Reviewing Cooler Master's HAF XB "LAN Box"

By on February 5, 2013, 2:02 AM

Following the success of 2008's HAF 932 chassis, Cooler Master didn't waste any time adapting its High Air Flow design to various other form factors and price points -- many of which we've covered in depth. Along with its larger options, the company offers three mid-towers: the $50 HAF 912, $100 HAF 922 and $130 HAF XM.

While the cost of these cases varies significantly, they're all fairly similar in terms of stature in that their tall, rectangular profile resembles most other mid-towers. Mixing things up, Cooler Master's latest mid-size enclosure breaks the conventional mold with boxier dimensions -- in fact, the company describes it as a "LAN box". Given the HAF XB's cube-like figure, it's no surprise that Cooler Master is pushing the LAN-friendly angle, which seems to be increasingly common among case makers.

Whereas the Storm Scout 2 and similar designs have a handle integrated into the top of a standard mid-tower enclosure, the HAF XB has handles built into each side. That may sound trivial, but the difference between a one-handed side grip and two-handed front grip is appreciable if you're hauling over 30kg (66lbs) of hardware.

Read the complete review.

User Comments: 9

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Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I suppose you would consider buying something like this if LANning is your thing. As for me... I couldn't be less interested.

Luay said:

Thanks for the great review. I need an all rounder HT/LAN rig and I didn't like to go down from ATX, but I am concerned about the air-cooling.

I see the 140mm fan mounts on the front, but they seem useless with the case frame blocking anything wider than 120mm. Bigger fans move more air but what's the case here?

Also, would adding two rear 80mm exhaust fans reverse the air pressure to negative, or will their smaller size maintain the status quo? I also don't know how hot air will reach there.

Are their filters for the front intakes?

Cueto_99 said:

Nice case, I specially like the top window. CoolerMaster HAF line cases do stand out for their toughness, durability and looks, and this one seems no exception to the rule.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

Great review. I like that this eschews the Japanimation/Transformer look of typical cases that try to differentiate themselves. It's simple, but would stand out and provides a decent amount of room for expansion too. I've been eyeing one of these for a while for my crunching machine.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

For having a couple hot swap bays and having unique style, I say $100 is extremely fair if not enticing. The cooling issues aside, however... nobody like a loud case full of fans and this one seems to have a lot.

misor misor said:

Nice review...

one thing I noticed that if the reviewer finds the cm haf xb to be so attractive, why give 90 instead of say, 95%?

nice cabling there...I drooled since I have no cable management skills.

personally, I think the two available hdd drive bays are enough.

a user can simply install two 3-tb hdds.

(I can't imagine why I was able to live with a single 2gb hdd in my first computer with pentium 166mhz)

Guest said:

You can fit 140mm fans in front but they have to be mounted internally. If someone really wants a push pull setup, it can be done. I've seen pics and read comments from a guy that remove a few small plastic pieces and mounted his 140mm outside behind the grill like the stock 120s ( this would permit permit a push pull setup with 140mm). On my end, I have 2X140mm mounted internally (low noise high CFM etc..)

I installed a closed loop for the CPU 120mm push pull on the back, 2x80mm at the bottom as exhausts and a low en 200mm (not 20mm thick) a normal 25mm thick would hit the radiator thus preventing the top to close.

Its a really good case even compared to my Cosmos S all fans installed and a few years later moded with 2 powerful 120mm and a really good 92mm in the door to replace the large fan. Every single component runs cooler, with fewer fans so way less noise.

There are a few minor downsides. Though its a dream to work in when tweaking a completed build, parts in the bottom compartment are hard to access. The other downside IMHO, my old may drive was a velociraptor which means it cant fit in the doc. Good thing

I was switching to SSD or else I would have had to lay it down inside either side panel (plenty of room). The top fan mount only supports Cooler master fans (my only real gripe with the case). Since everything from my monitor to my keyboard have USB ports I didn't mind that the front USB was unusable with the older x58 borad.

Bottom line, I used to prefer huge cases, starting with the original STACKER but this one hit the spot. yes I can't get to the stuff in the bottom but I replaced my x58 with a Z77 so fast and so easily that it would be hard to go back to any other form factor and accessibility features.

PS. long post..yes and from someone that never posts anywhere and just because I love this case so much!

ceh4702 said:

I can see some advantages to having a case with a horizontal motherboard. I think it would result in fewer problems when moving it around. However it just seems too big and bulky and would take up more room on the desktop. I think the HAF look is kind of ugly myself. It looks too clunky and too artificial. I like the looks of an Antec 300 a lot more. Now if they could just put some better cable management in the Antec 300. Nothing like smooth sleek and black.

Phr3d said:

Can imagine this showing up in stupid-money mods:

twin brutally OC CPUs & tri-titans / water (or better) with 4TB data drive (bottom) matched to 5x512 RAID SSDs..

too much fun..

crisis on six monitor surround, go!

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