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Cooler Master HAF 932 Case Review

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AkG

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Cooler Master HAF 932 Full Tower Case Review




Manufacture Product Page: HAF 932 - Cooler Master
Model Number: RC-932
Weight: 29.1 lbs
Availability: Now
Price: Click Here To Compare Prices
Warranty: 2 years



When it comes to personal computers, the case is the foundation upon which everything else is built upon; and just like there are different style foundations for different style homes, PC cases can vary just at widely (if not more). Today we will be looking at a very popular style chassis: the Full Tower. When this reviewer thinks of Full Tower cases a couple of models do bubble to the surface; namely I think Lian-Li's V2000 / V2100, the Silverstone Temjin series and the Cooler Master Stacker and Cosmos S cases. These are all best of class cases in my opinion...as long as you can afford them that is.

Today we will be looking at a new Full Tower cases from the masters of engineering at Cooler Master which may add a 5th to my personal favorites list. This new case in some ways builds on the performance of the popular Cosmos S but then adds in numerous innovations which will have most uber geeks drooling with envy. The new case we are referring to is none other than the Cooler Master HAF 932. This case is now available from select retailers and e-tailers throughout the country and goes for $165.

Many of us have used multiple 120mm fan-based cases and while they are good, even 120mm fans leave a bit to be desired in the noise to CFM ratio department. To combat this perceived limitation manufactures have recently brought out monster (yet ultra quiet and efficient) 200+mm fan based cases. Heck we all have seen cases with a lone monster 200mm fan in them and even seen some of them with two 200+ mm fans in a single case. While impressive, the shock and awe has worn off and now manufactures need a new weapon of persuasion; this is where the TRIPLE 230mm fan wielding CM HAF 932 comes in. Can anyone honestly ever say they have owned a case with not one, not two but THREE 230mm fans?! Well, after this review you will be able to say that you at least have seen one.

The list of innovations doesn't stop there, but this case's main claim to fame has certainly got to be its High Air Flow (thus the “HAF” in HAF 932) and we are going to take a long hard look at how well those three monster fans work. Since we here at Hardware Canucks like to go that extra mile for you our readers, and more importantly since it is capable of it, we will also be looking at this unit's water cooling abilities. Either way it should make for a very interesting read, so let’s dig in and rip open the packaging box to see what goodies await us inside.


 
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AkG

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Specifications

Specifications







 
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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories



The HAF 932 comes in a shipping box which is pretty impressive in and of it’s self. Heck, in many ways the box is more of a work of art than some of so called object d’art we saw recently at an art gallery. It really is a crying shame this particular box was beaten to a pulp by Mr. Shipping Agent and his partner in crime MR. Customs Agent. There literally was not a straight edge anywhere on this box; and before we took photos of it we actually fixed the worst of it. To us, this underlines exactly how a good a shipping box this is, as the real work of art, the HAF 932 was in perfect shape!


In a nut shell, the box is a black with large pictures of the HAF 932 on it. Of course, you get all the usual details and specifications and reasons to own it; but the overall tone is one part adrenalin with two parts machismo. What ever you call the box, it is effective at its main goals of protecting the HAF 923 in shipping and drawing attention to itself.


When you do carefully and oh so gently open the top of the shipping box (in this case praying that doing so will not make the case collapse into a pile of cardboard-like dust) and look inside, you are greeted the typical Cooler Master paranoid level of protection. You could probably hit this box with your car and not damage the HAF 932; as it is not only in a plastic anti-scratch bag but is also suspended in between two huge Styrofoam pieces, so that not one part of the case is anywhere near the outer edge of the box. In fact we are pretty sure at least one car was involved in the obviously vicious beating this box took.


In typical CoolerMaster fashion, the shear quantity of the accessories is only surpassed by their quality. To this reviewer Cooler Master products are all about customer satisfaction and quality so it is nice to see the HAF 932 is no exception to this. The full list of accessories which you get are: the usual bag of assorted screws and the like, a nicely done manual, motherboard standoff map, a 3.5 Floppy Disk adapter (with mounting hardware) to turn one of the 5.25 bays into a 3.5’ bay, a bunch of zip ties to tidy up your wires (always a nice touch), a motherboard speaker buzzer and even an 8-pin CPU extender / adapter.


