CoolerMaster HAF 932 Full Tower Page: 1
Introduction

With the recent review of the ATCS 840 and earlier review of the Centurion 590 it's certainly fair to say that the name Cooler Master is no stranger to OC3D and the enthusiast scene as a whole. However, while the ATCS and the Centurion are at opposite ends of the pricing spectrum, today we are going to take a look at a case that sits nicely between them. This takes the form of the HAF (or High Air Flow) 932. HAF is a new line that Cooler Master have added to their full tower range. A range which already consists of some big names such as the Cosmos and Stacker series'. Hopefully with the wealth of experience and success that Cooler Master have had with those lines, we can expect some good things from the 932.

Lets see what Cooler Master have to say about the HAF 932 on their website:

With pure innovative strength, Cooler Master, the leader in enthusiast computer components, has unleashed yet another prevailing arsenal to compete in the full-tower chassis segment. Proud and robust in its appearance, the HAF 932 presents its sturdy sentinel housing and revolutionary High Air Flow structure to enhance and protect any hardware component that is worthy of the highest performance.

Available Color Black
Dimension (W / H / D) (W)230 x (H)545 x (D)575 mm
(W)9.0 x (H)21.5 x (D)22.7 inch
Weight 13.2 kg
29.1 lbs
Material SECC, Plastic
Motherboards Micro-ATX / ATX / E-ATX
5.25" Drive Bay 6 (without the use of exposed 3.5 inch drive bay)
3.5" Drive Bay 5 Hidden 1 Exposed (converted from one 5.25 inch drive bay)
I/O Panel USB 2.0 x 4, IEEE1394a x1, eSATA x 1, Mic x 1, Audio x 1
Cooling System Front : 230x30mm red LED fan x 1 / 700 rpm / 19 dBA
Side: 230x200x30mm standard fan x 1 / 700 rpm / 19dBA
(support 120mm fan x 4)
Top: 230x200x30mm standard fan x 1 / 700 rpm / 19dBA
(support 120mm fan x 3 or 120mm x 1 + 230x30mm x 1)
Rear: 140x25mm standard fan x 1, 1200 R.P.M, 17dBA
(support 140mm fan)
Expansion Slots 7
Power Supply Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)

A sizable case with some nice features. The spec shows off some truly massive fans, hopefully meaning the case will live up to its name.


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Packaging

The HAF comes packaged in pretty much what you expect to see, a sizable thick walled cardboard box. The front design shows off the case in all its glory, while the back gives a short blurb on the features along with a few shots of said features in action. At the side is a full specification list and yet another graphic of the case - but this time with the case powered off.

Box_Front Box_Back

Box_side1 Box_side2
 
Pulling the case out the box we see it is protected with a large plastic bag and two moulded polystyrene spacers. Once again nothing out of the ordinary here, this method of shipping cases has been tried and tested to death and is quite acceptable.

Packaging

The accessories come in a small cardboard box that was loose inside the case when I received it. A little concerning but the contents aren't the harshest of things you could hit a steel plate with. The case comes with a small package consisting of the following:

Accs Sheet

Cooler Master need to be commended here for including some wheels in the package. As you will see later this was a very wise move on their part due to some of the features of the case. An extension cable for the 8 Pin power connector was a nice addition too, as many people will know the frustration of having to wait a few days for a new system simply because a wire was 2" too short. The schematic of the motherboard tray was a little curious. What it laid out seemed a little like common sense to me but could be helpful to those not used to cable management.

Next up we take a look at the externals of the case...


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Externals
 
Starting with a quick overview, the case has a very industrial look to it. Reminding me somewhat of a building you might see in a sci-fi movie or a game like Doom 3. It's certainly not very sleek, with grills, vents and fan mounts littering its surface. The front, once again, is slightly reminiscent of the famous Stacker, and  the drive bays take up most of the height at the front. The bottom section houses a grill, hiding one of the case's massive 230mm fans.

Overview

Front I/O_Front
 
Taking a closer look at the front I/O panel shows the normal options; Firewire, USB, Microphone and headphone sockets. But on top of that we are presented with an E-SATA port which is a very welcome addition as external hard drives that use this interface are becoming more common place. It's also nice to see the inclusion of four USB ports instead of the usual two. With modern motherboards sporting more and more headers it never hurts to have a few extra that are easily accessible.

