Cooler Master has had great success with the HAF series of chassis designs. This lineup includes the HAF 932, the HAF 922, and the HAF X I had the pleasure of seeing about a month ago. The main idea of the chassis is to offer High Air Flow, as the naming scheme suggests. In all three of the previous versions, air flow was definitely included in the design and layout of those chassis'. Some had windows, some didn't; some were painted black throughout, and some weren't. In the HAF series, there was a nice mix of features, unique designs, and superior air flow in all.
With the previous three incarnations, all the holes were filled with fans, some had great cable management, and all of them had LED lighting. But every addition to the basic chassis also adds cost. At the top of that line, the HAF X will cost from $159-199 dollars depending on where you are shopping. And at the lower end, the 922 will cost you between $89.99 and $109.99. What I see typically coming next is that users swap out the LED lights for another color, or they want to add water cooling, and have to remove fans that are in the way on most HAF models. It looks like Cooler Master saw this as well, and took steps to offer something new.
The HAF 912 is a sort of hybrid chassis in my mind. It keeps features such as a motherboard tray with wire management, room for 200mm fans, screw holes and grommets in place for water cooling, and a similar outer appearance. Obvious changes in the 912 are that it is a mid tower like the 922 and it only includes two of the possible six fans to fill the holes. Then Cooler Master offers new design features like a larger spacing behind the motherboard tray and a removable and repositionable hard drive rack. Don't let the lack of a few features keep you from continuing on, Cooler Master promises an impressive pricing to offset the features it lacks, to give you a DIY version of the HAF series Mid Tower.
Specifications, Availability and PricingSpecifications, Availability and Pricing
The body of the HAF 912 is made from SECC steel, painted on just the outside. Cooler Master explains it like this. They realize the trend is to have the interior painted, but it doesn't help air flow or wire management, but does add significantly to the cost. The fronts, plastic bezel is black with mesh inserts and drive covers, and keeps styling with a military feel to it like the other HAF chassis have. The motherboard tray had tabs punched in it along with Holes for CPU access and wire management while supporting both m-ATX and ATX motherboards. Between the tray and the bezel, the rack assembly can support up to four 5.25" devices, six 3.5" devices internally, along with a smaller rack on the floor for two 2.5" drives. A special feature I haven't seen in a HAF yet, and it's a takeoff from the CM 690II. Four of the hard drives, as an assembly, can either be removed entirely, offering up to 390mm of space for your GPU or rotated 90° and reinstalled.
Cooling is addressed inside the HAF 912, but just barely. The real plan here is to allow you to figure out if you want to order a 200mm MegaFlow fan or two, in either red or blue LED, or no LEDs at all. Cooler master makes room in the top and the front of the chassis for 200mm fan placement. The two included 120mm fans, one placed in the rear as an exhaust and the other in the front as an intake, it does offer a bit of flow inside while you make up your mind on the final cooling solution. Water cooling is an acceptable option, as the top of the chassis is drilled to accept a dual 120mm radiator. It may go inside if the motherboard components don't cause an issue, and the rear of the case has grommets to allow passage to the radiator if it is placed externally. Cooler Master doesn't offer a window for this version just yet, but there is a ventilated area to accept either a 120mm or 140mm fan to inject a bit of fresh air to the graphics cards.
I'm sure Cooler Master is eager to get the HAF 912 out on shelves, as they do have a very feature rich chassis that leaves just enough for the DIY'er in all of us to add our signature to the finished product. The intention over all things in the 912, was that Cooler Master wants to offer us a chassis that takes all the best of the HAF series, while keeping other things simple, taking the streamlined approach to this case design. Reason being that in the end, they wanted to offer us a chassis that offers enthusiast features, yet keeping a budget minded price tag. From what I have been told, we are to expect the HAF 912 to hit stores with a MSRP of $59.99. Let's take a closer look and see just what Cooler Master delivers for your $60.
A natural brown box with a silkscreen over it helps to save everyone money. Here Cooler Master shows the chassis under their logo. The right side has a close up look at the mesh used in the build surrounded by wavy lines and arrows that I assume represent air flow.
