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  • blackmagnum - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Cool case. I hope the Lan gaming boys receive it with open arms, but without a handle it won't be moving anywhere. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    With one hand Corsair giveth, with the other they taketh away... Air 540 had no 3.5" mounts behind the motherboard but two 5.25" bays; this case has three 3.5" mounts but no 5.25" bays.

    What we really need is an Air 550, which would be the Air 540 with 3.5" mounts behind the motherboard tray. GET IT RIGHT CORSAIR.
  • 3DoubleD - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I have the opposite opinion. Kill 5.25" with fire. Never use it and it takes up tons of space. Optical disc drives now belong outside the case - especially one this small (if you even bother to get one! - I haven't used mine in 4 years). Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I don't think I drank enough coffee before I posted, you aren't saying they should put in a 5.25" bay into this case, my bad. Reply
  • notlurking - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Many still need the 5.25". Someone needs to do the rips that you download. If this were a tiny case, I'd understand the lack of an external 5.25. But it's 15.75" deep! Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    Many may still need 5.25", but "most" of them only "need" it occasionally. As such, "most" are fine using a USB optical drive for that occasional need. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    It takes up a lot of space, but some people (e.g. those with fan controllers, like me) do require it. And I also haven't used an internal optical drive in half a decade or so. Reply
  • Grok42 - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    99.9% of the cases still have a 5.25" bay. If you are still living in 1999 then by all means don't buy this case. For a lot of people, this case will be on the short list of just a few rare cases that leave behind physical media. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    I don't understand the whole push against 5.25" bays. They are *universal bays* that can be used for any number of things, including a HDD, fan controller, optical drive, card reader, etc etc or just left empty. What's the problem with having them in a case that isn't ultra-compact to begin with? Reply
  • nissefar - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Because most people do not have an use for it anymore and makes cases larger than necessary. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    They take up too much space for too little gain. That space could be more 3.5" slots or even an open place for a fan. Reply
  • lexluthermiester - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Yup that's what he said. Wake up before you open your flap-trap. Reply
  • Etern205 - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    I guess you haven't been old enough or encounter more, to know the nightmare it was to deal with external optical drives when they first arrived. I still remember when I had to use a external optical drive a few times to reinstall the OS on laptops where their internal optical drives had died or those that don't come with one. The problem is they're not that well built and the laptop itself as well as the bios also played a part.
    So this is what happens.
    1. Not all USB ports plays nicely with USB optical drives, some will let it detect, but after a few minutes it mysteriously disconnects and then I had to power off the laptop and power it back on to let it find it again.
    2. Some USB ports refuses to even detect any USB optical drives even after I changed to different brands, them USB cables, or even use one of those a internal optical drives connected via a SATA to USB adapter kit.
    3. If I was lucky enough to begin the installation, I have to have my fingers crossed hoping the USB optical drive does not crap out during the middle of the installation and if it did, I have to restart the installation. The worst parts is finishing the installation up to 99% and then the USB optical drive craps out, so basically that's like a whole hour or so wasted for nothing.
    4. Some laptops and USB optical drives have a mind of its own. they either want to work or don't work. With all these problems and weird behaviors, what used to be a simple install of the OS, has become a day of hell, just to get something that simple to complete, if their internal optical drive was working or it had one in the first place.
    While they might have now improved, they had left a bad rep, therefore I still prefer a internal optical drive and cases should comes with at least one 5.25" bay. If you don't see the need to use a internal optical drive, then that 5.25" bay can be used for something else like adding a Hotswap SSD/HDD kit. or a LCD fan controller.
    I say Kill USB optical drives with fire and throw them stupid crap built laptops in alone with it.
  • Refuge - Friday, August 21, 2015 - link

    I remember building in the 90's.

    To think external optical drives today are anything like the external drives of old, I guess you are just too old to build computers today?

    Also back then, the simple work around was to take an internal drive, and just set it in the bottom of the case and hook it into the Mobo that way. I think you just lack imagination.
  • Kevin G - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I'll second the idea of additional 3.5" bays behind the motherboard. Also make them hot swap and then the case would be ideal for a DIY NAS or HTPC with redundant storage. Reply
  • lexluthermiester - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Totally with you! Reply
  • coburn_c - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Why do they ruin everything with garish plexy. Case windows should be an add-on option, industry wide. Reply
  • Infernus - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I agree, that's the only gripe I have with my 540 (and soon to be 240 when it eventually arrives).

    On a side note, I don't know why Apple doesn't offer the original NeXT Cube case in mATX/ATX format - I know I would pay good money for it.
  • notlurking - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Apple doesn't even have to do it! The NeXT Cube design patents expired years ago. I don't understand why, despite ten years of everyone saying they want a cube, that no manufacturer makes one. The next cube was 12"x12"x12" with a microATX sized motherboard, 1x3.5" bay and 1x5.25" bay.

