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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  • 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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