Front-panel USB 3.0, hot-swap SATA, plenty of airflow.
Dust filters don't slide out; could use more cable-routing cutouts.
The HAF X is the third case in Cooler Master’s High Air Flow lineup: The full-tower HAF 932 won our Kick Ass award in November 2008, and we continue to admire the mid-tower
we first saw in October 2009—the red version is in this month’s cover story. With the HAF X, Cooler Master updates the full tower for 2010.
At 21.7x23.2x9.1 inches, the HAF X is barely bigger than the mid-tower HAF 922 and a full inch shorter and shallower than the Corsair 800D, yet it’s still roomy enough to fit a 12.1-inch graphics card. The HAF X’s rolled-steel frame and plastic bezels hew closely to the HAF series’ lines, and the internals offer few surprises. As we’d expect, there are plenty of large fans: a front 23cm red LED fan, top and side 20cm fans (and room for another at the top), and a 14cm rear exhaust. In lieu of two 20cm fans, the top panel can accommodate a triple radiator and its 12cm fans.
Yep, those are USB 3.0 front-panel headers you spy at the top of this picture.
Cooler Master knows how to build cases, and the HAF X takes plenty of cues from the rest of CM’s lineup. The HAF X contains four 5.25-inch bays with CM’s toolless retention mechanism and three without. The bottom two bays hold a two-drive hot-swap SATA bay, below which are five of Cooler Master’s toolless 3.5-inch trays, one of which includes a drive-bay adapter for two 2.5-inch drives. A giant CPU backplane cutout and grommeted cable-routing holes are now standard.
The HAF X does have a few new features, including front-panel USB 3.0 ports—the cables are mere pass-throughs to the mobo’s rear USB 3.0 ports (there is not yet a USB 3.0 mobo header standard). The HAF X also includes an optional fan cowling for Nvidia’s GTX 400 series, which channels air directly to the giant heatsinks on those cards, and which can accommodate an extra 12cm fan for more oomph.
At $200, the HAF is priced competitively given its feature set. It’s neither the roomiest nor the most polished case, but the High Air Flow moniker is well-deserved, and we appreciate the forward-thinking additions Cooler Master has made.