Coolermaster HAF Stacker 935, 315R & 315F Modular Chassis Review

by - 6 years ago

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Introduction


Screenshot 2014-03-21 11.55.43

When it comes to big chassis, we have products like the 900D, Xigamtek Elysium, Antec Nineteen Hundred and more, but they’re all little runts compared to what we have in the eTeknix office today. The Coolermaster HAF Stacker may not be the biggest chassis we’ve ever seen, but with just a simple screw driver it has the potential to be as big, bold and over the top as you like! A blend of full tower and mini-ITX chassis products that are modular beyond all belief, allowing you to bolt them together, link up cables, components, cooling and more between them to create one or more systems work together like never before.

The HAF Stacker is a beast, it is obviously a big case and with the epic size comes an equally epic price tag. The HAF 935 is a 2-in-1 boxed product, coming with the full tower and one of the mini-ITX modules (915F), this will set you back around £160. In addition to this you can buy the mini-ITX modules separate. We have the HAF 915F at our disposal today today which is an extra £68, but can also be bought for the same price in HAF 915R format, the difference being that the F has a front mounted PSU, the R is mounted in the back and we’ll explain why later. So in the eTeknix office we have the HAF 935 + 915R, that’s one full tower and two mini-ITX modules. Total retail price for this will be £228, which obviously puts the HAF Stacker out of the reach of your average consumer, but if it wasn’t immediately apparent that this is ultra-high-end enthusiast grade hardware, then you’ve clearly never heard of the HAF Stacker before.

The modular nature of the chassis products I have at my disposal means I can build a system that’s nearly 5ft tall, containing 3 motherboards, 3 power supplies, in fact it can simply fit three full systems! Or of course you can build one colossal, Godzilla crushing mega-rig, like none that have gone before it. Of course doing such a thing would require a gargantuan amount of components and of course a LOT of money to do something like this justice, I would love to do it, but this isn’t a build-log, this is a chassis review (sorry). I will however do as much as I can with this chassis and what we really want to look at is the build quality, feature set and really get in there and take a look at just how crazy you have to be to even attempt a build in a chassis of this size.

As you can see from the specification list below, there isn’t really much of anything that the HAF Stackers cannot do, component compatibility is as high as it gets and big radiators, huge racks of storage, dual socket motherboard, multiple motherboards, large PSU’s, super sized GPU’s and lots of them, it doesn’t matter what you want to put in here, it will fit.

Haf stacker specifications

Big products come in big boxes, the box features the same design we’ve come to expect from the top Cooler Master ranges and has a nice image of the HAF Stacker chassis on each side of the box.

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Around the back we have a diagram that details many of the major features such as the dust filters, fan mounts, hard drive support etc.

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A much smaller package for the HAF 915, although this is certainly the longest mini-ITX chassis I’ve ever seen!

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Again more specifications around the back, but lets skip right to it and take a closer look at what’s in the box.

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A Closer Look – 935 Exterior


The full tower is a lovely looking bit of kit, featuring a huge tinted window on the left side panel that gives us a nice view of the interior. The side panel is pretty durable and is held in place with a pair of thumb screws.

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The right side panel is a little less exciting, just a plane black panel and is also held in place with two thumb screws.

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The heavily ventilated front panel features three clip-in 5.25″ drive bay covers and a large front intake for any front mounted cooling.

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The IO panel has the usual power switch (no reset), HD audio, 2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0.

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Around the back you’ll find a pre-installed 140mm fan, but you can swap this out for a 120mm if you wish and there are three rubber grommets at the top for routing water cooling / cables. Multi-GPU setups are obviously no issue thanks to 8+1 expansion bays, each fitted with a ventilated and reusable cover. Finally we have a base mounted PSU cut-out which supports both normal and inverted PSU installation.

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As you can see, the top is open and features a multitude of mounts that are perfect for fans and radiators, while also serving as cable routing space to any HAF Stacks that maybe place on top of this section. The top panel is missing for a reason, it’s on the 915 chassis that also came in the box, you can however put the 915 on the bottom and attach the top panel to the 935, very clever.

