Cooler Master has been so kind as to send us their latest version of the HAF line of chassis. This mid-tower HAF 912 is aimed at enthusiasts on a budget (MSRP $59.99), yet it still has most of the aesthetics and qualities of the more expensive HAF that have come before it. The 912 helps keep the legacy of the HAF line of chassis going strong, bringing with it the ease of installation, excellent airflow, and compatibility with water cooling. We will be taking a detailed look at all of these features in the review. Read on…
The HAF 912:
With the above four pictures, you will notice the aesthetically pleasing exterior of the case. You can see the two separate air intake areas on the front and side, and you will also notice the attractive black honeycomb mesh drive bay covers. These seem to be extremely popular these days over the solid non-see-through designs of old, as many cases continue to employ them into their designs. Moving away from the front, the IO ports at the top of the case are in an easily accessible location for quick use, as well as the power/reset buttons. In the back, you can see three pre-cut holes for your water cooling tubing, with the third hole helping to connect wires outside of the case if needed.
Above is a quick glimpse of the possible water cooling areas used. The top of the case can handle a 2 x 120mm radiator mounted on it. You could also mount one on the inside at the top of the case, but clearance will vary depending on hardware used. Again, above are the three rubber grommets used to route tubes from externally mounted radiators.
Here we take a look at the interior of the HAF 912. We opened it up and were probably just as shocked as you! A non-black interior? Cooler Master, what do you have to say about this? Apparently, painting the interior black adds to the overall cost significantly. Who would have thought? So to keep it in the affordable price range, they declined the inside coat. I suppose they’ll have to wait and see if the move pays off in the long run, or loses them potential sales. You will also notice the 5 1/4 drive bay with tool-free installation. The middle hard drive rack can be rotated to fit however you would like it, and it can also be completely removed if not in use, to help clear up more space. Be sure to also take a look at all of the wire management options that the HAF 912 gives you. We counted five holes already pre-cut for you to aid in hiding wires and spare connectors. This is really great to see in a mid-tower, especially of this price range, to help get all of the wires out of the way. We will be talking more about this in more detail later. Lastly, if you really want to fully load this case up, it supports twelve 5 1/4, 3 1/2, and/or 2 1/2″ devices.
In the pictures above, you can see even more of the interior of the case, and from different angles. The top left picture shows how easy it would be to remove the bottom hard drive rack if you wanted to. You would just need to remove six screws and from there it comes right out. The other pictures are showing off the front intake fan as well as the double honey comb mesh grill that will aid in keeping dust out.
This is just a nice shot of the HAF logo painted on the side of the case.
With a potential for up to three intake and three exhaust fans, the HAF 912 circulates a lot of air through the case. The mesh paneling on the top, front, and bottom assists fans in removing excess heat from the inside of the case. If you are not water cooling your system, the top can accommodate two 120mm fans or a massive 200mm fan, your choice. The HAF 912 is one of the first Cooler Master mid tower cases to accept two 120mm intake fans in the front for better positive air pressure.
The HAF 912 is 9.1″ wide, an inch wider than comparable mid towers in its class. This allows plenty of room behind the motherboard tray to fit even the largest cables behind your motherboard. You will also have use of cable tie attachment points at your disposal on the rear of the motherboard tray. In the pictures above, you can see the five cable management cutouts you will be able to use to hide your wires.
Dust filters have been placed in the front and bottom of the case to help prevent dust from entering the system. They are simple to remove and allow for easy maintenance. We are not sure why they went through all of the trouble to install dust filters, and yet, did not install one for the side intake fan. It seems like the side will cancel out the other filters by just bringing in all the dust through it. We found this to be a somewhat peculiar move on Cooler Master’s part, and it’s not the first time that we’ve seen this mistake on a case.
Here we have our hardware installed, and despite the massive length of the GTX480, there is room for the hard drives, albeit a tight squeeze in that area. Notice that we have turned the hard drive rack to the inside for this installation to show off the optional looks. If this were our case, we would have taken out the middle hard drive rack to have more room and used the bottom rack for our hard drives. Take note that the PCI expansion slot area is not tool free. This saddened us a little once we found this out and we really feel that this should have been a “must” option in this case. Again, the wire management in this case works wonders and it really makes everything so nice and neat, which also helps greatly with airflow inside of the case.
In order for you not to have to scroll all the way back up to the top, we have put together the switchable hard drive rack for comparison. You can see the options of switching it inside your case. If we owned the case with a GTX 480 inside, as we said above, we would just remove this rack for the extra space. If you have a PSU over 8 1/2 inches in length, you can remove the middle hard drive rack and relocate the 2 1/2″ hard drive cage above the 3 1/2″ hard drive cage.
For water cooling, again as mentioned above, it will support up to a 2 x 120mm radiator at the top of the case. The two large rubber grommets at the top back support tubes routed from an externally mounted radiator, and the smaller rubber grommet on the left is for the radiator fan connections.
The rugged militaristic inspiration behind the HAF series of chassis has once again succeeded. The HAF 912 has catered to the budget-conscious gamers and has done a great job. It has the feel of the more expensive 932 and 922, but with a much more affordable price tag. The multitude of options for fan installments also makes this case one of the leaders in its class in terms of airflow and cooling. Things weren’t all peachy however. The tool-free 5 1/4 installation was convenient, however the PCI expansion slots which unfortunately still required the use of a screw driver was shocking. We expected better from Cooler Master in this area.
Having the inside of the case not painted black was also a down point, but ultimately not a big turn-off for us. There isn’t s window to show off the inside, so don’t feel it’s that big of a deal. Also keep in mind, according to Cooler Master this helped in allowing them to bring this case down to its low price. That being said, we can’t say that everybody will share our opinion on the absence of this feature and there’s always the chance that this could cost them a few sales. Moving on, the fact that this case is water cooling compatible in more ways than one is a great thing to have in today’s cases. Supporting a 2 x 120mm radiator outside and inside is great, 3 x 120mm is better, but being a mid tower we can’t get too greedy, there’s only so much real estate.
The dust filtering options in the HAF 912 are good and not so good. The front and bottom intakes both have filters, but the side of the case does not. I think Cooler Master, as well as other case manufacturers, should take a second look at implementing a dust filter for their side panels; it only makes sense. The modular hard drive bays which evolved from the CM 690 II, were another great addition to this mid-tower case and it really makes fitting today’s monstrous GPU’s a breeze. Overall, we would definitely keep this case close to the top of our list of mid-tower cases, and we can safely say that it has earned its spot along side its bigger brothers, the 932 and 922.
The Cooler Master HAF 912 has received the TechREACTION.net Silver Silicon Award!
For more information on the Cooler Master HAF 912, be sure to check out the official website.