    The 1x3.5" bay is need for SD slot or fan controller. Every laptop and All-in-one PC for the past ten years has had an SD slot yet only LianLi builds an SD slot in their case. The 1x5.25" bay is necessary because someone needs to do the rips that everyone else downloads.

    Many people have bought NextCubes and modded them into PC's. I don't have time for modding but I'd pay for a 13"x13"x13" cube case.

    The Carbide Air is so close to perfect, but I won't buy a 15.75" deep case that doesn't have a 5.25" bay.
  • zlandar - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    The 12.4" height is too large to fit most entertainment consoles. My console has two fairly large shelves and the max height is 8.5". Not a ding since the author mentioned the case was not specifically designed for HTPC use but something to consider for people considering it. Reply
  • MichaelD - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I've been looking for a small-ish case to build my new gaming PC in and this was looking so promising, until I saw that it has no 5.25" bay. For a daily-use PC at least one optical drive bay is mandatory. Some of us actually still buy our games on physical DVDs and it's nice to be able to burn a DVD or CD when you need to. Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Between my wife and 3 kids, and work, I have 10 computers in the house, and most of them share an external USB drive - and the need for that is rare. it would be nice if this supported a slim optical drive, though - those take little room. Reply
  • brbubba - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I thought the same thing about my Air 540 because my water reservoir takes up the two 5.25" bays, but now that my DVDRom/CDRom is gone I haven't missed it. If you are still living in the 90's and haven't made the switch to Steam then just rip ISOs of all your games. Reply
  • romrunning - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Take a look at Silverstone's SUGO series - specificially the mini-ITX SG05 model. It can take a very decently sized GPU, and you can buy the case with a 450W PSU. It has a 5.25" slot for a slimline SATA disc drive; buy the slimline SATA power adapter cable 'cause they don't include it. The Silverstone case is also significantly smaller than this case. Great gaming case for a single GPU!

    I bought it, and I love it. I use the disc drive for when I buy CDs on sale; it's cheaper to get whole CD of 11-14 tracks when on sale than it is to buy individual tracks as MP3 downloads. I can then rip the whole disc & add it to my music library.
  • Grok42 - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Mandatory? I'm not sure that word means what you think it does. Do some people still buy physical media? Sure, but I can't understand why. Every game is available online and it doesn't require you juggle disks when changing games. If you don't have good Internet I could understand but then just use an external drive. Rip them as ISO files so you don't need it connected all the time. It really isn't that difficult. You can upgrade more important parts of your system with the $20 you save. Reply
  • hapkiman - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I really like my Air 540, in fact its been the best case I've ever had. This one looks like its just going to be too cramped in there for good airflow. Plus its too wide to fit under an entertainment center.

    I'm not sold on this one.
  • brbubba - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    "We cannot really claim that it is a unique case, both because many cubic cases are available"

  • SirGCal - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I don't understand the non-need for an optical drive. I use mine for system images, backups, etc. I constantly use it nearly every day. Not to mention just to watch a movie while I'm working... Even on my laptop, I use the optical drive with some regularity. External drives never have interested me but with a case this huge, why isn't there one slot somewhere, even on the side? I just don't get it. I also have micro-ITX builds, smaller then this, but they still have an optical drive. Reply
  • SirGCal - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    err Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX. I actually have both right now. Not a fan of the ITX honestly. One PCIe seems to be a problem when I want to use a PCIe SSD setup along with a deticated GPU. But that's another topic. Still, micro builds, for many of us, still need optical drives just for daily usage. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    For most people, backups, system images and all manner of not commonly accessed data (like movies, game installer and the like) goes on external drives or NAS boxes, if only for the convenience.

    Meanwhile, a 100pc DVD-R spindle costs $23.68, which works out to $94.72 for ~2TB. A single 2TB 7200rpm HDD costs $93. In addition, the HDD is faster, rewritable and takes significantly less space, and much more convenient since you don't have to swap disks as often.

    Just yesterday I was helping a friend wrap up his NAS4Free install with ZFS (inside ESXi, fuck you VMware for removing RDMs from the vclient ui!), something he's doing to get a nice, always on, accessible anywhere library of media, mostly so that he can brick his PC(s) while watching movies on his projector.
  • bnjohanson - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link order to understand, consider believing it a must for car companies to still install cassette players in their newest models because...

