the box around to read the specification though my heart sank... It appeared my case had taken part in the game we all fear 'Postal Rugby'. It had taken quite a whack and the thick cardboard was quite badly torn. I feared the worst and opened it up to inspect the damage
 
HAF 922 Packaging  HAF 922 Packaging
  
Inside, the case was protected at both ends with polystyrene and a thick plastic bag covered the whole case, which is what we would expect as a minimum standard today. To my surprise there was no damage to the case at all so even though the packaging was basic its passed its transit tests with flying colours.
 
HAF 922 Packaging
 
The front of the case is dominated by a rugged looking slot design and mesh much like the 932. At the top of the front panel its has 2 USB connection's a headphone, microphone and an e-SATA port. The side panels have deep bulges like the Storm Sniper, one side helps better direct the airflow from the optional fitted fans and the other to allow much easier cable routing behind the motherboard tray. You wont spend ages trying to fight the back panel on with this case if you have a non-modular power supply.
   
HAF 922 Externals     HAF 922 Externals
  
The top has two main features, a 200mm fan, which also has mounts for 2x 120mm fans, I instantly assumed this would support water cooling radiators and had a selection of different thickness types to see which ones fitted best above the motherboard. On closer inspection the fan spacings are a strange 20mm apart. With the industry almost agreeing on a 15mm standard spacing it baffles me how Cooler Master have passed up the chance of selling this as water cooling ready like the 932 and Cosmos S. If the spacing were right there is indeed enough room above the motherboard for a medium thickness radiator and fans so one can only think that this is an oversight.
 
The second feature is a rugged looking tray which follows the design of the front up to the roof. The tray is not just handy to chuck your keys or a USB stick in but is also where you will find the power, reset and a handy front fan LED button.
 
 HAF 922 Externals     HAF 922 Externals
 
At the rear of the case as with many it is all very standard and plain looking apart from an 8th vertical PCI slot which comes in very handy for extra USB's. The PSU is mounted at the bottom of the case, a 120mm/92mm/80mm combination fan mount and a pair of grommets for water cooling hoses to pass through.The case came bundled with a handy 5.25" to 3.5" adaptor brackets, the usual screws and stand off's plus a speaker and a optional bracket you can fit to lock the side panel if you would like your rig secured at LAN's.
 
HAF 922 Externals     HAF 922 Bundled Fittings
 
The 922 is starting to look very familiar lets take a closer look at why....


Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Case Page: 3
Comparisons And Internals 
 
Being a part of the every growing Cooler Master range we felt it necessary to compare the 922 with its closest family members. The 932 its older and larger brother is where most of the designs are based. When side by side you can easily see the similarities between the two, the only major difference apart from height is an extra 5.25" bay an extra pair of USB ports and of course native 360mm radiator mounts with 15mm spacings.
 
HAF 922 Comparisons     HAF 922 Comparisons
 
The 922 is almost a CM Storm Sniper with less of the plastic 'body kit' the internals are almost identical. Many case manufacturer's just like in the car industry use parts and chassis across the range and between brands to help keep costs down. Both cases are made from steel and have the same front end with 5x 5.25" bays with the no tools drive fitting, you just push the button to lock the drives in place. They also both have 5x 3.5" hard drive bays mounted in tool less caddies sideways in front of a 200mm fan, the HAF how ever has a red LED version. The only minor differences are the HAF has an extra cut out to allow easier 4/8pin motherboard power cables to be routed and you can fit an extra 140mm or 120mm fan in front of the PSU if you are not using an over sized version.
 
HAF 922 Comparisons     HAF 922 Comparisons
 
The two cases are so similar you can even swap the side panels. After seeing this I hope Cooler Master decide to sell the Sniper panels separately as I much prefer the Sniper mesh to the HAF's stamped grill.
 
HAF 922 Comparisons     HAF 922 Comparisons
 
Lets move on to fitting the hardware and testing.  


Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Case Page: 4
Installation & Testing
 
Being an enthusiast gaming case we decided to test this with some full size enthusiast hardware. We chose to use an oversize power supply and a pair of double slot cards to help show that this case's size doesn't stop you fitting a high end system.
 