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At the bottom we have a slide out PSU dust filter, two large cable routing cut-outs with rubber grommets and interestingly, two removable sets of of feet. We’ll be showing you this in more detail shortly, but they can be removed from their rails, allowing you to mount this case on top of other HAF sections, this section doesn’t have to be at the bottom of the stack, this is just how it’s configured out of the box.

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A Closer Look – 935 Interior


Onto the interior and things look pretty much like any other high-end full-tower chassis. There is an ultra wide CPU cooler cut-out, very handy if you’re installing a dual socket motherboard and need to change the coolers. There is plenty of cable routing space, not only on the motherboard mounting plate, but also in the base section, top panel and if you remember there is also a little at the back, just above the rear fan.

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At the front you’ll find each of the 5.25″ drive bays is fitted with tool free locks, allowing for quick and easy drive installation / removal.

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There are two removable hard drive bays, each with 3 removable trays that support either 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives.

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The hard drive trays features a tool free mechanism for 3.5″ drives; the tray extends wider, pop your drive in, snap it shut, done!

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The rear 140mm fan features a 3-pin connection and a pre-installed 3-pin to Motex adaptor for maximum compatibility.

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The top rails of the chassis are multi purpose and can be used to slide and lock in place either another HAF Stacker chassis, the top panel cover or on the bottom of the chassis, the chassis feet.

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Clear and tidy around the back, you’ll find 20mm of space for cable routing here, as well as a few cable tie loops scattered around to help you keep everything organised.

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Around the back you’ll also find a stealth mount for an extra 2.5″ hard drive.

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A small cable routing hole near the back of the front panel, perfect for routing any extra fan cables.

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Interestingly there are no pre-installed front fans, personally I think this is a better idea on a premium case as most people will no doubt be wanting to install their own after-market fans anyway.

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A Closer Look – 915R Exterior


The 915R can be bought on its own, but comes bundled with the full tower in the 935 box. The left side is racked with ventilation that is ideal for 2 x 140mm fans, 3 x 120mm fans or of course you could install up to a 120 / 240 / 280 / 360mm radiator.

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Not content with the epic cooling space on the left side? Then rejoice, because you’ve got the same again down the right hand side.

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The front panel has room for a single 5.25″ drive and a small air intake below the for the front mounted fan.

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Around the back you’ll find a pretty standard mini-ITX layout, with the PSU at the top, motherboard IO at the bottom and a pair of expansion slots that are ideal for a dual socket GPU or similar device.

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The top panel is also heavily ventilated and features an easy to remove cover which can be transferred to the full tower chassis dependant on which one of the chassis you choose to be at the top of the stack.

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At the bottom you’ll notice a large rubber grommet as well as four smaller cut outs, perfect for routing cables and water cooling components. There are four screws to the right that hold the hard drive bays in place, but eight more holes accross the whole chassis allow you to mount two more hard drive bays in the mini-itx chassis, after all no one said you had to put a motherboard in here, you can just use it for massive amounts of storage and cooling for your full tower!

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A Closer Look – 915R Interior


As you can see, the interior keeps with much of the same styling as the full tower, the hard drive bays are full removable, you can of course just unscrew the two hard drive bays from the full tower and put them in here if you wish.

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Huzzah! It doesn’t look much different from this side, but it’s great to see that you can get easy access to this rather large mini-ITX chassis, very hand your trying to rout cables to lots of hard drives.

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In the front you’ll find a small 80mm fan, no much I know, but certainly enough to cool the front hard drive bays should you not need to saturate the side fan mounts.

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A Closer Look – 915F Exterior


The 915F looks pretty similar to the 915R overall, it features the same extensive fan mounting option on the left side panel, so room for another 2 x 140mm fans, 3 x 120mm fans or up to a 120 / 240 / 280 / 360mm radiator.

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And the same again on the right for some extreme cooling possibilities and impressive airflow through its filtered side panels.

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One of the major differences is that the 915F has a front IO panel, with power, HD audio and 2 x USB 3.0 ports, the 915R features no front panel inputs and outputs. There is still a 5.25″ drive bay and more ventilation below that for any front mounted cooling.