Top Top_close

Moving up to the top of the case we can see a mesh top hiding another 230mm fan. In front of that is a little tray with a rubber insert. This insert can be lifted to relieve the fill port below as well as the screws to remove the plastic top - as shown in a latter section of this review. Just next to that are the Power and Reset buttons. Admittedly, these are situated in a different place to the usual 'half way down the case front', but this actually makes more sense considering lots of users sit their  PC's under a desk.

Right_side Left_side

Moving down to the left side of the case we see the third 230mm fan bolted onto a mesh side panel with a vent to the right of that and then a perspex window above. It's not entirely clear why the window has a square mesh patten on it, as I would have preferred a clear one but it does stick with the theme of the case. The right side isn't quite as interesting - featuring a vent on the bottom left mirroring the one on the opposite side, and a large 'X' pressed in behind the motherboard tray. Perhaps this is to allow thicker cables to run behind the tray, although I am just taking a guess here. Then again it may just be for looks, but either way it makes the panel very sturdy.

Back

The back shows the smallest fan mount on the case - a 140mm fan, but still able to take accommodate a 120mm one should you wish to swap. The top of the case's rear shows the 'spare' PSU bay, which has two grommet holes in it that would be used for routing water pipes to external components. It is a bit baffling why you'd want to mount anything given some of the case's fancy features that will be shown in the next section, but they're there if needed. At the bottom of the rear we see the lower PSU bay. Interestingly, the blanking plate from the upper bay can be moved to the lower one, depending upon where you want to mount your PSU.

Bottom

Finally, we arrive at the bottom of the case which is something we don't normally pay a lot of attention to. But this being the HAF chassis, CM decided to include two fan mounts on the bottom of the case. We see here also that the the feet are simply screwed on, allowing easy change over to the supplied feet if you wish. A very nice touch..

Next up we take a look at the internals and features of the case...



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Internals and Features

First impressions of the Cooler Master HAF gives the impression that it's pretty standard (not to mention familiar). But upon closer inspection little things start to jump out to show that Cooler Master have actually put a lot of thought into the layout of this case. I must admit when the case was first opened, my initial thought was 'ARRRRG! Cables!' You'll have to trust me on this one, but, they're not so much of an issue when it comes to building the machine.

Overview_inside HDDs

We begin our tour at the hard drive bays. These use the exact same mounting method as the ATCS reviewed recently. Where you simply un-clip the bracket; slide out the mount; insert the hard drive in and reverse the process to re-install it. Just in front of the bays is the font 230mm fan. This glows a warm red colour while the fan is running.

5.25"_bays 5.25_plates

Moving up we find the 5.25" bays which features another tool-less idea here - you simply slide in your drive and click the button. This pushes two pins into the mounting holes on the drive and holds it in place. This could prove a little fiddly, lining everything up. But hopefully Cooler Master have thought about this and made the DVD drive bezel lining up with the front of the case a good measure of where the mounting holes are. With the 5.25" bays we find a nasty side of steel I hoped would never return - snap off covers. I'm disappointed to find these here as they leave sharp edges and will imped the airflow, which is kind of the opposite to what this case is going for. Never-the-less they come out easy enough.

Top

Here we see the top front of the case lifted as said on the previous page, and subsequently, the mount for the top fans. You can see that there are in fact mounts for three 120mm fans in the top. I'm hopeful that these are spaced sufficiently to accommodate a 360mm radiator, as there is certainly enough space.

Top_Inside PCI_Plates
 
Next up we see the inside of the top left of the case and how much the 230mm fan dwarfs the large 140mm fan on the rear. You can also see that the fans use 3-pin connectors, but Cooler Master have supplied molex adaptors as well. Below the rear fan we find perforated PCI blanking plates which are held in place with the same clip-in style mechanism seen on the Centurion 590.

PSU_bottom PSU_Extended

Bottom_Mounts

In the image above we can see see the bottom PSU bay and fan mounts from the inside. The PSU tray is expandable to accommodate larger supplies and even removable to allow the used of the bottom fan mounts. These, like the three mounts on top, look suspiciously like they could hold a radiator.

Back

Finally, we swing around to the back. Here we get a good view of the holes that Cooler Master have cut to ease cable management. There is also a large hole behind the CPU area to allow the change of CPU cooler without removing the motherboard. Both are very welcome features to the case, as people won't have to crack out the dremmel just to keep their cases tidy.

