Introducing the Corsair Carbide 300R

Ostensibly, Corsair's Carbide line of enclosures are their budget cases; the Obsidian and Graphite lines both start where the beefy Carbide 500R leaves off. Corsair's least expensive entry is the one we have on hand today, the Carbide 300R. Yet like a certain fruit-flavored company we know, they seem unwilling to part with many of the amenities that make their cases such a joy to assemble and work with, and the result is a Carbide that's caught between two worlds.

The Carbide 300R attempts to bring many of the things we've come to know and love and expect from Corsair cases down to a hopefully more palatable $79 price tag. While that's not in the "true budget" arena we've seen companies like Bitfenix and Antec stake out, it's definitely more affordable than most and may hit a sweet spot for users who don't want to spend too much on a case but want something of slightly higher quality.

For the most part you can see it just by looking at the case, too. While we've gone down to the raw fundamentals of SECC steel and black plastic, there are still a lot of smart details, and at this juncture it's still uncommon to see USB 3.0 connectivity in a budget case. When we pop it open later on, we'll see why the Carbide 300R commands its $79 asking price, for better or worse.

Corsair Carbide 300R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25”
Internal 4x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fan (supports 2x 120/140mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120/140mm fan mounts
Side 2x 120/140mm fan mounts
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170 mm
PSU 240 mm
GPU 17.7" / 450mm
Dimensions 19.1" x 8.3" x 17.7"
485mm x 211mm x 450mm
Weight 15.9 lbs / 7.21kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Price $79

There are really only two places where you can tell Corsair trimmed some of the fat, at least from the spec sheet. Corsair's cases typically have dual drive cages, but with only four internal drive sleds, they open up space for an intake fan as well as extra long video cards. They've also removed one of the expansion slots; normally there's an eighth one (a convenience I appreciate), but going down to seven isn't a total loss since we're still within spec for a standard ATX motherboard.

What you should appreciate is the copious amount of clearance for all of the components, including the heatsink. After having a couple of close calls with our Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, I was pleased to see that it fit in the 300R with no complaints. The top of the 300R is designed to handle a 240mm radiator (like, say, a Corsair H100) as well.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 300R
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  • sfroom - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    This case probably performed slightly better than the graphs show.

    Keep in mind that while ambient temperatures don't affect the temperature delta charts, they DO affect fans speed, and noise, particularly at load.
    Reply
  • Ilias78 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Justin, i always love your case reviews but i think that you can do a whole lot better when it comes to cable management. Reply
  • C2bcool - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I agree. I just did an install in this case a week ago and it was my first build ever. I found the cable management very easy if you plan it out a bit first. I also got the grommets from the 800D and put those in the holes/cable passthroughs, they really cleaned up the look.

    Grommets: http://www.corsair.com/us/rubber-grommets-for-obsi...

    The large ones fit perfectly.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I'm tired of all the good case manufactures building good cases for the needs of 2001 and apparently not putting the necessary resources into designing what we need now. Nothing against this case specifically so feel free to replace this case with ANY well built case and I think you will find the same criticism applies. This is a result of my frustration finding a decent Mini-ITX or even Micro-ITX case for my latest build.

    There are THREE 5.25" bays and even worse, they are ALL externally accessible. If you're still putting CD/DVD/Blue-ray drives in your computers you should make sure you're not doing it out of habit and actually use them for more than just installing an operating system. I haven't put an optical drive in my box for five years and I considered myself a late bloomer stuck in the past. Spend $10 more on your next build and get an external drive and then put it in the closet until the next time you need to install another computer.

    Other than CD/DVD/Blue-ray, I can't think of a single other externally accessible device that you could possibly buy! Why does every case on the market, including mini-ITX cases insist on putting at least one 5.25" or slimline bay externally accessible? Having three of them is just 3x more ridiculous. The author states the he is using four 5.25" bays in his current setup. I would LOVE to know what for. I'm guessing two are CD/DVD/Blue-ray drives that never get used or only rarely and the other two are internal and hold 3.5" hard drives? I can't imagine it's anything that is regularly useful or couldn't be accommodated differently without the bays. This would reduce the price of the cases a good bit as the external bays are complex to engineer well.

