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REVIEW CoolerMaster HAF Stacker - MEGA UPDATE

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by NinjaStickman, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    The CoolerMaster HAF Stacker 935 (with 915R) + 915F

    Full multi-part review, overview, and unboxing


    Now with click-able pictures!


    Part #1 - Arrival of the 935 (w/ 915R)

    Part #2 - Arrival of the 915F

    Part #3 - The rail stacking system

    Part #4 - Inside the 915 mini-ITX cases

    Part #5 - Inside the 935 atx case NEW

    I arrived home today to find a consignment note for a parcel that I have been waiting some time for.

    Heading off to the collection depot with a grin on my face and a spring in my step I proceed to collect the largest parcel that I have ever had delivered.

    [​IMG]


    The big box housing Coolermaster HAF Stacker w/ my pretty pussy escaping the camera (she is a little self-concious of her enlarged midriff).

    So this is going to be an unboxing and review of this new case (which at the time of writing is not available from Australian retailers)

    Let it begin! :D

    It looks to me like CoolerMaster have gone along the lines of the much more expensive and revered Caselabs MAGNUM STH10 but have included additional features and flexibility. We will see how this unfolds in the next day or two.

    This is the HAF 935, it comes with the main tower and one mini ITX HAF 915. I will also be getting another HAF 915 to include in the review when it makes its way through the airport.

    Until then the review can be left with some unboxing teaser shots.

    [​IMG]

    The box is packed nicely, and the separate cases are not linked during shipping - a good choice for the integrity of the mounts.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The case is sexier than I thought, but its looks definitely are not for everyone. In stride with its predecessor the HAF X it is indeed High-Air-Flow with almost all mesh front and top.

    [​IMG]

    When separated the case looks much more normal-sized for those that want separate machines - although it does only come with one top mesh (more on that later).

    First impressions are of a very well thought out case, with a lot of rooms for a lot of things (again this will be explored more later on). Case seems solid, and plastic fascia does not feel flimsy.

    The window looks to be tinted which will allow for some very sexy mood lighting :Pirate:

    The rear fan is 140mm with holes for an optional 120mm

    That is the teaser, more will be revealed throughout the next few days (I am in the middle of writing my thesis at the moment, so this will be a break to look forward to! :thumbup:)

    Comment and sub make requests and let me know your initial thoughts!

    Next - Arrival of the 915F
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  2. sskmercer

    sskmercer Member

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    I love that top bit HAF-915? to use for a dedicated water loop. Will be good to see what you have planned.
     
  3. garetz

    garetz Member

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    The all important question is where did you buy it and how much ?

    Ive been a fan of coolermaster cases since the original stackers, still got one i am using myself atm.

    Looks like scorptec is taking preorders on the 915f and 915r.
     
  4. AMD2400

    AMD2400 Member

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    Saw these on newegg,

    Nice idea, looking forward to the review!
     
  5. OP
    OP
    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    This isn't a build - more of a review. I will be exploring the options for exactly that (hopefully I can get my hands on a 360mm rad in the meantime) and might end up putting some of my own hardware in there as an example - depending on how much interest this generates.

    Looks like each HAF-915 can hold two thick 360mm rads (probably in push/pull) I will let you know more when I get my hands dirty :D

    So this is actually a review product generously provided by CM. This however, is an honest review of the case, not an advertisement.

    As for Aus pricing, they haven't told me that yet (I didn't ask actually - I will try to find out) but i would guess ~ $200 mark for the model in the pictures above :thumbup:

    Thanks :D
     
  6. OP
    OP
    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Part #2 - Arrival of the 915F

    So I was meant to be having an update tonight, but my girlfriend's mac decided to die, and since she is also writing her thesis she is now on my PC whilst I use an old laptop.

