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Cooler Master's HAF XB: Give Your LAN Party Box Breathing Room

The Little Case That Could

Despite our initial raised eyebrow, Cooler Master can be proud of its the HAF XB. It features a unique design that works well in a variety of environments. Use it as a bench table for extreme cooling, as a free-flowing enclosure surrounding hot, high-end hardware, or even as a semi-passive configuration with more mainstream components inside. Of course, the two recessed handles on the sides of this case make it portable, paving the way for LAN party duties.

The motherboard, processor, and graphics cards all exist on the same second-story level inside the case. This helps enable direct and unobstructed airflow across all of them. As a result, you get good thermal performance. The flexibility to stack Cooler Master's HAF XB helps explain why we've seen so many of them at trade shows, too. The outside finish might not be particularly showy, but it’s durable. Hardware fits in it well, and that's really all you can ask for if you see your system as a tool.

Small touches are what put the HAF XB over the top. Well thought-out cable management lets you run wiring through the lower level of the case and up to the top. There are the two hot-swappable drive bays. And plenty of space for cooling, plus room for dual radiators ensures the flexibility to build a very enthusiast-oriented machine. In the same vein, there's space for long PSUs, long graphics cards, and tall CPU coolers, as well as a removable motherboard tray. The Cooler Master HAF XB offers a lot of small features that make it a pleasure to work in and around. Aside from the very subjective aesthetics, this case no real drawbacks. And priced at a fairly tame $95, it's equally accessible to hardcore enthusiasts and mainstream gamers.

Cooler Master's HAF XB is a unique, flexible, and durable chassis able to satisfy a number of functions well. Its price is moderate, and we can't really find anything wrong with it. It simply works well in the roles it was designed to satisfy. The form factor isn't going to be for everyone, and it certainly won't fit on or under the desks of several Tom's Hardware editors. But that's not what it was designed for. In its element, the HAF XB steps up to earn Tom's Hardware's Smart Buy award for serving up notable value, a functional design, and Cooler Master's sprinkle of innovation as it tries something new.

  • supermag24
    bitfenix prodigy > HAF XB
    Review the prodigy.

    Good review, though.
    Reply
  • ohyouknow
    Absolutely love this case. Only thing I don't like is motherboard removal is a pita if you have a water cooler and want to add drives to the bottom compartments. Nice and clean up top.
    Reply
  • panderaamon
    i've been using this case for the last 2.5 months. my only problem is that my H100i cant work in 4 fan mod cause my GTX 570 DIICU is 3mm's longer than i calculated. oh well, 3 fan mod is working nice. also whatever you do get the upper case fan aswell. use it as an exhaust. you'll be suprised what a difference it makes.
    Reply
  • midnightgun
    The only change I would like made to this case is the ability to mount rads to the top where the 200mm face spot is. I am really interested in this case for my build early next year. Will you also be reviewing the Corsair Carbide Air 540?
    Reply
  • thebluephilip
    i really love this case! perfect for almost all around duties regarding pcs. :)
    Reply
  • Vlad Razvan
    I fell in love with the HAF XB first time I saw it. Have been using one for three months now - lots of space, extremely well ventilated, easy to work with, and a great looker too.

    Initially I wanted to go for an expensive 250$ case so my crossfire configuration could fit and have enough ventilation, but then I saw this thing for 125$, bought it and we have been happy ever since.

    PROTIP - buy the quietest 120 and 140mm fans you can find or get a fan controller. If you keep the stock frontal fans, you're gonna have a noisy time.
    Reply
  • Vlad Razvan
    11393992 said:
    bitfenix prodigy > HAF XB
    Review the prodigy.

    Good review, though.

    For a lanparty, yes, the prodigy es better because it's smaller. As a high-end PC enclosure / testbench - HAF XB is way better. My sister used to keep a pair of GTX 480s in SLi in her HAF XB - it's one of the few cases with good enough ventilation for such hot hardware.
    Reply
  • cscott_it
    Kai,

    Given your experience with this case (and any previous case testing), do you think the HAF XB would cool well with better fans? You wouldn't happen to have the time and a couple of decent Noctua or Thermaltake (the models with the fluid bearing) to test with, would you?

    Also, any thoughts on the stock fans rated CFM vs. actual amount of heat dispersed and any impressions with them? My experience with Coolermaster's case fans has been unfavorable over the years.
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    I absolutely love my HAF XB. I don't use the internal 2.5" drive bays, though. I used a Vantec 5.25" to 4X2.5" hot swap drive bay adapter, for a total of 6 hotswap drive bays. I have 4 SSDs installed, with no mechanical storage. I use a HAF 932 for my storage server, keeping my personal data stored elsewhere so it can be independently virus scanned and backed up. This way I can take my main system places without risking my personal data. I mess around with the insides of my main system enough that this saves me a ton of frustration. It's just awesome.

    For the guy who suggested the Bitfenix Prodigy as an alternative to this: what are you, crazy? That thing is a mini-ITX case. It could never pull the duty of this case. It's worthless to any of my needs. Go play with your toys and leave the big boys to talk here.
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Looking good, one of my favorite cases.
    Reply