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Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Case Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Exterior Case Overview

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The Cooler Master HAF XB offers support for two externally accessible 5.25" devices via the left side front bays and two 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives using the hot swap bays on the lower right side of the case front. The hot swap bays are removed by pulling the release lever to the left of the bay. Notice that those bays are vented as well for air flow and heat exhaust. The case offers power and reset buttons, a stereo headset audio output port, a microphone audio input port, and two USB 3.0 ports in between the drive bays and the front fans. Cooler Master includes two 120mm fans in the top front of the case, covered with a metal mesh plate with the corporate logo front and center. The fans can be switched out with two 140mm fans if more airflow is necessary. In keeping with its sleek appearance, Cooler Master does not include any additional lighting effects with the case besides the standard power and HD activity LEDs. So the case looks no different when on or off.

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Both side panel are full metal panels without integrated windows, but do include venting along the top half of the panel for air intake and exhaust from the top portion of the case where the motherboard and video card resides. Additionally, Cooler Master integrated reinforced handles for easy gripping and transport of the case - thus the LAN Box moniker.

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From the HAF XB rear panel, you start to see the unique design and real strengths of the case design. The case is clearly separated into two entire separate areas with the motherboard and add-on cards in the top portion of the case and the power supply and hard drives at the bottom portion. To increase the amount of space in the case, Cooler Master designed the power supply mount to stick out from the back of the case by about an inch. While one inch may not seem like much space, it opens up just enough space between the PSU cables and the hot swap bay controller to make the fit work. The case offers support for up to seven expansion card slots as well as support for a 120mm fan above the motherboard's rear panel assembly and two 80mm fans to the right of the PSU mount to help cool the hard drives in the lower deck. All expansion slots include slotted metal covers and thumbscrews provided for all panel mounts and to hold the PSU mount in place.

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The HAF XB's top panel features a large metal mesh window sitting directly over the motherboard area. This offers optimal airflow potential for keeping the CPU and system discreet video cards at optimal temperatures. Notice how the top panel is bowed out at the center where the mesh portion is. This provides extra space for use of taller CPU coolers with the case and allows for extra space when using a 200mm fan mounted on the top panel. And yes, the top panel offers support for adding a 200mm fan to the inside of the top panel. All of these fan mounts are what earned this case a spot in the Cooler Master HAF (High Air Flow) line.

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Surprisingly enough, the bottom of the case includes several enthusiast friendly additions further showing Cooler Master's attention to detail with this case. The case integrated standoffs offer a full one inch of clearance between the floor and the case bottom with thick rubber non-skid feet included for that added bonus. An easily removable fan grill is included underneath the PSU fan intake area with enough space provided by the extra large standoffs to allow airflow.

August 2, 2013 | 11:07 AM - 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 | 11:28 AM - Posted by ArcRendition

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

August 2, 2013 | 12:59 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 | 12:04 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 | 12:56 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 | 12:55 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 | 01:28 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 | 01:41 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 | 03:15 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 | 07:08 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Thanks for pointing that out...

November 23, 2013 | 10:28 PM - 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 | 09:14 AM - 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 5, 2014 | 10:03 PM - 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 | 08:59 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 | 12:06 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 5, 2014 | 10:01 PM - 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 | 02:25 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 5, 2014 | 09:58 PM - 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 | 03:30 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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