Cooler Master HAF Xb Cube LAN/Test Bench Gaming Case Review


Final Thoughts

HAF Xb Cooler Master Badge

Cooler Master's HAF series has been highly successful over the years for a number of reasons.  HAF cases have consistently accommodated a large number of fans, have consistently had subtle features like intelligent placement of cable routing holes, and also had just enough aesthetic spark to appeal to a gamer crowd while not going so far to turn off those with a subtler taste in their cases.  The HAF Xb marks a new form factor for the HAF series, but it hasn't failed to bring along the features that have become staples of the HAF brand.  There is a ton of flexibility for cooling, with two 120mm fans up front and space for a 120/240mm radiator with additional pulling fans and a huge 200mm fan to exhaust out of the top. The flexibility doesn't stop at cooling, either.  The HAF Xb will also allow you to have 3-way SLI or Crossfire support for those wanting extreme performance in a small box.

 The tool-less drive bays make installing drives a breeze, and the X-dock means you can plug-n-play additional drives without opening the case.  The power supply borrows the mounting method from the Cosmos II, which is especially handy in the tight space in the lower chamber.  The removable motherboard tray also lends a helping hand to making installing a CPU cooler a breeze.  For those who find themselves trying out alot of CPU coolers, this is likely to be a stand out feature, as well as knowing that Cooler Master will soon be offering more motherboard trays for sale for testers/reviewers and overclocking enthusiasts to be able to swap out entire builds in and out of the case rapidly.

Then there's the hybrid nature of the HAF Xb.  On one hand it's a formidable LAN box which squishes the typical tower form factor down to make it more transportable.  On the other hand, it's a great open-air test bench.  A neat little case which you can put an LN2 pot into, and then just as eaily put your favorite air cooler into, put the side panels back on, and you're back to a typical system.  It's unique, and I actually found it a fun box to build in as it has a small form factor footprint without the SFF limitations.  Cable management was a breeze, and the end product is very clean and transportable.

 The case is also solid, with little flex of the chassis frame in the absense of the side panels.  Metal brackets on the chassis have been wisely added to reinforce the plastic handles on the side panel, and it's reassuringly sturdy to carry around.  At an MSRP of $99.99, the HAF Xb delivers on the HAF name, and is a solid buy at that price.  You get a smaller box without the sacrifices most other small chassis make, the flexibility for a full 240mm radiator and/or Tri-SLI/Crossfire, and a case that is as fun to build in as larger cases and is super easy to manage your cables as well.  Cooler Master has thoughtfully executed on making a small case that is easy to build in, and also giving the user plenty of options normally reserved for full towers.  Bravo.


The Good


The Bad

  • Flexible, allows 240mm radiators, Tri-graphics, and 200mm top fan
  • Super easy to build in, thoughtfully designed
  • Clean and simple cable management
  • Removable motherboard tray
  • Tool-less drive bays
  • X-dock can be very convenient
  • Sturdy
  • A capable and convenient open-air test bed
  • No feet for standing the case vertically
  • No inclusion of an exhaust fan


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# Ben 2013-01-12 15:20
great review, will definitely try one for my next build. many thanks