titleThe topic of cleaning your computer out came up last week on our forums and it got me thinking about how often I really need to clean out my computer. As it turns out it’s not very often anymore. All because of improvements in case design like fan filters. You don’t really see them on low end cases yet but they have been slowly trickling down. At CES this year we had a chance to get our hands on one of Cooler Master’s upcoming chassis, the HAF XM. A mid-range case packed with the features we have come to love from their high end HAF line. Today we are going to dig into the final product and see how it came out.

Product Name: Cooler Master HAF XM

Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master

Review by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Model

HAF XM/HAF XM (side window panel version)

Available Color

Black

Materials

Outer body: coated steel mesh and Synthetic compounds;

Inner body: coated enforced steel alloy

Dimensions

252.0(W) x 530.5(H) x 579.0(D)mm / 9.9 x 20.9 x 22.8 inch

Weight

10.5 kg / 23.1 lb

M/B Type

Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX

5.25" Drive Bays

3

3.5" Drive Bays

8 (hidden x 6, X-Dock x 2)

2.5" Drive Bays

9 (6 are converted from 3.5“ bays, X-Dock x 2, 1 is behind M/B tray)

I/O Panel

USB 3.0 x 2 (int.), USB 2.0 x 2, Audio In & Out x 1 (supports HD Audio), LED switch for the front fan

Expansion Slots

8+1

Cooling System

HAF XM

Front: 200mm Red LED fan x 1 (converted to 120mm fan x 2 / 140mm fan x 1)

Top: 200mm fan x 2 (one is optional; converted to 120/140mm fan x 2)

Rear: 140mm fan x 1 (converted to 120mm fan x 1)

Side: 200mm fan x 1 (optional; converted to 140mm fan x 2)

HDD: 120 x 25mm fan x 2 (optional)

HAF XM (side window panel version)

Front: 200mm Red LED fan x 1 (converted to 120mm fan x 2 / 140mm fan x 1)

Top: 200mm fan x 2 (one is optional; converted to 120/140mm fan x 2)

Rear: 140mm fan x 1 (converted to 120mm fan x 1)

HDD: 120 x 25mm fan x 2 (optional)

Power Supply Type

Standard ATX PS2 / EPS

Maximum Compatibility

VGA card length: 354.0mm / 13.9 inch (with HDD cage) 463.0mm / 18.2 inch (without HDD cage) (*AMD Radeon HD 6990: 304.8mm / 11.9”; NVIDIA GTX 590: 279.4mm / 10.9”) CPU cooler height: 196.0mm / 7.7 inch (*Can accommodate Cooler Master CPU cooler : 163.0mm / 6.4”)



Packaging

With purple on its sides and top it’s easy to see that this is a Cooler Master product. Unlike normal Cooler Master Products though, the HAF XM’s box is mainly black, the opposite of the normal purple and white we would see. The front of the box has a large picture of the front of the HAF XM along with a few short key points about the case. Around back we have a little more to look at with a full spread of pictures front back and inside of the case. Along with the pictures Cooler Master has pointed out all of the cases key features along with lines going with to their locations.  You also have a full specification listing on one of the sides; this is helpful when you are trying to figure out if the case is going to fit under your desk or if your new video card is going to fit.

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Inside the case was wrapped in plastic as always and secured in the box with Styrofoam on each end. It’s the same thing we always see, but we always see it because it works. As you can see the case came in perfect condition, no thanks to UPS’s typical abuse.

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Outside

How do you pack all of the great HAF X features into a smaller cheaper chassis? Well the goal really is extreme cooling and ventilation with a strong industrial styling. Cooler Master started with a large 200mm fan grill on the side panel that can also double as a grill for two 120mm fans. Just above the side fan is the cases most interesting feature, the door handle. Unlike just about any other case on the market Cooler Master went with a handle design that is more like a car door handle than a computer side panel handle and I love the look of it. My only complaint is that they still went ahead and used thumb screws on that side panel to keep it in place. I guess you could just not use the thumb screws, but the fact they are included makes me slightly question how well that handle would stay latched while traveling to a LAN for example.

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Around back we have a 140mm fan along with two water cooling grommets and one smaller grommet for those who need to use a USB 3.0 adapter. The PSU is mounted down at the bottom, this is the first time we get a little reference to how wide this case is as well, look at the space on each side of the PSU, much wider than normal. For PCI slots we have a whopping 8 slots plus the 9th at an angle that is perfect for a light switch or fan controller. As you can see as well, even the back of the case has a nice black finish.

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Up top you have two large mesh areas to ventilation along with a nice storage area. All of this is removable for easy cleaning by removing one thumbscrew from the rear of the case. Also on top are the power, reset, and fan speed controller switches. The power button is large and easy to get to. I was a little disappointed to not see a nice cover like on the HAF X, that cover would help prevent many PC shutdowns from kids and cats.

