Review: Smaller, lighter and cheaper
Today is HAF 912 Plus' official launch date, and we've obviously been busy since the earlier HAF 912 Plus preview. We now know that there will be three versions of this case launching at particular regions; Asia gets the Advance version ($99), Europe will get Plus ($79) whereas the US gets the best price deal ($59) but it comes with only basic equipment.
The difference between the versions is that Advanced and Plus versions come with black painted interior but only Advanced comes with a side panel window. Advance and Plus’ I/O panels feature two USB 2.0 ports, one audio and one mic connector as well as an e-SATA connector.
HAF stands for High Air Flow but we’re not quite certain whether HAF 912 deserves the name – it comes with two 120mm fans, one at the front and one at the back panel. HAF 912 Plus also has two fans, but the one on the front panel is a 200mm LED fan. HAF 912 Advanced boasts the best arsenal as it comes with three fans - a 120mm fan on the back, a 200mm on the front and another 200mm fan on the top panel.
No matter which HAF 912 you opt for, you can use the following fans:
Front: 200 mm fan x 1, (can be swapped for two 120mm fans),
Top: 200 mm fan x 1 (can be swapped for two 120mm fans),
Rear: 120 mm fan x 1,
Side:120/140 mm fan x 1
We’ve received the HAF 912 Plus version so let’s see what it offers.
As usual, Cooler Master’s computer case packages are sturdy and aren’t lacking in visual details.
HAF 912 is a case that will surely catch your eye, regardless of whether you like it or not. It would most certainly look great in a space station but it’s up to you to check whether it will look right in your room.
HAF 912 Plus comes entirely painted black and is built from steel, except for the few plastic pieces on the front panel. The case measures 230x480x496mm (9.1x18.9x19.5 inch) measured with the rubber feet. It weighs in at 8.45kg or 18.6 lbs and is very stable.
The side panel will take another 120/140mm fan but the additional fan doesn’t come with any version of HAF 912.
HAF 912 Plus and Advanced come with a 200mm LED fan on the front panel, whereas HAF 912 comes with a 120mm instead. Note that the front panel can house two 120mm instead of a 200mm.
The front panel as well as the area beneath the PSU have dust filter.
You’ll find the I/O at the top of front panel. Plus and Advanced versions of the case also feature one eSATA connector, which is not there in the American HAF 912.
HAF 912’s top panel looks much like the one on its big brother – the HAF 932. As you can see, there is a pad you can use to keep miscellaneous things (keys, sticks, etc.) near-by, with the spot for a 200mm (or two 120mm ones) behind it. Note that only HAF 912 Advanced comes with a top panel fan.
The right panel is identical on all HAF 912 cases – a flat steel plate.
HAF 912 offers 7+1 slots and the PSU is mounted at the bottom. Beneath the rear fan (120mm, 1200RPM, 17dBA) you’ll find three holes used for water cooling.
HAF 912 Plus and HAF 912 Advanced come with black interior, whereas HAF 912 (US market) does not. It’s worth noting that this is the smallest HAF case made so far and will take ATX and M-ATX motherboards.
HAF 912 will take up to 12 drives – four 5.25'', seven 3.5'' (one converted from 5.25'') and four 2.5'' (two converted from 3.5''). We were pretty surprised to see the size of the CPU hole in the motherboard tray. In fact, it measured 14x14cm, which is 2cm bigger than on the HAF X case. We must admit that have we had such a motherboard dray in HAF-X, we wouldn’t have had trouble we’ve encountered here.
All HAF 912 cases come with a 120mm fan (1200RPM, 17dBA) at the back panel wheras only the HAF 912 Advanced comes with a 200mm top panel fan. Once the top fan is in place, there’s enough room for tall and wide CPU coolers but if you’re looking to install water cooling, you’ll have to mount the radiator from the outside. As far as CPU cooler compatibility goes, specs say that maximum CPU cooler size should be 175mm (HAF X, HAF 932 and HAF 922 will take CPU coolers up to 190mm).
The 3.5'' drive cage is separated in two sections and the upper one can be taken out if it gets in the way, like in the case of a long graphics card. The upper cage, when removed, will allow for 390mm graphics cards; when in place, the case will take graphics cards up to 270mm long.
