Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

Thermal Testing - Does this case live up to the High Air Flow (HAF) Name?

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

Cooling Performance  

Thermal performance is an essential factor for any PC case. Your system may look fantastic and seem silent from the outside, but all of that is for nought if your PC has the internal temperature of an oven. Your PC case needs enough airflow for your components to remain cool under load and to prevent any form of thermal throttling. For our test, we used the following hardware using fixed fan speeds (so that only the case and its included fans can influence thermal performance).

NZXT H510 Flow
Intel i9-9700K @4.8GHz at 1.2V
ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming @ 100% Current Capacity/ LL lvl16
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition @ 9V via Fan Speed Reducer
Nvidia GTX 980 Reference @ 60% Fixed Fan Speed
Corsair LP Vengiance LP (Grey) @ 3200MHz
Corsair MP500 M.2 NVMe SSD
Corsair RM550X Power Supply

The graph below showcases Delta temperatures with a controlled ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

Max RPM 

As usual, we will start off with our Max fan RPM test, though we will note that the front 200mm fans included with Cooler Master's HAF 500 chassis max out at speeds of 800 RPM. While these speeds ensure that these fans are near-silent at all times, they also prevent users from achieving higher levels of airflow by increasing their fans speeds further when required. 

Cooler Master's smaller 120mm SickleFlow fans max out at higher speeds of 1800 RPM, but only when connected directly to your motherboard. If these fans are connected to your motherboard via PWM mode using the HAF 500's integrated fan controller, these 120mm fans will be limited to speeds of 800 RPM like Cooler Master's larger 200mm ARGB fans. 

In the tests below, we connected Cooler Master's Sickleflow fans directly to our system's motherboard to enable full fan speed control. Even so, the limited speeds of Cooler Master's 200mm fans and the fact that large portions of these fans are blocked (see page 2), limit the potential effectiveness of these fans.

At max speeds, Cooler Master's HAF 500 delivers respectable performance levels, being competitive with other case designs even with its front fans limited to low speeds. The good news is that these fans deliver ample airflow to keep our test system cool, but we feel that Cooler Master should have offered higher speeds options for their large 200mm fans. A HAF (High Air Flow) series case should give users the option to spin their fans faster. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review  
Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

1000 RPM Tests

With our 1000 RPM tests, we will note again that Cooler Master's two 200mm fans are limited to speeds of 800 RPM, which means that only their SickleFlow fans can run at 1000 RPM speeds. This is why cooling performance is almost identical to our max speed cooling tests.

When compared with cases at similarly low fan speeds, Cooler Master's HAF 500 sits much further down our cooling charts. The good news here is that the HAF 500 is near-silent at these fan speeds, which is great news for PC builders. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review  
Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review  

600 RPM Tests

At our lowest fan speed test, the Cooler Master HAF 500 shines. CPU thermals are at near the bottom of our charts and on the bottom half of our GPU cooling charts. Sadly, Cooler Master's GPU cooling fan does not appear to impact thermals much, though it is worth noting that our test GPU uses a blower-style fan. Cooler Master's directed-airflow GPU cooling design likely works best with graphics cards that use axial fans.   

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review  
Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review  

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Most Recent Comments

20-01-2022, 14:21:25

This case could have been soo much better. It's a real shame.Quote

20-01-2022, 15:50:46

The phrase you were looking for is 'HAF... Arsed'. There seems to be something in the Cooler Master house ethos to get to a plateau of goodness and then fall off the mountain altogether. Rubbish? Not HAF! How the hell can you name a case as Hgh Air Flow and NOT design it around the fans that make it so? How can you name a case HAF and fail to deliver the aesthetic associated with the name? It would serve them right if Thermaltake ripped this off... and did it properly!

As I wrote, this appears to be a brand defect. I'm just in to disassembling to re-orientate a C700M and noticing build & execution quality problems that are just... I was going to write juvenile; but they would put a youngster to shame. Some of that comes from tacking obvious-when-you-get-close plastic aesthetic pieces on a metal box skeleton. The execution of the aesthetics was much, much, better on the Cosmos II. Sloppy seems to be CM's middle name aesthetics-wise, and needlessly letting form get in the way of function.

This HAF 500 looks to be a nadir of inexcusable god-awfulness. The depths have been reached when I can suggest Thermaltake could do better. CM seem to have no long-term corporate memory of their own errors and no long-term awareness of the rest of the market, their mistakes, and recovering from those mistakes. Nevermind an inability to recognise reviewer's constructive criticisms; and nevermind take them on-board.

Perfect case for sticking a RTX 3080 12GB or RX 6500 XT in though. 'Be The Steaming Pile Of Odure You Dream You Are' seems to be the motto de jour. Quote

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