Choosing a PC case can be one of the toughest decisions when it comes to building a new system; unlike other components such as a graphics card or processor, where you make your decisions based mostly on benchmark results, with a case a whole host of extra factors come into play other than just cooling ability. How easy is it to build into, will your hardware choices fit, will it fall apart within a year and does it suit your personal style?
Of course, requirements will differ for every user making it enormously difficult for case manufacturers to please everyone. This is a challenge Cooler Master is well aware of, and which the company has made big strides to address recently by expanding its range to offer new cases to suit many combinations of requirements. Recent efforts include the superb ATCS 840, the new CM:Storm range and now it launches the HAF 922.
A cut down version of the controversial HAF 932, a case which offered world-beating cooling at the cost of schizophrenic styling, the HAF 922 makes a few minor sacrifices to drop the case’s price a wallet friendly £20 below it’s bigger brother while boasting completely revised styling and a few new features as well.
Click to enlarge
A whole new HAF
When we originally reviewed the HAF 932 we gave it a fair bit of stick for it’s almost laughably bonkers styling, which features meshed grills, a window, ventilation slits and the HAF logo, all on the same side panel. Thankfully Cooler Master has improved things significantly with the HAF 922, which as well as being a little shorter than the HAF 932, has been entirely restyled with a design similar to that of the Cooler Master Sniper. The side panels now look a lot neater, with smoother lines producing a much cleaner look. The HAF logo no longer looks so out of place.
However, there’s still a large grilled section cut into the left side panel, allowing for unrestricted airflow into the case and directly onto the core hardware housed inside. The mesh has fan mounts for either a 200mm or two 120mm fans; disappointingly no fans are included for the side panel. Of course, the large grill section also means that the noise of all your kit inside will just as easily escape the case, making the HAF 922 not ideally suited for those in search of super-quiet computing.
Click to enlarge
The front fascia has also been redesigned with a flatter, less aggressive style which now boasts only five 5.25” drive bays as opposed to the HAF 932’s six. The fascia itself is fully removable after removing six screws from the interior, and pops off to reveal a dust filter fitted behind the lower ventilation grills. These allow airflow to the 200mm front intake fan. While the filter isn’t easily removable - it's held in place by bent metal tabs - the omission of dust filters was a desperate shortcoming of the HAF 932, and it’s good to see Cooler Master taking that onboard and rectifying the issue to some extent.