Maximum PC Staff Oct 12, 2009

Cooler Master HAF 922

At A Glance

Hava Nagila

Roomy; great airflow; prettier than its predecessor; good value.

Gila Monster

We could use more LEDs; interior is unpainted; a side fan would be nice.

And now for something rather similar

Cooler Master wowed us last year with its full-tower HAF 932, which garnered Maximum PC ’s coveted Kick Ass Award (November 2008). Now we’ve gotten our hands on the midtower version of the HAF, the 922, and it looks awfully familiar.

Superficially, the HAF 922 is like a cross between the full-tower HAF 932 and last month’s CM Storm Sniper. In fact, HAF 922’s interior is virtually identical to the Sniper’s—it has the same fixed motherboard tray with the CPU backplate cutout, cable tie-downs, and cable-routing holes. The five 5.25-inch drive bays use the same toolless retaining mechanism, and the five 3.5-inch hard drive bays use the same slide-out toolless trays. But where the Sniper had toolless PCI locking mechanisms, the HAF opts for more-traditional thumbscrews. And the interior of the HAF, unlike the Sniper’s, is unpainted metal (although the Sniper’s motherboard tray isn’t painted, either).

Inside, the case is roomy, with plenty of space for all your parts and plenty of tie-downs for cables, though the side panels don’t bow out as much as the Sniper’s, so there’s less room behind them. Building in the HAF was a dream—in addition to the standard seven card expansion slots, Cooler Master has added an extra backplate connector  on the case for installing supplemantal USB, eSATA, or audio jacks.

It's not quite as pretty as the Storm Sniper, but the HAF 922 is nearly as good, and $50 cheaper.

Also like the Sniper, the HAF comes standard with three fans: A 20cm LED front intake fan, a 20cm top fan, and a 12cm back fan. There are mounting holes for another 20cm fan on the left-side panel, and you can add a 12cm or 14cm fan to the bottom of the case, or swap the 20cm top fan for two 12cm ones. Just like in the Sniper. The only difference is that the HAF’s top fan doesn’t have LEDs and the front fan’s are red like the full-tower HAF’s, not blue like the Sniper’s.

The side panels and frame of the 19.7x22x10-inch HAF are black-painted steel, with a chunky plastic front-panel and mesh bezels. Front-panel connectors include two USB ports, eSATA, and audio. A front switch lets you turn off the fan’s LEDs.

Although the guts of the HAF 922 are solid, we wish Cooler Master had painted the interior.

Like the Storm Sniper, the HAF 922 has a mesh side window; the HAF logo is printed in black-on-black on the left panel. The top panel seems a little sparse and unfinished, but there’s room there to mount an external radiator for a water-cooling setup.

Though it lacks some of the features we’ve grown used to, like removable dust filters, and seems at times like a budget version of the Sniper, the HAF 922 is still an excellent case with plenty of airflow and room to add more fans. And because it’s $50 cheaper than the Sniper, you can buy more fans with the money you save. We HAF to recommend it.

Cooler Master HAF 922

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