Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7904/corsair-graphite-760t-case-review

Corsair Graphite 760T: Introduction and Packaging

Corsair has been releasing one case after another lately, expanding their already large ranks with an even greater variety of products. It has been less than three months since the release of the Obsidian 250D, a cubic Mini-ITX case, and only two days since another member of the Obsidian series, the Midi-ATX Obsidian 450D, has been announced. Today, Corsair announced the release of yet another case, the Graphite 730T/760T.

Unlike the Obsidian 450D, which was released in order to fill a specific gap into the already heavily populated Obsidian series, the release Graphite 730T/760T does not appear to have such a purpose. There are only two Graphite cases currently available, the 230T and the 600T and, considering the MSRP of the Graphite 730T/760T versions and that its aesthetic design is similar to that of the 230T, it seems more likely that it has been released as a replacement for the 600T rather than having products that will coexist. As such, the primary changes will be a modified aesthetic and improved performance.

We should clarify that the 730T and the 760T are essentially the same case; the major difference is that the former has an opaque left panel and the latter an acrylic window. The Graphite 760T also has a basic 2-speed fan controller installed and will become available in both Black and Arctic White colors. It is the Arctic White version of the Graphite 760T that we will be reviewing today. Corsair informed us that the new Graphite cases will become available through North American retailers in late April.

Corsair Graphite 760T Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, EATX, XL-ATX
Drive Bays External 3 x 5.25"
Internal 6 x 2.5"/3.5" (front drive cage)
6 x 2.5"/3.5" (optional front drive cages)
4 x 2.5" (rear of motherboard tray)
Cooling Front 2 x 120 / 140mm (2 x 140mm included)
Rear 1 x 140mm (included)
Top 3 x 120mm / 140mm (optional)
Left Side -
Bottom optional 120mm (drive cage must be removed/relocated)
Radiator Support Front Up to 240mm / 280mm
Rear 120mm / 140mm
Top Up to 360mm / 280mm
Side -
Bottom 120mm
I/O Port 2 × USB 3.0
2 × USB 3.0
1 × Headphone
1 × Mic
Fan Speed Toggle
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 180mm
GPU 340mm (with drive cage)
460mm (without drive cage)
Dimensions 568mm × 246mm × 564mm (H×W×D)
22.4 in × 9.7 in × 22.2 in (H×W×D)
Prominent Features Hinged side panel with full window
360mm radiator support
Removable magnetic top panel
Two-speed fan control
Side-mounted tool-free SSD trays
Removable, reconfigurable 3.5” drive cages
Price 189 USD (MSRP)

The Graphite 760T comes in Corsair's traditional and visually simple brown cardboard box, the proportions of which hint that this is not a typical Mid-Tower case. Printed on the box are a schematic of the case and a short presentation covering its most important features. Inside the box, the case is wrapped inside a cloth-like bag and protected by very thick expanded polyethylene foam slabs.

The bundle of the Graphite 760T is very basic, especially considering the class of the case. Corsair only supplies the necessary screws and bits, a few short cable ties, and an installation guide. There are no cable straps or any other additional extras. The only positive thing about the bundle is that the supplied parts are black. If you like getting "extras", this is disappointing, but for some users the extras would simply be more clutter.

Corsair Graphite 760T Exterior

It seems that Corsair is trying to have every case under the same series based on a similar aesthetic design. Much like the Obsidian 450D that was released two days ago (review forthcoming), which is strikingly similar to the rest of the Obsidian cases, the Graphite 760T looks like a distant cousin of the much simpler Graphite 230T. It features a balanced, slightly aggressive postmodern design, with the panels of the case engulfing the plastic front fascia and tall feet lifting the chassis several centimeters above the ground.

The Graphite 760T is being marketed as a case for advanced users but it is not targeted towards a specific group of users, such as gamers; therefore, we feel that Corsair's balanced design is perfect. The chassis of the case is made out of SECC steel but there is a lot of plastic in use. We should also note that the Arctic White version of the case obviously is not entirely white, as can be seen in our pictures; parts of the side, top and bottom panels are white but the rest of the case remains black, including the entirety of the front fascia.

The front I/O ports can be found nicely arranged at the top side of the front fascia. There are three 5.25" bays, one of which has a cover for a typical optical drive. Corsair most likely felt that three bays is a good choice because one can be used for an optical drive leaving two for a large fan controller or a similar device. The rest of the faceplate is covered by a metallic mesh filter that can be removed by simply applying a little pressure at the top two corners simultaneously (preferably while the system is not powered on). It conceals the two intake 140mm fans; both stock intake fans feature white lighting that, due to the positioning and nature of the LED lights, is distributed unevenly across the meshed part of the fascia.

The side panels of the Graphite 760T are perhaps its most notable feature. Instead of using typical metallic side covers, Corsair installed latched, hinged doors that open backwards. Most of the surface of the left side panel is transparent acrylic (note again that the 730T lacks the window), while the right side panel is glossy black. Both doors are plastic, a good thing considering their size and thickness, as metallic doors would probably make the weight of the already heavy case unbearable.