Apart from the aforementioned 3.5'' drive cages, CoolerMaster left a 2.5'' drive cage on the bottom, which can be removed and placed on top of the bottom 3.5'' drive cage. The upper cage can be positioned like on the picture below, if anyone sees the need for it.
The front panel must be taken off when mounting a 5.25'' and the drive is secured with the drive locking mechanism we’re already pretty familiar with.
CoolerMaster made sure that cable management is as good as it gets. Strangely enough, in this respect HAF 912 cases seem to outdo even their much bigger siblings. In fact, Unlike on the HAF X, HAF 912 cases feature plenty of notches to tie your cables to, making cable management a breeze. Furthermore, there’s 1.5cm of room reserved solely for cables. (Don’t mind our cable mess, we’re sure you can do better).
HAF 912 Plus is a case that can, despite its size, be turned into a true High Air Flow case. HAF 912 Plus comes with two fans that help with airflow and will be enough for a system with active CPU and graphics cooling. We couldn't resist the urge and took the smallest HAF through its paces by using passive cooling on both the CPU and graphics.
Motherboard: MSI P35 Platinum
Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme x6800
CPU-Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper Z600
Graphic Card: Gigabyte’s passively cooled Geforce 9800 GT card
PSU: CoolerMaster SilentPro 700W
All our test hardware fit into HAF 912 Plus with no trouble. Note however that 3.5'' drives are mounted in a way not quite standard for other CoolerMaster cases we’ve tested so far. The mechanism does work flawlesly though, even more than enough as it needs a two-handed tug to get a 3.5'' out. Note that there are no screws and the drive (with a slide rail) is just pushed into its place.
You might've noticed that we mounted an additional 200mm (700 RPM, 19dBA – A 20030-07CB-3MFC1) on the top panel. We did it after we performed our tests in order to see just how much a top fan contributes to cooling. There was only about 1cm from the top fan to the CPU cooler’s heatsink, which made a significant impact on cooling performance.
We pushed our CPU with Prime 95 while the graphics card ran in idle mode. The following table clearly shows that HAF 912 Plus can be a real beast once it gets a top panel fan. HAF 912 Plus with an additional top fan will be called HAF 912 Advanced in our tables, as this is what you should expect from HAF 912 Advanced when it hits the shelves.
As of today, HAF 912 computer cases are available on the market. Those who know HAF 932, 922 and HAF X series will notice that HAF 912 series looks pretty similar, except that it's smaller, lighter and cheaper. CoolerMaster has three versions in store – HAF 912, HAF 912 Plus and HAF 912 Advanced. HAF 912 is aimed at the US market and, as usual, gets the best pricing. HAF 912 Advanced is aimed at Asia markets whereas HAF 912 Plus, which is our today's test sample, is the one to take Europe. However, CoolerMaster doesn't exclude the possiblity of buying cases aimed at other markets, but we're talking larger quantities here.
As far as pricing goes, the MSRP for the Standard version is €59, Plus version is €79 and the Advance is €99. This is pretty affordable for the quality you get and certainly proves that HAF 912 didn't only take size and weight cuts in the designing process.
What we as end users are concerned about, however, is that HAF 912 Advanced comes with three preinstalled fans whereas the other two cases have two. HAF stands for High Air Flow and we really think that cutting costs on fans wasn't a very wise decision. Our test, where we installed a third fan has proven that the third fan really brings the best from this case. Our today's guest, HAF 912 Plus comes with two silent fans (one 120mm on the rear and a 200mm fan on the front panel).
Apart from that, HAF 912 Plus is one excellent case. It's tough and stable, the finishing touches are excellent and it offers plenty of room. In fact, it will take largest graphics cards or 2x120mm water cooling radiator. The case will take up to 12 different drives, something that not even some high-tower cases can brag about. Furthermore, we must admit we really loved the large motherboard tray CPU hole, something that wasn't implemented so well on the much more expensive HAF X and many other cases we've tested so far.
HAF 912 Plus is no mere shrinkage of HAF series – a lot of effort went into these cases. We'd recommend it to anyone in a jiffy but we would advise you to put an additional fan in for even better cooling performance.