The RC-902XB-KKN1 HAF XB
The HAF XB is a prime example of yet another chassis that redefines our computing experiences from Cooler Master. The best description I can give the HAF XB is that the engineers over at Cooler Master took an old 1990’s style of desktop computer chassis, pumped it full of adrenalin, then hooked it up large power cables, and then threw the switch and cackled “It’s Alive, It’s Alive”.
The HAF XB is a combination of three very different chassis designs incorporated into one seamless and very functional chassis that gives us the portability of being able to move from one LAN party to the next effortlessly, a low profile and somewhat small footprint, while also expanding our computing experiences to entirely new levels. And with games like Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and Assassins Creed III, and other big name game titles hitting the shelves soon, we can use all of the help we can get to keep our computers cool, and extremely portable. That way the only thing we have to worry about is fragging enemies in our games, both online and off.
Cooler Master HAF XB RC-902XB-KKN1 Features:
- Supports up to 3-Way Crossfire or SLI
- Supports ATX, m-ATX, m-ITX Motherboards
- Removable Motherboard Tray
- Dual Chamber Design
- Two Front X-Dock Slots (Compatible with 3.5” & 2.5” Drives)
- Power supply is easy to access and remove when necessary
- Dust filters on the front bezel and removable dust filters under the PSU
- Supports up to one 240mm and one 120mm Radiator
- Top 200mm Fan (Optional)
- Easy to transport with steel reinforced handles
- Individual airflow chambers for system components
As we give the specifications of the HAF XB chassis a quick look through, we get an idea that this particular chassis is not a traditional mid-tower chassis; in fact, this chassis is nothing like we have seen in a long time in large type of chassis designs. That the HAF XB is a low profile square type of chassis. The HAF XB is classified as a mid-tower type of chassis, and with that we are giving the full capabilities of using any motherboard type and size from a Micro-ATX to the larger full ATX motherboards. And that this chassis is more than capable of handling some of the largest video cards on the market with considerable ease. We can install/use up to five fans these include, one 200/230mm fan (top), two 120mm front intake fans (Included) with options of installing two 140mm front intake fans, two 80mm rear lower exhaust fans, and finally one 120mm rear exhaust fan.Cooler Master HAF XB Specifications:
The HAF XB Packaging
Cooler Master keeps the packaging of the HAF XB rather plain. The one thing we notice right off the bat is that the box the HAF XB comes in is not typical mid-tower type of box.
Since all of the sides of the box that the HAF XB comes in are all the same, I will only be showing the front and right side. Once again the box is kept fairly plain looking.
Opening up the box we see that Cooler Master packages up the HAF XB no different from what we have seen from previous chassis.
I went ahead and removed the little box that inside of the HAF XB and laid them out so we get an idea what we will get as far as included accessories. Starting from the left working right we get the following:
- Eight 2.5” HDD/SSD removable side carriers
- Wire Ties
- A PC Speaker
- And a little plastic bag that contains all of the necessary screws required for us to install all of our computer components into the HAF XB
What the HAF XB looks like once It has been removed from the confines of the box.
The HAF XB Exterior Thoughts
Going to start the overview of the chassis at the front then make way around it. As we can see that this chassis uses a low profile but wide stance to it. As I go more into depth with this chassis we will see that this chassis is far from the usual typical mid-towers we have seen previously.
On the lower right hand side of the HAF XB is where Cooler Master places two hot swappable HDD/SSD drive carriers. To remove one just pull on the little lever and slide out the drive carrier.
This is what the HDD/SSD carrier looks like once it has been removed from the HAF XB. I will go more into detail of the carrier during the installation portion of the review so stay tuned.
On the lower left hand side of the HAF XB are where the 5.25” bays located at. Then directly above the 5.25” bays are where the front IO ports of the HAF XB. On the front IO ports, Cooler Master puts an on/off power button, followed by a small reset button, with a HDD LED indicator below the reset button. To the right of the reset button are the front mic/head 3.5mm jacks, and finally we have two USB 3 ports.
Cooler Master did not include a USB 3 to USB 2 front motherboard IO adapter for those of us who do not have the front USB 3 header on the motherboard(s). Nor does Cooler Master includes any USB 2 IO ports on the HAF XB, I felt they could have either included USB 2 IO ports or a USB 3 to USB 2 motherboard header adapter.
