Design, Features and Installation (HAF 915R)
Interior Design and Features (HAF 915R)
The side panels of the HAF 915 case has thumbscrews that are all attached to the panels and helps prevent the loss of any of these screws. After removing the side panels, we see the spacious interior of the case. If you plan on setting up a Mini-ITX system, it is able to accommodate graphics cards that are as long as 14.17 inches (360mm). You can rest assure that this should fit almost any mainstream or enthusiast graphics card. In front, it has a removable 2.5-/3.5-inch drive enclosure, and it is able to fit up to three such drives. Above it, there is a 5.25-inch drive bay that comes with a convenient locking mechanism.
For those who wish to use the HAF 915R component as an expansion deck, the vast space within allows you to stack more drive cages from the HAF 925 mid-tower or mount huge water cooling radiators.
At the front of the chassis, there is a pre-installed 92mm intake fan. The I/O module, which houses the power and reset buttons, USB ports, and audio jacks, is located on the mid-tower 925 component. The module is removable and its transplant involves some re-routing of the module's cables.
For this portion of our write-up, we'll consider a standard system installation procedure with the HAF 915R case component. This would be useful for those intending to purchase only the HAF 915 unit or those who buy the HAF 935 but wish to start small, or for the more technically inclined folks, build dual systems within the HAF 935 (one in the 925 portion, and another in the 915). The latter will however involve some case modding to get it going unless Cooler Master can sell an additional I/O module to separately power the HAF 915 and HAF 925 portions. Are you listening Cooler Master?
Having established the motive, the general installation process of our test components was a straight-forward affair. With the bundled drive adapters, it was easy to fit our drives, and put them into their respective slots. The 3.5-inch drive snaps into place without the need for additional fastening screws. There are options for these screws but we found them unnecessary during our installation.
For 2.5-inch drives, the fastening screws are a must, and we used them to secure our SSD to the bottom of the adapter.
After sliding in the secured drive trays, we installed an ASUS BW-12B1ST Blu-ray ODD above the front intake fan without a hitch. It was a simple slide-and-lock affair. Following that, we installed the rest of our components, the ECS HDC-I/E-240 mini-ITX motherboard, the standard PS/2 ATX PSU, and an average sized 10.5-inch graphics card.
From the other side, we have a better view of the mini-ITX board and the top-mounted PSU. Since the PSU sits over the motherboard, the CPU cooler's maximum height cannot be greater than 80mm (3.1 inches).
During our installation exercise, we removed the I/O module from the HAF 925 component, and installed it above our ASUS Blu-ray drive.
With the side and front panels in place, we have the Cooler Master HAF 915R in its stand-alone mode.
Our Thoughts for the Stand-Alone HAF 915R
The HAF 915R is a hefty mini-ITX casing. Its somewhat tool-free design made our installation a breeze, and the attached thumbscrews of its side panels are a nice touch. A point to moot is the position of the PSU as it sits directly over the mini-ITX board. Hence, it will restrict the height of the CPU cooler. Otherwise, the HAF 915R is a functional, well-ventilated (albeit deep) mini-ITX chassis ideal for users who will definitely outfit the system with powerful graphics cards or see an opportunity to expand the system's functionality by stacking more HAF 915 units in the future.