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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  • Torrijos - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I'm left wondering what is the useful effect of each fan in cooling the machine.

    It might be interesting to have a guide analysing the effect of some fans combinations on the cooling performances.

    As an example of the question that need answering:
    - As it been determined which is preferable, positive or negative pressure?
    - Should a top radiator be use as an intake port (thus improving the CPU cooling by using fresh air, and with a fan pushing air does it improve the fan efficiency since its pushing colder/denser air trough?), or as an exhaust (avoiding hot air build up in the case)?
    - Should fans be use to push or pull air through a radiator?
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    i think your looking for this. they are interesting articles.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflo...
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pr...
    Reply
  • billcat1447 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I played with different fans acting on the internal pressure and found you def. want more air coming in than going out which I guess would be pos. pressure.
    The case didn't have the vent holes that most modern cases have so when I had more pressure pumping air out than in it caused the fans to work very hard to remove the air from inside the case and worst case it also overheated the power supply because it could not move air though it and pump it outside the case. I almost destroyed the power supply, the air was super hot. With air holes in modern cases and if it was all run through filters it might case the same condition but not as bad. You want dust to be removed before it can enter inside components so I would guess if filtered the less air being added would be the way to go. Most cases don't filter all the holes and I would want more air removed from the case than fans pulling air into the case but I would really only care about which fans can remove dust and mount then that way and which ones will cool the best while not adding dust and bringing air into the case. If there is a lot of holes pos or neg doesn't matter but the way the fans are mounted to get the best out of them is the most important part. I'd have air removed from the top fans, air removed from the power supply. Air entered for the front hard drive cooling fans and air entered from the side fan cooling the motherboard and memory (only if it's filtered).
    Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    There are endless debates about positive versus negative pressure. Different manufacturers even seem to have different opinions on the subject. (Antec, for example, seems to endorse negative pressure by default, whereas Silverstone is a vocal advocate of positive pressure.) Purely as a matter of cooling efficiency, I don't think there's a right answer: the ideal solution depends as much on the fans' placement in relation to your hardware as it depends on the direction of their airflow.

    That said, and all else being equal, I will always favor (filtered) positive air pressure, just because it reduces (or practically eliminates, in some cases) dust build up, and thus it saves the user from having to clean out the inside of his case regularly.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Imagine an Obsidian 150D for premium ITX. Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    i like the look. im not into the alien abducted my computer look. im convinced i could design a better budget case then most of these companies. if im going to buy a case that costs under $50 all im expecting is good cable management and air flow. i wonder what this case costs corsair air to make. Reply
  • Donniesito - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Give me clean lines, and I'm happy. I'm of the opinion that since my computer sits next to my desk on the floor, it doesn't matter what it looks like. It needs to be unobtrusive, and doesn't need to look like an alien ate my computer, nor does it need to light up like a runway. It just needs to sit there and work.. My display on the other hand needs to be all sorts of awesome ;-) Reply
  • johan851 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I felt like that little dig at the end of the article was neither relevant or correct. Thinkpads are still great, and what's that got to do with cases? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    One Thing I would have liked to see:

    Completed cable management. Show me a finished computer with the cables all ziplocked down and looking clean. I just bought a Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 and did this and it's the best build I've done over the years. It really makes the PC look nice. Sufficient space behind the motherboard makes a huge difference, as do the pass through holes for the cables.
    Reply
  • Donniesito - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I agree with this also. However, I don't use zip-ties for cable management. Years ago I learned the awesomeness that are velcro zip-ties and I've never looked back ;-) Reply

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