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Around the back you’ll find a 120mm fan is pre-installed, a cut-out for a mini-ITX motherboard, two expansion slots with ventilated covers and a PSU cable pass through, essential given that the PSU is front mounted in this section of chassis.

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The top panel is also heavily ventilated just like the other two cases, and features another removable top panel, this case can be put at the top, bottom or middle of the stack just like the other cases can.

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The base features more water / cable routing spaces, as well as a filtered PSU air intake. As you can see the’re are also a range of key-hole cut-outs that can be used to mount extra hard drives on the interior of the chassis, as well as more screw holes like we saw in the other mini-ITX chassis for mounting extra hard drive bays. The legs are pre-installed here, but again these can be removed to allow the case to be slotted on top of any other HAF Stack chassis.

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A Closer Look – 915F Interior


On the interior we see the real differences to this case when compared to the 915R. The motherboard still goes at the back, and there is still a 5.25″ drive bay at the front, but you also get a vertical hard drive bracket at the back, which can be used to mount drives using screws and rubber washers. The PSU is mounted up at the front, and this gives you flexibility in terms of component layout as you can take advantage of the later rubber grommet cut-out at the back, perfect for passing through water cooling pipes to any side mounted radiators.

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The hard drive bracket is completely optional and can be removed with four simple screws. Actually, just about everything is option in the HAF cases, the hard drive bays and the optical bays in all three cases can be completely remove and interchanged as you see fit.

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A Closer Look – Stacked


This is the part I’ve been really looking forward to, finally showing you how all these wonderful cases can be configured and even though I have three at my disposal, I’m really only scratching the surface of what is possible here. As you can see we have the 915F and the full tower stacked below, this is the “standard” configuration that the 935 comes in out of the box.

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Same setup again from a different angle.

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Why have two when you can have three! Here you can use the extra two for storage and / or extra radiator space for the full tower, or you could save floor space by having all your LAN rigs in one stack. Perhaps a high-end rendering rig, a low powered mini-ITX work station and the other as your NAS box.

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Again these three cases can be stacked in any order, two mini-ITX on the bottom, one mini-ITX and the bottom and the other at the top, it’s really up to you and without any components installed it only takes a few easy to remove screws and a very easy to use slide lock rail to move each case around.

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Here you can see I’ve stripped them back, showing the removable top panel, the slide rails on the bottom of the mini-ITX 915F and the removable legs, it’s pretty much a giant Lego set, the possibilities are as crazy as you want them to be.

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Around the back you’ve got more inputs and out-outs than I know what to do with, it looks more like an evil lords lair than the back of a computer.

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Top down view of the almost 5ft tall behemoth that we created.

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A Closer Look – Complete System


The total build time for what we have here was around 40 minutes, a little longer than normal but that is to be expected given the size, weight and complexity of such a chassis, not to mention that fact that I’ve installed not one, but two full systems within it.

As you can see there is a fully functional and independent mini-ITX gaming system in the top section, the mid section is empty and there is a water cooled gaming system in the lower section.

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As a full tower this is actually rather awesome, cable routing is great, there is loads of room for large graphics cards, long power supplies, the hard drive bays are fully modular and everything else you could want from a high performance case. The big advantage is that you can extent the system up or down into more cases should you need more storage space, more cooling components or even more power supplies.

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The 140mm Cooler Master Nepton fit with ease in the rear of the case, and I certainly found its tool free installation process easy to work with here.

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The mini-ITX gaming rig at the top features a 3.5″ hard drive on the vertical mount, a 5.25″ optical drive in the front, a modular PSU in the front and the GTX 560Ti. Still loads of room here for a long graphics card, although that much is obvious and I’ve never seen a mini-ITX case that was as long as this, so even extra power supplies would fit with ease and still cause no issues for the biggest graphics cards on the market.

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Overall this is an absolutely ridiculous setup, complete overkill for the systems I’ve installed, but it wasn’t my intention to blow minds with my system building skills, but rather look at what sort of things could be constructed using the HAF Stacker.

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Taking things down a peg I’ve removed the mid section, which obviously could have been used to store water cooling radiators and hard drives to feed both the top and bottom gaming rigs.

