Cooler Master Unleashes the HAF X

9.7 Overall Score

 

Before we begin the actual installation, we need to cover the hardware that is going to be thrown inside the HAF X. The first list is hardware going into both the water cooled and air cooled installations. Secondly, we will cover the gear used for the water cooling portion and then for the air cooled one.

Hardware for both installations:
  • Foxconn Inferno Katana P55 Motherboard
  • Intel Core i5 661 Processor
  • 3GB of Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 2000CL7 Memory
  • BFG GTX 260 55nm
  • Samsung  128GB SSD
  • 2TB Hitachi HDD and 1TB Seagate HDD
  • LG Blu Ray/DVD drive
  • NZXT Sentry fan controller
  • Creative X-Fi Platinum Sound Card

Water only:

  • Swiftech Apogee XT Water Block
  • Feser Xchanger 360mm Radiator
  • Switftech microRes 2nd generation
  • Switftech MCP655 water pump
  • EVGA GTX 470

Air only:

  • Thermaltake Frio CPU Cooler
  • No GTX 470


Installing the HDDs in the hot swap trays is very straightforward. The bottom of the tray has holes that can fit regular 3.5” drives or holes for 2.5” drives which includes SSDs. Once installed, you simply insert the bay and HDD into the available slot and push until it clicks in place. We installed the SSD in the internal hard drive bay using the 3.5” to 2.5” adapter.
Flipping around to the inside of the case, we plugged in the two SATA cables and single 4-pin molex connector to the back of the hot swap back plane. The wire routing available in the HAF X makes easy work of a nice ‘clean’ look.

Installing the PSU is the same as many other cases. We first removed the PSU shroud by unscrewing the two tool less screws holding it in place. We set it back in to show just how nice and clean it looks with it installed. The shroud serves two purposes, it directs air flow from the front fan into the power supply and provides a hiding area for all the extra cables you do not need. Of course, a fully modular PSU would work, too.


To start the radiator installation, you need to remove the top cover by pressing the tabs inside the case.  Our Feser Xchanger 360mm radiator nestled in very nicely at the top of the HAF X. We had no issues with clearance between the bottom of this very thick radiator and the top of the motherboard. In addition to the single 200mm fan, we installed a 120mmx38mm Scythe fan to help remove heat from the radiator.
Now, from the radiator installation pictures you can see that the holes do not exactly line up, but we were assured by Cooler Master that the production models will have the proper amount of holes for this type of radiator.


The HAF X actually makes the Foxconn Inferno Katana look small next to the NINE expansion slots. There is plenty of room to work inside the case making installation of the pump and tubing very easy. We had to position the pump as far forward as possible in order to make use of the PSU shroud. For this installation we could not use the fan shroud with the GPUs, but we did install the GPU support bracket in order to give you an idea of how it works. The support bracket is best used in multi-gpu setups to help relieve stress off the motherboard PCIe slots.
You can see in the final water cooling installation image that the HAF X easily fits a single loop water cooling setup. We would ideally reposition the reservoir so that the slight tilt you see would go away. One other simple solution would be to remove the PSU shroud. In a water cooling build, we would like to leave it out anyway, so that we can maximize the room we have to fit all that gear. The gpu support bracket can also be fitted with an 80mm fan which is available as an added option and not included with the HAF X.



For our air cooling setup, we chose to use Thermaltake’s new Frio CPU cooler. We are putting together a large CPU cooling review which the Frio will be part of. The reason for no GTX 470 is, believe it or not, that we had issues with overheating and returned it.
The gpu shroud fits easily in place and allows room for plugging in power to the graphics card. To complete the graphics cooling of the HAF X, the side panel with the large 200mm fan needs to be installed. This setup creates a direct flow from the front intake fan, over the graphics card and out the side panel.
Next up, results and conlusion!

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