Date Joined: 02/19/05
Pros: Innovative design, good materials, lots of room.
Cons: Machining is far below par, front panel USB ports and hot swap bays do not work, instructions are purely rubbish.
Overall Review: This is my second HAF X case (the first was purchased in 2010, and this one in 2016), and my last Cooler Master purchase. I wish I could give this four or five eggs because it has the potential to be a fantastic case. My first review was for three eggs, but I deleted it for an update based on the newer case. If I could have given it 1.5 eggs I would have, but I can't so I'm rounding down because I don't think it rates 2 full eggs.
There are a lot of great features to this case: it has tons of room and excellent air flow, and it is one solid block of steel to protect all the high-cost goodies on the inside. Sadly, Cooler Master seems to have decided to cheap out so badly on the peripheral components that it barely functions now, and the machining is completely unacceptable: the standoff mounting holes for the form factor were so far out of alignment that I almost didn't finish installing the motherboard for fear of breaking runs or even snapping it, and I can't secure my GPU to the back panel with screws because the holes were drilled in the wrong places. Apparently Cooler Master has no issues with their workers showing up to build cases drunk out of their minds. And they decided to make their instruction manual in so many languages (like 16-20) that they didn't have room to write the actual instructions, and so you get little blurbs like 'How to install 5.25" or 3.25" drives" combined with ultra-low resolution drawings that could have been rendered better by brain damaged monkeys using crayons. You might as well just toss them and go right to YouTube unless you are an experienced system builder, otherwise they might lead you into damaging your components.
These defects are not new to the HAF X. I mentioned them in my first review, but they were not as marked then. CM appears to me to have decided to ride their cash cow into its grave through neglect.
Overall, this case no longer has value anywhere near what they charge for it due to the myriad defects. If you can get a new one at a fire sale for $5 or less, then maybe you might want to risk shelling out your hard-earned money. Otherwise, I cannot recommend this at all. And I am sad, because this could have been the best case I've ever owned.
Edit: four months later and this thing is scheduled for the recyclers as soon as I get a non-Cooler Master replacement. A complete waste of money. 4/5 Broken Eggs.
Pros: Lots of features, Q connector makes mobo wiring nice and easy, everything is positioned sensibly. ROG software makes overclocking easy even for OC noobs like me (this one has an i7-6700K and the ROG software kicked it up to 4.6 Ghz reliably in seconds with one click of the mouse.)
Cons: Shipped with corrupt BIOS. Also USB 3.0 ports do not work.
Overall Review: This is my second ASUS ROG Maximus motherboard, and I cannot tout their reliability and features enough. The only thing is that both of them shipped with bad BIOS. If you buy this, and I recommend it still, before you do your initial boot go to Asus' website, download the latest BIOS update, and familiarize yourself with EZ Flash. Then when you get to the BIOS for the first time, before changing any settings at all just flash it. Don't give it the benefit of the doubt or wait and see, just flash it and save yourself headaches.
Edit: I've had this board for a few months now. I didn't mention that none of the USB 3 ports worked because I expected a quick driver update. I was disappointed; no software or firmware fix ever came. I trusted them enough to let the return period go by and now I have to purchase a replacement. Whether it is another Asus mobo depends on the service I get when I ask them to fix this one. Two eggs docked.
Pros: Four seconds to install, boots Win 10 Pro in less than 15 seconds.
Cons: Nothing so far.
Overall Review: My first m.2 SSD, and I'm loving it! Just to warn newbie builders, the box contains the drive only; the mounting hardware should come with the mobo if it supports m.2 devices. I put this on an Asus ROG Maximus VIII Ranger and almost had a panic attack when I couldn't find the mounting standoff and screw at first. They are really, really small and easy to miss.
Pros: I haven't been able to throw anything at it yet to make it go more than, 'meh'.
Cons: Pricey, but so far I'm getting what I paid for in spades.
Overall Review: I hooked this up with an Asus ROG Maximus VIII Ranger mobo and 16Gb of DDR4 3200 RAM, and it is a monster. I've never overclocked before, and decided to let the ROG Dual Intelligent Processor IV software play with it, and it is purring along at 4.9 Ghz while completely stable. Combined with a PNY GTW 1050 GPU, I turned on Fallout 4 in Ultra mode, letting every single background process on the machine run while downloading programs at the same time, and it yawned at me. Best CPU I've ever bought and worth every penny, and the price should be coming down. I'll recommend saving a few a few bucks up and going with this chip over something cheaper but less awesome.
Pros: The speed!
