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Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Mod-Tower Chassis Review

Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Mod-Tower Chassis Review

The HAF Stacker 935 hits our labs. Have a look what this new mod-tower design has in store - and yes, we will be adding the 915R to it as well.

@chad_sebring
Published Wed, Oct 16 2013 9:02 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction

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We just had a look at the much smaller HAF Stacker 915F, and we had made quite a few references that there was a much larger bit of kit to the HAF Stacker series, and the time has come to see exactly what that is. As we addressed in the previous review, there are two components of the HAF Stacker design that is designated at the HAF Stacker 935. There is a very well laid out tower chassis that comes shipped without a top panel installed on it. This is because there is the second component of the HAF Stacker 915R that also ships inside of the Stacker 935 packaging. Since all of the components are able to accept other components at both the top and bottoms of all of these designs, you can set these two up as you want them laid out, and possibly, like I will be doing, you can add a third components, and since I have the 915R already, we will take this new Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 to new heights in chassis design.

Since all of these components are made to go together, it only makes sense that they are all very aesthetically similar. The 915F that we already looked at only differs from the included 915R in the aspect that the 915R does not have a front I/O, that is left in the main body of this new design. Now of course you can run multiple systems in these two components that make up the HAF Stacker 935, or you could fill the smaller section with quite a bit of water cooling gear. With the option to stack three components together, you can have both the ability to water cool everything inside of the main chassis, but you could always grab another of the 915 designs and add it to the main chassis configuration to accomplish this.

While this definitely isn't the typical design we are used to seeing, there are a lot of options when you sit back and appreciate the new HAF Stacker designs. Now that we have seen all the components of chassis designs that can go into this system, we have a much better feel for this new Mod-Tower design from Cooler Master, and even if you cannot appreciate what a design such as this has to offer, you will definitely appreciate the design innovations that went into a design like this.

Even if you don't buy the HAF Stacker from Cooler Master, it is reasonable to postulate that other manufacturers will soon use what is found here, and in some way implement it into new designs that have yet to release. But enough with the dribbling of words, I say we get right into the HAF Stacker 935 and see the new direction in which Cooler Master is going to try to stay a step above the competition.

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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Here is where we get a bit technical and things start to get interesting. Inside of the box, you get the HAF Stacker 935. Inside you will find two separate cases. First is the larger section of the design that is named the 925, and is the only section of the HAF 935 that will not be available outside of this packaging. The second components of the chassis is the 915R, a similar design to the 915F we just looked at, but the PSU is in the back of this design, and there are three hard drive bays added into the 915R where the PSU in the 915F used to reside. Since we are sticking with the 915R so far, continuing with its offerings, you get a single ODD bay, room for up to four storage drives, offers room for a Mini-ITX motherboard, and also has the same side panels we saw in the 915R.

Inside of the 925 you are given three ODD bays, six storage bays in removable racks, and a hidden 2.5" drive post behind the motherboard tray. On the motherboard tray, there is room for EATX, ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards, five wiring holes with grommets, plenty of tie points, and a huge CPU access hole. At the back of the 925, you are offered a 140mm fan to exhaust the chassis, and a stack of eight expansions slots, with a plus one slot turned vertically. The power supply mounts in the bottom of the 925, and there is a removable dust filter that slides out the back of the chassis.

Cooling is a bit strange is a chassis from the HAF series. Every chassis to release before this offered huge amounts of air flow out of the box, and with the HAF Stacker, there is plenty of ability for massive amounts of air flow, but it is up to the user to provide in this design. Considering both components in the HAF Stacker 935, it has a 92mm fan placed in the front of the 915R to cool that section. The sides of the 915R have room for three 120mm fans in each panel, or you can choose a pair of 140mm fan for each. In the 925 section of the chassis, you can install a pair of 120mm fans to the front, you can install a pair of them at the top, but the only fan provided here is the 140mm at the back. If you plan to water cool in this chassis, conceivably, you could easily install four radiators inside of the Stacker 935. If you planned to add another 915 to the mix, you can add another pair of radiators to that total.

Just like when we discussed the pricing on the 915F being a really great deal, the HAF Stacker 935 follows that trend with an MSRP of $169.99. So in essence you are getting the 915R for $69.99, and then the 925 comes in at $100, which is a really good price point for any feature rich mid-tower or fairly descent full-tower offerings. The one thing that takes the 925 above any other normal chassis design is that it is designed to be added on to as the user needs more room, or wants to simplify the office setup all-in-one box.

Cooler Master definitely is delivering the first ever Mod-Tower chassis, and I can see many enthusiasts gravitating to this design, and also this is easily a modders paradise for some fully equipped outstanding systems we are seeing these days.

