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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  • losttsol - Monday, July 02, 2012 - link

    Fan controllers, audio controllers, light switches, bay reservoirs, card readers....there are plenty of other things to go into a 5.25" bay still. Just because you don't use them, plenty of other people do. Reply
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, July 03, 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."

    The system I keep built for my mom has a mid tower case from 1995, I don't see how needs have changed that much.
    Reply
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    So by an ITX case, you don't sound like your in the market for a mid tower case. Reply
  • Termie - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I was just deciding between this and the Fractal Core 3000. Went with the Fractal, but after having received it, I'm pretty sure the Corsair is the better-built case. That being said, it's also slightly larger, which is what swayed me towards the Core 3000.

    By the way, Newegg has the 300r for $60AR/FS/Code through July 4th. Nice deal!!!
    Reply
  • PPalmgren - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Something not mentioned in the reivew that I found important is that the case also includes fan filters over the PSU intake and the front panel intake, impressive for all the amenities offered. Another tiny mention is that the front panel prongs are metal, not plastic, so cleaning the filter and replacing it won't eventually make the front panel clamps break. Really, I have never had a more pleasant build experience in my entire life. I ended up getting it for $70 but looks like you can even get it on sale for $60 now. This thing put my previous ~$200 lian li case to shame, and I couldn't be happier.

    I weighed this and the 400R and noticed the thing the review mentioned, the rubber cable routing grommets not bieng there, and was worried that it would be that sharp edged crap you can cut your hands on, making it a pain to work with. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I guess its anodized(?) steel so the edges are smooth on the holes, and it feels very good to work with.
    Reply
  • C2bcool - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    One thing to note is the HD Audio Cable is pretty short (could be about 1-2 inches longer). If you don't mind running it directly to the header on your motherboard its fine, but if you want to use one of the cable passthroughs you will need an extension.

    This is the HD Audio extenision I used:

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?m...
    Reply
  • phdchristmas - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    i installed my system into this case just this month. i added 2 140mm corsair fans to the side panel. I've tried multiple configurations of exhaust/intake moving fans here and there and i haven't found any benefits aside from installing the added 2x140mm to the side panel, making all fans intake for positive pressure. Ive done 2 exhaust 3 exhaust temperatures stayed within a given range.

    Good mid side case on the smaller side. The front panel is mostly plastic but its brushed to make it look aluminum.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    485mm x 211mm x 450mm

    Is this H x W x D? Or D x W x H?
    Dustin, I've mailed you about this but received no response.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    We try. Not just in case reviews, but in reviews in general, we do write them for you but we also write them for the vendors. Some vendors live in a bubble and just want the publicity, but some vendors pay close attention to reviews (not just ours).

    I actually met with Corsair on Thursday and got a chance to talk to the guys that designed the 300R (and other cases).

    As for the Antec 1100 being essentially peerless, that's kind of a tougher question than you make it out to be. At its price point I think the 1100 is one of the best deals, but circumstances change radically depending on the parts you install. SilverStone has some interesting stuff in the works, and I believe Corsair does as well. It's not open and shut, and if you're willing to spend the money (and depending on your build) something like the SilverStone FT02 absolutely murders just about anything else on the market. I've tried different cases but keep coming back to the FT02, but I'm also doing primarily aircooling with a closed loop 120mm radiator on my CPU, and both of my video cards use blower style coolers. For my purposes, the FT02 is almost impossible to beat and EASILY worth the expense.
    Reply
  • blackberry_user - Sunday, July 01, 2012 - link

    I purchased 2 cooler master 120mm blue led fans and attached them to the side panel. It sounds like a helicopter. I checked the fan by removing it from the side panel and they are whisper quiet.

    Seems like the side panel is flimsy and not well designed. Anyone have ideas to quiten them down?

    btw - I have 7 fans attached with a ASUS m5a957 evo, 965BE with hyper 212 and a radeon 6670.
    Reply

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