Rotating the HAF XB to the right 90° brings us to the left hand side of the HAF XB. Up towards the top of the side panel are some vents, to help allow more airflow for the interior of the chassis, and some included carrying handles.
Turning the chassis to the right 90° again brings us to the back side of the chassis. The HAF XB can handle a full ATX motherboard, and that this chassis compartmentalizes the interior of the chassis, once again I will go more into detail on the next page. Cooler Master places an optional 120mm rear exhaust fan mount right above the motherboards rear IO ports, and directly above the PCI expansion ports Cooler Master puts vents to help improve ventilation. Now directly below the motherboard area and to the left on the lower part of the HAF XB is where the PSU mounting area is. Moving right Cooler Master also includes two more 80mm rear exhaust fan mounts.
To the far left hand side of the HAF XB located to the left of the optional 120mm exhaust fan mount, is where three water cooling access ports are located at. Now Cooler Master does not include covers for these access ports. But I did not feel any sharp or ragged edges once I removed the pop out covers except where the pop out covers are held into place. Just be mindful and if you plan on using an external water cooling with this chassis you want to file the small area that holds the pop outs onto the HAF XB.
On the right side of the HAF XB is pretty much identical as the left side panel.
Since I did all of four sides of the HAF XB time to give the top of the chassis a quick looking at. The entire top panel is removable and it utilizes a fine metal mesh screen to improve airflow and to keep debris at a minimal from entering the chassis. We also have the option of installing a 200/230mm fan up here to help further our cooling capabilities even farther.
Looking at the bottom of the HAF XB chassis. Off to the far left and right side of the bottom of the HAF XB chassis are some more vents to help increase sir flow inside of the chassis.
Cooler Master includes a removable PSU fan filter.
On each of the feet of the HAF XB Cooler Master places small rubber inserts to keep us from scratching our delicate surfaces we may be using the HAF XB on.
I removed all of the side panels and grabbed opposite corners of the HAF XB chassis and twisted it to see how well built this chassis was. I quickly found out that this chassis had very little twisting motion which is telling that this chassis is very solidly built.
The HAF XB Interior Thoughts
The top and both left and right side panels are removable, and requires us to remove all of these in order for us to remove the front bezel. Once all of the panels are removed we get a better idea of how Cooler Master compartmentalizes the HAF XB into an upper compartment, and a lower compartment. We are looking at the PSU side of the HAF XB, directly in front of the PSU mounting area are the hot swappable HDD/SSD carriers.
The only thing that concerns me is the amount of room on the PSU side of the HAF XB. Granted the PSU will be sitting slightly farther back, but I got a feeling things may be a bit tight. Time will only tell how things fit.
Cooler Master does include two 120mm front intake fans. We also have the option of installing two 140mm front intake fans if needed.
Looking at the 5.25” bay side of the HAF XB. Directly behind the 2.5” bays are where we can install up to four 2.5” HDD/SSDs into this chassis.
Cooler Master uses a tool-less 5.25” bay locking mechanism. This are really simple to operate and do not need an explanation on their operation.
A better look at the 2.5” HDD/SSD cage.
The motherboard will be installed into a removable motherboard tray. Cooler Master also puts a large CPU cutout into the tray.
There are four small thumb screws that secure the removable motherboard tray to the main chassis of the HAF XB.
Once all of the thumbscrews have been removed, the tray just lifts right out.
And we get a better look at the overall layout of the lower compartment of the HAF XB.
On the hot-swappable 2.5/3.5” HDD/SSD carriers Cooler Master uses a Molex with two SATA connectors.
Looking at the included front IO connectors of the HAF XB.
Out of curiosity I wondered if I could mount a 240mm radiator up towards the front of the HAF XB. As we can see the HAF XB has more than enough room to handle a fairly thick type of radiator with ease.
All of the edges of the HAF XB chassis were all rounded off enough to keep me cutting my hands and arms up as I made my way around the entire interior of this chassis.
Installation of Hardware into the HAF XB
I tried to install my computer hardware a couple of different times into the HAF XB, and the way I am installing my hardware in this review I found it to be the easiest. In order for us to install the PSU we need to remove the rear PSU mount, there are four small thumb screws that secures the PSU mount to the chassis.