Packaging

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With the much larger packaging of the HAF Stacker 935 from Cooler Master, one would think there is a lot of room to find out about the chassis inside, but in reality, you will see, very little information is given at all.

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Keeping the packaging simple helps to offset costs and leave more for the chassis inside of the box. This is why the logo and chassis name are repeated on this thinner side of the packaging.

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The back of the box is much worse for wear as it looks like the box was dragged across a parking lot somewhere in its travels to our lab. There is a puncture here as well; here's to hoping that the inner packaging is up to the job.

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Since the three previous sides all had the same printing on them, there was no need to change things up on the last panel either. There is the sticker at the bottom that will denote the model number and weight of the chassis inside.

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Inside of the box there is a layer cake of chassis and foam. Both cases are wrapped in a thin layer of foam made into a bag to keep vibrations from marring the finishes. To keep both components in place and separated from each other, thick Styrofoam caps and a center piece are used. Even with all the packaging damage on the outside, the HAF Stacker 935 arrived in perfect condition.

Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Mod-Tower Chassis

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Fresh out of the packaging, we get a glimpse at the two components of the HAF Stacker 935. To the left is the 915R, and to the right is the 925. As it is designed, the 915R is to go on the top of the 925.

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The reason I say it belongs on top is that Cooler Master does not ship a top on the 925. This allows the 915R to slide right into place and get secured with four screws. The top of the 915R will fit the 925; you just need to do more work to get the 915R on the bottom of the 925.

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The front of the HAF Stacker 935 offers four optical bay drives between both sections of the case, it has two logos in the sections of mesh, and only the 925 has an I/O panel that includes the power button, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports and 3.5mm audio jacks.

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Looking at things from the left side, there is a large ventilated area on the side of the upper 915R, and on the 925, there is a very large, slightly tinted side window to allow for a great view of the components installed inside of the main section.

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On the back of the dual stack of cases, we start off with the PSU mounting area, rear I/O section, and the two expansion slots of the 915R. The 925 offers grommets for external runs of tubing and wiring, a 140mm fan next to the rear I/O, an 8+1 expansion slot layout, and room for a PSU at the bottom.

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The right side of the chassis also offers the ventilated area on the side of the 915R, but the panel of the 925 is completely flat and offers not much more than the finger hold at the back and thumbscrews that don't come out of the panel to keep them where you will need them.

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Under the 925 there is a large dust filter under the PSU mounting area, with two large holes with grommets in them to pass wiring or tubing through if you decide to put the 915 under the 925. There are also screws at the front to allow the removal of the thick plastic base of the HDD rack, completely opening up the front for another radiator.

Inside the HAF Stacker 935

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Once the panels are removed, it is much easier to get an idea of what is going on inside of these cases. As for the hardware, it is strapped to the HDD rack in the 925, and the case wiring is tied up and run through a grommet for transit. As for paperwork, there just wasn't any inside of this box.

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At the top of the 925, there are three 5.25" bays with tool-free mechanisms on this side of the bays. This plus the one in the 915R above this, there is a total of four 5.25" bays in the 935.

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Under the optical bays, there are the two HDD cages that hold three drives each. Again there is another section that holds three drives in the 915R, so even if you removed these two racks and the base, you still have room for storage at the top.

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There are little holes in the roof of the chassis that would allow users to install a pair of 120mm fans here if the 925 is at the top of the stack. If the 915R is on top as it is here, the cut outs of both cases line up well to easily allow parts to pass from one section to the other.

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The motherboard tray will house EATX, ATX, and Micro-ATX motherboards, and even has helper standoffs installed. There are six wire management holes, four of which include grommets, and 12 locations to tie wiring to.

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The floor of the 925 has raised pads to support the PSU at the back of the chassis, and as we saw from the bottom, there are large holes with grommets to run things from the bottom section, if you install the 915 there.

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The back of the chassis contains the only fan inside of the 925, and while it is powered with a 3-pin header, it also includes a Molex to 3-pin power adapter. All nine of the expansion slots are ventilated and held in place with thumbscrews.

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The back of the 915R is completely open, and even the HDD plate from the 915F is gone. As for the 925, there is 20mm of space to run wiring and there is even a 2.5" drive location right under the CPU cooler access hole.

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The wiring is kept simple, but all of the wiring is black to disappear into the build. You are given native USB 3.0, HD or AC'97 Audio and USB 2.0 connections. There are also the wires for the power button and the red LED indicating system power to connect.

Accessories and Documentation

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Inside of the hardware box, you are given a socket and 15 standoffs, eight long fan screws, and the four screws needed to mount the 915R to the 925. There are 18 screws for the motherboard and ODD mounting, four PSU screws, four 3.5" drive screws, and four 2.5" drive screws.

The bottom has two screws for Kensington locks, and a handful of screws to mount drives into the slide out trays through the bottom for 2.5" drives.

