Cooler Master HAF 912 Reviewairman - September 8, 2010
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Taking the side panels off of the HAF 912 will expose the large amount of real estate that is packaged with it. Cooler Master managed to fit room for six 3.5" hard drives, two 2.5" hard drives and up to four 5.25" devices while maintaining plenty of room for the rest of the computer components and loads of wire management capabilities. As I check with every case, I judge the CPU retention hole size and position to see if it might fit the MSI X58 Platinum motherboard that will be used in every review, and for the first time EVER, it looks like the HAF 912 may be the case to actually have an appropriately sized hole to leave all four corners of the heatsink mounting area accessible with enough room around them to take advantage of this feature. Hopefully, it will and I will be sure to praise Cooler Master heavily for this once I find out for sure once the motherboard is in place. Looking at the other side of the case will show the rear of the motherboard tray and the wire management cutouts that improve the routing of cables inside of the case. Though it can't be clearly seen in this picture, there is over a half of an inch of room between the motherboard tray and the side panel, which is loads of room and should not cause any clearance issues if a large bundle of wires is stashed there.
Looking at the bottom rear of the HAF 912 shows a clearer picture of the PSU mounting bracket, the 7+1 expansion slots and the removable 2.5/1.8" hard drive cage. The additional vertical expansion slot cover is secured with a thumb screw, while the typical horizontal covers are secured by regular screws. I like to see thumbscrews on these covers, which hastens installation, and though they aren't completely necessary they are still very common. Turning to the upper rear of the case will show the included 120mm exhaust fan, the external water cooling outlets, the CPU retention cutout, and the top mounting area for the 1x200mm or 2x120mm fans.
The top side of the front of the HAF 912 shows the four external 5.25" device bays, along with one toolless mounting clip. There is only one of these clips included, but it can be easily removed and placed on any of the other three 5.25" bays. I don't understand why Cooler Master only included one of these clips, as these clips are simple and can be made cheaply, and not only for optical drives, but fan controllers, light switch boxes, displays, and other devices as well. Operating the toolless 5.25" clip is simple, as there is a small lever that is flipped to the "OPEN" position to insert the device, and then to "LOCK" to secure the device. The bottom end of the front houses the hard drive area. The 4x3.5" hard drive cage is removable after the four screws behind it are removed, though the 2x3.5" hard drive cage beneath it is not. I will show this up closer momentarily.
The 4x3.5" hard drive cage can be removed by removing the four screws that attach it to the frame. Once removed, the two black plastic tabs can be compressed towards each other and will allow the drive cage to slide out. This can help with installing the drives as well as clear enough room for an extra large video card if necessary. As a forward, I was able to fit an HD5870 in the case without having to remove this cage, but since the power connects face towards the front of the case, the cables had to be turned quite far to clear fit through and around the hard drive cage itself. It required a lot of maneuvering to make it work, so I don't recommend it.
I wanted to provide a closer look at the toolless clip that is found on the top 5.25" bay. As I said, it is simple, removable device that can be placed on any of the other 5.25" bays. There is a small lobe on the back of the clip, attached to the outer lever, that pushes the clip and securing barbs outwards which release the drive.
The HAF 912 only comes with two included fans. This is my only disappointment so far (before testing, obviously), as there is a lot of room for other fans that will be unused for testing. The two low RPM fans are one 120mm front intake and one 120mm rear exhaust. This may severely hinder chipset and GPU temperatures, though I never try to make assumptions before testing the case as I have been proved wrong before. The two fans are rated at 12V and 0.16A, rotating at a speed of 1700RPM at a silent 17dBA. They have an attached 3pin header and includes a 3pin to 4pin molex adapter that is already attached.
Installing the motherboard and other components into the case was not too difficult. Only two motherboard standoffs are in place from the factory, so 7 more will have to be installed for standard ATX motherboards. Installing the hard drives are done by snapping in two of the rails on either side and sliding it in to the cage until it locks into position. As I said earlier, the top hard drive cage may need to be removed to comfortably fit a large video card in the HAF 912. I was able to twist the video card in position while having the power wires routed through the hard drive cage, but I wouldn't recommend this for large video cards because there is will be a significant amount of bending in the in the power cables which could damage them or the sockets on the video card. I am happy to report that the CPU retention hole DOES indeed provide total access to the CPU retention bracket holes on the back of the MSI X58 motherboard. This is the FIRST case that I have reviewed to actually accomplish this, and I applaud Cooler Master for getting this right. It may just be the MSI X58 motherboard has an odd placement of the CPU, but there is no reason why case manufacturers cannot just make these holes large enough to accommodate most every common motherboard manufacturer's CPU placement. Anyways, with the components in the case and ready to go, it is now time to stress test these components and compare the results to the other latest cases on the market today.
As far as this evaluation goes, there wasn't really much more to talk about. The HAF 912 is the entry level case to the HAF lineup and does not offer a load of features, though has the styling of the upper end HAF cases that Cooler Master offers. The removable hard drive cages are a plus and I can appreciate that since it cleans up the interior of the HAF912 and allows for more room if required. On the next page, I will show the case's specifications as well as the listed features as published from Cooler Master.