Conclusion: But Why the Drive Cage?

I feel like Corsair has ultimately acquitted themselves fairly well with this, their least expensive enclosure. I get nervous whenever a manufacturer relatively well known for producing quality hardware decides to chase the bottom dollar; we saw what that approach did when Lenovo took over the ThinkPad brand. The Carbide 200R is a solid budget option that mostly offers good value at the $49 price point it's hitting in retail, but I really don't want to see, say, a 100R anytime soon.

We'll start with what Corsair got right. Their aesthetic continues to be top notch, and the interior design of the Carbide 200R has a lot of the things I've come to expect and appreciate from Corsair. The dedicated cabling channel surrounding the motherboard tray may not have worked miracles in my admittedly lackluster assembly, but it's one of their best and smartest innovations, making efficient use of the interior space available and allowing them to get the case just a little bit smaller. I want to see more designers employ that channel as well as integrating the motherboard alignment post. It looks like having the closed front of the case and moving the intakes to the sides helps mask some of the noise as well, and the cooling performance, at least on the CPU, is excellent.

Unfortunately things start to fall apart when we get to the drive cage. I hate to nitpick on a single issue like this, but the pursuit of a toolless design has resulted in what could conceivably become a serious hot spot. We're talking about an SSD reaching temperatures of close to 40C in a mid tower; that's within spec, but what happens when you start adding more drives? The cage traps heat, is staggeringly difficult to use, and is even actually a little fragile.

If you're just planning on putting a single drive in and calling it a day, the Corsair Carbide 200R potentially has a lot to offer a frugal user. While Corsair's next case up, the 300R, is notably louder than the 200R, it also offers substantially better performance and doesn't have a glaring weakness (outside of noise) like the 200R's design does. Users in an extreme pinch would probably be well served by the 200R, but I think I'd still recommend tracking down a BitFenix Merc Alpha or Merc Beta instead. Those enclosures are cheaper still, but offer more well rounded performance.

Noise and Thermal Testing, Overclocked
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  • VTArbyP - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    Why has no one commented on the drive cage problems before me?

    The problem with removing the box from the 3.5' cage, sounds very familiar. I've had similar breakages numerous times in many things that I've had to put together. Usually I find that I missed some key instruction on HOW to remove the offending item without breakage. I still remember the feelings of "Ahh" and utter stupidity, when I found out how to open CD cases! :-) Is the cage removable? Can it be expanded in useful ways without destruction? I'd love to hear from the manufacturer and other builders using this case, since I like its looks and price.

    I can't get a good look at the 2.5" case with the pictures shown, but it doesn't look too enclosed. It seems to be just below the front fan and I wonder what effect that has. I would like some close up pictures of it added to the gallery. I feel the itch to drill or saw holes in it for cooling. Perhaps one could direct a bit more of the fan's air through it too. Wonder what would happen if the second front fan was added, slow speed, too cool the drives and perhaps the GPU. The case LOOKs sensibly laid out for cooling the SSDs and GPU, too bad it didn't actually do it, especially since the CPU temps were quite acceptable.
    Reply
  • billcat1447 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I got a new case, a smaller one and it had removable harddrive cages.
    While nice because it was the only way to put my video card in they didn't think it though very well. It left me with 2 slots while I removed 4. I could have removed 3 and left 3 and it would have worked a lot better and even could have removed just 2 and still got it too work. I had to buy mounting hardware to fit them to the full size mounts. Very stupid.
    I kind of like top fans because this is where most of the case heat ends up and so you can remove most with the lest effort. Computer cases are not cup holders and shouldn't have drinks put on them in the first place and is a non issue with me. I like well thought out cases with room enough to run power and other cables behind the motherboard to clean out the mess they can make.
    I notice that some cases with USB plugs are about as cheap as they get and just bumping them can ruin them. I would prefer they be mounted in a spot where you can't bump into them and/or made better or stronger. The Cooler Master HAF cases have very very cheap USB plugs in the front of their cases. Other than that they are very good cases. I prefer the power supply on the bottom with the fan hole facing up so dust isn't sucked into them from the floor. They are kind of a vacuum cleaner if you mount the fan down. But this is a personal pref. I think the case is overall cleaner if they are mounted on the bottom if you can put the cabled behind the motherboard space. Makes it easire to get at heatsink for cpu and the motherboard is easier to deal with also. But again, personal preference.
    Reply
  • OVerLoRDI - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    I have a 200R with 4 hard drives in the cage. I found the cage assembly decent, sure it isn't as robust as other options, but just being a little careful I didn't run into any of the problems you did.

    You also have the option to pop off the front of the case and move the fan down so it is blowing into the cage. I'm not sure why it isn't there by default, but that helps a lot with the cage temps.

    That being said my 4 drives are a bit toasty in there, but all within spec.
    Reply
  • Uthor - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    For what it's worth, I got this case today and had absolutely no issues removing the accessories box or installing a hard drive. Pulled back the plastic tab on the left side, slid the box out, and slid the drive in. I don't expect to be replacing the drive any time soon, so I also secured it with screws, but didn't feel like I HAD to. Reply
  • DigiMark - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    I also purchased this case for use with a Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 ATX mainboard, Corsair TX-series power supply and several 3.5" drives. I found it easy to work with, no sharp edges and a clean look. It sits on the corner of my desk so I don't really have carpet issues, and I really like the power switch with integrated white drive and power lights, works well without being obnoxious. I didn't have a problem removing the hardware cardboard box, but I find that the single left-side latch for each drive does not secure well -- it's easy to push the drive past the holding pin with too much pressure. Once the machine is built is seems tight enough though. I should mention that while I used to build a number of machines using early In-Win cases, this is my first build in 6-7 years and my expectations were low, so also easily met. I think I will take advantage of another commenter's suggestion and move the front-mount fan down to blow past the drive cage. Budget pricing was important to me on this build and I feel like it is a good working case for the price. Reply

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