Test set up

Intel Core2Duo Q6600
Intel stock HSF & Nexus HOC-9000
Asus Rampage Extreme
4gb Corsair XMS3 PC3-12800 Ram @ 9-9-9-24 1.9v
2x HIS 4870 1gb IceQ 4+
Corsair HX1000w
Western Digital VelociRaptor 300gb
Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
HAF 922 Instalation     HAF 922 Instalation
 
Not only is the case big enough to swallow all the test kit, but its tidy too thanks to the amount of cable options. Even the back of the motherboard tray is fairly tidy with 5minutes work and some cable ties. The case feet do not give much clearance beneath the case so if you decide to mount your power supply facing down as we have then limited airflow may become an issue.
 
HAF 922 Instalation     HAF 922 Instalation
 
 
Testing
 
Idle temperatures were taken after thirty minutes of booting up, and load temperatures after thirty minutes of torture tests using Prime95 to max out the 4 cores. Ambient temperature during testing was 22c controlled by an air conditioner. The 922 was tested against a Lian Li PC7 for comparison, we also tested with a stock Intel heat sink and a Nexus HOC-9000 to simulate low/high end HSF differences. The CPU was put through 2 tests stock and overclocked. Stock was with the bios all on auto no changes made at all. Overclocked the vcore was raised to 1.5v, the FSB to 400 and the multiplier set to 9, speedstep was disabled, all other settings were left on auto.
 
• HW-Monitor - record and monitor all temperatures
• Prime95 - CPU & Ram testing 
• HD Tach - To Simulate Random Reads on the hdd
• ATI Tool - GPU testing
 
 
 
Even at idle the 922's increased airflow compared the PC7 has a noticeable impact on temperatures. The thermal cut out on the Rampage was set at 90c and as the Intel heat sink could not cope with the Quad Core CPU when over clocked, the system shut down due to heat in the PC7 after just 8 minutes. The 922 how ever just about held it together for 30minutes and only reached a maximum over clocked temperature of 82c, really does show how much of a difference that roof fan makes.
 
 
Normally on OC3D we only use the Intel stock fan, but for a change we thought we would run the same tests with a good aftermarket cooler as well so you can compare them both. The PC7 isn't the biggest case in the world so finding a heat sink that cooled well but also fit was a challenge. The Nexus HOC-9000 with its vertical style mounting means you can get a much bigger heat sink in a smaller space, it also helps keep the motherboard and VRM's that bit cooler seemed perfect. Once more this is a place where the 922 wins hands down, as the case is noticeably wider than the PC7 and can easily accommodate even the largest heat sinks.
 
 
Even when fitted with the Nexus the PC7 just hasn't got the airflow to be able to keep an over clocked quad cool. The temperature gap is smaller on the graphics cards but I'm sure if you installed a fan or two in the 922's side panel then the GPU's temperatures would plummet. Its easy to see on the graphs on every test the 922 has been significantly cooler, but without seeming any louder.
 
 
Testing done, lets move on to the final conclusion.. 


Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Case Page: 5
Conclusion
 
The HAF 922....like the 932 but without the chest hairI'm struggling with this one as the 922 hasn't exactly had the easiest start in life, trying to live up to the standards of its bigger brother the 932. You cant argue with the test results this case really did a great job of keeping the test set up cool.
 
Despite this success I cant help feeling let down by the 120mm fan spacing in the roof as this is nothing short of ignorance in my book. Water cooling is a far bigger market now than it ever has been and Cooler Master has been doing so well catering for it. But now when they really could have hit the nail on the head they decide to throw in a curve ball with 20mm spacings. Its a bit late when the industry has practically agreed on a 15mm standard. Even now writing this I am trying to work out what I have missed as this is not the way to appeal to a wider market.
 
So if your looking for a small case to watercool then Ive got to say this isn't the case for you, which is a great shame. If how ever you want full tower airflow in a mid tower package then the HAF 922 is perfect and I cant recommend it enough.
 
The 922 is available for £86.99 from Novatech which is about £25 cheaper than the Storm Sniper, it performs the same and some might say is easier on the eye as well so its a pretty big saving for the same case with a more subtle body kit.
 
 
The Good
- Great Airflow
- Plenty of room for cables, even a non modular PSU
- Easy installation even with full sized components
- Cheaper than a CM Storm Sniper
 
The Mediocre
- Steel Construction
- Limited PSU airflow, when mounted facing downward
 
The Bad
- No 15mm radiator support
- Limited water cooling options
 
 
Overclock3D Recommended AwardOverclock3D Recommended Award
 
Thanks to Cooler Master for sending the HAF 922 in for review. Discuss this review in our forums.