Cooler Master HAF XM Chassis ReviewBluePanda - April 23, 2012
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The front of the case is nice and familiar with the only real difference to the HAF X being the three drive bays followed by the two X-docking bays rather than four followed by two. A quick sticker on the front gives a little reminder to remove the X-dock before pulling off the front panel. It’s a pretty sticky sticker that left me frazzled trying to clean off the sticky residue. Just make sure you pull off the sticker and clean it well so everything doesn’t stick to it. I was a little disappointed by this fact – but it’s not a flaw of the case – rather a flaw in planning reminders to the customer.
With all that cleaned up the front of the case is very admirable. No it isn’t much of a change from the other HAF family members, but it isn’t supposed to be. It’s a release that shares the wealth of the full-tower packed into a smaller more manageable mid-tower for those with less space. The I/O panel has a little less clutter with the loss of the Firewire and e-SATA port that no one really uses. It’s left to a simple set of USB 2.0 ports on the left and a set of USB 3.0 ports to the right. A black headphone jack and black mic jack split the two sets apart. The power button, reset button, and LED button are left on the very top for quick access from above.
Looking at the back it looks a little “fat” and “squatty” after using a HAF 932 for so long. There are eight expansion slots, a 140mm mounted rear fan, two large grommet holes, a smaller grommet hole, and your standard bottom PSU mount. A thumb screw can be seen at the top center that holds the top panel of the case on. I’ll show you a peek underneath there in a little bit.
The first side panel is the most impressive to me. It has the easy release handle much like the Corsair 600T, but has the additional security of two thumb screws on the back side. I couldn’t really decide if I liked the thumb screws there but at least the panel is easy to take on and off. With the non-windowed side panel there is room for two fans of your desire. The other side doesn’t have much to brag about and the panel is the old school mounting style that takes a little more effort to take on and off. I’d rather have seen the quick swap panel on both sides here. Oh well…at least you can take another look at the little feet on the case again.
Overall, from the outside the case is very nice looking. Go figure a lover of the HAF 932 and HAF X might just like it. It might not look a whole lot different but it is much different in size and a fraction of the price gets cut off with that as well. It’s checking out to be a new mid-tower favorite, but how well does it compete on the inside? I want to show you that peek inside the top there, and then we’ll get a good look at the guts of the mid-tower beast.
When you remove that single screw from the top back of the case I showed you earlier that is all that holds the top on so be prepared to take it off. It doesn’t click on nor latch under something; with the screw out you can just pick it up. You will be impressed with the fan mounted underneath here and start wondering where you can find a second to place next to it. It is thicker than most fans you are probably used to seeing and looks like it will be moving a ton of air. The fans are available on the CM site if you do desire another to place up here in the perfectly cut hole just waiting for another.
After removing the X-Docks, like the little annoying sticker said to do, the front panel comes off smoothly. The case a little naked (though the side panels are on) looks a bit interesting from the front. I’m not exactly sure why I took a shot of this angle, but it sure is interesting to see underneath all that makes it pretty, it’s rather simple isn’t it?