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I bought this case as an upgrade to my Zalman Z7 plus. This case was purchased from Overclockers and was shipped with next day delivery. When it arrived, I was a bit shocked at the size of the box - it was massive! When i got round to unboxing it, there were tons of accessories! This case is made for excellent air based cooling, and it does just that. A massive 230mm fan on the front, a huge 200m fan on the top, with room for a second one if you want, a 200mm fan on the side of the case, and a 140mm fan on the back. The air chugs though this case!
A boy with a new toy, I decided to start moving stuff from the old case to the new. I also ordered another motherboard, so put that in first. I then began to migrate from old to new, PSU first, then cards, cpu, ram, hdd etc. Now, I love cable management, I like tidy cabling as it makes things look much nicer. The room in this case for cable management is extraordinary! I had a lot of slack, and didn't want it to be on show when you looked into the side of the case, so I tucked some behind the motherboard tray - there's loads of room here too!
Doing a lot of IT work, I got hard disks on a regular basis which needed to be tested, formatted etc, and this case helped loads, as it has 2 hot swap bays on the front, allowing me to simply pull out a try, put hard drive in said tray, and put tray back in. How easy is that?! The case is so sturdy too - it's been to many LAN events with me, and is still solid as hell.
The biggest dowside to this case is the pack of wheels it comes with. They are no way weight bearing. My first LAN, I was moving the PC from the bedroom to the front door, on the wheels. A little push and they just snapped - meaning I had to carry it. Okay, it's not the end of the world, but the wheels would be helpful! I keep meaning to buy some stronger ones...
Overall, this is an awesome case, with good build quality, and cooling in mind. Lots of fans, big fans too!
The CM HAF X is a full tower and boy is it beautiful. The styling is aggressive and rugged with the side panel a clear perspex and a huge 120mm fan slot. The front houses a large 180mm fan that glows red and an upper IO panel.
The IO panel is a stand out feature of the HAF X as it houses USB 3.0 ports. This makes it one of the few casings available in the market now to offer USB 3.0 connectivity. However, the execution of this is not perfect because to activate these USB 3.0 ports, users are required to route USB cables round the back of the casing to the actual USB 3.0 ports on the motherboard. It is not the most elegant of solutions, but since there's no other way at the moment, it'll have to do.
The front IO consists of two USB 3.0 ports, two regular USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, FireWire, headphones and microphone jacks. And above it is a separate panel that holds the power and reset buttons, as well as a button to turn off the front LED lights. Also, there's a plastic dust cover to prevent the buttons from getting clogged with dust and to prevent accidental system shut downs.
The case itself is a screwless solution and has pins that clip in place to hold optical devices and hard disks. However the motherboard obviously has to be screwed into place. Being a full tower, it is very spacious and can house any type of motherboard from mATX to ATX. There is a very good cable tidying solution as cables can be routed through the back of the motherboard tray to keep things nice and clean inside the main chasis and allowing for better airflow.
As far as airflow gows - there's more mesh around the top of the HAF X, and underneath it is a 200mm exhaust fan. Be warned though it is not your typical top psu case. The psu is situated at the bottom and has a nice mesh opening for the air intake.
There really isn't much eles to talk about the case but the build quality is solid and the side panel even with the perspex portion feels heavy. Cooler Master has used quality materials here and the matte black finish is superb. Noise is dependant on your components but generally decent. There are no sharp bits inside and there is plenty of racks for your storage solutions. Finally, the back panel has thumbscrews which allow for easy opening and closing of the side panel.
Wow.... this is a nice case. The box is huge, I even had trouble getting it home in my boot and I have a Vauxhall Insignia. I got it home, opened up the box and managed to lift it out (two people are advised or the tip upside down trick is needed). I got it on my desk and photo'd it for Facebook..... I am massively impressed so far and I haven't even got inside. All over the front top and bottom and one side there are fans/air vents. All of these are covered with a metal honeycomb under which is a very fine mesh (again black in style with the case) which act as dust filters. Hopefully this will help keep the inside clean from the dust and my three cats.
Now to get inside, I had a flick through the manual which shows how all the parts come off, but my main priority is the main opening of the case side..... This case comes with Thumbscrews however for packaging boy have these been tightened up. So you will need a screw driver... At the moment I am unsure about these thumb screws because they are a little small, I think the case could have gotten away with larger ones and still fit in with this awesome design. After a quick twist we were back to the tool-less design of this case. Taking of the side and quickly seeing what is inside WOWeee. As mentioned before there are large fans on on the side that I took off one at the back, one at the front and 1 in the roof (there is space for a second one in the roof or a water cooling kit if you prefer. There is also built in 2 hotswappable drive bays with screw holes for 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives. As soon as placed in to these trays and the trays slid back they will click onto the in place connector for SATA and Power. This essentially is 2x £20 worth of equipment built in, and fully part of the design. In front of the large front fan are 5 drive bays for hard drives, they will hold a 3.5" or 2x 2.5"/1.8" drives in each, this ensures space around them, plus as it is plastic holding it, the heat will not spread to the other drives, and the air flowing threw them should cool them nicely.