    " I use mine for taping mixes of songs and backups for my CD's, etc. I constantly use it nearly everyday. Not to mention to just listen to a movie soundtrack while I am washing my car...Even on my home stereo system, I use the cassette player with some regularity. Sony Walkmans never have interested but with a car this huge, why isn't there one cassette-slot somewhere, even in the trunk? I just don't get it. I also drive motorcycles, smaller than my car, but it still has a cassette player."

    ABSURD !
  • ZeDestructor - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Well done, that gave me a good chuckle... Reply
  • notlurking - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Your analogy is bad because you are comparing listening to media in a car with content creation.

    Someone needs to do the rips that you download. Those people need a 5.25 drive to get movies and music onto their NAS or PC.

    If you want a car analogy, buy a small SUV (Corsair 240 is 15.75" deep!) without a trunk. Why do you need a trunk in your small SUV when everyone already uses Amazon to deliver things right to your door?
  • ZeDestructor - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    External drives exist. As do full-size 5.25" eSATA/USB3.0/Firewire cases.

    Using the car analogy, that would be a trailer you would tow behind your small, fast Ferrari 458 for bringing extra tyres to trackdays.
  • notlurking - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    If you are going to bring up eSata, then why do cases need 3.5" drives? Just use an external 3.5" eSata drive for those times you need to access those extra media files or games.

    RE: car

    But the Corsair Air 540 is NOT a tiny Ferrari! It's 15.75" deep! It's the computer case equivalent of a small SUV. Look at the picture gallery. Fully filled, it has large empty areas.
  • Grok42 - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    There are very few cases without 5.25" bays, why must they all have them? If you like this case better than the hundreds of ones with a 5.25" bay maybe it's because not having a 5.25" bay frees up the case designers to build better designs. Every example you gave for using an optical drive I answered with "Internet". I have an external 5.25" drive that I use to do the odd OS install but I'm not even sure when I last did that. Reply
  • notlurking - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    Someone needs to do the rips that you download from the Internet. Not to mention that many downloads are sub-perfect quality that make me do my own rips for my NAS. Reply
  • Black Obsidian - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Was that same inane comment really worth making almost half a dozen times in the same comment thread?

    Others have already pointed out that such people are perfectly free to buy one of the many cases that DO have 5.25" drives, or buy this case and a USB optical drive. It's not a difficult problem to solve.
  • notlurking - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Yes, because of all the people making the same inane comment that everything is on the Internet a half a dozen times in the same comment thread.

    re: buy something else.
    Then don't read reviews that are critical of anything. Is this facebook where only upvotes of products are allowed?

    My criticism is for the remote chance that it gets back to Corsair and they improve their product.
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    No need for discs anymore. I put everything on my phone, or USB stick, or external HDD. Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    I love the Carbide Air 540, and have been planning on using it for my next build (or perhaps just transplanting my current one, since I've yet to feel compelled to upgrade my overclocked Sandy Bridge system). The idea of a smaller one is great, since the relative girth of the 540 is one of its only drawbacks, as far as I'm concerned.

    However, the fact that you can't fit radiators unless you go down to a mini-ITX mobo, which only have one PCIe slot I believe, kind of kills it. They also really should have found a way to add a slimline optical drive slot.
  • Antronman - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    No 5.25" inch drive bay?

    I mean, you can't find any room for anywhere in there?
  • Grok42 - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    If they do find room, I hope they add more 3.5" or 2.5" internal bays. Reply
  • notlurking - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    Why would you need a few more 3.5" bays? That's what a NAS is for. The Air 540 looks like a great NAS case from the outside but needs a serious redesign on the inside to make it useful in that function.

    I don't know what Corsair was thinking. There is so much empty space in that case. It looks great on the outside but doesn't work on the inside for any specific role.
  • DanNeely - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    They might be able to fit a slimline above the front fans. Maybe not, it'd be tight due to the 45* bevel on the top edge. The only way they could get a full size bay in without making the case bigger would be to put it in vertically below the 2.5" bays (and shift the front panel connectors around). It'd work for fan controllers or optical drives there; but probably not bay reservoirs. OTOH you could shoehorn in a small non-bay res into that space now. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    It's 2014, why do those graphs have gradient backgrounds?

    If this was a middle schooler's first powerpoint, then I'd be forgiving. Nope, it's a modern tech blog's technical presentation.

    You don't have to have 100% flat diagrams, but a little minimalism could go a long way.
  • juhatus - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Thanks for great article, again! Few comment:

    Please post the component listing you used for this? Would be great starting point for build.

    Also please post on conclusion what are the main competitors (even few examples) for this case. I´m right about to order something like this with mini-itx, Z97 and 4790k. I´m kind of liking Cooler Master 130 but it would need to be white so no go. I am having really hard time deciding what case to go for :)
  • know of fence - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    A picture with the cooler mounted would be appreciated.

