Cooler Master HAF XB case: the ultimate PC test bench?

I'm a tinkerer, I can't help it. I love digging around in the innards of my PC to see how it ticks, or, more often, why it isn't ticking. Cooler Master's chassis design bods are obviously tinkerers too, because they've just announced the new HAF XB case.

Now, it may look like I'm going off on one about yet another mini-ITX chassis when most of you are sporting full ATX machines. But wait! This too is an ATX case, able to house any standard-size motherboard, with all the componenty goodness that entails.

The HAF XB is a chassis trading on the successes of the previous entries in the HAF (High Air Flow) range of PC cases, but this one is an altogether different beast.

Sure, it's got all the fans, vents, filters and airflow-design that we've come to expect from the HAF cases, but this is one squat offering that can be stripped down for some serious tinkering.

The side panels, with their heavy-duty carry handles, as well as the top mesh panel can all be quickly removed giving you immediate and unfettered access to your hardware. It then becomes one of the funkiest test bench around.

Especially when compared to mine...

You may question the need, but if you've ever tried to fit a new cooler, or even just tried to jam in new RAM, then you'll understand that having direct access to your motherboard and other components can only be a good thing.

It's especially handy not having to remove your mobo or flip your tower chassis onto its side.

Also, if you've got a closed-loop liquid chiller attached to your CPU you can keep that plugged in as the reservoir sits behind the long vent on the front of the machine. On my testbench the Corsair H100 I usually have plugged in remains delicately balanced on the side of my desk...

That said, you will still have to work around the frame of the HAF XB, so it's not quite as open a test bench as my old Intel bench, but it's still an interesting development in the consumer market

It should be on virtual shelves of your favourite retailer very soon.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.