A plastic white cover is magnetically attached on the metallic frame of the top panel. Removing it is a simple matter, as it can be simply pulled off, revealing a large meshed surface. While the cover is attached, the mesh is practically sealed and it has no part in cooling the case. Up to three 120mm or 140mm fans can be installed there if the cover is removed, or a liquid cooling radiator up to 360mm long and 140mm wide (so you can choose between 3x120mm or 2x140mm).

The bottom panel of the chassis also is white, in order to match the theme of the case, but the tall plastic legs of the case are black. There is a filter under the PSU intake fan that can be removed for cleaning by simply pulling it off from the back of the case. The rear part of the Graphite 760T is black as well, with a perforated area near the top and perforated expansion card covers. There are two round holes for liquid cooling hoses and/or cables but without rubber grommets; they come with solid metal covers that can be permanently punched out. Although the use of an external liquid cooling kit with a case this size is rather uncommon, the installation of two rubber grommets should definitely be standard on a $189 case.

Corsair Graphite 760T Interior

Most of the interior of the Graphite 760T is black, with the exception of the top and bottom panels, which are white on our sample (with black as an alternative). The mechanical strength of the case is well above average; Corsair could not cut corners with a design that receives no mechanical support whatsoever from its side panels. The thickness of the metallic chassis is sufficient and extra supports have been installed to reduce flex at nearly all the panel junction points. There could have been some extra support between the motherboard tray and the front panel, as they are essentially connected only with the 5.25" drives cage, but we cannot really complain about it since there is no apparent structural weakness to be found on the chassis.

The Graphite 760T has a large, all-black motherboard tray permanently attached to the chassis. It can hold up to Extended ATX and XL-ATX motherboards, as well as all the smaller compatible versions, down to Mini-ITX; however, even a full ATX motherboard looks small inside the Graphite 760T, so smaller motherboards will look very out of place.  There are openings on the side and top of the motherboard tray for the routing of cables, with the former featuring rubber grommets. There is ample clearance between the motherboard tray and the top panel, ensuring that liquid cooling radiators will fit without issues.

Although it is possible to use a PSU of virtually any length with the Graphite 760T, we strongly recommend to not select a unit with a chassis longer than 175mm if you do not plan on removing the first HDD cage. The PSU sits directly on the metallic panel itself, which has been embossed to raise the unit slightly.

There are two HDD drive cages installed in the Graphite 760T, out of the four possible total (sold separately). Each cage has three trays and thus can hold up to three 2.5" or 3.5" drives. 3.5" drives are secured by simply flexing the tray to make the metallic studs go into the screw holes of the drive, but screws are necessary for the installation of 2.5" drives. The cages are removable and stackable; they can be installed in any combination, some of which are depicted in the above gallery.

By removing the rear drive cage, an additional 120mm fan mounting point is revealed. It is also possible to leave only the rear drive cage where it is and remove the front cage, allowing the installation of a large liquid cooling radiator. When installed at the bottom of the case, they are placed on a plastic stand, which can be removed from the bottom of the case. Actually, it will have to be removed alongside the attached cage if you wish to remove it from the case, as the frame of the case blocks access to the front screws required to release the cage from its plastic stand. This is not an ingenious approach if you ask us; at least holes should have been punched on the frame where the screws are located, allowing a screwdriver to fit through. Furthermore, if you decide to connect two of the cages, connecting them will instantly scratch some paint off the sides that are brought together.

Corsair provides ample clearance behind the motherboard tray for the routing of cables. There are many cable tie mounting points and several openings for additional flexibility. The most prominent feature on this side of the case however is the four plastic 2.5" drive slots, which are placed sideways across the edge of the motherboard tray. These mini-trays are removable and very easy to use, as they will simply lock any 2.5" device (presumably SSDs) inserted into them. Screws can be added for extra safety, although it seems extremely unlikely that a drive could come out of the tray if someone does not pull the plastic locking latch intentionally.

The doors can be removed by simply pulling them upwards once they are open. Although that will not be necessary when performing small upgrades, we strongly recommend doing so when you want to build a new system or to perform a major overhaul.

Black cables and parts are easily hidden inside an all-black chassis; therefore, for visual clarity, we are using an AX760i PSU with a red cable pack and white SATA cables for our pictures. Building a system inside the Graphite 760T is a seamless procedure, aided by the large size of the case. Most of the time required to build a system inside this case will most likely be for the routing of the cables. There are no sharp or dangerous points about the Graphite 760T that we could locate during our experience with it.

As exhibited in the pictures of our test build, a full ATX motherboard is a little short for the tray of the Graphite 760T, creating a gap between the cable openings and the board itself. The EPS connector and other cables that may have to reach the top side of the motherboard can be easily routed through the openings at the top of the motherboard tray. Graphics cards of virtually any length can fit as long as there is no HDD cage placed in front of them. The addition of a second cage at the front of the case will limit the length of the graphics cards down to 340mm, which is still adequate for the vast majority of GPUs, but ultra-long performance monsters will not fit. Also note that the plastic 2.5" trays will have to be removed if a HDD is to be installed in a cage beneath them and reinstalled after the cables have been routed out of the way. 