If the list ended here we would have been impressed as the 8 pin CPU adapter is a nice touch and helps even short cabled PSU’s reach from the bottom of the HAF to the top. Like we said, if the list ended here we would be happy but it doesn’t as Cooler Master not only included attached feet for the HAF 932 but they also include four casters so you can make your killer new rig mobile.

Between the great shipping box and the amazing list of accessories, you have to walk away with a great first impression. Cooler Master could have easily taken a more subdued approach to HAF 932, as it is a lot less expensive than some of their other cases but they didn’t and it shows.
 
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AkG

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Exterior Impressions

Exterior Impressions



The very first thing which springs to mind when you look at this case for the first time is: Cooler Master was right to design the shipping box as a if it was a work of art; for only a work of art would be good enough to house this beauty. Unfortunately, just like art not everyone is going to think it is beautiful (or even art for that matter); some people may look at it as nothing more than the love child of a boring server case and a wild child gaming rig.


While the HAF is mainly built from steel (and not light weight aluminum) there is a fair amount of plastic used as well. The best example of Cooler Master’s uncharacteristic use of plastic is on the front panel which is it literally festooned with it. Regardless of this use of plastic, it seems like this case is still extremely sturdy as well-built. To us this combination of plastic and metal gives it a style which is uniquely its own.


After all this, the next thing which springs to mind is that this new Cooler Master case looks a lot like a Antec 1200 “killer” as it has similar styling (though more over the top and aggressive), bigger fans and arguably better air flow (and arguably more water cooling friendly) all in a comparably priced package.


The top of this case is unique in that it has been segmented into two separate and very distinctive zones. The larger zone, which is about 2/3 of the case starting at the back and working its way forward, is designed for proper ventilation of the massive 230mm top exhaust fan. As you can see it is very neat and tidy and appears to be a fairly free flowing design. More importantly, this area has also been designed with alternative fan mounting points. Cooler Master says this area can house up to three 120mm fans or even a triple radiator and it will be interesting to see how this is possible as it looks like it will be a tight fit. We will be investigating this claim more closely later in the review but for now we are cautiously optimistic by these possibilities.

The only drawback to the design of this area is you can’t place anything on top of the case here as it will (at the very least) block some of these oh so important ventilation holes. So if you are like many of us, you can’t use (most of) the top of this case as a improvised shelf.


To us, losing our most used shelf (i.e. the one on top of the case) is not an issue as the front zone -while smaller- has been designed with storage in mind. This zone (besides the power and reset buttons) is one rather large yet shallow storage container. The bottom of this container has a removable rubber mat which means things which are placed in here (e.g. spare glasses, USB “pen” drives, etc.) will NOT slide around, yet the mat can be removed and hosed down to get rid of any nasty Cheeto crumbs.

One very interesting feature of this container is a 1 inch hole which allows you to fill up a water reservoir. This hole has been precut for a Danger Den filler port, which is the biggest hassle in using those ingenious little devices. Of course, having the hole already there for you is only half the battle and it may or may not be useable depending on how you route your water lines (e.g. a 5.25 bay reservoir vs. a fill tube, etc). Whether or not it is useful for every situation is beside the point, as this is a great addition to the case and really underscores how good Cooler Master is at looking out for their customer's needs…even if the customer doesn’t know they need something yet.


In a layout very similar to other higher end Cooler Master cases, the power button and reset switch are located on the top of the HAF but the peripheral ports are located on the front. This makes for a very clean layout which minimizes the likelihood of pressing the power (or reset) switch while blindly groping around for a free USB, eSATA or even headphone jack.

One nice enhancement however is the fact that the HAF 932 also has its power and hard drive activity LEDS on the front of the case rather than mounted on the top. This tens to make it easier to see you computer's activity if you are like many people and have the case on top of your desk; though some people may find the blinking lights at eye-level to be annoying.

The full list of peripheral ports is as follows: four USB ports in a double stack configuration, with each stack separated by the lone Firewire 400 port, then an eSATA port and finally MIC and headphone ports with the aforementioned HDD and Power LEDs on the extreme right. All in all, this is a very clean layout which is not only ascetically pleasing, but highly functional as well; though we do have to wonder if overly large USB drives will block the Firewire port and vice-versa.
 
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AkG

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Exterior Impressions pg.2

Exterior Impressions Con't



Directly below the various connector ports you have six 5.25 bay drives covered by faux meshed blanking plates. We say faux mesh as they do not have the mesh filters which come standard on Cooler Master’s Stacker 830 and other high end cases. This oversight may cause a lot of dust to accumulate inside your case; and we are curious why CM took this cost cutting measure. It is too bad, but the front blanking plates do allow a lot of air flow, so just be careful with you air pressure balance and you should be fine.


