HAF Stacker and Mods
The Apple peripherals weren’t the only thing Cooler Master had on display, of course. I just found it to be an interesting move. What actually stood out the most in the Cooler Master suite at CES 2014 was the HAF Stacker implementations.
Right as I walked in the door to the Cooler Master suite, I was greeted by three huge HAF Stacker case mods, built either by Cooler Master or by enthusiasts. They were giant and ominous and looked really cool. The center case was easily close to 5 feet tall and was designed like an armored vehicle with battle-worn plating up and down the sides.
The HAF Stacker is a very unique and interesting. Cooler Master was showing off a dual-system design with a HAF 925 with your typical system (albeit with a 1200W 80+ Platinum power supply) on bottom and a HAF 915 with a complete mini-ITX system on top. This is one example of the HAF Stacker has been shown to do, but other uses include isolating a liquid cooling system or the PSU. Cooler Master wants to expand on the potential uses of the HAF Stacker by offering number of new peripherals.
One such peripheral is your standard drive cage, but made to fit side by side by side in the HAF 915. If you wanted to set up a home-based cloud or a very extensive hard-drive array, you could fit around 16 3.5” drives in HAF 915 with these modular bays. There has to be a reason why my motherboard has 10 SATA ports, right?
Other modular upgrades proposed by Cooler Master at CES 2014 include a windowed side panel for the HAF 915 to replace the traditional mesh side, additional front I/O panels, and a slim optical drive bay. That slim bay would replace the I/O panel on the HAF 925 or HAF 915 if you so desired.
Cooler Master had a prototype of what they are tentatively calling the HAF XC on display at their suite. The HAF XC is just a concept right now, and the current edition houses a lot of features that Cooler Master is checking out. In the end some or all of the features may change based on consumer feedback. The HAF XC is too fat for my tastes, but a lot of that girth may have been just to show off the potential new features.
Right off the bat you can see the wrap around clear panel that is a very prominent feature on the HAF XC. Rather than just showing off a section of your build through a window, the HAF XC clear side panel shows off the entire inside portion of the case. Well, that’s not entirely true. The reason for showing off everything is that Cooler Master has designed the HAF XC to be the new standard in cable management. Not even the PSU itself is located in the main body section of the case, so there is nothing to hide from on-looking eyes. The PSU, all the cabling, and potentially all your hard drives are actually located behind the motherboard tray in the back section of the case. Your typical enthusiast case concerned with cable management might give you half an inch to an inch of space behind the motherboard tray. The HAF XC gives you enough space to fit a power supply.
When talking with Cooler Master, I found out that they went with that design based on feedback from consumers that didn’t want to spend time tying up cables and making the inside of the case neat. To fit all those cables into a half-inch space behind the motherboard, you have to be pretty dedicated. With the HAF XC, none of that tedious monotony is necessary. There is so much space back there that you can just shove all of the cables out of the way, close up the case, and not worry about it. Since it is isolated from the rest of the case, you also won’t have to worry about those cables causing thermal concerns.
The middle section of the HAF XC is where all the magic happens. This section is covered in mesh that is stylized with a wave-like pattern all across it. This section can house up to a massive 360mm liquid-cooling radiator and enough fans to cure global warming. As I said before, this case is a concept. Cooler Master wants to hear your feedback on what you like and what you don’t like. Your ideas could very well be the basis of the next Cooler Master gaming chassis. Make sure to leave your comments below. I’ll make sure Cooler Master sees them.
A little further down the table at Cooler Master’s CES 2014 suite was the Elite 110 mini-ITX case. Mini-ITX cases are nothing new, and Cooler Master already has a line of them, but the Elite 110 seems like it was designed specifically with the Steambox in mind.
The Elite 110, while housing a mini-ITX motherboard, has enough room to keep most of the other components full-sized. That means you don’t have to skimp on the cooling, power, or storage of your mini-ITX system like you might have to for similar cases. A full sized PSU can fit in the Elite 110, offering lots of power for a gaming rig. The Elite 110 that Cooler Master had on display also housed a 120mm water-cooling radiator and the case has room for a full-sized 3.5” drive. The Elite 110 offers enough room for a decent GPU up to 8.62” in length. That does limit the graphics power you can stuff in here, but never fear, check out the article depicting my interview with MSI and you’ll find a specially designed mini-ITX motherboard and short, slim GTX 760 that will fit perfectly in the Elite 110. That should give you enough GPU power to run any game you want. The Elite 110 should be available now with a very impressive MSRP of only $49.
Moving away from the in-your-face designs and into a sleeker, more modest look, Cooler Master showed off both a mid-tower and full-tower option for its Silencio line of cases.
Both of these cases will utilize Cooler Master’s Silent Flow fan technology, of which they would not provide much detail. The case panels are padded for silent operation and lack adornment. The I/O panel on both cases interestingly included an SD card reader, which is a nice touch. On the full-tower Silencio case, the top panel can be easily removed and gives way to a mesh cover. This space can be used to install a water-cooling radiator in a push-pull configuration if desired.