Test Setup

Professional testing requires the emulation of real-world situations but with repeatable results; thus, a perfectly controllable test setup and environment are required, especially for comparable results. Testing the thermal performance of any case with a typical real-world setup technically limits the comparability of the results to this setup alone, as an active system interacts with its environment and the change of a single component alters (albeit in small ways) myriads of variables. In order to eliminate such factors, we developed synthetic loads that emulate the thermal output of real systems that are passive, steady and quantifiable.

Our thermal testing now displays the thermal capabilities of the case alone, as if it must deal with the entire thermal load by itself, regardless of the system that might be installed inside it. Laboratory data loggers are used to monitor the PT100 sensors and control the safety relays, which are fully accessible via our custom software. Three such loads have been developed, and today we'll be using the ATX load.

The ATX version simulates a 200W CPU, 50W VRM, 30W RAM and 4 × 120W GFX card thermal load; additionally, three 3.5" HDD dummy loads are also present that each convert 30W of electrical power to thermal, bringing the total thermal load of the ATX test setup up to 850W. As such, the thermal load is immense and only the best of cases will be able to handle it for more than a few minutes. We also test with a thermal load of 400W, with all of the aforementioned components except the HDD drives at about 42% power, which is more suitable for the majority of cases.

Thermal testing is performed with all of the case's stock fan operating at maximum speed. Noise testing is performed with a background noise level of 30.4dB(A).The top panel cover remained installed.

Results and Discussion

The thermal performance of the Corsair Graphite 760T is rather good but we cannot really claim that it is great considering the size and nature of the case. The stock cooling fans are not very powerful and ventilation depends on them while the top panel cover remains attached. It performed well enough to compete with mid-tower cases designed for maximum thermal performance, such as the Obsidian 450D, but the Graphite 760T is significantly larger and pricier.

The reduction of the load down to 400 Watts displays that the Graphite 760T has mediocre thermal inertia for a case this size. It appears that the thermal performance of the Graphite 760T heavily depends on the airflow of the cooling fans, at least while the top panel cover remains attached.

Probably due to the nature of the Graphite 760T, virtually no measures have been taken in order to reduce the noise coming from the case. Only the 3.5" devices are decoupled from the chassis; any vibrations from the PSU will be transferred directly to the chassis, as the unit sits on the metallic bottom of the case. The fascia not only is heavily perforated but it also has two 140mm fans directly exposed to the front of the case. The plastic cover of the top panel can block some of the noise but removing it exposes the entire top side of the case as well. As such, the Graphite 760T is definitely not a case specifically designed for silent computing. Nevertheless, the stock fans are not loud at all; they will be clearly audible only at their maximum speed and they reach virtually inaudible levels as soon as their voltage goes below 8V. 

Final Words 

The Corsair Graphite 760T is the company's latest addition to a series designed to offer versatility to advanced users. It would seem that Corsair released it as an advanced version of the basic 230T and a successor to the highly successful 600T. As such, the Graphite 760T is a product that should have been perfectly balanced, both practically and aesthetically, as it targets a very broad but highly demanding audience.

In terms of design, the Graphite 760T does very well. Although it is based on the Graphite 230T, the design has been improved greatly, is well balanced, and will undoubtedly appeal to a very broad spectrum of users. The use of too much plastic may drive away those that appreciate the cold appearance of metallic surfaces but, on the other hand, we feel that the nicely applied transparent acrylic left door and glossy right door will appeal to a far greater number of users. However, if a clean look is required, we strongly suggest replacing or disconnecting the front LED fans, as they seem to be doing more harm than good on the appearance of the case. We should also note that, in our opinion, the Graphite 760T looks rather ugly without its top cover installed. Corsair could have included a mechanism, even a mere spacer, to lift the cover by a few mm, allowing airflow without having to remove it completely.

The stock cooling performance of the Graphite 760T is good but it could have been significantly better for a case this size. Corsair rightfully attempted to balance the thermal performance with acoustics and, since the Graphite 760T has not been designed to block noise from exiting the case, quiet stock cooling fans have been chosen. In order to improve the thermal performance of the Graphite 760T, some acoustics performance will have to be sacrificed and vice versa.

For instance, the addition of cooling options at the top of the case will definitely improve the thermal performance significantly but will add to the noise output of the case. Even the simple removal of the cover will give noise a wide area from which to escape. Of course, there are devices that offer excellent performance and generate very little noise but such combinations are usually rather costly and the 760T is already somewhat expensive. Still, the Graphite 760T offers a great variety of options and combinations, allowing each end user to find their desired balance between thermal performance, acoustics, and cost.

In summary, the Corsair Graphite 760T is a product that can offer a balance of everything. It is aesthetically attractive without being too aggressive, offers good stock thermal performance without being too noisy, and is very versatile without being too expensive. There are some minor flaws involved with the removable HDD cages but none of these are critical. Although with careful planning one can build a very low noise system inside the Graphite 760T, it would not be our first choice for that specific purpose. On the other hand, for those seeking a spacious, versatile, and well-designed case, the Corsair Graphite 760T is sure to please.

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