    People, please stop buying these double shoe-box form factors and closed loop water coolers. Both are inferior alternatives to what is out there: real men buy towers and tower coolers.

    This whole market segment exists because people try to be cute and think "out-of-the-box" making the same mistake, but some alternatives just aren't worth considering. A PC goes on the floor where it's least in the way and furthest from one's ears, this thing you could put on a shelf, but wouldn't you rather have the shelf space?
  • kyuu - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    CLC coolers are a perfectly good alternative to giant, heavy air tower coolers. They're also really, really good for cooling GPUs. I'm planning on using a CLC on both my CPU and GPU for my next build.

    Towers are fine, but cubes work well too, and having two separate compartments for the components like the Air makes a lot of sense. It's also a helluva lot easier to assemble. The 240 is too small, though, unless you're fine with mini-ITX. Have to go with the 540.
  • juhatus - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    If you ask the miss, than you should be buying a ultrabook of the size 11", or why not just buy an IPAD. These are harsh realities some men live. So its mini-itx or ipad, you choose.

    Ill take mini-itx.
  • know of fence - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    Do you think that at some point in the future you could arrive at the conclusion, that coolers which consume several times the power, with their failure prone mechanical pumps and fans which also require manual speed adjustment maybe aren't worth the trouble? Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Nope, because those "failure prone" pumps and fans are a much more efficient means of cooling. We're talking about desktop systems here, so it consuming a couple extra watts of power isn't really meaningful.

    I don't particularly care if you prefer air cooling. There are air coolers that work very well; I currently have a Zalman air cooler on my CPU, which replaced the Zalman air cooler on my previous CPU. But CLCs have very real advantages (while not being perfect, as no technology is), so I do take issue with people railing against is though choosing CLCs is somehow wrong.

    I have no idea what you're talking about with the requiring manual adjustment thing.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    railing against it as though***

    Damn lack of an edit button...
  • StrangerGuy - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    IMO this case is terribly designed. If Corsair are going to make a cube case, why not just copy the 250D design, make it fit a mATX mobo and 2x120mm radiator on the left side then be done with. Made even worse without a single 5.25 bay despite all the space at the right side. Reply
  • kyuu - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    "Motherboards of up to Micro-ATX size can be installed in the Carbide Air 240, but there is a catch: if you do install a Micro-ATX motherboard, you cannot install a liquid cooling radiator at the bottom of the case. You also cannot really install one at the top panel either, since the fan alone is just a hair away from the top of the motherboard. Therefore, you basically need to choose between two GPUs and a Micro-ATX motherboard, or two large liquid cooling radiators and a Mini-ITX motherboard (presumably with one GPU)."

    I checked out Corsair's specs, and it says that radiators are intended to be used on the bottom mounts and the *front*. The mounts at the top of the case are not intended for radiators at all, whether you're using mATX or mini-ITX. So you can, in fact, mount a single 240mm rad with an mATX (or, presumably, two 120mm rads) on the front of the case. Which makes me interested in this case.
  • kyuu - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Though the one thing that would give me pause is if there's room for a thick (~50mm) push/pull radiator on the bottom. Looks like one might not fit due to the GPU, though a thinner one or one with a single fan might. Reply
  • Etern205 - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    Never like this Corsair case, they want to make it like a cube. A cube is suppose to be compact and yet this is way too large. One problem I still don't get is the back and forth bickering about 5.25" drive bays. I still have a optical drive that I use occasionally, because it's the fastest method for me to install games as I prefer physical media as my bandwidth is consider slow compare to all the others, and other have bandwidth caps, so downloading a 15GB game is out of the question. Also 5.25" drives aren't just only for optical drives. It's not like the computer won't boot up or literally spit out the optical drive. You can use it for many other things like, LCD fan controllers, HDD bays, and many other stuffs. It's useful if you know what to do with it. Reply
  • kenoh - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - link

    You can install 3-3.5" HDD's, but how many SSD's can you install? Reply
  • kenoh - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - link

    Is it possible for this case to hold 4 SSD's, with all three HDD's installed? BTW, what PSU is used in this review? Reply
  • mekpro - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    That's Abit Motherboard ! Reply
  • darkbreeze - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    The biggest problem with this case has nothing to do with the drive or lack therof. Seems no decent GPU cards will fit due to card HEIGHT not length. Even the ones made for mini-ITX enclosures don't fit as seen here:
  • Zak - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    I want this case for a gaming-only build that will only have couple of SSDs in it so I'm happy with the absence of 5.25" bays. I had 540 and it was too large with tons of wasted space and was taking up too much floor space so I went back to a regular tower for that build. Reply

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