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Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Case Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

System Construction

Cooler Master designed the HAF XB case to accommodate almost any sized board, ranging from the micro-ITX to the overly large E-ATX sized motherboards. Because of the case's removable motherboard tray and layer separation between the motherboard and drives/PSU, space is never an issue.

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The case easily accommodates the larger size of an E-ATX board, as illustrated with the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7. The board easily fits on the removable motherboard tray with some room to spare along all sides of the tray. Because of the room provided in the front of the case, you should have no issues with a front mounted radiator using a larger board. The better news is that a standard-sized ATX form factor board would take up even less room.

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Using a micro-ITX board, the motherboard tray and top portion of the case look monstrous. The board is so small in comparison to the tray that you could route cables through the front edge of CPU cut-out in the tray itself.

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From a back view of the case, you can easily see how the PSU mounts and sits in the mounting mechanism. The PSU mounts to the back plate using four screws. The mount itself extends out from the case's back plate by about an inch. No worries though, the PSU is firmly mounted and secured in place and the back mounting bracket blends in well with the back of the case.

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With a Corsair HX750 PSU mounted in the case, you can see that things start to get a bit tight between the PSU and the hot swap bay PCB, especially when using a modular PSU. There remains two to three inches of space between the them, but that quickly gets used up when you start plugging in cables to the modular PSU and into the hot swap PCB. If you choose to use an overly large PSU with this case, you may have to remove the hot swap bay PCB entirely so that you have adequate clearance for the PSU cables. In any case, make sure to detach the PSU mounting bracket from the case (keeping the PSU installed in it) and slide the PSU out of the case a few inches to give you more room to work with the hot swap PCB.

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The hot swap drive trays easy accommodate both 2.5" and 3.5" form factor hard drives. A 3.5" drive sits snuggly in the tray, while a 2.5" SSD is almost lost in all the remaining space. Notice how both devices sit in the tray so the the data and power connections correctly mate to the hot swap bay PCB ports.

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For using 2.5" drives in the internal drive cage in the back lower left corner of the case, drive rails must be affixed to the drive prior to insertion. The drive rails are tool less and simply affix on to the sides of the drive. The drive is held firmly in place by the rails, which snap into the outer edge of the drive cage. Drives can be removed by pressing the drive rail tabs inward towards each other and sliding the drive out.

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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