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Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Case Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Interior Case Overview

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The HAF XB has a total of three removable panels - the left, right, and top panels. With all panels removed, you get a much better view of the design genius that Cooler Master poured into this case. All surfaces are powdered coated in a flat-black color to match the exterior, and are scratch resistant to boot. Looking into the case from the left side, you can easily see the division between the layers. The front 5.25" device bays are fully tool-ess with large switches used to lock the devices in place. The switches are marks, moving to the left locks the device in place, while moving to the right unlocks the device for removal. Directly behind the 5.25" drive bays is a removable drive cage for use with 2.5" hard drives or SSDs. This drive is also tool-less, with drives held in place by the included drive rails. The drive cage holds a total of four drives. If additional airflow is needed for cooling the caged drives, two 80mm fans can be mounted directly behind the cage on the case's rear panel.

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Viewing the inside of the case from the right side, you can easily see the space available between the from hot swap drive bays and the PSU area. While there is sufficient room for most PSUs, Cooler Master recommends use of PSUs with a maximum length of 180mm, or 7.1 inches, for proper clearance between the PSU and hot swap bay cables.

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From the top-down view, the upper layer design of the case becomes apparent. The case supports all motherboard form factors from ITX to an E-ATX sized board. The motherboard tray is removable as well, sitting on reinforced rails to hold it in place. Dual 120mm fans sit directly in front of the motherboard to force cooling air flow over your CPU and discrete video card. The seven motherboard port covers are held in place by the same sized thumbscrews used on the outside of the case. The motherboard tray itself sports an overly large cutout corresponding with the typical board CPU area, allowing easy access to the CPU hold down hardware without have to remove the board from the tray.

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The front panel 120mm fans are mounted in between the front metal wall of the case and the front bezel. The entire area behind the fans in the front wall was cut out entirely to maximize airflow through the fans. Notice that there are screw holes provided to allow for mounting of dual 140mm fans if desired. You could easily mount a 2x120mm or 2x140mm water radiator in that front section with some creative placement. Both fans come with plastic-coated cables ending in a four pin Molex power connector. The plastic tabs on the lower right and left of the case front are clips holding the front bezel in place. There are a total of seven front bezel clips, at the top, middle, and bottom along the outer vertical edges of the front case wall and one in the top middle of the case front.

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With the motherboard tray removed, you can more easily view the lower layer design and layout. The space in-between the hot swap bays and PSU area on the left and the 5.25" drive bays and drive cage on the right becomes much clearer. The loops in the lower surface of the case are zip tie mounts for cable routing and tie-down.

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The PSU sits on an elevated tray with a cut out accommodating up to a 140mm fan. The tray itself is covered with a rubber overlay to protect the surface of the PSU as well as creating an air tight seal around the PSU intake fan. This forces the PSU to draw air though the air filter on the bottom of the case. The air filter is oversized to accommodate PSUs with non-standard fan layouts.

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The control panel for the hot swap bays is simply screwed to the back panel of the hot swap bay housing. There are spots for plugging in two SATA 3 cables with each tied to one of the bay devices. The drives are powered by a single Molex power connector from the PSU.

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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