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.
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.
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.
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.
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.