Mechanical Switches, Great Support, And The HAF XB's History
Q. Coolermaster has entered the peripherals (keyboard and mice) market relatively quickly, to much greater success than some competitors have in trying to gain the enthusiasts favor. Why do you feel this is? In a similar vein, will Coolermaster continue making new keyboards that use the more "obscure" Cherry MX key switches outside the standard Blue, Brown, Red and Black?
A. Yes! We currently have an exclusive product line of CherryMX Greens in the US and will also bring in CherryMX Clear in the future. We have a full break down of these switches at http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/cmuniversity/switches.php
Q. I just wanted to say that you guys at CM are doing a great job. I've been making calls and orders from a lot of different vendors during this recent build, and I really appreciate how "non-mechanical" your tech support is. It feels like I’m talking to someone who's listening and understands, and who talks fluently without coming off as "reading from a checklist i hate my job - what are you talking about; it's not on the list". Really great support, and fast shipment of OEM fans, and I like that i can ask personal preference questions to your team, and receive honest suggestions rather than being met with an effort to try to sell something. You guys are doing great work, and I really appreciate it, so thanks!
A. [Rajiv] Thanks for this. We are actively trying to improve in all areas, most significantly in customer service. We've seen a lot of mixed responses in the past, but we've noticed a trend in more positives and that tells us our changes are working.
[Nic] It helps that our top support guys are gamers and builders themselves. We also try to beat it into all of our employees that a customer comes first. As long as were reasonably able to accommodate, we usually will. Should an issue ever come up, you can message us directly through our website or through any number of our forum or social media presences online. We try to be available so you don't have to look too hard for us.
Q. The HAF XB case is considered one of the most revolutionary cases in your company's history. I would like to learn more about the history of its development. Where did your engineers/designers come up with the idea of having a test bench combined with a cube case? Also how are sales of this unorthodox design faring in the market? Also do you have any plans to do a micro-ATX or mini-ITX version of this case?
A. So HAF Xb was not my brainchild but that of the original designer of the HAF 932 3 years ago. Back then, the military inspired design was in trend. It started as a pure LANbox design. In 2012 the HAF Xb was basically a big lunchbox. There was a large steel handle on the top and the top panel for 3 sides was one solid piece.
When I became involved we branched the project out because the mechanical engineers provided some ways we could make the chassis easier to build. We had enthusiasts in testing groups build in it; we had our engineers try to carry the box around. We added the removable motherboard tray to make the maintenance easier. We added side panel handles with steel reinforcement to make the XB easier to carry.
If you're an XB owner you would notice the 8 slots in the bottom of the chassis. I initially proposed a universal rifle strap attachment that would be attached through and through the side panels. It worked on paper, but once we attached it to the chassis we found out it was hard for most of our users to carry 50lbs around the back of their necks. Plus, it made the user the butt of many hotdog vendor jokes. We ended up cancelling the sling loops that went through the side panel, added the handles on the side. Later enthusiasts ended up using the holes we had in the bottom to put their thermal probes and other probes through their chassis.
HAF Xb was initially proposed with a removable dust filter frame in the front. We found out that if we had this frame, we would no longer be able to support 2 x 140mm fans in the front panel, or 2 x 120mm fans outside of the chassis. It was a very hard decision, but we decided to vote in favor of water cooling and made the dust filter a part of the front frame. These are some of the hard decisions we have to make every day in chassis development. While we took a few hits on this in the reviews, overall people loved the fact that HAF Xb can fit a large radiator in the front with up to 4 x 120mm fans.
In summary, we toned down the military styling, we gave users a removable motherboard tray, a strong way of carrying the chassis with excellent water cooling support. The result is the HAF Xb is the most unique and only mass production horizontal testbench/LANbox in the market now.