Cooler Master HAF XB Case / Test-bench Review
Published: 28th January 2013 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: £82.99 |
Up Close: Exterior
By now you're probably used to the usual route we take around a case when we review it. However although supporting the ATX form factor the XB can't be said to follow the usual layout conventions, and as such don't be surprised if this route varies a little from the norm.
Measuring 442x330x423mm the XB resembles a hunkered down cube, with the large notches down either side of the front bezel nodding firmly in the direction of its HAF heritage. Subtle yet perfectly sized had holds on either side remind us just how easy this case will be to pick up and carry to LANs.
The upper section of the front the of the XB is dominated by a large mesh area. Rather than being a purely two dimensional sheet the mesh is sculpted and angled. A simple Diamond cut Cooler Master logo badge sits proudly in the centre. Under the Mesh we find the front I/O area. A large power button and smaller reset button sit alongside HD audio in/out jacks and a pair of USB 3.0 sockets.
Further down and to the left the mesh of the upper panel is repeated offering blanking for the pair of 5.25" bays. These are easily removed by means of simply pinching together the small tabs on either side. Over to the right we find the two external 3.5"/2.5" bays, each of which enables hot swap by means of Cooler Masters X-Dock mechanism.
The layout of the rear of the XB gives one of the first hints that the interior is laid out somewhat diferrently to a conventional ATX tower case. Plenty of hex mesh and ventilation, but we can't help noticing an absence of fans back here.
If we imagine the upper half of a tower case rotated through 90 degrees the image below left does at least make a bit more sense to us. At the far left side we find a selection of punch outs should you opt for external watercooling, to its right there is a mesh protected mount for a 120mm fan (conspicuous by the absence of a 120mm fan). Below this we find the rear I/O cut out and 7 expansion bays. Further down we find the PSU cut out. An extension enables the accommodation of longer PSUs without too much encroachment into the interior. finally, over to the right there are mounts for 2 80mm fans, again, no fans are included in this position.
Flipping the case over we can see that the body of the case is amply support by broad dense rubber strips at each corner and along the front, with the PSU area featuring a removable mesh filter.
Last but by no means least on our trip round the exterior we visit the roof. A single plate held in place by 2 thumb screws, the roof features a large raised central mesh vent. locations are provided in the mesh for the attachment of a 200mm fan, but bear in mind this may restrict the height of the CPU cooler below. For those of you looking at the roof and whose Dremel hand is twitching as we speak, you might be interested to know that the case is available with a windowed roof as opposed to a mesh roof. The image below right we hope helps show the build quality and finish that we've come to expect from Cooler Master.