    I will see what I can do when she goes to bed, or in the morning.
    Here is a sexy picture of the entire thing - now that the 915F (915 with front mounted PSU as opposed to the 915R) is here.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This thing is not small - that is a one-half NinjaStickman tall :lol:
    [​IMG]

    BTW I am a huge fan of the tinted window :thumbup:

    It looks like top and bottom component of the HAF Stacker all connect by way of the rail linking - which uses two lock in screws ( I will have photo's up some time soon).

    The feet are rails, and the top cover attaches by rails - So If you wanted... you could keep stacking till your mega PC collapsed :lol:

    Next - The rail stacking system
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  7. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Part #3 - The rail stacking system

    So here are some shots of the rail system,
    Everything slides in really easily and is then affixed by screws - overall when stacked it feels really solid!.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    You can see in these shots that there is are removable dust filters, and plenty of rubber cable/tubing grommets (more on that later).
    I was also also happy to see that the screws screw into brass 'nuts' imbedded in the plastic. It would have been a disaster if CM cut costs here!

    [​IMG]

    They have also gone through the effort of adding a flap that flips down when two parts of the case are stacked together to make it look seamless.

    [​IMG]

    Next - Inside the 915 mini-ITX cases
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  8. AMD2400

    AMD2400 Member

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    Mind blown with the add on units on the top and bottom of the case.

    Would be nice to possibly see these pieces in different sizes, so we can move the PSU into other compartments?

    Anyways, keep it up! :thumbup:
     
  9. OP
    OP
    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Not sure what you mean mate? There is a PSU section for each compartment - they can act as independent PCs, hard drive bays, or water cooling banks.

    You can stack it how you like :) The two 915s on the top, or both on the bottom.... or two 935s stacked together.... or three.... :Paranoid:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Sorry for the delay ladies and gents, I am having a bad time with a certain sectof my theisis.
    Don't gasp! It is now under control!:thumbup:

    I took a lot of pics tonight, and I am getting up an hour early specifically to post them for your breakfast viewing! :D (Hopefully I can get to bed before 1am :Paranoid:)

    Ooroo.
     
  11. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Part #4 - Inside the 915s
    Since there is so much to cover with the 'main' chassis, I have decided to split this part up into reviewing the Mini-itx cases then the larger case.

    Both of the 915F and 915R look very similar externally except for the lack of USB, headphone, and power button on the 915R (left in image below). Whilst this is likely because it came bundled with the 935 (which does have usb, power etc.) It would have been nice to see CoolerMaster include these connections on the bundeled case - especially if they intend for users to have the flexibility to uses the Mini-itx case as a seperate PC.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    CoolerMaster will hopefully offer replacement for this to allow end users the option to upgrade.

    Moving around to the back we see the obvious differences. The rear 915R (left again) has no room for a rear 120mm fan. I could imagine that there will not be much clearance for an after-market CPU air cooler on the 915R once the PSU is installed - I can measure this up tonight. The 915F on the other hand, has a good quality rear 120mm fan installed and will offer plenty of clearance for all CPU coolers. You can also see on the back of the 915F the power cable connection which extends through to the front.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    From the side we can see the triple 120mm fan/radiator support with removable filter. It feels very sturdy and should have no problem holding very large radiators full of water.
    [​IMG]

    At first I thought CoolerMaster had shot themselves in their collective foot by not having support for 3x140mm fans/radiators, as it looks like it should fit. But then I noticed why (excuse some of the cruddy pictures - not used to shooting indoors :lol:)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Due to the rails that all cases use for attaching/removing the side panels there is actually no room to mount larger fans - and they would just get in the way of closing the side panels. If CM wanted to fit 140mm fans cases would have had to have been a few centimeters taller.

