I really like what I found in the HAF XB. As a standalone chassis with handles on the side for added portability for LAN events, the HAF XB offers everything one expects in a full tower chassis. Then you add in the fact that I can also run this without the three panels and use this as an open air test bench; I just love that part. What takes this over the top of me is the way things are designed like the X-dock, the bay covers removing from the outside, removable bays for more room for say a pump, combined with the fact there is room for a dual 120mm radiator inside as well, the HAF XB jumps way up the list of cases that I will remember for quite some time after using one.
On a technical perspective, you get just the right amount of bays, wires, aesthetics, and room to make using the HAF XB very enjoyable. Even with a fair bit of noise from the fans with 12V applied to them, as I said, the HAF XB is built for power, not sneaking up on someone. It is not as easy to put together as say the InWin X-Frame I am very fond of, but you also need to realize that this offering comes at one-fifth of the price of that InWin solution. There are plenty of options to completely customize this chassis to suit your own tastes and uses it almost makes my head spin when I think about all that you get.
While testing I went various routes, but all of it was done with only the two fans provided along with the ones of my components. When I removed just the top, just the sides, or all three, the temperatures were all the same, and as one would expect, very easy to keep component temperatures under control. Once I applied the panels back on to the chassis, that is both sides and the top, I only got a slight variance of a single degree to the CPU cooler as the GPU registered the same exact temperatures as open air does. That is due to the large ventilation holes used on the sides, the large mesh panel and the 120mm fans in the front, and the dual zone thermal design of the chassis really works as intended, there is no way I can dispute that with the results I saw.
In essence Cooler Master leaves you in command of which way you want to take your HAF XB build. I really like the fact that even if I start off with the intention for a LAN box, if I want to bench with it, or even include a smaller water loop, the HAF XB will allow me to do all of that. The truly amazing part about all of this to me is that Cooler Master not only gets high marks for design and layout, but with an MSRP of only $99.99, the HAF XB is going to be a hard case to beat.
I don't care if you are in the market for a full-tower, a mid-tower, or even an SFF chassis, I strongly urge you to find the nearest retailer and get yourself the HAF XB from Cooler Master.