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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  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I third it. I spent way too much on a Kandalf case from Thermaltake back in the day and to be honest, I prefer my smaller Ultra case I got free with a purchase from TigerDirect. The big case is fancy, but I don't do water cooling, and it ends up just taking up more room and being harder to work on due to having to move it with limited space. What we need to see more of is a focus on useability when it comes to putting parts in and taking them out.

    No more craning to get your fingers around a jumper, or working to get cables out of the way, or to get one plugged in, etc. Building a PC needs to become a bit easier.

    I think that it starts with chip makers (CPU sockets and cooler designs), moves to motherboard makers (who have always had to consider the case and access in design), and ends with case makers.

    Seems to me we could use some sort of new design, perhaps a new style of motherboard. I like the idea of one that has PCB in the shape of a blanket draped over a wire to form a lean/to or tent. I haven't had geometry in awhile and its a pretty useless subject in most career fields.

    Like this, /\ A fan at the bottom could draw in cool air along the bottom edge of a case and push it upwards over several components. The heat would rise some off each component and since they are on a slope, the heat would not all blow onto the next component. Just imagine a slew of newly designed cases that would come along with it. Conical ones could be quite interesting.

    I would love it if a motherboard manufacturer branched off and decided to try perfecting some arching/joining PCB. I wonder if anything like that has been done? What about two-sided PCB with the cooler running parts on the bottom and reinforced mounting brackets?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    $139 for a case, on the other hand, is totally worth it. ;)
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    A good case does not mean that it must have more holes. Fracle design labeled 139$ has much better quality, which provides you sound sponge isolation and dust filters on all holes as well as 3 pieces of silent cute fans.
  • jamyryals - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    If they are going to do a white case, I would prefer the grills to be white as well.
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    and right now there's a $15 rebate on the Corsair Carbide 500R if you're a gambler

    FWIW, I personally haven't had any problems with Corsair rebates...but they do take their sweet time sending out the rebate card.
  • ckryan - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Your detailed description of hot case-on-case action was appreciated. Have you considered trying your hand at bodice-ripping romance novels?
  • justaviking - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    The sun glistened on his 6-core abs. As he approached, the motherboard could feel the heat radiating from him as his fan breathed warmly on her neck. Her heart began to overclock...

    No, I don't think so.
  • SquattingDog - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Damn we need a like button here - this is awesome @ justaviking - made my morning :)
  • Jeffk464 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    It would take a lot of convincing for someone to prove to me that its 2.5 times better than my antec 300. Oh, and its white.
  • compudaze - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I went from an antec 300 to a corsair 600t. I loved my 300. It was the best case I ever owned until I got the 600t. But honestly, u don't know what u r missing until you build a pc in a corsair case.

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