There are several things that you need to take into consideration when purchasing a case, such as personal style, ease of use, cooling and of course features. Today’s review covers a product that is sure to meet your needs and satisfy your desires.
The Cooler Master HAF 922 has arrived to bring change to the mid-tower chassis segment. It is no easy task as this case follows in the footsteps of the award winning HAF 932 while making a few improvements along the way to becoming a stellar product. Needless to say, I am excited about Cooler Master’s HAF 922.
For beginners and enthusiasts alike, the HAF (High Air Flow) 922 brings a lot to the table, which is what you will see as we progress through this review.
Special thanks to Cooler Master for providing HAF 922 and UCP 1100.
Specifications & Features
The specifications of the HAF 922 are shown below.
Features of the case include:
- Extreme airflow
- Superior cooling performance
- Spacious interior
- Great cable management system
- Easy customization
- Tool-free design
- User friendly
- … and more.
Let us now take a look at the case itself.
The exterior is of a military design, similar to that of its bigger brother, the HAF 932. The military theme fits in well, given its rugged design and it is thankfully not overdone. The HAF 922 is a steel case and has a few plastic parts. The front bezel is steel mesh and fits in great with the theme.
It is really easy to like this case and depending on personal taste, you might even just fall in love with it. Looking at the left side, you can see the honeycomb design with the mounting holes for the optional 200mm fan or up to two 120mm fans. The only drawback that I see here is that these intake fans would not have dust filters and I believe that all intake fans should have them. Reducing the amount of dust inside the systems can actually lengthen the life of some of your hardware and will also improve air flow by not having any dusty build-up.
The back of the HAF 922 is really interesting – but before I get to that, let me cover the basics. The case supports a bottom-mounted power supply configuration and the power supply unit (PSU) can be secured either face-up or face-down. There are two rubber strips for the PSU to rest on when installed. This helps prevent vibration noises and will not scratch your PSU.
At the top there are two grommets for water cooling tubes to pass through. Below that is the pre-installed 120mm exhaust fan. Optionally, you can also remove the 120mm fan and install either an 80mm or a 92mm fan, at the cost of less air being moved and more noise. To the left of the fan mount is where the standard motherboard I/O shield plate will be installed.
Below that is the standard 7 expansion slots. Keep in mind that this case has 7+1 expansion slots. The addition slot can be found to the right. This is useful for expanding connectivity for your devices or for an expansion slot fan controller which is included with some aftermarket CPU coolers. Very innovative and a very nice touch.
Both left and right side panels are secured with two thumb screws each.
The right side is plain except for the bulging design. There are no windows and/or ventilation. The underside shows four stylish yet practical case feet. The shiny chrome reminds me of rims on a car and the rubber, reminds me of the tires. These rubber feet are excellent to prevent vibration noise and they also will not scratch any surface that you rest the case on.
Now coming back to the front of the HAF 922, we see the front I/O panel boasting its 2 USB ports, external Serial-ATA port along with the headphone and microphone jacks. While at the top you will find the front 200mm fan’s LED on/off button, as well as the system’s power button and reset button. There is also a power LED and a hard disk drive activity LED.
The first thing you notice when you open the case is the spacious interior. Being a mid-tower case, I was rather surprised at the amount of space there was inside. Throughout the build I was pleased that I had no issues regarding space with which to work. The HAF 922 is very roomy inside for a mid-tower.
Installing hard drives is easy. Just slide out the drive bay’s rail mount, secure the hard drive in place and then slide the rail mount back in. This tool-free design is rather simple and effective. When locked into place, the drives feel secure and don’t move around. This is the same effect you would get if you were to screw the drives into place but with a lot less effort. To remove, just reverse the process.
Optical drives are also easy to install. This can even be done without removing the front bezel. Just release the 5.25” drive bay cover from the inside and remove it. Then slide the drive into place and push the Cooler Master tool-free button to lock into place. To remove, again, just reverse the process.
Here is a shot from inside the drive bay area. This shows how the drives are secured. When the button is pressed, the mechanism inserts two catches into the screw holes on the drive, holding it firmly as if screws were used.
Each 5.25” drive bay cover has a built-in dust filter which can be easily removed for cleaning. Also, the covers are interchangeable. In this picture you see one of the covers, which is the one in which you would use the included 5.25” to 3.5” adapter for an external 3.5” device. I exchanged it with the one I took out for the optical drive to fit in. I rather use that plain one in that slot for the look but that is just my preference. Feel free to customize as you please.
Expansion cards also feature a tool-free installation. Some designs use plastic clips (which work but are not as strong) but the HAF 922 features thumb screws for securing your cards. This is a nice touch, especially when you think about the size and weight of some of today’s video cards.
Here you notice also the 7+1 configuration. The extra expansion slot, as mentioned before, is extremely useful.
The motherboard tray is not removable. Although this would be helpful in some cases, most users will not see this as a real problem. There is a lot of space behind the motherboard tray for cable management and as such, you will be able to tidy up or ‘hide’ wires inside the case. This improves the overall look of your build and functionally improves air flow through the case.
Notice the CPU retention hole in the motherboard tray. The tray is not removable but having this hole to access the mounting hardware for your CPU cooler, be it an air cooler or your custom water block, is an enormous time saver.
The tray also comes with a guide taped on. This guide labels the mounting holes in the motherboard tray and depending on your motherboard, whether standard ATX or Micro-ATX form factor, tells you exactly where to install the motherboard stand-offs. I will also go on to note that from my experience, the included stand-offs and screws for the HAF 922 have been the easiest I have ever worked with. It might be a small matter to some but I like when the build flows nicely without any hiccups. Well done Cooler Master!
Teaser: Stay tuned for the use of this CPU Retention hole feature in an upcoming CPU cooler review. I’m sure it will make my life much easier.
My build consisted of the following:
- Cooler Master HAF 922
- Cooler Master UCP 1100w
- Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
- Tuniq Tower 120
- ASUS P5E Deluxe X48
- G.SKILL 4GB DDR2-1000 PQ
- SAPPHIRE HD4870 1GB
- WinFast TV2000 XP Expert
- 4 Hard Disk Drives
- 1 Optical Drive
Here are a few pictures of the build.
Now for the final verdict.
The HAF 922 was designed with gamers and overclockers in mind. The High Air Flow design lives up to its name and will meet your cooling needs. Its customizability and functionality is on par with higher-priced cases which makes for a great value.
To summarize, I will use the usual pros and cons list, which is as follows:
- Solid construction
- Quiet operation
- Tool-free design
- Anti-vibration design
- Lots of drive bays
- e-SATA on the front I/O panel
- Stylish design (theme is not overdone)
- Front fan LED can be turned off if desired
- Lots of space for cable management behind motherboard tray
- CPU retention hole
- Spacious interior for high-end hardware
- Motherboard tray is not removable
The pros heavily outweigh the con and as such will be money well spent. Quiet and efficient, neat yet rugged, suave and solid … the HAF 922 is a very good chassis that does well to satisfy the needs of beginners and enthusiasts alike.
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