Introducing the Corsair Carbide 500R

Corsair seems to have completed their case lineup with their latest addition, the Carbide 500R. Though currently made available in black, this enthusiast-geared enclosure was originally advertised in its attractive pearl white coloring, and that's the model we have on hand today. Does this powered up Carbide 400R have what it takes to make it as a compelling alternative to not just its cheaper sibling, but also to Corsair's Graphite 600T and 650D as well as the other enclosures around the $139 price point?

While the MSRPs of the 500R, 600T, and 650D show stratification (and a visit to NewEgg confirms this), things get a little muddy when you start bargain hunting. While you can get the 500R for $139 ($125 after rebate as of the time of this writing), the cheapest I could find the 600T for was about the same price and usually around $160, hanging out in the same neighborhood as the Obsidian. That clusters these three enclosures against each other and while it's not as goofy as the sub-$100 graphics card market, it does make you wonder a little bit about why Corsair shot so high with the 500R.

That said, there are definitely differences. The Graphite 600T is a fine case but an odd bird in Corsair's lineup with no siblings, while the 650D is essentially the love child of the 600T and Obsidian 700D/800D enclosures. And while the 600T on up are all designed largely with acoustics in mind (and all use negative air pressure designs), the Carbide enclosures are a bit more open, with more fans, more fan mounts, and positive air pressure. Theoretically, acoustics suffer while thermal performance should improve. It's a trade-off end users often have to make in the sub-$200 case market.

Corsair Carbide 500R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor ATX, Micro ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5"/2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan (supports 140mm)
Top 2x 120mm fan mounts
Side 1x 200mm intake fan (supports up to 2x 120/140mm fans)
Bottom 1x 120/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks, 6-pin FireWire, LED and three-step fan controls
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 11.5" with drive cage/17" without (Expansion Cards), 180mm (CPU HSF), 300mm without bottom fan/170mm with (PSU)
Weight 16.6 lbs. (7.53 kg)
Dimensions 20.5" x 8.1" x 20" (521mm x 205.8mm x 508mm)
Price $139

The fan controls are going to be familiar to people who've seen the Obsidian 650D, but the internals are all Carbide series, with a tremendous amount of cooling expansion available. End users willing to put in the time to fine tune the cooling are probably going to be well rewarded, but the configuration Corsair ships the 500R with isn't half bad either.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 500R
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  • compudaze - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I love how Corsair left the top fan mounts open instead of obstructing them with unneeded mesh. And how they even left room for their own H100's hoses to drop down... Brilliant. I'm considering "downgrading" to this and re-purposing the 600T. Reply
  • Knifeshade - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I wonder if Corsair will ever bring out a "300R" mini tower (like the Fractal Define Mini, Arc Mini, Silverstone TJ08E, FT03, Lian Li V354, V600F) for people like me who prefers enthusiast builds without the bulk of mid/full tower cases.

    I'd love to see what Corsair can bring to the mATX table.
    Reply
  • Malih - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I second that,

    I love Corsair case design, especially this one, space efficient and not too heavy.

    I'd like to use this same layout, remove some of the drive bays, make this case shorter into an mATX case. And workaround the fan positioning so side fan installation still allows for larger HSF.
    Reply
  • Malih - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I forgot to mention, this is coming from someone who owns the Fractal Design Define Mini.
    I just love mATX case with bottom mounted PSU, and I'm thinking about building another system.

    And also thanks Dustin for the review as always.
    Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Dustin home? Reply
  • Earthmonger - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Dustin Sklavos, the case reviewer. ("Dustin Home" is a Scand etailer, for those who don't know)

    Of Corsair's lineup, this is the sexiest case. Sadly no, it won't ever find a place in my home. Not until Corsair abandon plastic and steel, and make enthusiast cases.

    Love the contrast of color in this case.
    Reply
  • BernardP - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I would like Corsair to come up with something sized between those mATX-only cases and their current larger gaming cases. The Antec NSK-4482 is smaller and can take a full ATX board but has ample room to work in a mATX configuration. Reply
  • prime2515103 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    After about 9 years with a Cheiftec Dragon I upgraded to this case. The only problems I've found with it is that the 200mm fan rattles when I first start the system; it stops after awhile though (I haven't timed it but it's at least a minute or two). The only other thing is that I wish there was another few millimeters behind the hard drives. The side panel is pressing right against the cable's connectors. A speaker and a power LED would've been ok too, but I don't really miss them. Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I will never spend 139$ for a vacuum cleaner. Reply
  • slick121 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I second this comment. Reply

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