    Now that we've established there is no need for external bays, what about internal 2.5" 3.5" and 5.25" bays? I see no need for 5.25" internal bays. I'm not aware of a single use for an internal 5.25" bay other than being converted with a bracket to 3.5". Lets agree that all internal bays should be 3.5" and 2.5" variety. How many should there be? As many as possible please. But, and this is important, make them modular! Build a rail system so that I can mount as many or as few 3.5 and 2.5 drives in any mix I want with whatever spacing I want. I know this isn't easy to design and will require a lot of expense. However, a well designed rail system could be portable and used by a manufacture across their case lines to offset the cost of designing the system.

    Finally, this case has SEVEN openings for expansion slots. 90% of the market needs 2 for a discrete graphics card, 10% need four for an SLI setup. The other three to six slots can be used for what? Maybe to add thunderbolt support two years later when it's more popular? I don't think so. Instead you will purchase a new motherboard that supports it and upgrade you processor and memory to boot. Based on the price point, I assume that 99% of the customers that purchase this box will put one single or dual slot graphics card in it.

    I've build dozen of full tower ATX builds in my time. I have a server next to me with 8 hard drives in it. I know there are those running triple dual slot SLI rigs. I'm just asking for one decent case for the 90% of us that want to build a modest Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB 3.5 HD, 120GB SSD, Nvidia 560Ti gaming rig in a small footprint. The problem is that all the case manufactures start throwing in external bays and the ability to have 6 internal hard drives in a min-ITX case and wonder why they don't sell. The few who do try and focus don't have the resources to do the necessary engineering that is needed to build a good case.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I guess I'm "stuck in the past". I still buy blu-rays, import music from CDs, and purchase box copies of my games for the most part. Kindly don't assume that no one uses ODDs anymore just because you and your small circle of friends don't. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Fan bus controllers would be another potential use for the 5.25" bays, and some people (GASP!) even have double-height controllers with LCD displays showing various statistics. So, a Blu-ray drive with one of those LCD controllers gets you to three 5.25" bays. You know, something like this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    There are also water-cooling reservoirs that fit in a 5.25" bay, card readers with USB ports, and removable drive enclosures that can all fit in external 5.25" bays. Given a lot of cases don't have externally accessible 3.5" bays, I'd say any case that wants to work for nearly any user needs a minimum of three 5.25" bays.

    Your opinion is that 5.25" external bays are useless, but it's just that: an opinion. I can guarantee that if someone released a PC with only one external bay (or none), there would be an outcry from many people that have the opinion that two bays is the bare minimum. Some of that might be out of habit, but for my desktop systems I would never want to have to deal with an external optical drive every time I need to access a CD/DVD -- which is something I still do at least weekly. For $20 for a good DVDRW that stays put (external drives can slide around, get knocked to the floor by kids, etc.) it's money well spent.
    Reply
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    yup, I'm eventually going to have to put a 5.25" adapter plate with usb 3.0 headers since my antec 300 only came with usb 2.0 Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Come on, I never said no one needs a case like this. I said that 90% of builds don't need a case like this. Specifically the title of the review, "For the masses", prompted me to post my thoughts. I get that 10% need an internal DVD drive, mostly for games and their insistence on DRM, but a huge portion have moved over to buying their games on-line so they don't have to mess with media anymore. I paid $3 for a game I already owned so I didn't have to put a DVD in the drive when I wanted to play it anymore and this was when I still had an internal drive. Reply
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Yup, besides movies you still need a dvd drive to install and play games. I built an NAS I temporarily had to install a dvd drive to install windows. Reply
  • chrnochime - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    TL:DR.

    And posting such a long whine here accomplish what exactly?
    Reply

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