Digital Storm's Core i5 System Reviewed

The Case: Cooler Master's HAF 932

Digital Storm uses the Cooler Master HAF (High Air Flow) 932 in several default configurations. The case is well-built, roomy, and provides a number of options for routing cables behind the motherboard as opposed to in front of it. DS exploits this to maximize airflow throughout the case's interior. The case shots here are courtesy of Cooler Master.

The HAF 932 may be designed to maximize airflow, but CM clearly had an eye on the tower's acoustic profile when they designed it. The front, side, and side fans are both 230mm (110CFM, 19dBA). Digital Storm has replaced the single 120mm rear fan with a pair of 120mm's (one on each side of the AseTek radiator), and the front fan (originally a third 230mm) has been swapped for a 120mm as well. It's technically possible to remove the top 230mm fan and install a pair of 120mm fans instead, but there's no practical reason to do so.

Here's a shot of the top of the HAF 932. The large 230mm fan is visible here. There's a fill port underneath the rubber mat, for those with water-cooling rigs.

Here's CM's stock photo of the FP connectors and fill port. Front-panel goodies include four USB ports, FireWire 400 (1394a), eSATA, and microphone/headphone jacks.

The HAF932 definitely isn't a case that everyone is going to like. Cooler Master isn't kidding when they call it "High Air Flow." Not only are the left side and top punched full of ventilation holes, the entire front of the case is an open grille. Both the side and top fans are exhaust fans. Add a 1kW PSU, two GTX 275s, and a pair of 120mm rear fans, and you've got a tremendous amount of air being pushed out of the case—and since nature abhors a vacuum, that means you've got quite a bit of air being pulled into the case too, mostly at the front. Even with the front fan disconnected, there's a steady stream of air flowing through the system.

The unavoidable side effect of pushing or pulling a ton of air across all those little holes is the creation of fan noise; at full load, the HAF932 sounds as though it's attempting to become a wind tunnel. Its physical characteristics and total lack of any sort of ventilation filters also makes the HAF932 an absolute dust magnet. If you've got shag carpet, six kids, and assorted dogs + cats, this might not be the case for you.

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