Assembling the Corsair Carbide 200R

I can't believe I'm saying this, but installing our testbed into the Corsair Carbide 200R was actually somewhat fraught. Corsair cases are usually what I work on when I need a break, when I want something relaxing, but the Carbide 200R was surprisingly frustrating.

Things started as well as they usually do. The built-in motherboard tray centerpost allows you to easily line the motherboard up with the standoffs, and the tray itself already has the standoffs installed. You can also manually remove them and move them depending on the type of board you're installing. For what it's worth, getting the video card and power supply in is also pain free.

The custom designed plastic toolless drive cage in the bottom of the case is a nightmare, though. As is typical of cases, the included cardboard box of accessories (screws and so on) is mounted in one of the 3.5" bays. Unlike other cases, though, the box required a tremendous amount of force to remove, so much that it actually snapped some of the plastic on the right side of the cage. Drives are essentially supposed to be held in place by a combination of the pressure of the cage and a peg on the left side that's attached to a tab. Forcing out the box and then forcing our Corsair Link box into the bay was way too difficult; it would've been quicker and easier just to use thumbscrews in a conventional mounting scheme.

Installing a 2.5" drive is a lot easier, with a single plastic wedge holding the SSD in place. 2.5" drives are stacked on top of and next to each other in a two-by-two layout, but their power and data connections face the interior of the case instead of behind the motherboard tray. I'm not sure how I feel about orienting them this way (ignoring how questionably secure the drive was); it makes it easier to run a power cable from the optical drive in the top of the case, but also clutters the interior in ways I'm again just not used to seeing in a Corsair product.

As for the 5.25" bay, the metal latches used seemed more stable in other case designs, but in the 200R they're about as secure as a 14-year-old nerd in a high school locker room. Corsair also only includes them on one side instead of both sides. You're going to want to use screws to lock the drive into place, as I fear it might be too easy to push the drive past the latches and into the case.

Finally, cabling went fairly smoothly, but the two fans in the 200R only include 3-pin headers and no molex adapters. For most users this isn't going to be a problem, but our testbed motherboard only features one additional fan header beyond the CPU header. That meant having to fish out a spare adapter (thankfully kept on hand for just such an event). Also, again, note that because of the orientation of the 2.5" drive bays, wiring up SSDs is going to busy up the interior of the case a bit more than I'd like.

I recognize I have a habit of nitpicking, but Corsair falls victim to their own standard when it comes to assembling the Carbide 200R. The toolless drive cage was a source of incredible frustration and feels completely out of step with the rest of the case, and while it's good for companies to at least experiment and try new things, I think a more conventional cage would've been a better choice even if it meant sacrificing some capacity. Everything else comes together fairly smoothly, but a molex adapter for at least one of the case fans along with a smarter drive cage design (and smarter toolless designs for the optical drive bays as well) would've gone a long way towards living up to expectations.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 200R Testing Methodology
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  • Grok42 - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I like to see good clean looking case designs like this at a low price point. Given the price I would expect some compromises and honestly it could have been a lot worse. I think the industry needs more experimentation with how internal drives are mounted so I applaud any effort even failures. Hopefully they will come back with something better next time around. Maybe next time they will save some money by killing the external bays and putting the resources into the internal bays. Reply
  • versesuvius - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    The only time one needs a tool for a case is the hard drive and other storage parts. The problem is not that people do not know how to use a screw driver, but that it has screws on the two sides of the case. As it is right now, you have to go through more trouble with the toolless case than you have with traditional ones. The answer lies not with the case manufacturers, but with internal storage manufacturers. It is very ease to design a hard disk casing so that it needs screws only on one side, and not two. Yet after maybe 30 years of hard disks, the casing has not changed a bit. Even the SSD casing design has adopted the same philosophy. As far as backward compatibility goes, the casing can be designed to accommodate old cases as well. Anyway, I agree with the article about the drive cage. It is a stupid decision in all cases to begin with and it is stupid here too. After all, how many drives one changes during the lifetime of a PC? Two? As long as the case has to be opened that amounts to 10 during the lifetime of a case, while the extra accumulated heat is there all the time. Reply
  • arthur449 - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    "How many drives one changes during the lifetime of a PC?"

    I have a Coolermaster ATCS-200 case I bought in 2000 still kicking around the house. While it only has 80mm fans, it remains a very attractive and functional case for 'that random frankenputer' one generally has after a few years of building their own PCs.

    How many times have I changed the drives in that case? More times than I can remember. Some of them due to drive failures, some due to SSD / SAS experimentation, and many times for just cramming old drives in there and doing some bare metal testing of the latest silly OS that trickles down the MS TechNet vine.

    A good case will survive multiple generations of hardware, and (since its target audience is already building their own computers) will more than likely put up with many drive swaps as it's handed down to friends, relatives, or simply demoted to closet server duty.
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I still have my ACTS 200 or 201, and the next gen replacement case for it, but neither are in proper use.
    The motherboard tray from one is in use for a makeshift computer elsewhere where I can't use the full case.

    The drive cages in both are hideous though, compared to modern cases. We have come a long way from the old days.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I won't buy a case with an open top.
    Too much chance something will spill in it, or dust will settle on my gear.
    Copy Lian-Li and Fractal Design - give us a simple option to use the holes or not.
    Reply
  • Blibbax - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    That'd add cost. It could sold as an accessory though - I too avoid open top or even open side cases. Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Toss some sound dampening material over the fan mounts you don't intend to use; it works like a charm. The only problem, in my experience, is that the adhesive on sound dampening material is so strong that your decision is basically permanent.

    It's funny, I bought a box of sound dampening material, just for kicks, like seven years ago and I never used it as it was (presumably) intended to be used -- but I've used bits and pieces to great effect. And I still have some left.

    Cut out four tiny little strips of the stuff and place it on the borders of your fan mounts, and vibration basically disappears. That silly-sounding trick single-handedly resurrected two positively ancient (circa 2002) jet-engine-sounding cases (6+ 80mm fan mounts each) that were sitting in my basement, collecting dust.
    Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    That said, I agree that the proliferation of computer cases featuring fan mounts in every available space is somewhat annoying -- especially given that those cases typically only come with 2 fans out of the box.

    Likewise, I'd love to see more cases with the old fashioned top-mounted PSU design. I understand the benefits of the alternative, but even with a filter, a bottom-mounted PSU is less than ideal on my carpeted floor.
    Reply
  • Blibbax - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Agreed on all accounts. Reply
  • TekDemon - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I think it's actually great since it's the cheapest case that appears to support the H100 cooler, which was the main reason I bought my Carbide 400R (which I love-it's an awesome case). I wouldn't have been able to use this case though since I have a super long pci-e card. Reply

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