Cooler Master’s new LAN case is funny-lookin’

PC enclosures are all alike these days. They all have that same cuboid shape with an inverted PSU emplacement, side-facing drive bays, grommeted cable routing holes, and charcoal-black paint job. It’s a great design, but it’s gotten awfully boring to write about.

Thankfully, Cooler Master has thrown a little excitement and novelty into the mix with its new HAF XB enclosure. This is a LAN party case designed to accommodate a full-sized ATX motherboard and a relatively generous assortment of components, but it has a pretty unconventional layout. Take a look:

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The motherboard lies flat at the top, flanked by two 120-mm intake fans and crowned by a 200-mm spinner at the top. There’s enough space in there for CPU coolers up to 7.1″ tall and graphics cards as long as 13.1″. Storage and power all go below the motherboard in a separate compartment, which includes two hot-swappable “X-Dock” hard-drive bays, six SSD bays, and a couple of optical drive bays. That compartment also has a pair of 80-mm exhaust fans and a filtered intake for the PSU fan.

Cooler Master says the HAF XB should already be available stateside, and it quotes a suggested retail price of $99.99. Sure enough, Newegg already has in stock at that priceβ€”and shipping is free.

I like my PC to be tucked away under my desk, so the HAF XB would get a pass for me as a daily driver. And heck, for a LAN party, I might be more inclined to slap together a small-form-factor build. Still, I’m sure certain folks will appreciate the unique design and the opportunity to show off something other than a boring old tower case. Kudos to Cooler Master for going there.

Comments closed
    • shaq_mobile
    • 7 years ago

    Lian li made a case like this except its totally flat and uses black brushed aluminum. We named it fridge Vader. Fridge Vader is still floating around town somewhere… These cases are usually tough to build in and don’t have good ventilation. Also, after owning one I realized that the size and shape isn’t very advantageous. It’s width and height aren’t convenient for anything in particular, in my experience.

    • kristi_johnny
    • 7 years ago

    yep, love it, it’s a lot of unused space in a normal case, like having more than 4 5.25″ bays.
    Standard case should be rearanged and this one is a beauty. Only downside is rhat it a little wide a little heavy 18 kilos. They should start using other materials for panels, not thick metal sheet, it doesn’t have to be a tank.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 7 years ago

    Looks cool brand new but I reckon it’d look like a little cube of dust before long in the avg enthusiast bear cave

    • Oldtech
    • 7 years ago

    I like it. But then, I drive a Scion XB.

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    Wait… So Cooler Master isn’t getting into DIY custom-built laser printers?

    (Reminds me an awful lot of [url=http://toner.callpsny.com/2506-large/brother-hl-5450dn-laser-printer-monochrome-40ppm-black-1200dpi-x-1200dpi-250-sheet-input-capacity-ethernet-usb-20.jpg<]something like this[/url<]...)

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    funny? is that a nice way of saying fugly?

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    First take: Oh, that’s a nice layout. Lots of room for —

    Double take: — is that thing really as big as two Antec Sonatas glued together?

    • dmjifn
    • 7 years ago

    I like the layout! But is it really a LAN party case if it doesn’t have a handle?

      • Waco
      • 7 years ago

      It has handles on each side…

    • Metonymy
    • 7 years ago

    … I think it’s handsome…. am I the only one… please don’t answer that…

    • not@home
    • 7 years ago

    This case looks like it could double as a footstool for under my desk.

    • rrr
    • 7 years ago

    Some may call it ugly, but it’s extremely functional. I’d buy it, if I needed a new case.

    • Oldtech
    • 7 years ago

    I like the model number: HAF XB or Half a SCION XB

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    The front bezel reminds me of chocolate bars….hmmmm yummy

    • Convert
    • 7 years ago

    Well now, oddly enough this is exactly what I am needing for my home server rack.. I wanted something that had good ventilation (airflow and low noise) and could handle large CPU coolers. I actually had two standard ATX HAF cases and was seriously considering modding them to sit side by side, I was just working out the logistics for getting access to the right hand motherboard. I love the HAF cases, might not be much to look at but they are truly good cases. I looked at one of the mountainmods dual ATX cases but it was too wide, this case on the other hand will fit perfectly!

      • vargis14
      • 7 years ago

      Well its a great case that will fit under a hobbits desk:)

      But i do love HAF cases,

    • tbone8ty
    • 7 years ago

    this would be a solid case for a bencher

    seems to be alot of excess space around the edges, i could see them leaning it out a bit though, that “hump” on the top isnt really necessary

      • Captain Ned
      • 7 years ago

      It looks like an enclosed version of the MSI “benchtop” cases that Damage talked about here and gave away at the August BBQ. I had the option on one at the BBQ but since I’m a build for 6 years then rebuild guy I couldn’t take it from the guy who really wanted it (Dposcorp).