While the lack of dust filters is a little disappointing, at least Cooler Master isn’t sitting back on their laurels and has taken the time and money to improve and update the release mechanism found on other high end models. In previous iterations these blanking plates had rather small and flimsy retention clips on each side which are easy to break off (making the plate useless as it will no longer stay in place); whereas on the HAF 932, they have are larger and beefier, yet just as easy to use. These quick release catches on each side of the cover should standup to repeated use much better than the older style clips did.


Directly below the six bays you have a large faux meshed area which has been designed in such a way so it is not garish or obvious. Rather than making it the center piece of the front, Cooler Master went for a more subdued route as this area blends in with the overall design of the case yet keeps the hidden 230mm fan supplied with loads of fresh air; all while not sticking out like a sore thumb. Once again it is a delicate balancing act between form and function, but this is an area Cooler Master excels at, and the HAF 932 is no exception. It may be a different take on the more typical design but this alternative better fits in with the overall look and feel of this case.


On a side note the front fan does have a nice red glow to it which highlights rather than hides the unique ascetics of the case. Glowing fans may not be for everyone, but very few will take exception with this diffuse and subtle glow emanating from the front of the HAF 932. However, it is too bad CM did not make this glow optional via an on/off switch (or secondary plug, etc.).


While some cases go for a more mundane approach to the “other” side of the case, Cooler Master has gone a different route. The right side of the HAF 932 is very busy and yet somehow manages to come off as looking like it is an integral and necessary component of the case. This is no mean feat as it looks like a cross between an old school 50 cal. ammo can and an Xbox.

In this day and age manufactures can get away with a lot of things but the one thing which customer will punish them for is having an ugly “beige box” style. Whether or not this styling is to your personal taste is something we can’t comment on (as only you can make that judgment call); but in all honesty it really doesn’t matter, as you can call the right side of this case many things but boring isn’t one of them.


The other side of the HAF 932 is also very flashy looking, if not more so. Crammed all onto the side panel you not only have a window (with cross thatched pin striping no less) and a huge meshed area with a massive fan visible behind the mesh; but also “HAF” splashed across the front portion. To us this comes across as edgy and cool as a Narc at a rave. With this side panel it does seem CM is trying too hard to be cool, or at least what they think their customers think is cool. On the positive side, it is a very functional side panel and does do a lot of things well, so we can forgive it for being an overachiever.
 
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AkG

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Exterior Impressions pg.3

Exterior Impressions Con't



Side panel itself is made of extra thick material and we will go into greater detail about it later in the interior section; for now let’s just say it is a very impressive door and is darn near bullet proof. The only issue we have with it is the locking mechanism, or lack thereof. In a nutshell, this door uses a front hinge and swings closed but there is no retention mechanism to hold it closed besides the two screws.

What we can point to as a disappointment is the fact these thumb screws are not captured screws and are supposed to be completely removed when you want to open the door. When you do open the door, you now have a handful of door screws to contend with and we can see them going MIA pretty fast.



On first blush, the back of the case looks like many top mounted PSU enclosures out there. You have the PSU blanking plate, the ubiquitous rear exhaust fan (more on this in a moment) slots for your motherboard's peripheral boards and then the cutout for your bottom mounted PSU. Err…ummm, yeah. This sort of threw us for a loop too the first time we saw it and NO it is not a mistake; the HAF really is set up to allow you mount your power supply at the top of the case or the bottom. This is another one of those simple little refinements which turns your expectations upside down. Doing a build where your customer (or you) wants a top mounted PSU? What about if customer 2 wants a bottom mounted PSU based case? In the past this meant you had to have two different cases, whereas now BOTH can have the same case. For system builders this will certainly make life easier. Heck, even if you build your own system one way and then change your mind (maybe the bottom mounted PSU is sucking in too much dust, or the top mounted PSU is no longer your thing) this case will work with you and keep you from having to start all over again with a different case.

To make matters even better, the PSU blanking plate holds a pair of rubber grommets so you can easily pass your water cooling hoses into the HAF. Absolutely brilliant.


