Assembling the Corsair Carbide 300R

I've routinely mentioned Corsair makes the easiest cases to assemble on the planet, and the 300R has somehow made that even easier. This assembly was one of the smoothest I've done by a long shot, although there is still at least a little bit of room for improvement.

First, the motherboard tray is practically a godsend. Corsair doesn't include any motherboard standoffs with the 300R because the tray itself has a single brass stud in the center for lining up the board and then extrusions with mounts built into them. The only flaw with this design is that it's not ideal for Micro-ATX boards, and the side of ours wound up hanging off with no support. Since that side isn't going to be particularly prone to stress I'm willing to give them a pass, though I would've liked to have seen more than a single arbitrary mounting hole in the tray for a Micro-ATX standoff (as well as maybe including one or two standoffs in the package).

Mounting drives to the 300R was only slightly more difficult. Removing the bay shield from the top 5.25" bay was easy enough, but installing the blu-ray drive our testbed uses required applying a bit of force and shimmying it in. The toolless mechanism Corsair uses is a good one, but end users may want to take advantage of the open mounting holes to secure the drive anyhow. Meanwhile, the drive trays are the older style Corsair used, so while the pins pop into 3.5" drives easily enough, you'll have to remove one to mount 2.5" drives.

Lining up the power supply for installation was incredibly simple, as the entire area around the power supply bay is basically molded to snugly hold it in place. Installing the GeForce GTX 560 Ti we use for testing was also just as easy; two thumbscrews secure it in place after removing the replaceable slot covers.

On the flipside, cabling wound up being a little messier than I'd like, and that's at least partially due to the lack of rubber grommets lining the routing holes that I was crying into my beer about earlier. Another part of the problem is that the routing hole for the AUX 12V line is very narrow and requires shimmying the cable through it. It's an extremely tight fit and could stand to be widened at least a little, and I can see many users just foregoing it entirely. There's also a decent amount of space behind the motherboard tray, but I miss the routing channels in more modern designs like the Vengeance C70.

I feel like we've lost some of the clean interior assembly that's been par for the course for Corsair's cases, where they practically forced you to keep everything neat. That said, it's still extremely simple to put together a system in the Carbide 300R. As I've mentioned repeatedly in the past, though: assembly was never Corsair's problem. Let's see how their budget model handles thermals.

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

    I sure am glad I had a DVD drive when my Gigabyte motherboard refused to boot a Win7 install thumbdrive.

    I also like to buy used CDs at yard sales, flee markets, and Goodwill. You get some really cool stuff you can't buy anymore or was never even on iTunes.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I couldn't get Win 7 to install from a thumb drive either for some reason. I also install Fedora every ~6 months. I haven't purchased a CD in ages, not sure there is even a place in my town I could if I wanted to. I simply pull the external USB DVD drive out of the closet, plug it in and then put it back. Even weekly this isn't a big deal. Would an internal drive be easier? Sure, but I guess I build too many machines to waste $20 for a drive in each so I just quit. I think there are certainly an argument to be made for one external 5.25" bay on some cases. I'm just saying there is also an argument for one, just one good case with zero. Reply
  • futrtrubl - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I agree somewhat about the external bays since I hardly ever use optical drives these days, but as others have said there are enough other uses for them (card reader for me, fan mods/hot swap bays/etc for others) to justify 2 bays on a modern case.
    I do however find your objection to the 7 expansion slots puzzling. Why not have the seven? You aren't going to save space by cutting the numbers down since you would still have to fit an ATX mobo and it wouldn't save much money either. With modern layouts for PCI-E card slots some users require 2 slots per card so 6 slots just for graphics triple SLI and then one more for any other card/bracket. So in short we loose nothing by having all the slots but gain flexibility.
    Which is why I love your 3.5 HDD stack system ;'] One reason I don't use optical media much anymore is because I archive everything to HDD since it tends to be cheaper (Thai floods excepted) and is more convenient for me, and I backup religiously. So I currently have 8 drives in my case (one 2.5 SDD, 2 hot/fast HDD and 5 slow/cool HDD) and would love better drive management.

    Edward
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    If you put an mini-itx board in this case and try to stuff it full of drives, there is an awkwardly large bit of dead space where the 5 unusable expansion slots are. My basic premiss is that in trying to build a case for everyone, they have built a case that only works well for those building a monster rig. Those building a monster rig would probably pick a different case and not a mid-range $79 case. Case manufactures need to quit pandering to a small number of outliers and remove some less used features and improve those that are most commonly wanted. Large number of 3.5" and 2.5" drives, room for large power supplies and smaller form factors. Reply
  • ggathagan - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    While I understand your point, I think you look at design from the opposite viewpoint of a case maker.
    Consider this:
    How does it benefit a company to only provide one or two functional expansion port openings if the space where the additional 1-4 slots would be still has to exist?
    In doing so, you've just eliminated that case from consideration by thousands of users who DO want 3-7 useable expansion slots.
    The case has to be large enough to fit the board and a standard power supply, so it's not as if you can somehow eliminate that area on the back of the case.

    The same holds true with the front of the case.
    Modifying the drive bay area to allow for only 3.5" or 2.5" drives would give you, at most, enough space for 1 additional drive.
    In doing so, however, you've just eliminated that case from consideration by thousands of users who DO want a 5.25" bay.

    Neither of those are wise business decisions and the bottom line IS business.

    What you describe in a desired case is what SFF cases try to achieve, but that involves eliminating drive bays, since that's the one area of case design that *is* flexible.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    What is the most number of expansion slots you have ever used in a build? I've been building rigs for almost 20 years and the most I used was eight but that was a crazy fax server. In a personal case the most I had was Sound Card, Video Card, SCSI controller and Nic. But that was 10 years ago. I haven't put a Sound Card or Nic in a box since and just use the on-board versions. These days you put a single double slot video card and you are done. Most ATX motherboards don't even support more than 4 expansion slots.

    Maybe I should have included in my argument who needs ATX motherboards anymore? This would have cleared up some of the confusion.
    Reply
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    dont forget tv card Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    Have a look at the BitFenix Prodigy.
    That said, you're right, we need more mATX/ITX cases with less drive bays and shorter depth. Not every case has to support every configuration.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    On my short list with the FT03. All the mATX/ITX cases have pretty severe shortcomings. Not in features but with trying to do everything an ATX case can do. The FT03 has a 5.25" external slimline drive bay for some inscrutable reason which is just wasted space and complicates assembly. The BitFenix would be a hands down winner if not for the external 5.25" bay that more than anything ruins the look of the case in my opinion. The 5.25" bay also forced them to squeeze the power supply bay down in size so the top drive racks wouldn't interfear with the MB. Reply
  • rickon66 - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    In the first part of your post you want to abolish all external drive bays and then later you just want one decent case for the 90% of us. You make a lot of assumptions that 90% or 99% do this or want that based on what data? I can only speak for myself, not 90% or 99% of people-but I need a DVD/CD drive to access the dozens of disks that have accumilated over the years. Sure you can have external drives, but that means more wires and often another power brick. I would not buy a case without two or three external drive bays and if I don't want to use them, leave the covers in place. There are many uses for the external drive bays, card readers, fan controllers, I installed Antec easy sata bays in several of my compuers. Reply

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