Overall Review: I installed this to house Windows 10 and my current game of choice, in this case Fallout 4. Clean install of Windows took twelve minutes from power-on to activated online. When I hit the power button, I am gaming in less than a minute. Map transitions average 10 seconds. It's only been running for three days so I can't testify to failures that others have mentioned with SSDs but it is looking good so far.
Pros: All necessary hardware for mounting it was included.
Cons: Instructions were one small picture printed on the box. If you've never installed a hard drive before, your may have to use Google or YouTube for a clearer picture. An experienced hobbyist won't need it.
Overall Review: It was cheap and did the job well.
Pros: It worked for 95 days.
Cons: Five days after the warranty expired, the hard drive failed.
Overall Review: I won'the be buying any more refurbished from this seller again.
Pros: Easy to install, runs quietly and efficiently. In the past I've always gone with 1000W power supplies just to have lots of extra capacity for expansion. This time I tried for efficiency, and so far it's grabbed the brass ring. This puppy is running an ASUS Maximus VII Hero board with a Devil's Canyon i7 4 Ghz processor, 3 RAM sticks, 4 7200 RPM drives, five fans, with all of the associated bells, whistles, and LEDs, and it is yawning, eating bon-bons, and watching Oprah to boot. I guess the real trial will come when the video cards are installed (running chipset video atm because my video card was DOA), but I have high expectations.
Cons: None so far.
Pros: Quad-core, hyperthreading, easy to install. I let my ROG mainboard overclock it a bit, and the fans rarely have to spin up at casual use. No problems found in the short-term. Definitely happy with this purchase.
Cons: $350, but it should last me long enough for the next two generations of processors to come in, get debugged, and come down in price.
Pros: Makes a pretty paperweight.
Cons: Tango Uniform right out of the box. I bought this in 2010, but couldn't install it because the power supply I'd bought for the system I was building at the time didn't work either. April 2015, finally picked up some brand-new hardware and took my pretty Sapphire video card out of the box, and it was DOA.
Overall Review: Sapphire is on my list, and it's not my Christmas card list. Never again!
Pros: Hot looking MB with loads of goodies, after a rough start it works like a charm.
Cons: Before you start, download the latest BIOS version from Asus, put it on a USB flash drive, rename the file M7H.CAP, and flash the BIOS with the Crashfree utility, otherwise it will not get through POST. Also, the DIMM sockets are difficult to get the chips seated into; if the board is giving you QCode 'FE', reseat the RAM. Asus' support site is pretty lame, too; I found those solutions from a third-party tech site because Asus either didn't think the file name for the BIOS was important, or it just outright collapsed. Bad BIOS, cheap DIMMS, no support = -1 Eggs.
Pros: There is no doubt in my mind that this thing will keep the CPU cool. It looks like it got ripped out of a Volkswagen Beetle from the 70's, polished up, and packaged. It's five pounds of Heatsinkzilla.
Cons: It's huge. I count my blessings that I build with full-sized tower cases which had the room to spare. But if you like cute little LAN-party cases that you can tuck into a bag and cart around, you might run into trouble with this thing. This is my first time using an aftermarket CPU cooler, and it was a bit challenging. Admittedly, part of that was due to my inexperience: I didn't realize that this thing needed a backplate on the mainboard, and I'd already installed it into the chassis. Not really a big deal to pull it out again, but a few minutes of wasted time.
Overall Review: The instruction manual is junk. Use it to verify that all of the parts are included, and then burn it so that you're not tempted to use it for the actual assembly process. Go find a YouTube video by someone who knows what they are doing. If you insist on using it, have Advil handy. Part of my issues installing this came from the manual telling me to put the thermal paste on the CPU before installing the backplate. Really? It was fun trying to hold the mainboard on edge and tightening nuts because of that little bit of nitwitism. Loses an egg because CoolerMaster hires clowns to write their instructions, I guess.
Pros: Rock solid, roomy, lots of airflow.
Cons: Small components are very cheap, machining really stinks.
Overall Review: I had another Cooler Master case and was pleased with it, so buying this case didn't turn my head at all. My first thoughts were that I could hide behind my computer in case of a rocket attack, since it's so well built. However, it isn't all ambrosia. The screws holding the power supply cover in place are so cheap on almost rounded on the first turn. Power supply form holes were marginally out of place, and the standoff holes are all off in size ('A' is so bad it needs to be drilled out and tapped, both of which are beyond my ablities I'll give 3 out of five stars to it.
Pros: Looks impressive.
Cons: The rear face plate had the mounting holes drilled upside down! I'd have to install this thing with the components hanging down from the top of the computer. Doesn't Aspire have any QC at all?