Like we said earlier, dual mounted PSU options is a simple little tweak which I’m sure has many a case manufacturer out there going “Why didn’t I think of that!” and to us this is the true sign of genius. Being able to recognize a core idea (people like choices and change) and being able to implement it is what separates the Isaac Newtons / Albert Einsteins/ Galileo Galileis (etc.) from the rest of us. Bloody good job CoolerMaster, you ingenious wizards.


Before we continue lets go back to the rear exhaust fan we lightly touched on earlier. We have all seen the Cooler Master 690 case (for example) which allows you to mount any fan from a 80mm, 92mm to even a 120mm fan as your exhaust fan, and this is pretty standard fare. What is unusual about the HAF is that it comes with a 140mm fan which can be swapped out for a 120. Is 14cm becoming the new 12cm? Everything about 120mm vs. 92mm or 8 mm fans holds true for a 14cm vs. 12cm debate as well. You can have an even lower RPM (thus quieter) 140mm fan moving the same amount of air as a higher RPM (and consequently louder) 120mm fan. If 14cm is poised to replace 12cm I hope certain fan manufactures extended their FDB/SSO bearing fans to a 140mm line soon.


When you tip the case over onto its side and take a look at the bottom, you can see CM didn’t forget about the underside since there are some interesting things happening here as well. What really stood out were the ventilation holes CM has designed into it. As you can see your power supply should have no trouble sucking in all the fresh air in needs, regardless of the length of it. If these exhaust holes look suspiciously like a dual radiator mounting area you would be correct as a dual rad can easily be mounted here. We will get into all the WC’ing options later in the review but lets just say they are numerous enough to merit their own section.


The other important feature is the feet CM has selected for the HAF. As you already know Cooler Master did include casters to make this a mobile case, but in its factory stock configuration the HAF 932 comes with four downright gorgeous feet. These feet are the type you see on expensive Audio/Visual equipment in that they are not only beautiful to look in all there chromed glory, but they also have integrated rubber feet to give them a great grip. This is certainly a nice touch and we are surprised with their inclusion on what many will consider a mid priced case.
 
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AkG

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Interior Impressions

Interior Impressions



With the side case panel off, the shear enormity of the HAF's interior becomes readily apparent. In typical CoolerMaster fashion you have enough room to maneuver even the largest and unwieldy of kit into place. This case has so much extra space it can easily handle darn near anything you could ever want to stuff inside it and do so without jamming your fingers. In many ways this case reminds us a lot of a Cosmos S that has been morphed with a CM 690.


Before we take an in-depth look at the innards, lets first take a good look at the side panel itself. Once you get over the fact that they managed to cram a monster fan on the side door a lot of very interesting details start to emerge. One of these facts is if you do not like the single large fan you can swap it out and install FOUR 120mm fans. To us it appears Cooler Master took the time to tweak the plastic internal door of the Stacker 830 and has managed to integrate this idea into the actual door of the HAF 932.

Having all this GPU and CPU cooling potential integrated into a reasonably priced full tower enclosure is simply brilliant as a lot of people who want this level of performance can’t afford the sticker price of the 830 line.


To combat the vibration and flexing of the side panel Cooler Master has taken the simple and quite obvious step of making this one honkin’ thick panel. With the thickness of this door, you need not worry about flexing or torquing happening, as it simply is too strong for that to occur. If you get some unwanted vibrations when you mount multiple 120mm fans, we recommend simply mounting the fans on anti-vibration rubber mounts (which actually come free of charge with the Noctua fans).

Of course, all this is a bit of moot point as Cooler Master has included a very well designed, very quiet and above all fairly powerful monster fan. Yanking this fan and spending more money for four 120mm fans may be contraindicated in many situations unless you want are planning on placing a dual bay radiator (or two) on the side panel.


The side window may not be as large as some others we have seen but it does have a certain attractiveness to it which accents and highlights the other features of this case, rather than detracting from them. Some may argue that a full window is a necessity, but to us giving up a full window for the ability to mount numerous large fans more than makes up for any perceived limitations.

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Moving on to the fans, which are the main claim to fame for this case; we were fairly impressed with the 3 large fans which were included. These 9 bladed, 200 x 230 x 30mm fans (model A23030-10CB-3DN-L1) are rated at 700rpm. While Cooler Master has not released any information on these fans there are some reports that state they move well over 150CFM of air, while other forums state it is only 75CFM. We are more inclined to believe the 75CFM estimate.

