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Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Case Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Case Deconstructed - Inner Components

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The HAF XB features a removable motherboard tray with both sides powder coated to match the rest of the case innards and outer shell. Cooler Master took the guess work out of the motherboard screw mount hole configuration by including letter markings for all motherboard screw holes and a legend describing which holes require hold downs on a per form factor basis.

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The removable 2.5" drive cage is held in place with four screws attaching it to the case bottom and can hold up to four 2.5" hard drives or SSDs.

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The hot swap bay PCB is a simple pass through device, providing standard SATA drive data and power ports for both hot swap bays on the front side. On the back side of the PCB are two SATA ports and a four pin MOLEX power connector. You plug cables into the PCB and into two ports on your motherboard with power provided via a drive connector from your PSU. Since the PCB is unprotected in the case, you just need to be careful when connecting or disconnecting cables from your PSU if it is modular.

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The HAF XB comes standard with two plastic hot swap trays designed to fit both 2.5" and 3.5" hard drives or SSDs. The trays are designed to slide into the two bays in the lower right side of the case front with the drives plugging into the data and SATA connections integrated into the PCB controller at the back of the bays and the front panel of the bays snapping into the front of the case. The front of the tray is on a hinge that opens to the right. The tray is released by the pull handle on the front left of the tray front cover.

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The hot swap trays come standard with four rubber anti-vibration pins to hold 3.5" devices in the tray without need for additional screws. You simply turn the tray over and release the catch on the middle left of the tray to expand the tray. Then you place the drive in and retract the expanded side to lock the drive in place. For 2.5" drives, you must use the provided drive screws through the bottom tray holes to mount the drive in place.

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The PSU filter on the bottom of the case is constructed with fine metal mesh covering the bottom layer of the filter, sandwiched in between two plastic layers for strength and rigidity. The plastic support layers are laid out in a square configuration to allow maximum air flow through the filter. The filter is easy to remove without taking the case apart for cleaning.

August 2, 2013 | 02:07 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Morry,

You are a breath of fresh air. Finally someone doing a review of a case on pcper that lists the materials used in the spec sheet. Thanks so much.

August 2, 2013 | 02:28 PM - Posted by ArcRendition

This is one of the best designed cases I've ever seen. Incredibly flexible and very affordable.

August 2, 2013 | 03:59 PM - Posted by Mnemonicman

Was going to ask if that case could fit a 360 radiator but you already answered that question. Looks like a good case for my next project. Thanks for trying the swiftech rad.

August 3, 2013 | 03:04 AM - Posted by Fishbait

Great review, thanks Morry.

I've been looking into this case on and off for about a month now and seeing these detailed pictures showing the amount of space, and reading your thorough review have removed the few doubts I had about it. :D

August 3, 2013 | 03:56 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Glad to help on this.  The case has alot more space than it seems, especially if you are willing to break out the dremel or take a creative approach to mounting...

August 3, 2013 | 03:55 PM - Posted by Bill (not verified)

Great review of a really nice looking and well designed small case. Although I doubt I'll ever buy one as I'm WAY too happy still with my Haf-X! It's easily the best case I've ever owned and the workmanship is top notch. I can only imagine this one is the same.

August 3, 2013 | 04:28 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Yeah, I can relate.  I absolutely love my HAF 932, but the HAF XB would make an intriguing modding project...

August 4, 2013 | 04:41 PM - Posted by tim (not verified)

Love Cooler Master...Got a CM mid-tower in 2010 right before Christmas at Fry`s for $15 Not too tall , but good depth for GPU`s
Can`t beat that. Plus it looks nice and clean like this review unit.
No crazy plastic lumps hanging off of it.

August 4, 2013 | 06:15 PM - Posted by ShadowLeaper

One thing:

"Additionally, the case supports up to three fans in the rear panel - one 200mm fan in the top deck and two 80mm fans in the lower deck."

It's a 120mm fan in the top deck rear panel, not 200mm.

The XB is a great case. I debated between the Thermaltake Armor A30 and the XB for my most recent gaming build, so I actually bought both. The Armor A30 got the nod for that one (which I will be selling to a buddy of mine), and the XB will house the new build I'll be doing in September.

