Cooler Master HAF Stacker Case Reviewhornybluecow - October 16, 2013
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Cooler Master HAF Stacker: Conclusion
Let us recap my reasoning and scoring method before diving into the my final words. First I look at what the company is saying it offers. For example, say the company states the case supports large / long graphic cards or ten quiet fans. In this example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be trying to overclock a CPU in a Mini-ITX case and expecting a low temperature. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the case offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include an extra fan, cable management, different color paint, or support for larger video cards. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.
Cooler Master has put a great deal of thought into the Stacker series and it shows. It reached out to the modding community and asked what was needed that no one else has provided. So before my final words let me recap the reasons behind the pros and cons. Starting with the negative: Cooler Master has let me down in many small ways. One of my concerns is the lack of care put into the 915R being a standalone ITX chassis. It does not have any I/O buttons or a good fan system. To make it a bit more confusing, Cooler Master's website lists the 915R as having the same front bezel with power and USB ports as the 915F. It's possible this is only for the standalone version and not the included chassis with th 935.
Next up is my own personal problem: lack of a reset button. I know most of you may not find this a big deal, but If you are overclocking, I've found when the system locks up the power button doesn't do anything. Maybe it's just my luck of every computer I've owned having this problem, but If I have it, someone else out there does, too.
The next one is not much of a big deal, but Cooler Master simply forgot about the middle guy; I'm talking about closed loop coolers. On top of the 935 chassis are mounting holes for two 120mm fans, but if you try to install the H100, or any radiator, it will hit the VRM heatsinks because the spacing is lower than normal. This is great for fans but causes problems for everything else.
Last up on my negative rant is the price mixed in with the lack of fans. Cooler Master stated the lack of extra fans is because they will be replaced anyways. While I do agree with this, adding a cheap fan will cost Cooler Master practically nothing and make me happier. The price also has to do with how it handles accessories. Cooler Master plans on releasing window kits for 200mm fan installations, along with replacement I/O buttons and more hard drive cages. I simply do not understand why the 915R included with the 935 lacks a power button.
Onto the pros! When Cooler Master decides to do something, it seems to go big or go home, and that is exactly what it did with the cooling. Can I say wow? I have never seen a chassis supporting a thick 360mm radiator, and the fact you can fit two of them! If you just pretend the 915R isn't an ITX chassis, it opens up many doors for water cooling options and that is the biggest selling point Cooler Master has to offer. The chassis itself has what I consider the standard asking price of $170, and I am very pleased with how modular the chassis is. Most if not all the bays use the same screws, which makes swapping things around really easy for someone like me, who constantly can't remember where I set down the screws.
With everything said and done, my negative gripes about the HAF Stacker can have no weight. Many of the problems I have will never affect the majority of the consumer base. Nonetheless I have my reasons and explained it above. So let me leave you with my final thoughts. If you plan on creating a full custom water cooled computer, you cannot go wrong with this chassis. It has everything one can dream of and more. The reason I am giving this chassis a sliver award is because I do not feel Cooler Master has fully fleshed out the 915R and the price of the 915F is a bit high for an ITX chassis.
If you add up all the minor issues, it falls a little short of stardom. Like I said, If you are looking for a truly unique chassis with advanced water cooling, look no further. If you just need a good full tower with some water cooling support, you can do better for much cheaper.
- Advanced water cooling support
- Tool-less design
- Stacking ability
- Well built metal frame
- Dedicated SSD bay
- Support for large aftermarket CPU coolers
- Support for high-end graphics cards
- Long internal cables
- Easy cable management
- Lack of fans
- Poor stock cooling
- Lack of I/O buttons for 915R
- Lack of reset button
- Poor closed loop water cooling support
- Accessories for sale that should be included