On the whole, all three fans are very well mannered and produce very little felt vibrations when running full speed. All three also exhibited very little shaft slop and even though they are a long bladed fan they have surprisingly little off axis slop as well. They may not be as tight as some 120mm fans but pressing down on one of those long blades does product a heck of a lot more torque than doing so on a 120mm fan, so allowances have to be made.


The only really negative comment we have about these fans is how the top and side ones are mounted. Rather than use standard fan screws they are mounted using freakin’ metric hex screws which are royal pain to remove.
 
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Interior Impressions pg.2

Interior Impressions Con't



Continuing our perusal of the fans of the HAF we come the lone exhaust fan. This 7 bladed, 140 x 140 x 25 mm fan (model DF1402512) is once again reported to move 57CFM of air at 1200rpm. We really do wish Cooler Master would release hard data on these fans as we believe this is a little on the low side. We are confident in this assessment because the real model number (DF1402512SEDN) is a DongGuan FMET model which has a 1300rpm version listed moving over 88 CFM; however, this is unsubstantiated and should be taken with a large grain of salt.

Much like the 230mm fans, the 140mm fan is fairly quiet and is fairly vibration free. It is certainly not in the same league as a Noctua NF-P12-1300 or Scythe S-Flex E or D but it is not bad by any stretch of the imagination either. It does exhibit more slop than its larger brethren but it certainly is not the worst fan we have handled either. All in all, it is decent fan which is quiet enough for most people; however, if you are a silent PC enthusiast it probably will be one of the first things you remove.


Moving on to the expansion slots you can see that Cooler Master has gone for a tool-less style of installation. Unlike some other similar designs this style is actually user friendly and just works. You get 7 of these slots which should be enough for almost any motherboard on the market today. The best feature of the expansion slots is the fact the removable covers are meshed so as to allow hot air to exit and allow cool air to enter. This is especially nice if you have multiple cards as this can cause dead zones which these little bits of mesh counteract. All in all this is an elegant solution to a problem which many case manufactures even refuse to acknowledge.


Skipping over the motherboard area for the time being, we come to the front of the case which houses the six 5.25 Bays. These bays also boast a tool free installation process. To be specificm, Cooler Master has once again gone for their patented one click method. We will get into greater detail into this tool-less locking mechanism in the installation section, but for now lets just say it is a great way to properly secure your optical drives, and the only thing better than its intuitive user friendliness is the speed at which you can lock down any 5.25 device.

If you want you can opt out of this tool free mechanism and use the old fashioned screw based mounting system. Please note, this tool-free mechanism is only on one side so if you are looking for a decent compromise between the two extremes you can always use the tool-free method for the left side and then screw in the device on the right.


The drive cage of the HAF 932 is mounted perpendicular to the 5.25 bays. While we are not a fan of this setup (as it does cause airflow dead zones and makes the front fan work that much harder to properly set up air flow) it does have it benefits. The biggest of these is it makes installation of your hard drive a snap. When you add in a removable drive caddy for each of the 5 hard drive slots you end up with a very fast and easy installation method.

Needless to say, this is another tool-less installation area which CM is well known for getting right. It will be interesting to see if the HAF 932 has the same issue with PATA drives as the CM 690 does. We will investigate this issue and give a very precise overview of the “nuts and bolts” of the hard drive installation in the installation section. For the time being we are going to give Cooler Master the benefit of the doubt and assume they redesigned the persnickety caddy system since we last used it.


Continuing onto the bottom of this case we come to one of the two mounting locations for the Power Supply Unit (PSU). Technically you can have a dual PSU setup, but the HAF 932 does NOT come with necessary power adapter to allow powering up secondary PSU when you turn ON the computer. For all intents and purposes this is a bottom mounted PSU case which can house the power supply at the top if you are willing to sacrifice cooling to do so.

As you will see later in the review the bottom housing area is more than large enough to accommodate even the largest of PSUs. The area below where your PSU will reside is meshed to allow your power supply's fan easy access to fresh air. This in a nut shell removes the PSU from your cooling equation, but it does mean the fan in the PSU should run slower as it will have a steady supply of ambient temperature fresh air. Everything in life is a trade off but we think this is a darn good one, and actually prefer this design to a more normal “suck the hot air out the back of the case via the PSU fan” method of case cooling.