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Or you could just cut it down further and use the main section as a rather tasty looking full tower, looks pretty great on its own don’t you think?

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And the advantage there means I’ve still got two cases to join together, keeping in mind that I need the 915F here as the 915R that came with the 935 doesn’t have a front IO panel or power switch of its own. There aren’t many mini-ITX setups with this many fan mounts, that’s for certain.

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Final Thoughts


Price

Let’s be honest here, there is nothing budget friendly about this chassis, it’s big and expensive and there isn’t much you can do about that. Of course we have to look at what you get for your money overall, given that something like the 900D will set you back close to £300, when you can pick up this modulartastic madness from Cooler Master much cheaper (relatively speaking). The HAF Stacker 935 is £149.92 from Scan.co.uk and this gets you the full tower bundled with a 915R, pretty good value for money, the case only gets crazy expensive when you start adding more sections to it. The HAF Stacker 915F is £62.38 from Scan.co.uk and the HAF Stacker 915R £61.09 from Scan.co.uk. The full setup we had here today would set you back around £212.30, which isn’t bad when you think that you’re getting a three products with seemingly endless possibilities. In the US you can pick up the HAF Stacker from Amazon.com; $169.99 for the HAF 935, $86.09 for the 915R and finally $69.99 for the 915F.

Overview

Where do I even start with this chassis, it just has so much to offer! Let’s get a few things out of the way that I didn’t like and maybe we can move forward from there. I love the modular design and it’s great that there are so many cable routing holes between the chassis to hook things up, but the top of each chassis is more open than the base of each chassis. The little cable routing holes for hard drives could have been a little bigger in my opinion, they don’t need to be, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. The air filters are tricky to get at, obviously you can remove panels and other bits, but cleaning side air filters when you have radiators installed is likely going to involve removing the radiator, obviously not ideal. That’s really all I didn’t like, even then I’m clutching at straws.

I love this case, or should I say cases. The ideals that have run through my head that I’d like to do with this case are just too awesome. At first glance the case looks and feels completely impractical and I’ll admit that for most people, that much is true. However, when you put your mind to it there are so many great ideas that can save you money and space. First of all I have my full tower chassis next to my desk, my girlfriends rig and desk are next to mine, so I could put my full tower system in the lower section and her mini-ITX system in the 915F, stack them and that way our rigs take up half the floor space they currently do. LAN gaming events can benefit from this too, not only because the mini-ITX chassis are capable of holding some extreme systems of their own, but gaming teams can stack all their rigs together, again saving space.

You can have your mining rig, gaming system and NAS all in one stack, you can bridge the PSU’s from each case to power one epic system, stack hard drives in one and turn it into a server, or just use the extra space for some very fancy water cooling loops, it’s really endless and the only limits will be your imagination and the seemingly huge budget you’ll need to do this case justice.

Pros

  • Modular design means the case can be as big or as small as you need
  • Completely modular storage bays can be mixed between cases
  • Extensive water and cable routing options inside each case and between each case
  • Sliding rails and a couple of screws means changing them around is super easy
  • Extensive range fan and radiator mounts
  • The sky is the limit, you can stack as many as you like
  • Competitive price when compared with similar specification products from rivals such as Corsair

Cons

  • Large size and high price may put off many

Neutral

  • It’s completely and utterly crazy, but that’s why we love it

“Cooler Master have proven that they’re one of the top manufacturers in the business time and time again and while their Cosmos II still holds as one of the greatest chassis ever made, even that beast can’t hold a candle to what the HAF Stacker is capable of.”

innovation-award

Coolermaster HAF Stacker 935, 315R & 315F Modular Chassis Review

Thank you Cooler Master for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. A Closer Look - 935 Exterior
  3. A Closer Look - 935 Interior
  4. A Closer Look - 915R Exterior
  5. A Closer Look - 915R Interior
  6. A Closer Look - 915F Exterior
  7. A Closer Look - 915F Interior
  8. A Closer Look - Stacked
  9. A Closer Look - Complete System
  10. Final Thoughts
  11. View All

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