This side holds just an image of the 912 (sorry but UPS covered it), and in many languages at the bottom, that this is a computer case.
The back of the box has eight of the main features found inside the HAF 912. At the bottom it shows the configurations of the removable drive assembly and the room it affords when left out, and that this chassis is in fact water cooling friendly.
The specifications are found on the last side panel. Under the specs, Cooler master has an area to mark if this includes a passive or active cooled power supply at varying wattages, and there is also a check box for a windowed version.
As with most cases, Cooler Master goes with Styrofoam caps to center and protect the chassis from any accidental drops, while smaller abrasions are kept at bay by the plastic liner surrounding the chassis.
The Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower CaseThe Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower Case
I mentioned the HAF 912 keeps the chunky militaristic look in the bezel. Plastic makes up the surround and support, while mesh is used on the drive bay covers, and works as a dust filter for the intake fan at the bottom.
The front I/O is placed at the top of the front panel. Offering two USB 2.0 ports, audio jacks, and the power and reset buttons surrounding the indicator lighting. On top, the front has a flat tray for setting your phone or USB devices while they are in use or charging.
The left side of the chassis has a bump out to allow the provided fan hole to go easily next to your graphics card. Adjusting the light I was able to get the HAF logo painted on the door to show really well. On the opposing panel it is completely flat and is painted in the same textured, black finish.
In the rear of the chassis there is the rear I/O area next to the included 120mm exhaust fan. If you move down you run into the 7 + 1 configuration of expansion bays; the eighth slot is to be used for fan control or even lighting switches. That leaves the hole for the power supply and the hole on the right of it is for the installation of a padlock loop.
Under the HAF 912 it is supported with thick, hard rubber feet. These not only keep the chassis from sliding around, but offer room for cool air to be drawn through the dust cover on the left that sits directly under the PSU. In the middle of the floor, there are holes to mount a 2.5" drive directly on the floor. Surrounding these four holes are the mounting clips and screws for the 2.5" drive rack. If you look by the bottom right foot of the 912, you see Cooler Master adds a loop to tie cabling down to use in conjunction with said rack.
Before we get to the inside I wanted to be sure to get a better look at all the mounting holes in the roof of the 912. There is room for two 120mm fans or a 200mm fan to be installed. It also offers a good place to add a radiator if you plan to water cool this chassis.
Inside The Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower CaseInside The Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower Case
Like I said, the interior is left with just the SEC coating, not painted. The hardware box is strapped to the hard drive assembly and didn't get lose all the way from Hong Kong to the mid-west USA.
Behind the bezel there is a rack for four 5.25" drives, and with the use of adapters you can install a floppy drive, too. There is only one tool-less clips for the 5.25" bays placed all the way at the top. It is repositionable, so if you don't want to use the top slot, you can move it where you want it. The mid section holds the removable and rotatable hard drive rack. Pop riveted to the floor are the other two 3.2" drive bays making a total of six.
Screwed to the floor is an additional 2.5" drive rack. It will allow you to install two drives in it here, or mounted above the lower 3.5" rack. Once it is removed from here, the floor has holes to allow a 2.5" drive to mount directly to the floor.
The power supply gets supported with four rubber pads. Under it is a plastic mesh dust filter that can be removed from the outside for easy cleaning.
The motherboard tray has everything you could want. CPU access for the back plates, large holes for easy wire management, tabs to tie wiring to the tray, and a clearly labeled chart and letter assigned holes for the motherboard risers.
Wiring is plenty long enough to reach any motherboards connections. The wiring includes the power LED, HDD LED, power switch and reset switch connection in multi-colored wiring. In all black you get a USB 20 and HD or AC'97 audio connections.
The seven 3.5" bays use a plastic tray that will lock the drive in place. To use these, you simply flex the tray around a 3.5" drive, or with the use of a few included screws, screw in a 2.5" drive to the base of the trays. The rack here is built in a very open design to allow that 230mm fan in front of it to get good flow into the chassis.