If you are like us and you go with a normal length power supply, you can even install another 120mm fan right next to it for additional cooling. This is possible as the PSU mounting bracket can slide closed for more standard length PSUs or be extended to give full support for longer models. While some may consider this overkill, we are firm believers that there is no such thing as “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”. Whether or not you ever use this location for an additional fan it is nice to see CM take the time to give you the option, and lets face you can never have too many options.
 
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Interior Impressions pg.3

Interior Impressions Con't



As we have said in the past the motherboard area of any case is what will make or break the design. In this instance, Cooler Master’s engineer’s went for the Winnebago method and give you a down right unbelievable amount of room. This room is further increased by the dual PSU design, in that right above the motherboard is enough free space to mount a PSU…even though you have it mounted on the bottom. This right here will remove a lot of the hassle factor with installing a motherboard. Let’s face it; the more room you have to maneuver the motherboard into position, the less likely you are to bash it or your fingers off on some ill placed corner; and anything which saves you blood, sweat and tears has to be a good thing.

Before we move on we would like to mention the motherboard tray is not removable and is rather an integral part of the case. There are pros and cons to removable motherboard trays and while we usually prefer to have it removable, the HAF is the exception since there is more than enough room within to move around. The other thing worth mentioning is the motherboard standoff holes are not labeled, but they have included a fold out map with all the holes cut out. This means you have to simply lay this map in position and screw in all the standoffs you need for your style of motherboard. While this is more effort than having the various holes labeled it is still a heck of a lot better than leaving you to fend for yourself.


Flipping the case over (and removing the other side panel) we can see that Cooler Master has taken the time to really think about and then engineer a great cable management system. Many cases on the market allow you to route your cables behind the motherboard on the other side of the case but this is the first time this idea has been taken to the Nth degree. Unlike others which give you a cutout at the bottom to route the various power connectors with one along the side (or leave this area open making it one big hole) to bring the cables back and a final at the top for your 12v 4/8 pin power cable; this gives you all these and a heck of a lot more.


At the bottom of the case you have an extra large opening which will make pushing all your cables to the other side much easier than usual. We personally hate it when this is just a little tiny (almost afterthought) cutout; and you have to thread one cable at a time through it or you are going to end up with a jam. The HAF on the other hand has a cavernous hole which easily twice the normal size. This really does make a difference and should speed up cable routing immensely.


Along the side of the motherboard tray we have not one but two large cutouts for bringing cables back to the proper side of the case. In a nut shell one can be used for your motherboard’s power connector while the other can be for your SATA and IDE connectors. Ensuring that the protective covering of your various cables will not be worn away over time these two holes are rounded (and just like all the other holes) have no sharp edges. We would have liked to have seen plastic protective sheaths around all the holes but we can understand why they are not included on a model in this price range.


The top of the motherboard area has not one, not two, but three cutouts for cable routing. Towards the back of the case you have two smaller holes which are obviously intended for your 4 or 8 pin 12v CPU power cable. As motherboard manufacturers have not decided on what is the best place to put this plug, this dual design is perfect as it allows you to get a heck of a lot closer to it before having to bring the cord back to the motherboard area. It may be nit picking but nothing ruins the look of a good clean case than a power cord draped half away across the top of the motherboard. The third hole is relatively long and this allows you to easily route other cables behind the motherboard tray. For example you can hide the top fan(s) molex plugs using this area or heck, depending on your motherboard even use this long one to bring over your 4/8 pin adapter. With all these holes you have options, and you really can never have to many options now can you?


Before we continue we would like to mention the abundance of zip tie hold-downs Cooler Master has made available. They give you so many of these tie-down points it looks like a giant backwards C (just inside the cable routing holes). With all these holes and tie-downs you can be as neat and tidy as you want to be; and you don’t have to compromise or modify the integrity of the case to do it. It really is nice to see Cooler Master go that extra mile; and it should pay dividends in loyal customers pretty darn quick.


We have left the biggest and most innovative feature of this case for last. With all these tweaks and cunningly crafted designed enhancements, Cooler Master has pulled off another major coupe with the inclusion of a cutout for your aftermarket CPU heatsink backplate. No longer will you have to remove the motherboard just to install your newest and shiniest cooler!

This to us is such a breakthrough and such a paradigm shift it makes all other cases on the market look down right antiquated. Now maybe we are a little biased as we do change our coolers like some people change their wardrobe, but if we had a nickel for every new enthusiast who was afraid to buy a certain cooler because it meant yanking their motherboard, we would have bought and retired to the Cayman Islands long ago (actually we would have enough to not only buy the Grand Cayman Islands but change its name to the Grand Canuck Islands). For all you first time builders out there this little feature will make your life so much simpler; and should put this case at the top of your “serious consideration” list.