    A brief digression onto the panels - here is a shot that I took the other day of two side, and one top panel.
    [​IMG]
    You can see that there will be a lot of airflow through these cases once the system has a few fans in them - and they are all filtered as well. Two critisicsms however: The top panel (middle) cannot have the filter mesh removed without first removing the metal grill/mesh holding it in.
    [​IMG]
    This is difficult to do and also requires the user to bend folded clips (of this same metal mesh; see photo above). As an owner of other CM cases, I am aware that you only get maybe 5 (10 if you are careful) chances to remove this mesh (bend to remove, then bend to attach) before the clips metal-fatigue and snap. I resort to using a vacuum cleaner and just sucking out what I can, but CM really needs to re-think this design.

    Moving back to the cases. Taking the front panels off, we see that the 915R has a 90mm fan included in the front (more on this in a moment), and the power cable 915F for the PSU neatly routed through from the back. We can also see in this shot that the front usb panel is indeed removable, and both cases have the earth point - so yes upgrading should be an option.

    Both panels offer a single 5.25'' bay (with tool free mounting), which is all that most users need.
    [​IMG]

    The fan on the 915R - I would like to think of it as a courtesy fan.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    You can see that with the HDD cage installed in the front-most position there is going to be very little airflow. It would really just add noise for no real gain. CM would have been better off having a 120mm fan installed in a side-panel position.


    A top-down view reveals the similarities in the cases. Both have plenty of holes (with machine rolled edges) for routing watercooling tubes, sata and power cables etc. Both cases also have a top bar for structural support as well as preventing the top filter-panel from sagging in the middle.

    You can also see a plethora of holes in the 5.25'' drive bay, and between the cable holes for mounting HDDs in a variety of orientations.

    The large hole with the grommet serves dual purposes - It acts as a cut-out for accessing CPU back plates when a mini-itx system is installed, and it can be used for running any number of cables and tubes through.
    They also have the HAF logo stamped right in the middle :thumbup:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The 915F also has a plate on the side that is rideled with mounging holes for HDDs etc. This - along with almost everything else that isn't the core chassis - is removable using 4 screws.
    [​IMG]

    The 915F has a bottom filter for the PSU, whilst in the same place the 915R has a HDD cage with 3 bays. This bay can be unscrewed with 10 little screws and moved to one of 3 other positions in the case.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    CM also have innovative drive sleds that allow for easy removal and addition of HHDs. This unclip, expand, then clip back onto 3.5'' HDDs and have mounting screws for 2.5'' HDDS. They also come standard with rubber mounts for the 3.5" HDDs to reduce noise from vibrations
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    It is disappointing to see that the 915R only came with one HDD mounting bay, yet it has room for three. At least one more would have been nice. The 915F came with none at all, which I hope was just because this was a pre-launch sample.

    Next - Inside the 935 ATX case
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  12. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Keep poted for a new update on the main chassis later this afternoon! :D
     
  13. Morbis

    Morbis Member

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    Loving this review mate, can't wait for the next update!

    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  14. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Your wish is my command :D.
    Will have a another update in ~ 10 min :thumbup:

    edit: (Holy ... that took an hour? Yikes!)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  15. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Part #5 - Inside the 935 atx case
    So this is almost done now - I apologise for my tardiness with updates. My thesis has left me with less time than I thought.
    But 27,000 words and 94 pages later, I just have some polishing up and appendices to generate before Noon on Monday... Oh, and abstract, conclusion... Haha, let's make this quick!

    I thought I would focus solely on the main chassis, having already shown some fully assembled pictures, there is not much that I can say without building a PC in this thing.

    Let's start with the accessories that I forgot to cover last time.
    The 915F came with a small box with some cable ties, a LAN lock a bunch of screws and some HDD rubber decouplers.
    [​IMG]
    The 935 came with the more screws, some cable ties. Two LAN locks (one for each the 935 and 915r). But it also came with a SATA power extension; Cooler Master recognising the distance that HDDs will be from the motherboard if mounted in one of the 915s. As well as a PSU plate and solid I/O plate for sealing whichever case doesn't have a PSU and/or motherboard.
    [​IMG]

