Benchmark System And Conditions
The Cooler Master HAF XB can be used in a variety of ways. So, how should we benchmark and judge it? We decided to go with the case’s primary function, as stated by Cooler Master on its box, which advertises the chassis as a LAN box. We have no problem expounding on this and calling it a high-end LAN box. Two recessed handles on the sides make Cooler Master's HAF XB the most accommodating case we've seen that retains this level of mobility. Of course, as we already mentioned, you can use it for bench testing or extreme cooling exhibition if you pop the top and sides off. The flexibility to stack several HAF XBs on top of each other might also help explain why we've seen so many at trade shows, too.
We decided to test with an overclocked AMD FX-8350 and a Noctua NH-U14S CPU cooler. The Noctua unit is a bit taller than most competing tower-style heat sinks, but it doesn't obstruct our motherboard's memory slots and does deliver good thermal performance, particularly with the second fan we installed. We also made the decision to use two graphics cards: a power-hungry Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 and a somewhat more modest GTX 650 Ti, which is exclusively used for PhysX.
Gigabyte's 990FXA-UD7 motherboard offers two PCIe x16 slots that are far enough apart from each other to make it ideal for this setup. The Cooler Master V700 is a modular and efficient power supply able to handle the 450 to 500 W we knew we'd need for this system.
|Power-Hungry LAN Party Benchmark System|
|Processor||AMD FX-8350 (Vishera), Overclocked to 4.4 GHz, +0.075 V, LLC=Medium|
|Processor Cooler||Noctua NH-U14S with 2x 140 mm Fans (Push/Pull)|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7, Socket AM3+, 990FX North Bridge, SB950 South Bridge|
|Memory||2 x 4 GB Kingmax Nano Gaming RAM DDR3-2200 CL9|
|Graphics Card||MSI N470 GTX TwinFrozr II (Graphics); Asus GTX650TI-O-1GD5 (PhysX)|
|Drives||SSD: 60 GB Kingston SSDNow V200+ (System Drive)|
|Hard Drive: Samsung HD322GJ|
|Power Supply Unit (PSU)||700 W Cooler Master V700|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium|
This system was pushed as close to a full load as possible using Prime95 (Small FTTs) and MSI's Kombustor. The two graphics cards hit 100% and 50% utilization using the KMark benchmark integrated into MSI's software. It doesn't push the most taxing thermals possible, but does more accurately portray everyday performance in a game environment. Temperatures are recorded after 60 minutes in a room heated to 22 degrees Celsius.
All fans run at their maximum RPM for our first round of benchmarking. Then, we slow them down to more acoustically-pleasing levels for a second round. We add a 120 mm Cooler Master fan in the space at the back of the case, which is similar to the company's bundled fans.