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    When you start making cubes like this it really just starts looking like a lot of wasted space… like what would happen if they chose a mini-itx motherboard layout instead and then trimmed all the fat off?

    I agree for lan parties, mini-itx is where it’s at… Case makers just need to get the cases right. Full sized graphics card, full sized PSU, two 3.5 drive bays. Maybe a slim CD or full sized depending upon how it fits.

    Also one side that is at least as big as a 120mm fan so it can be fitted with one. Top of the case or side so you can do flow through.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      The only thing that disappoints me about the smallest ITX cases is the lack of a positive airflow design that allows for an integrated water-cooler. You don’t really need a full-size PSU, I think, since you’d be limited to a single GPU, so ~600W max accounting for all losses and aging.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        That too, but smaller then full size PSUs are quite limited for options. And we all know PSUs do make a difference. I wouldn’t care if there was a decent selection in smaller PSUs.

        Some mini-itx cases you’re even stuck with a proprietary PSU and that’s no bueno.

      • Mentawl
      • 7 years ago

      I think if you took this, specced it for a mini-itx board and trimmed all the fat off, you’d pretty much end up with a Coolermaster-style Bitfenix Prodigy πŸ™‚

        • Corrado
        • 7 years ago

        The Bitfenix is too fat because it lays the motherboard parallel to the ground. I’d rahter have it 3-4″ taller and 3-4″ skinnier. Turn the p/s vertical as well. Theres so much wasted space in the Bitfenix cases.

          • Airmantharp
          • 7 years ago

          Silverstone Fortress FT-03 Mini.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Still about the same dimensions as the Fenix, only obscuring everything and making it a lot harder to use.

            Something like this is about the best I’ve seen:
            [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112227[/url<] But I don't think it can take a full size graphics card and the drives need to be organized better. It needs room so you can stuff your PSU cables somewhere too.

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            That’s the sacrifice you make, to go much smaller than an FT03 Mini or a Prodigy, you’re gonna need to make concessions in the areas of organization and features. That Lian-Li case isn’t good for much more than light gaming/casual use, cause it won’t fit a decent sized graphics card and good luck shoehorning a closed loop water cooler into there once your PSU and all it’s cables have been shoved in.

            The closest thing to what you described in your original post is an SG08, it merely has 2 2.25″ and one 3.5″ bay and mounting a closed LC only requires the tiniest bit of modding, otherwise it can fit pretty much any graphics card other than the ones with heightened PCB’s

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t know why you’d attach a water cooler to a mini-itx system. That would take away from its tiny footprint.

            And yes, the whole reason for going with a mini-itx system is the size. That’s pretty much sums it up in its entirety. If you’re going to put a mini-itx motherboard in a micro-atx size case, you could just go with a micro-atx case that supports micro-atx motherboards.

            Pretty much everything I described could be done though.

            Looking at the SG08 it definitely has some cooling issues. There is a giant PSU in the front that doesn’t have proper airflow and it’s also surrounded by the hard drive trays. I really think the only orientation for a PSU in a mini-itx case is above the CPU socket, so it pulls heat right off of the CPU and throws it outside of the case immediately. A lot of PSUs have 120mm fans, some 140, so it’s a great idea.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I talked about why I thought the Fenix was getting closer, but still has a bit to go on the release post for it on TR here.

        The Fenix is essentially too fat like Corrado said. The handles take up too much space and even without them the case is about the size of a normal micro-atx case, which makes it sorta pointless. Just go with a micro-atx case then. It definitely looks sexy though.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I did this 10 years ago with a Biostar ATX board and a Duron 600. Was epic \o/.

    Admittedly my version used the old removable motherboard tray from a cheap AOpen case and the build did contain a bit more wood than this Coolermaster design. Well, okay, a LOT MORE wood. But the layout was identical.

    I’ve often wondered why nobody bothered doing this, I was just putting old hardware in a pile and it was when a CD-ROM drive, a couple of 3.5″ drives and a PSU ended up under a motherboard that the whole layout thing just clicked. Like the Bitfenix Shinobi mITX case though, this thing seems bigger than it needs to be, though maybe I’m just remembering it wrong, because back then a midi-tower was typically large enough to warrant [i<]wheels[/i<] :0

    • moose17145
    • 7 years ago

    Although it appears most do not agree with me, I actually rather like the looks of this thing. To each their own.