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More of that kit includes the ten zip ties, four rubber grommets to slide in a storage drive, the pair of Kensington lock loops, and a bag of motherboard screws for the 915R. At the bottom is an I/O dust cover to plug the hole in the back of the 915R, if there isn't a system installed.

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The last bits of the kit include a PSU cover plate for the 915R, and a bundled up SATA power extension, to allow you to power the drives in the 195R with the cables from the PSU at the bottom of the 925.

The Build and Finished Product

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With the front bezel of the 925 removed, you can now see the locations for the optional 120mm fans in the front of the chassis. The covers for the bays here and on the 915R are only removable from the inside, but the bezel needs to be back in place prior to installing optical drives or bay reservoirs.

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With the build now completed, both sections of the 935 match nicely, and there is even a little drop panel on the 915R to take up a bit of space between them at the front. Even though the design is somewhat aggressive, I liked it out of the box, and I still like it now.

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I know I did not do much to the 915R other than to make sure we powered the fan in the front. The rest of the build was fairly easy with little to nothing to complain about. All of the wiring reaches, everything fits, and it is not a flimsy piece of junk once all the weight is added in.

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Out in the back, we closed off the PSU and the rear I/O on the upper section, and the motherboard, card, and PSU fill out the lower section.

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There were no issues with the wiring or tending to it in the HAF Stacker 935. First we ran the chassis wiring, and then layered the PSU wiring over it, and even here, we still are able to easily slide the panel back on so we can get to the testing.

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Before we get all of the panels back on the HAF Stacker 935, we went ahead and added the 915F to the bottom of the chassis. So now I have both an ATX build in the middle, and the M-ITX system in the bottom, there is still plenty of room for me to grow into water cooling or adding yet another air cooler M-ITX build into the top section.

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Even though we are testing the limits of my photo booth with the tallest chassis ever to be in the booth, I really like the looks of this three piece assembly. I know there is some additional cost with this configuration, but you will be hard pressed to find anything else in this price range that does what the new HAF Stacker from Cooler Master brought to the table.

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When we powered things up, there is very little noise from the HAF Stacker 935. This does make the thermals inside of the chassis suffer as it is delivered, but the idea here is to offers fully custom expandability, and the amount of noise that this chassis produces for you, is up to the choices you make when purchasing extra fans.

Final Thoughts

Cooler Master may be a bit lacking in the HAF 935 department with provided airflow, but with the plethora of locations for more fans and possibly many radiators all inside of this concept gives the customer the ability to maximize the design to suit their own needs. Where this chassis hits the nail on the head is in the Stacker moniker naming. I have seen many a pedestal, and I have seen them for water cooling, or even phase change systems, but I cannot recall an instance where it could do those things as well as allowing for a system to be installed as it offers drive bays, and motherboard mounting on top of the basic design in a pedestal. I also like the ease in which Cooler Master has designed the slide rail systems that makes stacking these components dang near fool proof.

There are no issues with mounting anything inside of the 925 section of this design, everything there is well thought out and laid out in a way that makes every bit of wiring easy and with a short of a visible run as possible with the good placements of the wire management holes on the motherboard tray. I did install a motherboard and video card into the 915R to see about the expansion card slots, and even in the 915R, I found I had alignment issues just like I saw in the 915F. Also something to consider in this design, is that if you plan to stack the 915R with water cooling and radiators, you are going to have to remove the hard drive bays there, and they don't allow for 360mm radiators with fans to go on the side panels with it in place. With just a little bit of work, you could easily add four radiators into the HAF Stacker 935, and up to 12 total fan locations to fill to improve on the below average thermal results we got with just the limited air flow provided from Cooler Master.

Even back at the beginning, I think it was the simple but aggressive styling of the HAF series that always kept me liking them, and I even used a couple of them at great length with no issues to complain about in the long term either. If you were a fan like I was of the aesthetic appeal that has been the leading reason for HAF cases selling, you will not be disappointed with the appeal of the HAF Stacker 935 either, as it shows obvious heritage to older designs. If a normal super-tower isn't quite enough room, and you have quite a bit of height for a chassis that stands near 28 inches in height in the two piece configuration, if you want to stack three boxes tall, make room for a 37 inch tall chassis.

I strongly think that Cooler Master is onto something big here, and that is not just a play on the size of this chassis. While the HAF Stacker 935 and the 925F combination does take this chassis from huge to enormous, there is just so much customizable goodness and an ease to the build that makes the HAF Stacker 935 really hard to pass up, when you consider it will only set you back $169.99.

I, for one, am thinking like a mad scientist at the way I need to incorporate this chassis into my office, for some reason I feel I must find a full time use for a chassis of this caliber.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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