    As a mid-tower case this main component actually looks pretty sweet. It is a no-nonsense case with a big tinted window for showing off your rig, and loads of options for air cooling (also water cooling but that is for the next update :thumbup:)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Moving right around to the front, we see the full mesh HighAirFlow signiture HAF design

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Removing the front panel, we see that Cooler Master decided not to include any fans in the main component of the HAF stacker but there is the option for installing two 120mm fans here. As we can see however, the airflow will be restricted if you have both bays full of HHDs
    [​IMG]

    This of course, can be solved by removing one or both of these with a series of little screws. 8 in the front, 4 on the inside. These HDD cages can then be moved into one of your mini-itx cases if you so desire.

    With one out
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This shot shows the case acting as a handy little catch tray, but also the cut-out for routing fan cables.
    [​IMG]

    I'm sure this serves a purpose, but there is what looks to be a 1 HDD thick mini cage on the bottom. Maybe it is for mounting watercooling pumps. But along with almost everything in this case, it can be removed via several screws.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Going around to the back of the case, we see the cutout for the PSU, the included 140mm rear exhaust (with an option for 120mm fan) the i/o cutout and the 8 PCI slots. As well as grommets for routing tubing or cables.
    [​IMG]
    (sorry about that photo)

    Removing the rear side panel we can see the massive cutout for the CPU back plate (which will likely be visible with some smaller boards installed.
    A bunch of grommets for neat cable management (including one below the USB/Audio connector locations on mother boards!) and lots of little loops for tying cables to. Which I like to see.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There is only about 1.5 cm of clearance for cable routing, disappointing. but they do include a SSD mounting point behind the motherboard.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Through to the inside:
    There is a lot of space, especially once the HDD cages are removed with a total of about 20cm clearance from the motherboard tray
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    At the front we have a (removable) 3x 5.25" drive bay
    [​IMG]

    Installing the supplied PSU plate and I/O shield here as an example
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (Also note the 140mm fan with 3pin connector and molex adapter)

    Once again, without having any hardware (or time) at the moment to build a system in this, there is not much that I can say other than: Despite the few little nit-picks that I have had, Cooler Master have produced a solid case with a lot of versatility on a small budget.

    Not only does this case have the flexibility to be assembled how you choose, almost every non-essential or structural part can be removed with only a few screws. This case redefines flexibility and user choice in my opinion, and I would like to see more manufacturers including the ability to remove non-essential accessories, rather than just riveting everything together.

    The next update will be a brief summary of water cooling options, but for the readers who don't care about this, I leave you with my preference for assembly and some pictures that haven't been included so far.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    That's all folks! Let me know your thoughts!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  16. auApex

    auApex Member

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    Nice review! Good luck with thesis - been there done that so I definitely feel your pain!
     
  17. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Thanks mate :D
    Yeah, all done now - 28k words.... I slept for half a day afterwards.
    What did you study? Doctoral, masters, or honours thesis?
     
  18. Lichking

    Lichking Member

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    Got one of these on preorder from Scorptec but

    the 1.5cm of clearance for cable routing is a big disappointment..Case this size I was expecting a little more than that. Given how uncooperative the 24 pin atx cable can be and allowing for the fact I may need to add extensions to reach the socket (PSU is a HX850 standard length cables) it may be a drama. Dropped off the Air 540 due to the cable bullshit in that case.

    Hope you get a build into this so I can see what happens with your cabling as the cases won't be in country until the 29th (maybe).

    Nice review btw :thumbup:;)
     
  19. OP
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    NinjaStickman

    NinjaStickman Member

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    Cheers Lich.
    I have some photos of a system installed (yet to post the update) Got a mate who wanted the case and he had 11 HDDs so worked well. The 24 pin does fit. Snug as a bug in a rug, but it does fit.

    Will have an update on that by thursday.
     
  20. auApex

    auApex Member

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    Honors mate, 27k words! Was a bitch but so worth it at the end. Enjoy your freedom!
     

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