My initial build with this case will be 2x 640GB SATAIII 3.5" disks, as these will be set to RAID 0 I will put them in the main hard drive bays, leave the swappable ones for any extra storage I may wish to add into the future ( backup drives, etc).
It is clear inside where the tool-less design lays, all screws are thumb screws and all casings and fixings have the bendable plastic for clicking into place securely. There is also some nice cable routing ducts placed inside the case so that you can run cables behind the motherboard and get a very tidy view through the large glass side panel.
The case has a very sexy black design to it, in fact not only that but where as some cheaper cases look nice on the outside but are the plain silver/grey on the inside this has that black finish on the inside to. All screws have the black finish, so everything matches in with the style. I paid about £150 for this case, it is not the most expensive case I have ever bought, but considering I have £40 worth of swappable drive trays £40 worth of fans, lots of airflow directors, tool-less design and a very sexy looking build, this is a bargain. It just shows how well designed a case can really be.
Giving the inside a proper look over ready for installation, I notice there is plenty of space on the inside, no more fiddling about like on other cases I have had, this should be a lovely install. I open the accessory cardboard box, and there is more items to my delight. There are wheels for the bottom of the case. I will be using them (you don't need to the base of the case is padded, but it should increase airflow plus allow it to be moved easily for cleaning (the equipment I have all together will be very heavy)). There is a case speaker, so many times in the past have you had to have pot luck to get a case speaker, or you get one when you don't want one. With this you have one, but it is separate, your decision whether or not to use it. Plus it should be able to be easily hid out of the way. There is also a VGA bracket in order to help support the weight of VGA cards today (and mine is around 1KG being a GTX 460 2GB). There are cable ties for tidying up the cables again black, an extension cable for the Power (bearing in mind the motherboard is at the top of this case and the power is at the bottom. There are even all of the screws you may ever need for CD, DVD, Floppy, power supply, etc just to ensure you have the right design, the black finish.
I Installed the power supply which was very easy to do, this is unusually at the bottom of the case however this clearly works due to how cool my case is, even with an 850W PSU in it. Obviously the heat rises and is ejected by the numerous fans. My PSU had numerous braided wires coming from it, however there is a great box that covers the cables coming from it (fitting in with the case style) and hides them. The cables that are used are able to be routed behind the motherboard through various hols in the base plate. Behind the base plate is plenty of room for cables to be run, this provides a very clean working area..
Next I decided to place in the motherboard, WOW. The motherboard drops straight in with bags of room around. I have never seen so much room around a motherboard in a case before, normally they have to go in at an angle, a quick flip and twist to install, but not in this case, drops straight in with no fuss.
Next were the hard drives, the 2 640GB ones just clicked straight into the tool less trays and slid into place, and of cause the cables well hidden behind the base plate only then poked out to click onto the HDD. I also connected up the 2 hot swappable ports in case I decide to use them.
The next thing to do was the BluRay drive so I unclicked a 5.25" face plate, broke off the metal covering slid the drive in, it is perfectly stable with the tool less clicks, however because I know this is an Optical drive, which will be spinning, to make it ultra secure I decided to apply 2 screws in at the other side. (But had it not been an optical drive I would have left it how it was.)
Finally the internal cables from the front panel which were already routed behind the base plate were position and plugged into the motherboard. This provides 2x USB2 and 2x USB3 Ports to the front of the PC, because of the motherboard it also means I can have my 2 front ports as always Powered even when the PC is off for charging. It also includes a Fireware and eSATA port as well as the Headphone and Mic connector.
Now it was time to put the front cover on, with the lovely side glass to allow me to see the inside, and because of the fantastic cable routing provided by the case the motherboard can be see in all its glory without the clutter of cables. The other thing I decided to do was put the wheels on the base of the case that way I can easily roll it out to vacuum under it.
I positioned the case and turned it on, and this case then proved it was worth the money. (Before I wrote this section I have waited 2 weeks giving the PC good usage). First of all the top panel has a Power, Reset and Fan LED button on it. These buttons can be covered so there will be no accidental pressing of them resulting in a PC shutting down, I am sure I am not the only one whos accidentally pressed against a reset or power button. The Fan LED switch is nice too as it has a lovely hi-tech red LED Fan at the front, however if you want this off you can easily do it without any messing about. The case is silent. There was no IT equipment on in my room, and I had to double check these fans were working. Because the fans are huge they spin slowly and shift through a lot of air, this results in a very cool case. I am running 6GB of RAM, a 2GB graphics card and a 3Ghz CPU all with standard retail fans.... My CPU has never gone above 40C, this is a first for me! The dust filters clearly work, having cats around normally my PC's get a load of cat hair sucked inside with dust, on this case it rests on the front grill so your hand wiping over the front metal just scoops it off. I can see the inside is being kept lovely and clean.
I was nervous at first paying £150 for a case, I was happier when I got it for £140, now I am ecstatic with how awesome this case is. It is sexy, stylish, cool, beautifully designed and built, it is a pure work of art, let alone the £80 worth of inbuilt accessories that would normally be bought separately. If you are building a new PC and want a good case, buy this one!!!