Cooler Master HAF XB Case / Test-bench Review
Published: 28th January 2013 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: £82.99 |
Up Close: Interior
The Cooler Master HAF XB splits the housing of its hardware between two levels, with the Motherboard, CPU and expansion cards being pretty much the only items on the upper level. Access to the lower levels is gained by removing the motherboard tray and by removing the side panels, all of which are held in place by the now ubiquitous thumb screws. Although a large CPU cut out is provided it is pretty much mandatory to have to remove the Motherboard backplate to change a CPU cooler as although there is ample room behind (below) the CPU access is restricted by the PSU and by the various drive enclosures. We're not mentioning this in the context that it is an issue, it isn't, the nature of the removable motherboard tray means you can have the whole lot out in under a minute.
The keen eyed amongst you will have noticed that there's quite a bit of space between the rear of the two 120mm fans and the edge of the motherboard, 60mm to be exact. With this amount of space on hand and with access from either side it seems almost criminal not to mount a 240 or 280mm radiator in there, especially as the case is designed with just that in mind. Although the cables can be routed up through the edges of the motherboard tray it's far easier to bring them up through the large space at the front edge of the tray, just need to bear that in mind when deciding on the thickness of radiator.
With the Motherboard tray removed we are afforded a better view of the lower level of the case. Towards the front left are located bays able to hold a pair of 3.5" or 2.5" drives and to their right a 5.25" bay able to house 2 devices, or perhaps a reservoir. Did we just say reservoir? Yes we did. For those of you that have been concentrating will already know this case will accept 240 or 280 rads in the front, but more of that later.
The PSU is mounted by means of a sort of external extension. This extension slips over the rear of your PSU with the whole assembly then being slid in from the rear (stop it now). It has to be said that the thick layer of anti-vibration rubber padding at the base of the PSU mount makes the fit very tight. So tight in fact that we had to remove the fan cowling from our PSU to get it in, and even then a fair amount of wiggling was required. The reason for the extension of course is that is permits a certain amount of the PSU to hang out the back of the case and as such enables the use of PSUs up to 180mm in length. Unlike other conventional towers though the longer the PSU you use the less room you're going to have to manoeuvre those cables, as you'll see when we come to the build section. The image below right shows the business end of the Cooler Master X-Dock technology. essentially a PCB with a 4 pin Molex and two sata data connections the X-Dock enables hot swapping of 3.5" and 2.5" drives from the exterior of the case via the front hatches shown earlier.