August 5, 2013 | 10:08 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Thanks for pointing that out...

November 24, 2013 | 01:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That is incorrect. The 200mm fan goes in the top the dual 120mm are in the top half in front

November 28, 2013 | 12:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You are incorrect in saying "That is incorrect." when it is correct the top deck REAR panel does fit 120mm fan not an 200mm which is what the ShadowLeaper stated.

May 6, 2014 | 01:03 AM - Posted by C909 (not verified)

There are 2 x 120mm fans in the front, 1 x 200mm fan on the top, 2 x 80mm fans in the rear and a 120mm fan in the rear.

August 13, 2013 | 11:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just ordered the case, can't wait to get it and start my build. I do have a question about cooling. The cooler master web site show the air flow setup as two front fans bringing in the air, and the top fan exhausting it. I'm going to do a 240mm radiator with push pull fans. I will now be exhausting the hot air out of the front of the case. Do I still use the top as exhaust as well? (Hot air wants to go up anyway) If I did my concern is that the case will be a dust collector. Is is best to keep the case at negative pressure? Do I flip the top 200mm fan to intake, or do I add more fans, and try to create positive pressure within the case? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

August 13, 2013 | 03:06 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

That sounds like a cool setup, I'm sorta jealous :)

Anyway, your concerns about case negative pressure and dust collection are spot on.  For case cooling (and especially for watercooling) it is best to have positive pressure in your case so that air is push out, rather than negative pressure which causes dust and debris to get sucked in.  Also, positive pressure will result in slight better airflow and pressure through your rad which is always a good thing.  I would recommend using the top fan to push air into the case.

If you are mounting the 240mm radiator at the case front, it may also be better to pull air in through the front of the case rather than to push air out.  That way, you have cool outside air flowing over your rad rather than hot case air flowing through it.

Good luck...

May 6, 2014 | 01:01 AM - Posted by C909 (not verified)

Front to back airflow design - The Cooler Master HAF XB case is designed for front to rear airflow and if implemented correctly with the horizontal MB placement, favors excellent temp control. By the same count, the same design used improperly, can lead to stagnant hot air remaining in the case immobile.

Positive air pressure vs. Negative air pressure - Many of us have our rigs setup in areas where dust and airborne pollutants are always there to infiltrate our systems. Like hospital rooms use to prevent exterior impurities from entering the room using "Positive Air Pressure" relative to the hallway, Really nice magnetic air intake filters are available made to measure for the HAF XB (and many many other cases) through various online retailers, by DEMCiFlex (I don;t have any association to them) http://www.demcifilter.com/p0335/HAF-XB-Dust-Filter-Kit.aspx which will go a long way toward helping with dust accumulation in your case.

September 18, 2013 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Ben (not verified)

Hey Morry,

Regarding cooling, I'm trying to plan my setup. This will be my first build, so I'm new to the whole cooling world.

I'm currently trying to decide between a noctua NH-D14, and the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme. Air vs. water--the age-old decision.

Anyhow, what would the best cooling setups be respectively for either of these coolers?

If I choose noctua, I don't lose the functionality of the case's included fans. Would I need more as well?

If I go with the Thermaltake, I understand it mounts to the front. Does that replace the existing fans or mount behind them? You mention a quad setup in the review.

If they do get replaced, can they be used elsewhere in the case? What setup would be best for airflow? If you intake via the front, an have the reservoir there, where would you exhaust... Up too? Should I get the 200mm fan?

Thanks so very much for any help you can render!

Cheers,
Ben

May 6, 2014 | 12:58 AM - Posted by C909 (not verified)

Ben,

The Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme Radiator is a 270mm Radiator, the HAF XB has holes for 240mm and 280mm radiators/fans in the front, so you want to check that.

As for re-purposing fans in the system, both of the stock fans on the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme are 120mm fans which you can either mount outside the case under the grill to create a push-pull config or you can use one of them for your rear 120mm exhaust fan and keep the other one as a spare.

January 10, 2014 | 06:30 AM - Posted by Eltonin (not verified)

The main advantage I see in this device is that it can accommodate nearly any size of board that is compatible with it. Even the tray for motherboard is not at all a bad idea. Anyways thanks a lot for sharing this.

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