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The entire front of the HAF XM is mesh, as to be expected with HAF in its name. Down at the bottom there is an uninterrupted section of mesh to help give lots of air flow right to the front case fan. Just above the front case fan there are two hot swap drives. When I first saw them I was very worried that Cooler Master went with the same design as on the HAF X where you have to screw your drives into the trays, making hot swapping difficult. This time around they actually went with a design very similar to what they use inside of their cases that is easy to use and screw less. Above the cases three mesh 5 ¼ drive bays is the HAF XM’s front I/O panel with two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 plugs along with microphone and headphone plugs.

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The second side is much less exciting with no mesh or handle but you do have a large budge in the side panel. I used the Cooler Master Storm Sniper for a long time and the bulge in the side panel makes all the difference when doing wire management. The bottom of the case isn’t too exciting as well but I do like the HAF XM’s feet, they went with a simple spun design with running grips on the bottom. You can also see another of the cases vents for the power supply.

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Inside

Starting around on the back side of the interior we actually have a lot going on. First it’s great to see that this is all black in finish even though you know no one will ever see this side. From here you can see how large the CPU backplate access hole is, you shouldn’t have trouble with getting to any backplate in the HAF XM. You can also see all of the black finished front panel wires that blend in great with the black interior. You would almost think that Cooler Master has been looking over my shoulder. I have been mounting small 2.5 inch laptop hard drives in my cases to make for extra water cooling room for years now. The HAF XM actually has tabs to do this same thing.  

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Here is a peak under the top panel after it is removed, as you can see they packed that 200mm fan in. I love the small wire hole that goes right to the back, behind the motherboard tray as well.

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Here is a peak at the back side of the side panel door handle.

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I spoke about it before but look at the side of that CPU back panel access hole. Also in this photo you can see the rear exhaust fan and its thin flexible black wire.

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Along the right side you have total of six hard drive trays that slide out and are tool less. Above those drives you have the two front panel hot swap bays and then the three 5 ¼ bays. Each 5 ¼ bay has an easy to use lock to keep your device in place. Down in the bottom left corner under the PSU fan you can see the fan filter Cooler master has put in place to keep dust out of this case. They have actually gone through this trouble on all of the input fans, it’s not important to have them on the exit vents because air will only be going out. As I said in our opening fan filters are one of the many ways that newer feature filled cases have made life much easier.

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Performance

Installing and working with the HAF XM is really a pleasure due to the additional width that gives you added clearance for heatsinks and lots of room for wire management behind the motherboard tray. What is even more impressive is how much you are able to fit in a case that they are calling a mid-sized case. Being able to pack multiple video cards and an E-ATX motherboard into a mid-tower is crazy talk. The HAF XM does than and more in a case that is much smaller than today’s full size towers.

The HAF XM is a high air flow design and one of the things you have to expect with a high air flow design is noise. Having all of that ventilation carries any noise your pc makes right into your ear as well as all fan noise the case might put out. Cooler Master tried to keep this to a minimum by going with the largest low RPM fan designs possible. It’s not a silent case by any means, but it is on par with any other case on the market. You will still have to consider what you put into the case to help keep the noise down. Packing in a wind tunnel inducing CPU heatsink will mean for cool temperatures on a computer that requires you to yell over for people to hear you.

Speaking of cooling performance, considering all of the fan’s packed into this case you shouldn’t have cooling issues with nearly any setup. But if you do they did leave a few spots open to add additional fans as needed!

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Overall and FV

Cooler Master set out to make a mid-tower version of the HAF X with the HAF XM and I think in that they were very successful. What I find even more impressive is they have managed to fill the gap between the budget cases and the ultra-high end cases that we all drool after. The HAF XM can literally fit almost anything you throw at it, all the while having some of the easiest wire management we have ever seen because of the gargantuan amount of space behind the motherboard tray. You even end up with built in hot swap bays, support for USB 3.0, and full dust filter coverage to keep everything clean inside. What is most impressive is the HAF XM’s price, considering its feature set I would have expected it to be higher, but with a MSRP of $129 it should still be in the budget of most builds. 

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #24750 24 Apr 2012 19:06
Cooler Masters latest case!
Twodavez's Avatar
Twodavez replied the topic: #24753 24 Apr 2012 20:30
So would this be considered a higher end case? I just don't see any type of filter system for the large amount of air (containing dust) that's coming into the case...
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #24755 24 Apr 2012 20:43
every intake fan has a filter on it

this is considering a mid range in price, but it does have the filters we spoke about

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