Slide the PSU mount onto the PSU, like how I have it shown here, and secure the PSU to the PSU mount.
It would be a good idea to make sure all of your PSU cables are plugged in (providing you are using a modular PSU) prior to installing the rest of your computer.
Slide in the PSU in to the proper mounting area and re-secure the PSU mounting to the HAF XB chassis.
I left all of the extra modular power cables off to give you a better look at the position of the PSU once installed into the HAF XB. As we can see that there is enough room from the PSU to the backside of the hot-swappable HDD/SDD carriers. But it will still be a tight fit.
Cooler Master includes a small Philips to motherboard standoff adapter, so that we can screw the standoffs into the motherboard tray easier.
What the motherboard looks like once installed onto the motherboard tray.
This was a bit of concern with me, once I put the motherboard tray into the main chassis of the HAF XB my expansion cards did not go completely down to the PCI expansion ports of the chassis. I tore apart the entire chassis a couple of times to see if I can see what was causing this issue, I could not find anything. The only thing I can think of is that the motherboard tray was slightly bent that could possibly cause this problem.
Time to look at the hot-swappable HDD/SSD carriers. These carriers are tool-less if you plan on using the larger 3.5” HDDs. If you plan on using the smaller 2.5” HDD/SSDs you will have to use the included screws to secure them to the carriers.
To install the 3.5” HDD one side of the carriers slides away.
Locate the small clip in the center of the carrier and push it in and slide out that side of the carrier.
The carrier is now ready for an installation of the larger 3.5” HDDs.
Place the 3.5” HDD into the carrier and align up the HDD to the pins of the HDD carrier.
Then close up the HDD carrier.
If you plan on using the smaller 2.5” HDD/SSDs in the HAF XB we can install them into the internal HDD cage. This will require the removable HDD removable side carriers.
Then slide the 2.5” HDD/SSD into the HDD cage. As we can see installation has been pretty easy so far, other than having to install the PSU first I have not ran into in major obstacles.
Looking at the PSU side of the HAF XB once all of the hardware has been installed. I will have to say this is one clean installation of computer hardware.
I wanted to give you an idea on the amount of room that is available towards the front of the HAF XB. From the edge of the motherboard and the inside front of the chassis we have roughly 3.5” of room; which, is more than enough room to use some of the larger/thicker 240mm radiators available to us.
Getting a better look at the amount of room that we have available in the upper compartment where the motherboard and its supporting hardware. I don’t think I have seen this much room in a mid-tower classified chassis. There is plenty of room for us to use just about any sized video card we wish to use.
What the HAF XB looks like once all of the hardware is installed and the chassis has been buttoned up.
Final Thoughts of the HAF XB
The HAF XB is what I would like to call innovative. Cooler Master incorporates some of the best capabilities of three different types of chassis into one neat clean looking chassis design with the HAF XB. These three types of chassis designs are the short and easy portability of an HTPC chassis, the large interior and capabilities of the larger mid-tower chassis, while also adding the ability of turning the HAF XB into a test bench in a matter of minutes.
Installation was a breeze once I was able to figure out the best course of action, and I will not hold this against the HAF XB, as every chassis is unique in its own right and the HAF XB is no exception to the rule. I loved the idea of not having to spend any time on hiding excess wires from the PSU, or have to route them behind the motherboard tray, I literally just had to install the PSU and its corresponding power cables I will be needing, and install PSU and the rest of the hardware and call it good.
The only real gripe I have with the HAF XB is the issue I had when installing the PCI expansion cards into this chassis. I feel that Cooler Master could have paid a bit more attention to the motherboard tray, but at the same time things do happen and this small issue did not keep me from utilizing this chassis properly.
The Cooler Master HAF XB is going to have a sticker price of $99.99 USD, considering that this chassis clearly redefines computing I feel this is more than a fair price to pay to have such a flexible chassis at our disposal. And the pricing puts this into a class to where just about anyone wanting the HAF XB within grasp.
Legit Bottom Line:
The Cooler Master HAF XB is a chassis that redefines our computing experiences and allows the average individual capabilities that can give us years of use and flexibility that only so very few mid-tower chassis can truly claim.