While there are plenty of changes elsewhere, the HAF’s unique roof design remains, with the rear of the roof panel not covered by the tough plastic-work of the front roof section. There's the usual wide ventilation grill for the roof-mounted 200mm exhaust fan. To the front is the familiar plastic island, which originally housed a watercooling fill-port, but which is now simply home to the case’s power and reset buttons, as well as the front panel.
The front panel itself is pretty minimal, with a pair of USB 2.0 ports, headphone, microphone and eSATA ports, with the case’s power and HDD activity LEDs mounted into the top of the angularly styled bump. There’s also a nifty button which allows you to switch off the red LEDs fitted into the front 200mm intake fan independently of the fan itself, allowing you to choose when (or should that be 'if'?) to run the case with an LED light show.
All in all, the exterior of the HAF 922 is a big improvement over its bigger brother. Not only does the new case look a great deal better thanks to more restrained styling, but the inclusion of a rudimentary dust filter and the option to switch off the front fan’s LEDs are both welcome inclusions. Combine this with the extremely tough-wearing black painted steel panelling that we’ve come to expect from Cooler Master, and the HAF 922 is shaping up to be an impressive bit of kit.
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Popping off the side panels is easy as it requires the removal of just a pair of thumb screws each, revealing the extremely spacious polished steel interior. If anything, the HAF 932 was too big inside for the majority of systems, so the reduction in chassis size for the HAF 922 doesn’t do any harm. There’s still a great deal of room inside to move and manoeuvre components into place, a necessity as there’s no removable motherboard tray.
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While we might have preferred the interior to match the high quality black painted exterior - as was the case with the CM:Scout - the HAF 922’s insides are a big improvement over the drab unpolished gray metal of the more expensive HAF 932 while still retaining a level of build quality. The interior has no sharp or rough edges, and plenty of the usual Cooler Master perks.
The large pre-cut hole in the motherboard tray is great, for example, as it allows for the easy fitting of CPU coolers with backplates without the need to remove your motherboard. There are also well placed pre-cut cable routing holes to help make tidying unwanted PSU cables simple. This task is made even easier with the use of bowed side panels, which help to house even thick bundles of cables behind the motherboard tray.