Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Case Review
Exterior Case Overview
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.