Cooler Master HAF XM

We like the HAF XM; at AU$149, it gives you huge bang for buck, is well constructed and supports a variety of builds. Recommended.

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

Despite being the mid tower version of the HAF X, the HAF XM is still quite imposing. Available with or without a window, it's a steel and plastic monster that manages to be aggressive, but not gaudy.

The top of the case features a bay area into which you can drop random things: screws while working on your rig, USB keys and the like. It's got a rubber base that can be easily removed for cleaning, since dust and particles are going to collect there pretty easily.

Just in front, you'll find a giant hexagonal power button; to the right is a reset button, and to the left is the button to switch off the front fan's red LED. The LED is dull enough not to be offensive, and tends to be atmospheric rather than over the top, with Cooler Master once again managing to escape the gaudy path for something more subtle.

(Credit: Craig Simms)

The top of the case is also removable (although the thumbscrew holding it in place is too close to the skeleton of the chassis, meaning that you may need a screwdriver), with two 200mm fans underneath. Remove these, and you've got the opportunity to mount three 120mm or three 140mm fans. Those who are thinking of water cooling have 35mm between the board and the top of the case, and another 35mm between the skeleton of the case and the top cover.

There's something epic about 200mm fans.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

The front panel gives you two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks — a fairly standard complement.

(Credit: Craig Simms)

The entire panel is also removable once you take out the two 3.5-inch hot-swap bays, and the 200mm LED fan underneath can be replaced with either a 2 x 120mm, 1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm set-up. The 5.25-inch bay covers need to be pushed in rather than out to remove, which can be fiddly.

Taking out the hot-swap bays allows you to remove the front panel.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

The case with the front panel removed.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

The rear features three circular grommets on the back, two of 25mm in diameter and one of 13mm in diameter. There's also a 140mm extraction fan here.

(Credit: Craig Simms)

The business side of the case can be removed via latch, although it also comes with thumbscrews if you choose to keep things secured that way. The opposite side is simply held in place by thumbscrews.

Pull the latch, and the side panel comes down.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Both side panels have an extruded section, which makes the case a little bulkier, but it's practical rather than just for aesthetics. For the non-window version, on the latched side the panel can take two 140mm fans or a single 200mm fan, with the extrusion providing extra room to do so. On the opposite side, the extrusion serves as extra cable-management room, so the side of your case is less likely to buckle. Given that there would only be around 20mm to play with here without the extrusion, this is a good thing.

The bulky extrusions actually serve a purpose.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Behind the motherboard tray, with cable-management options. Below the CPU cut-out, you can place an SSD.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Opening the case up, we find an SSD mount behind the motherboard tray under the CPU cut-out. There's a power supply shield to hide messy cabling, and rubber strips to protect the PSU from scratching. The now-standard pass-through holes with rubber grommets are included in the tray.

The PSU cover can hide messy cabling.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Drive options are decent for a mid tower: three 5.25-inch bays, two hot-swappable 3.5-inch bays and six 2.5/3.5-inch drive bays with removable caddies. The 3.5-inch drive bays aren't removable without drilling out rivets.

The 2.5/3.5-inch drive bays and their caddies at the bottom right. Above them, you can see the circuit board used for the hot-swap bays.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

A closer look at the drive caddies.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

For a change, the 5.25-inch quick-release mechanisms were easy to use, although if you dislike them, they can be removed completely and your drives screwed in.

We didn't like the quick-release mechanisms in the Cosmos II, but the HAF XM's work well.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Cooler Master gives you eight expansion slots, as well as a ninth vertical slot, which is handy for something like a USB expansion bracket so it doesn't block your existing slots on the motherboard.

Nine expansion slots in total, which should be perfectly fine for the majority of mid tower builds.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Powering up the case revealed the included fans to be almost silent, a highly positive thing.

We like the HAF XM; at AU$149, it gives you huge bang for buck, is well constructed and supports a variety of builds. Recommended.

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