Cooler Master’s newest HAF (High Air Flow) chassis is the company’s magnum opus. It successfully unifies the best bits and pieces from a wide variety of Cooler Master’s previous cases under one roof. But more than that, the HAF features a number of unique and helpful additions that truly raise the bar for case design.
The most noticeable of these improvements is the HAF’s centerpiece: case cooling. A total of three 23cm fans are screwed into the top, front, and side of the HAF, which allows the fans to circulate air even when they’re running at just 700rpm. This solution balances increased air flow with acceptable noise levels. But you can always remove the case’s top and side-panel fans to add smaller, higher-powered varieties if you so choose.
The 22.7”x9”x21.5” HAF allows for a number of customization options: There’s plenty of room for an ATX or EATX motherboard, six 5.25-inch devices, five hard drives, and two power supplies (or one power supply and a two- or three-bay internal water-cooling radiator). It’s rare to see a case offer this many options.
The industrial look of Cooler Master’s HAF is accentuated by a single red LED fan. Lighting enthusiasts take note: It doesn’t add a lot of glow to the middle of the case.
Much of the HAF’s success can be traced to the inclusion of features that are in other Cooler Master cases. The 5.25-inch bays feature the same push-button locking mechanisms used in the company’s Cosmos line of cases, and the tool-free PCI retention tabs are identical to those found in Cooler Master’s 690 chassis. However, the plastic hard-drive holders are an upgrade over the 690’s flimsy mounting racks.
The case weaves these great elements together alongside new improvements. Our favorite is the large hole in the motherboard tray that lets you add or remove CPU backplanes without having to disassemble the entire machine. The HAF also comes with a hole on top of the case for filling water-cooling reservoirs. Cooler Master covers this area with a piece of rubber, allowing it to double as a handy slip-proof storage area. It’s just one more example of great detail work.
We do have a few criticisms: We’d love to be able to control the fans’ speeds with a built-in hardware controller instead of our BIOS, and reactions on the aesthetics of the case were mixed—some editors hated the combination grill and window side panel, some loved it. Overall, the case uses only its front fan for LED lighting. One more lighting source would help improve the HAF’s inner aesthetics.
Regardless, Cooler Master’s new chassis is definitely not full of hot air.