      • Waco
      • 7 years ago

      Agreed. They are amazingly sturdy too — I can easily sit on the edge one without it flexing in the slightest. Holding one (even empty) with the reinforced handles makes you want to smash something with it. πŸ˜›

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        That would be the subjective test for solidity, wouldn’t it? That you feel confident enough in it to use it as a weapon?

          • Waco
          • 7 years ago

          It’s a pretty good indication IMHO. A lot of the cases I review (along with a lot of the keyboards I get to play with as well) are subjected to the “could I kill you with this and have it not break” test of durability. πŸ™‚

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      Sitting on computer cases is kind of like kicking the tires on a car.

      • rogthewookiee
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah the headline was misleading, it looks rather normal to me!

      It looks quite nice that is to say….

    • Airmantharp
    • 7 years ago

    Lots of holes for airflow, seemingly few filters. I even like the design, but I demand an enclosure with positive, filtered airflow. Also, the 200mm fan on the top is a waste; a monitor would most likely sit there, given the wide footprint this thing has. Good of Cooler Master to keep trying though!

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, in 2012 I don’t understand why anyone would offer a case without filters for every expected inlet. And yet even on otherwise well-filtered cases you usually see a side panel perforated for a fan but no filter (and they’re often larger than 120mm, so even aftermarket filters are hard to find).

    • no51
    • 7 years ago

    The desktop form factor is coming back!

      • kmieciu
      • 7 years ago

      Unfortunately not. I’m still looking for a desktop case with solid top plate so I can put something on it.

        • Arclight
        • 7 years ago

        You don’t have to wait. You can make a special order from Caselabs and configure the case “Top cover” as “solid”. Silly you saying you didn’t have options.

          • kmieciu
          • 7 years ago

          They dont have desktops only towers.

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            How about SilverStone?
            [url<]http://www.silverstonetek.com/product_case.php?tno=2&area=en[/url<] Browse on the left for different series with various form factors.

            • kmieciu
            • 7 years ago

            Puny HTPC cases with small airflow and insane prices justified just by their ugly “livingroom” looks…

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            Then it’s MOD TIME for you buddy as i doubt any future cases simillar to the HAF XB will feature a non ventilated top…..

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Some of us never saw the need for eight empty drive bays and motherboards with six empty slots in the first place πŸ˜‰

    • bjm
    • 7 years ago

    Wow.. I like it.

    • mkk
    • 7 years ago

    Oh my. I’ve seen some “funny looking” CM cases in the past but this might take the price. Wonder if the designer also worked on the Antec Dark Fleet line. Will these even sell in Taiwan?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Dimensions approx 17″x13″x17″…so 13″ high. If they cut it in half horizontally and made it ITX (with TWO optical drives! yaaay) – and a little less ugly – I would buy it.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      ITX is where it’s at for those that might actually be serious about attending LAN parties (if such people really exist!).

      Still looking for the perfect ITX case, but the Bitfenix Prodigy is damn close.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      Actually, that’s exactly the right dimensions to go into a living room A/V stack. Unfortunately, it’s also too ugly for most living rooms. CM could have made it look more like two stacked AV components (the illusion of slicing it horizontally) rather than one stunted server rack. But that’s all surface aesthetics; they certainly could do a version of this exact form-factor with a more stylish fascia with that in mind. Of course the reality is that unless you want to stuff it full of drives for media, virtually nobody needs that much PC for HTPC (that Zotac from a couple of days ago is plenty). So it would really only be for people who want a gaming PC in their living room, and they probably don’t have a significant other’s tastes to please anyway πŸ˜‰

    • FuturePastNow
    • 7 years ago

    I can certainly see the benefit of the layout to a computer meant to be hauled around a lot. With the giant tower heatsinks we use today, a tower has to be laid on its side (and only one side!) for transport, or you risk having that cantilevered mass break free and destroy everything. And it looks like it has handles on the side.

    Not sure I’d want hot-swap drive bays on a computer at a public LAN, though.

    (do LAN parties still exist?)

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<](do LAN parties still exist?)[/quote<]The twenty-odd smelly teenagers that spent a night fragging each other at my friends' house over the summer seem to think they still do.

        • Thatguy
        • 7 years ago

        What smelly smells were they producing?

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          Whatever it is teenage boys smell like. Addled hormones. Red Bull. Inchoate anger. Clearasil.

          Basically what I imagine these front page comments smell like whenever SSK and his fans get a thread going.

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            Lol.

            • Thatguy
            • 7 years ago

            I knew you wouldn’t let me down.

    • brute
    • 7 years ago

    not the first case to be this ugly

      • DarkUltra
      • 7 years ago

      too many details and plastic looking front

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      YOU SO UGLY THAT EVEN APPLE WON’T SUE YOU!

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