Cooler Master HAF XM Chassis ReviewBluePanda - April 23, 2012
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On to the important stuff, the insides; is there enough room for what you want it to hold? If you are used to mid-towers there is quite a bit of room when first opening this up. The only thing that seems to tighten things up is the little cable hider there at the bottom. This can be removed all together if you need the extra room or have no cables to hide (thanks to modular PSUs) or you can hide that usual mess of cables that you generally just don’t want to put effort into routing. Pros and cons of it are handled well.
The back side is pretty standard and about as difficult as my HAF 932 to smash cables down when putting on the side panel. Don’t try to use the little canal at the bottom edge there, the panel has a lip that needs to set there – you just need to be a little more creative; otherwise you might just be rethinking using the cable hider there on the front anyway. It isn’t horrible and I’ve dealt with a lot less space before. Considering it still as the child of the HAF family, it has the proper genetics.
A closer look at the cable hider and perhaps you’ll be smarter than me to notice. There’s a neat little hole cut in the top to allow you to route cables out of it. If you take this out to route your cables, make sure you put it back in before you start plugging things in. If you don’t you’ll be like me and re-do all your front I/O cables over. Lesson learned, new smarts passed on. You should also notice that the screws holding it in are on a set of tracks almost. You can scoot this left or right to help hide whatever you need for whatever length of power supply you might have.
The lock switches for the external bays are pretty nifty and simple to use. With obvious labeling of locked versus open, it’s hard to get the two confused. They click open and click closed. No need for any more explanation.
Looking down at the HDD cages you can see you can remove one or both if you want as each cage holds three drives. They are simple tool-less mounts with the typical rubber pin mounting for the HDD and a nice centered layout for the SSD (you won’t lose the rubber pins!). The plastic is a little strong, but with a few uses or after getting your HDD in place it is not much an issue. They slide in place on their rails and sort of clip into place. You can wire it up as usual from the other side of the case.
The back of the case shows a proudly mounted 140mm fan ready for action. It comes equipped with a three pin to Molex connector to allow you to decide how and where you want it plugged in. A couple of brass standoffs are pre-set in the motherboard tray. They both have a raised edge to help you hold your motherboard in place while you screw it in. There are plenty of slots cut for zip-ties to hold cables in place on the backside and a huge cutout for your CPU backplate. It’s well planned and not an inch seems to be wasted.
An awkward shot to take and still a little rough around the eges is a look at the inside of the X-Docks. If you pull out the X-Dock bays you can see the little PCB at the back with SATA and power connectors for your HDD/SSD to be hot swapped. It’s aligned for an HDD so you will have to mount your SSD on the side (which has been accommodated for) so try not to lose your rubber pins!
Looking from inside the case you can see the other side of the PCB with the capacitors and cable connections you need to plug in. Remember to save a Molex end to plug in as well as leave out a couple extra SATA cables for future use. It is pretty self-explanatory.
Included with the case you always have your quick start guide to help you figure out what every little thing is and find those features you didn’t know you had. Along with that, some zip ties, screws and a mobo speaker have been included. You’ve got enough to get your build up and going while still looking fine.
After I got everything in, it was a pretty sleek look. The cable hiding box really cleaned up a lot of the excess cabling. It even hides the wad that fits through to the back panel. The build just looks overly clean and to be honest I didn’t put that much effort in making it look that way. It’s a nice case and easy to work with. There wasn’t anything I really struggled with getting it all together. Usually there’s something outstanding when I’m all said and done, but this was just nice.
With it up and running I thought I might take a picture of the X-Dock in action. The drive mounts are the same as inside the case with the exception of the offset for the SSD. It’s quick to put in and a little rough to actually match up to the SATA and power connector – but it does work. You can see a glimpse of the red fan running there below it as well. It’s pretty subtle, even in a dark room.
The power button also is outlined in red with a red LED indicator and red HDD indicator symmetrically placed. The only flaw found in the button design is the fact that one day I will hit the reset when I’m intending to turn of the LEDs on the fan. It isn’t a major down fall but something to consider a closer look at and a reminder to not just go randomly pressing buttons.
Overall I’m rather impressed with the HAF XM. It’s a case I plan on keeping around for a bit. It won’t replace my HAF 932 as I have been attached to it for too long. It is the best “smaller” version of a case I’ve seen and it somehow truly holds up the credibility of the HAF 932 and HAF X in appearance and quality. There is almost the same amount of space to grow inside as its parent cases and has few issues to set it aside from the starting lineup.