- Steel body, Front Mesh, Plastic bezel ATX Desktop
- USB 3.0 x 2 (internal), Audio In & Out x 1 (supports HD Audio) Front Ports
- 2 External 5.25" Drive Bays
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Unique and visually appealing 05/22/2014
This EVO answers some of the issues with the previous version, notably the replacement of the 2.5" internal drive bay with a 3.5" version, and they have addressed a front bezel clearance issue when mounting 140mm fans ahead of the metal front wall.
Nearly all case components can be disassembled (with the exception of the PS riser) which lends well to paint or modification (see notes in "other").
Component installation is made easy by excellent access via three large removable panels. Cables are well hidden below the motherboard tray, and the tray has pass-through holes in convenient locations. Most cables are taken immediately over the edge of the tray and out of sight below. This results in a very clean and organized appearance.
I installed a Corsair H110 (280mm) radiator with ease, using its 140mm fans mounted in front of the metal wall and radiator behind. The case's plastic front bezel fit properly without modification. I'm certain that similar 220mm rads would work equally well.
Only a few from my perspective:
My modular 180mm PS just fits, but the cables are very close to the components on the PCB on back of the hot-swap trays. A standard ATX PS would allow more room, but there are fewer choices of high wattage in that size. 180mm is the largest you can go without modification.
It's nice to have the 3.5" drive bay, but the larger drives mount too close to the side of the power supply. The SATA and power cables have to mash against the PS and you're working blind if you install them last, as I did. It would have been better had I mounted the drives before dropping the MB tray in, but that defeats the purpose of the slide-in mounting system. I'm talking about the internal bay, not the front hot-swap.
Someone voiced concern about the hot-swap doors. Drives insert there with very little force. If the operator isn't heavy-handed, they should be fine. Just use a little finesse.
The stock 120mm fans arrive mounted behind the front wall, next to the motherboard. You can move them ahead of that wall with no interference from the plastic front bezel. In that configuration, you can fit 13" (330mm) video cards. 140mm fans now also fit there without modification.
As mentioned, I mounted a Corsair H110 (280mm) rad with the fans ahead of the metal wall and the radiator behind, next to the motherboard. With that 28mm thick radiator installed as such, there is barely room for 11.8" (300mm) video card(s). I chose the EVGA 780ti SC ACX, which is only 10.5" and have plenty of room.
Best advice is to mount all of the components that go below the motherboard tray first. Have all the cables laying in their appropriate locations before dropping the tray in. That makes it much easier because once that tray is in, you won't be able to see or reach nearly as well for plugs and cables. You may remove the tray and mount the MB to it separately if you like, and pre-position any CPU cooler backplates. If using a normal CPU cooler, you may mount it before installing the tray. If using a closed-loop radiator, mount the CPU back-plate (they often have double-sided tape), then install the tray (with MB), then work on the radiator installation and CPU block/pump.
Advice about closed loop radiator: Don't pick it up by the hoses. Not because it's that delicate, but because that heavy pump swings around and will bump the radiator fins, which ARE delicate. Even if you don't do any damage, you'll bend them and they'll never look straight again.
Painting: I thought the textured finish would hold paint. Wrong. I cleaned it with mild solvent, but didn't sand anything. My over-the-counter aerosol looks great, but chips and scratches way too easily. Part of that can be blamed on modern aerosol paint, but I should have scuffed it. Regardless, I enjoyed the project and don't regret the effort.
This is my 2nd HAF XB. In both cases, I have discarded the 120mm front fans in favor of 140mm replacements. Since that spot can accept both sizes, there is a lot of metal which exists in order to fit the 120mm, but which intrudes upon the larger fan. This time, I cut away the excess metal. I didn't want any restrictions for my radiator. Metal work is not everyone's bag, so I can't recommend it to the average consumer, but I personally wish the thing came fitted with 140s and never used the 120s at all. Folks wanting a 120 or 240mm rad can adapt it down more easily than my effort to adapt it "up".
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