Cooler Master HAF 922 Review

Written by Harry Butler

June 3, 2009 | 08:15

Tags: #922 #atx #case #haf #haf-922 #high-air-flow #performance #steel #tested #testing #used

Companies: #coolermaster #cooler-master

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After the disappointment of the CM:Scout’s flakey drive and expansion slot fittings we were pleased to find that the HAF 922 uses the higher quality Cooler Master drive mounts, which are identical to those used in the ultra-high end ATCS 840. The tool-less hard disk trays (complete with noise-dampening rubber-padded fittings) and push-button 5.25” drive retention clips are superb and among the best in the industry; they're sure to survive many hardware upgrades. The expansion card slots are fitted with thumbscrews rather than a fiddly tool-less system, and there’s even a vertical expansion slot for mounting an expansion port backplate.

While the HAF 922 might have more than a few things in common with the HAF 932, one area where the two cases differ greatly is the PSU mounting, which has been completely designed. The HAF 932 mounted the PSU onto a shelf in the floor of the case, below which were pre-cut ventilation holes, but the holes were so tight that the vent proved to be potentially restrictive for PSUs mounted fan-down.

The new design is similar to that of the Antec 902, with two raised rubber-clad strips supporting the PSU. This means that the PSU can be mounted fan-side down to draw in air from the gap created by the case feet underneath the case. Those putting the case on a carpet might still want to install the PSU with the fan facing up however. Either way, the new PSU mount is a big improvement over the previous design, which our colleagues at Custom PC found could lead to PSU overheating under very heavy loads; this is another example of Cooler Master listening to feedback.

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One department where the HAF 922 is a let down in comparison to the HAF 932 is its cooling capabilities. The HAF 932 packed a fantastic triple pack of low-speed 240mm cooling fans (one on the front, one in the roof and one on the side), along with a rear-mounted 120mm fan, but the HAF 922’s cooling has been significantly reduced. While the rear 120mm fan survives, two of the the 240mm fans have been replaced by 200mm models to fit into the thinner chassis while the side panel fan is absent.

This absence is despite this fan appearing on both the HAF 922’s box and Cooler Master’s reference photos. Its disappearance is likely an attempt to keep costs down, but could also be to allow you to use a fan (or fan arrangement) of your choice. However, considering that Cooler Master has a perfectly good 240mm fan design (the one used in the HAF 932) and that the HAF 922 already costs £90, we're disappointed not to see a side panel fan. A good side panel fan can massively reduce the operating temperatures of core hardware, so we prefer cases with side panel fans.

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However, at least Cooler Master has made sure that the 200mm fan mounts of the HAF 922 are also compatible with 120mm and 140mm fans. The 200mm roof can be removed and replaced with two 120mm fans, while the front intake can be replaced by a 120mm or 140mm fan of your choosing. The extra fan mount holes allow for a great deal of customisation should you want to swap out the included fans or make the jump to water cooling. There’s also a mounting for a single 120mm cooling fan in the floor of the case if you really want to maximise the case’s air cooling potential. However, this mount lacks any sort of dust filter.

While the HAF 922’s interior has improved significantly in comparison to the more expensive HAF 932 - with better all-round build quality, a redesigned PSU mount and a spacious interior - there have been obvious cost cutting measures. The most glaring is the lack of a fan in the side panel mount, which can have such a marked effect on hardware temperatures. Will this choice mean the HAF 922 is unable to match or even come close to its bigger brother when it comes to cooling? Let’s find out.
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