Cooler Master HAF 912 Reviewairman - September 8, 2010
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The Cooler Master HAF 912 has inherited a lot of the same physical features as the other HAF cases in Cooler Master's lineup. The front of the case has a very similar design and layout to the others, with the notched front bezel and the aggressive metal mesh and dust filters, only on a slightly smaller scale from the full tower HAF cases. The I/O ports and power/reset buttons are located at the top, which can be easily accessed. The Cooler Master badge is attached in the center of the bottom section and adds a nice accent to the front bezel. The left side of the case features the familiar glossy "HAF" lettering on top of the durable flat black paint job, with room for a 120mm fan beside the video card(s) and a light design stamped into the panel which frames this section nicely.
The rear of the case displays the true relative width of the case if compared to its height. The case is quite wide, which increases the interior volume much more than by making the case taller. This means more room for wire management, and less constrictive airflow if a lot of components are being used. An included 120mm exhaust fan is found at the top rear, above the grommets for an external water cooling loop. The rear of the box that the case arrives in has a picture of a radiator mounted to the top of the case with the lines run through these holes. Mounting a radiator externally can free up a lot of room in the computer case rather than trying to mount one internally, which also helps keep heat from building up around it. Underneath the water cooling grommets are the seven "plus one" expansion slots. There is a vertically mounted expansion slot to the right that can hold any non-direct interface (i.e. uses a plug to interface with the motherboard instead of an actual PCI interface) such as extra USB ports or a switch for lighting, etc. This way, all of the motherboard slots can be used and not have to sacrifice one to use an "accessory" expansion device. The right side of the case is plain and does not have any markings or designs on it. I did find that this panel is not held on by thumbscrews, so a screwdriver is necessary to remove the panel. This was a little bit odd, as most cases now have thumbscrews on both panels.
The top of the case can support two 120mm fans (specifically for a 2x120mm radiator) or one 200mm fan - neither are included. Towards the front is a "platform" that Cooler Master uses to place an iPhone on in one of their promotional videos for the HAF 912. A stack of CDs/DVDs can also fit here as well, as well as other personal belongings. Underneath the case, four plastic feet can be found as well as a filtered intake for the power supply unit. The dust filter here is removable, so it can be removed and cleaned if necessary. The power supply bracket allows for the power supply to be mounted upwards or downwards, so if the intake fan on the power supply is facing upwards, the filter underneath it will probably never get dirty enough to require a cleaning if there is no air flowing through it. In the middle of the underside of the case, an inward pressed section can be seen. This is for the internal 2.5"/1.8" hard drive mounting cage, which will be explored later in this review.
The front bezel of the HAF 912 pops off easily, but will require the removable of both side panels to access the retention tabs on the inside. There are six plastic tabs that lock the front bezel into place, and can be released by pulling them outwards from the case. Once each of the retention tabs are released, the front bezel pulls off with nothing attached to the rear. Not having the buttons or a fan attached to the inside of the front bezel completely removes the possibility of breaking any wires or damaging any of the components, which can be a headache to repair if damage did occur. A lot of cases are moving towards this design, though not all manufacturers have completely adopted this idea yet. Soon, I believe that all front bezels on every case will be completely independent from fans, switches, and other wiring.
With the exterior of the case evaluated, my impressions on the HAF 912 are in good standings. The next page of this review will consist of a more in-depth view of the interior of the case, along with an explanation of the interior features and my thoughts about them.