Some people might say this is nothing more than an obvious improvement or even a “why didn’t we think of that” kind of deal; but to us the ability to see the “obvious” before everyone else can is the true mark of genius. It may seem simple and obvious in retrospect but if really was that simple or that obvious why did no one else do it before now? Bravo Cooler Master, you have certainly cemented the HAF 932 as a ground breaking case.

Taken as whole this interior simply blows away all misgivings any enthusiast may have about the external looks of this case. The HAF may have a unique styling but all this style and personality hides what is quite simply the best internal layout we have seen in a long while. From the small design tweaks which will make installation easier; to the cable management options, to that amazing backplate cutout, there simply is no reason to ignore this case.
 
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AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
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Installation

Installation



As with any PC installation we like to start with the power supply and get that over and done with. Usually, this is a no brainer as there is only one place it will fit: either at the top or the bottom of the case. Yes we have seen exceptions where a power supply is installed in a 5.25 bay but they are secondary units. Heck, we have even seen (and worked with) cases which can accept two PSU’s side by side; but this is the first time we have been able to install one in the top and the bottom of the same chassis. We are going to go with a bottom mounted PSU as we prefer this style and while the HAF can accept a top mount it does so at the expense of interior space and cooling.

The actual installation of the PSU is as straightforward as you could ask for. You simply take off the side panel and slide it in the bottom of the case in its normal orientation with its fan pointed down (this assumes you have a PSU with a bottom mounted fan, if it is a power supply with back mounted fan please ignore this). Underneath the PSU is a large 120mm mesh fan cutout so it should be able to suck in more than enough air. In this instance we have gone with our tried and true Seasonic S12 600W which is a standard-length ATX power supply.

The next thing on the installation list is the hard drives. In this instance we are only going to install the lone hard drive, but you can install up to 5 drives. With all perpendicularly mounted drive cages we recommend leaving all the empty drive caddies out of the case. This increases the chance of losing them, but by doing so it should increase the amount of air flow. Air flow in the HAF may not be a big concern as you can have a heck of a lot of potential to work with, but why handicap the case if you don’t have too?


To install the hard drive the first thing you have to do is release a caddy from the cage by opening the front door of it and pulling it out. Once this is done you then mount the removable drive caddy unto your drive. This too is a tool-less installation process in that the mounting pins which secure the caddy to the drive are locked into position and then you bend the flexible caddy around the drive and lever the pins into position. This may sound complicated but if you start with one side of the drive locked into position and then bend the caddy over the other side it becomes extremely easy to accomplish. In what is becoming a reoccurring theme, you can further lock the drive in place with screws but this really is overkill.


When this is accomplished you simply slide the drive caddy into one of the 5 positions and swing its door closed to lock the caddy in place. All in all this a very intuitive, user-friendly process; the only real down side to this method is the caddy does not do much to dampen vibrations from the drive (like it does in a Stacker). However, the ability to just slide the caddy into place and “set it and forget it” does make up for the increased noise potential.


Once the power supply and hard drives are in position, the next thing we like to do is prep the 5.25 bay area and then install our optical drive. Unlike some cases where you need to remove the front of the case to prep the area (i.e. yank out all those metal blanking panels) this case allows you to simply pop off the 5.25 covers and then remove the necessary metal covers without the need of removing the front face. This certainly saves time and does reduce the risk of breaking a retaining wing which keep the front of the case (i.e. the face) in place.


Next in our list of things to do is to press in on the patented one touch fastening system and slide you optical drive into position. By pressing in on the push button, two spring loaded retaining pins pop out and into position. Since they are spring loaded you don’t have to line them up with the holes of the optical drive first; rather then will spring forward as soon as you slide the drive far enough in. In practice, this means you push the drive most of the way in, push the button and slide the drive in further until you here a click and you can’t move the drive anymore. Easy, simple and very effective. To release the drive simply push the button again and the spring loaded retaining pins sink out and away from the optical drive allowing you to easily remove it.


With all the non motherboard related items installed we then move unto the motherboard area. It is great to see that Cooler Master included a handy chart which is used to help you install the standoff in the right locations for your particular motherboard.
 
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