Installation and testing of the HAF are put up for trial on the next page...



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Testing

To put the Cooler Master HAF through its paces, we went about installing a test setup comprising of the following hardware:

Intel Xeon 3060 @ 3.6Ghz
MSI P45D3 Platinum
2GB OCZ Platinum PC3-12800
8800GT 512Mb
CM Real Power 850w
Hitatchi Deskstar 80GB

Installation

The hardware was installed into the machine as an initial test, and I can safely say that the air cooled setup went in with ease. Having two PSU bays meant that there was more than enough space to fit the Motherboard, CPU and RAM without hassle. The large Real Power PSU sat in the bottom mount comfortably on the extended mount and routing the cables up behind the motherboard tray was easy. The only real snag that I ran into was trying to get the back panel back on. With so many wires routed around the back it required a fair level of shuffling and tucking to get them to lie flat enough to fit the panel comfortably.

While installing the hardware I broke out a spare 240mm Black Ice radiator and tested the fan mounts at the top and bottom to see if radiators could be mounted in them without modding. I'm pleased to report that the hole spacing was near perfect on both the top (which could house a 360mm rad) and bottom mounts. I suspect that given a small PSU mounted in the top you could even mount two 240mm radiators in the case. Please note that Thermochill's and similar radiators would require mods to the case in order to fit.

Temperatures

Moving on to the temperature tests. The system was booted, temperature monitoring programs loaded and then left for 30 minutes to obtain idle temperatures. Load results were obtained with RTHDRIBL and dual instances of Prime95, run simultaneously for 30 minutes, then the temperatures were noted. Ambient though out testing was 21° (+/- 0.5°).




As you can see from the graphs the Cooler Master HAF did a good job of keeping everything well within acceptable limits.

Noise

Equipped with four fans that can only be described as massive, The Cooler Master HAF stirred a little concern in the volume department. My last encounter with non-standard fans was the Spire Pininfarina and the 140mm fan that it sported was quite loud. I'm pleased to report that this was by no means the case with the Cooler Master HAF. With the larger fans spinning at a slower rotation, it meant that a large volume of air was moving, but at a lower velocity which results in less noise. You could easily sleep with the case running in the same room.

Finally we draw a conclusion about the Cooler Master HAF 932...


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Conclusion

Upon taking on the Cooler Master HAF 932 for review, I promised myself not to make any digs at the fact that it's a steel case. Now that the review is almost complete, however, it's time to spurt out the inevitable 'it would be so much better if it was aluminium'. But we'll leave it at that. The case itself is good quality. There's no protruding sharp edges and all the panels and modular parts fit without hassle. The tool-less parts work well. Personally I prefer the screwdriver approach, but there's no veering away form the fact that the trays and clips work, and work well.

The industrial appearance that the case possesses will not suit everyone's tastes. I can see people's main gripe being the plastic front and panel at the top. But one can forgive it for that despite it not being the classic, smooth, classy look that the likes of Lian Li and Silverstone spoil us with, but it still looks good. Admittedly, it's a very busy case, which is a theme carried over the whole chassis making it work quite well, unlike cases which feature detailed front panels and then plain sides.

Installing the hardware into the chassis was a swift, easy affair. All the components fitted effortlessly and the cable tidying holes proved that they were most definitely a worthy addition. The ability to add radiators for water-cooling into the fan mounts at the top and bottom of the case opens it up to yet more enthusiasts.

The Cooler Master HAF 932 enters the market at a very neat price point of £122 over at Ebuyer, and sits around that price from numerous other e-tailers.  This is quite reasonable for a quality, steel full-tower case with so many features.

Overall you could be forgiven for thinking you've just read the ATCS review published a little while ago on this very site, as this case shares a lot in common with that very chassis. But having scoured that review throughly I can say that I think the Cooler Master HAF is going to capture an audience that the ATCS misses simply due to the price. The Cooler Master HAF can do pretty much everything that the ATCS does, but for £80 less. If you are the kind of person who wants a fully featured, practical full tower, and can forgive the steel construction and likes the almost military like looks, then this case is for you.

The Good
Features
Cooling capabilities
Low noise
Can House Radiators with no mods
Excellent cable management
Option of having both wheels or feet
Tool-less designs work well

The Medicore
Steel
Plastic front may ruin looks

The Bad
Nothing at all



Thanks goes out to Cooler Master for providing the review sample.

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