In and Around the Corsair Carbide 300R

If you've been keeping up with our reviews of Corsair cases, the Carbide 300R is going to be pretty familiar to you. It's missing a couple of the advances we see in more modern Corsair designs like the Obsidian 550D and the Vengeance C70, but keeps a surprising number of conveniences just the same. I get the feeling the 300R is about as trimmed down as Corsair is willing to go, but they may yet surprise us with a 200R down the road.

The front of the 300R is matte black plastic and steel and it gels together very well. There are three 5.25" drive bays but at this point I'd almost recommend going down to two and just using the extra space for increased ventilation, maybe even expanding the front intake fan a little bit more. On my own desktop I use four of the 5.25" bays, but I could give up two relatively easily. The power buttons and I/O are on the top front of the case, which is a fine compromise for users who keep their towers on the floor and users who keep their towers on their desks.

When you move to the top of the 300R, you'll see virtually the entire thing is ventilated except for a small tray-like area in the front, but what I'm particularly fond of is the alignment of the two 120mm mounts for 240mm radiators. This is a point that Antec missed on the P280 but SilverStone nailed on the TJ04-E: it's not so much a matter of vertical clearance for a radiator as it is lateral clearance; you want to avoid crowding the VRM cooling on the motherboard with the radiator. By shifting the mounts towards the side panel, Corsair provides enough room to either use two 140mm exhaust fans or a 240mm radiator (again, like the H100) without crowding the motherboard itself. It's a small but important touch.

The left side panel of the 300R features two laterally arranged 120mm/140mm fan mounts to provide additional cooling for video cards. I've been bullish on having fan intakes on the side due largely to the stallare performance of Rosewill's Thor v2, but the Thor v2 also benefits from a massive 230mm side intake fan that tags pretty much the entire motherboard area short of the CPU cooler. When testing the Corsair Carbide 400R with optional side intake fans I was less impressed. The expansion space is appreciated but I'm not sure it's necessary at this point.

Meanwhile, the rear of the 300R is business as usual, with three cut-outs for external watercooling. What's funny is that it appears Corsair didn't really save any height on the case by eschewing an eighth expansion slot; there's space for one, they just didn't cut it out.

Four thumbscrews are all it takes to get the side panels off, and once we're inside the 300R it's business as usual. What's impressive is the amount of convenience that Corsair has managed to cram into an $80 case. The three 5.25" drive bays are all toolless (and in fact the bay shields snap in and out securely but also easily), the four laterally mounted drive sleds all snap 3.5" drives into place toollessly, and Corsair even includes a brass guide stud in the center of the motherboard tray to hold the motherboard in place while you screw it in. Expansion slots include covers held in place by thumbscrews, too, and there are extrusions in the tray to make for easily mounting the motherboard and for lining up the power supply. In fact the only convenience they really eschewed was lining the motherboard routing holes with rubber grommets. I'm sure we're all crying into our beer over that one.

On the nights when I need to get a review done, but maybe I have a headache, or my tummy hurts, or whatever, I know I can count on a Corsair case to make my life a little easier. Once again, that seems to be true. Thermal performance remains to be seen (though I'm optimistic about the unobstructed front intake fan and slightly positive pressure design), but at least assembly will be a breeze.

Introducing the Corsair Carbide 300R Assembling 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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