We were expecting the XM to uphold the HAF name in our benchmark leaderboards, and it didn’t disappoint in the CPU arena. A CPU Delta T of 48 is the exact same result as what we saw with the HAF X, putting it among the top 25% of all the cases we’ve tested. Even though the smaller internals naturally leave less room for fans, and one of the roof mounts is left empty, having the components in closer proximity to the exhaust works well here.
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Whereas the HAF X excelled when it came to graphics card cooling, the XM wasn’t such a great performer. A GPU Delta T of 50 puts it right at the bottom of our leaderboards, which is disappointing given the HAF legacy. Of course, the HAF X had a 200mm fan side-panel fan installed as standard, so it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise that the fanless HAF XM has inferior graphics cooling.
On the plus side, the XM was a very quiet performer. The most audible noise came from the graphics card, which easily drowned out any sound from the pre-installed fans. This is despite the abundance of wire mesh used in the case front, roof and side panel. It’s not silent, but it won’t turn you deaf either.
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Cooler Master hasn't done the best of jobs shrinking the HAF X down to mid tower proportions. In fact, it seems Cooler Master has actually forgotten what HAF stands for in failing to provide adequate airflow to the GPU. While many are sure to have reservations with the styling and heavy use of plastic when paying over £100, it's not all doom and gloom. The XM is still a large case, and we had no trouble building a tidy system inside it,. Once complete the CPU at least stayed cool and everything remained nice and quiet.
Water coolers looking for a hassle-free build would probably benefit from choosing the HAF X, as there’s no support for triple radiators here. The similarly priced Antec Dark Fleet DF-85 has better CPU and GPU cooling, although obviously it’s a much larger case – if your budget is hovering around £100 and you don’t have room for a full tower, the HAF XM could still be a good buy if you’re prepared to add an extra fan or two to help with GPU cooling.