Simply removing four screws from the back side, and then lifting the black plastic tabs. The drive bays can be completely removed to make room for even the longest graphics cards.
Here it is reinstalled with a 90° twist to the left.
If you were so inclined, the 2.5" drive rack can be moved off the floor and mounted to the top of the remaining 3.5" bays.
The offset from the motherboard tray to the back panel is greater than what I had in the 922, and is why the 922 had large bumps on the back panels. Doesn't matter where you tie the wires, or even if you want to hide the 24-pin line here, the spacing is enough to still allow for an easy panel installation.
Accessories and DocumentationAccessories and Documentation
Inside the box that was tied to the drive bays you will find a 3.5" to 2.5" plastic adapter tray and two metal, 5.25" to 3.5" adapters. For all of your 3.5" hard drive installations, just take two of the twelve provided slides and stick one in the holes on either side. Simply slide the drives in and make sure the tabs lock into place.
Also included are the motherboard speaker, screw and security loop surrounding four spacers for 200mm fan installation. You get ten zip ties to aid in wire management, and screws for the power supply, risers, screws for the front fans, and screws for the risers and miscellaneous drives to finish off the included hardware.
The instructional fold out has great information, not only for the parts and included hardware, but also offers well detailed instructions on how to use the HAF 912 and all of its included features.
The Build and Finished ProductThe Build and Finished Product
Prepping for the installation, I pulled off the front bezel. This exposes the 120mm included fan and also shows that Cooler Master designed this area for either two 120mm fans or a 200mm fan.
With the cooler I will be using I didn't need the exhaust fan. So I removed it from the back, and with the use of the 25mm black fan screws, I added it to the intake while I installed my optical drive. Worth mentioning also is that the front I/O stays with the case, so when you remove the bezel there are no connected wires to hassle with.
With the bezel back in place, the black faced optical drive blends right in to the coloring. If it wasn't for the writing on the drive, it leaves a very stealth look.
For a mid tower, the HAF 912 offers a lot of room. To prove the point I left the hard drive assembly out. With it removed there is no reason dueling HD 5970's can fit comfortably in here. With all the wire management tie points and access holes, it leaves a very clean and air flow friendly result.
Wiring behind the tray is very intuitive. The tie points are in all the right areas to keep things both tidy and out of view from the front.
All reassembled and ready for power, the only real change is that you can see there is a drive installed. Otherwise it keeps a simple yet attractive presence on the desk.
When under power, the only lighting you get out of the box is seen here. While both LEDs are an orange-red color, the left one represents HDD activity, and the dimmer light on the right signifies power.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
The naming of this chassis is a bit of a misnomer. In the original 932 and 922, as well as the HAF X, the "HAF" stood for High Air Flow. In the 912 it is potential for that flow we are already used to seeing. Don't get me wrong here, I completely get the point that this is a customizable solution that offers all the best design features you can pack into a mid tower while still offering the consumer a smoking hot price point. After you get your HAF 912 home and add some fans and possibly water cooling, internally or externally, and any LED or Cold Cathode lighting, you can really make a personal statement with this newest version of the HAF series.
The list of included features goes on and on. More space behind the motherboard tray is a great addition to the 912. Along side of things like a customizable bay arrangement, great options for cooling, and an attractive exterior, The 912 is a great starting off point to a custom case. Any theme you want, go for it! The HAF 912 from Cooler Master is the ultimate hybrid of case design, simplicity, and affordability. You really should consider this for your next mid tower case choice.
On top of keeping what makes the HAF a HAF in basic design elements, it does so without putting a huge dent in your wallet in these hard economic times we are in. I got my sample really early. I mean when this review airs, the HAF 912 has just "launched", so it will take just a bit more time before they make it to retail outlets. As I mentioned, with a winner in features and affordability, I bet Cooler Master is as eager to supply you with it as you are to buy one. So keep your eyes peeled. With a MSRP of $59.99 US dollars, how exactly can you go wrong here? Get your money ready; the HAF 912 will be a modders dream, and the next "it" case to buy.
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