Having high air flow in computer chassis is essential for demanding computer users. Cooler Master has recognised this, and even named a whole series of chassis HAF, for High Air Flow. Some of those were indeed very effective at cooling, while others did not quite live up to the name. Nevertheless, this product line has garnered a loyal following, and this group will undoubtedly be interested in the cooling performance of the latest iteration, presented at Cebit earlier this year as the Cooler Master HAF XM.
Cooler Master is quite adept at making the hearts stir of hardware enthusiasts, which is impressive considering they don't make the sexiest or most exciting of components. Let's be honest, regardless of the important of power supplies, coolers and chassis, they don't really make your heart skip a beat as much as new CPU architectures, GPU generation or solid state storage for example. It's quite an accomplishment then that Cooler Master is so successful at marketing its products and building a loyal following.
The HAF series by Cooler Master emphasises cooling above other qualities. There is a reason why the abbreviation stands for high air flow. The top model in the series is called HAF X and costs an average of £120, but the HAF XM has a more affordable price tag of £90. The version with window costs about £10 more. The HAF XM is a few pounds cheaper than the HAF 932 Advanced which we have not tested with our current testing setup, so we can't make a one-to-one comparison. But that is a chassis we need to keep in the back of our minds.
Contrast and compare
Fortunately we do have lots of other comparison material for putting things in perspective. We compared the Cooler Master HAF XM to 16 other chassis we have tested in the range of £55 up to about £135, and with a volume of at least 49 litres based on the external dimensions. With a volume of about 76 dm³ the Cooler Master HAF XM is not a small chassis. It's almost as big as the more expensive HAF 932 Advanced. Only the NZXT Switch 810 and the CM Storm Trooper are larger, and the Bitfenix Shinobi XL (reviewed here) is the same size.
We thoroughly test computer chassis based on their finish, set of features, available connectors, and with our standardised tests for cooling performance and noise production. First we'll discuss the exterior.