Corsair makes some of the world’s best PC enclosures; just read all the critical acclaim and awards that their Obsidian and Graphite Series cases have garnered. I had the chance to review the Graphite Series White 600T about six months ago, and was impressed with its interior space, cable management, flexible cooling options and Corsair’s attention to detail. Despite the impressive performance and features of the Graphite and Obisidian Series cases, there’s no question that the premium price kept Corsair’s enclosures out of reach for many people––until now.
To complete their offering of high-performance cases, Corsair has introduced the Carbide Series mid-tower case. As their entry-level case, the 400R promises “everything you need, nothing you don’t” at an MSRP of $99.99. Let’s see if the 400R lives up to that promise.
- Plenty of interior space
- Supports up to 10 case fans
- Built-in SSD mounting
- Excellent cable management
- Fantastic value
- Reset switch too close to fan LED on/off switch
IN THE BOX
- Quick start guide
- USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter
- Zip ties and wire mounts
- Motherboard standoffs
- Motherboard screws
- Hard drive and optical drive screws
- Power supply screws
- Fan screws
The exterior of 400R has a very clean and simple design. It doesn’t stand out like the Obsidian or Graphite Series cases do, but the simple design will probably appeal to a lot of people. It’s also a more typical mid-tower size than the 600T.
At 18.5 lbs, the 400R is almost 10 pounds lighter than the 600T. The dimensions are also smaller, all the way around. If you have furniture with say, a standard-sized computer stand or you just need something smaller for your space, the 400R should work out nicely. Like the 600T, the 400R uses a mixture of steel and molded ABS plastic.
As an added convenience, the 400R has a carry handle in the front, which makes it easy to carry around to LAN parties. I also use it to store USB cables for quick access.
Installing components in the 400R was comfortable and easy because of the roomy interior space. The 400R doesn’t have the unique latch mechanisms for the side panels like the 600T, but I didn’t mind using the standard thumb screws. The screws are also conveniently attached to the side panels so you don’t misplace them. The muscular design of the side panels not only make them look cooler, but also increases the space at the sides. This made reattaching the right panel a lot easier. In fact, I didn’t even bother spending the time to tidy up the cables on the right side because the panel shut easily without doing so. If you’re a total neat freak though, there are a fair number of tie-down loops and Corsair even includes a few nylon zip ties.
The motherboard was easy to drop into the 400R, even without a motherboard tray. Large heatsinks also aren’t a problem because of the large CPU cutout. In my initial build, I had a stock air cooler installed and later installed a Corsair H80 water cooler. Because of the CPU cutout, I didn’t have to remove the entire motherboard, just to install mounting brackets for the water block––score! The PSU install was also a cinch and I was able to rout the ATX 8-pin power connector to the motherboard via the cutout for it.
Like the 600T, the 400R has plastic drive caddies. I noticed that the caddies on the 400R are a bit more flexible than the ones in the 600T, but it made no difference in mounting the drives. Hard drives snapped right in to the caddies, without having to mess around with screws or rails. SSD drives can also be mounted into the same caddies, but with the use of screws. This means you no longer have to buy SSD desktop kits or use velcro to safely mount your SSD drive.
Optical drives are even simpler to install, since they use the same tool-free mechanism as the 600T. Just slide the optical drive in until it clicks and you’re done; no screws or rails to slow you down.
Expansion cards pose no installation problems for the 400R and the bracket covers are vented for better airflow. You get eight PCI-E slots with support for up to 316mm (12.4 inch) long expansion cards. So yeah, if you want to set up SLI or CrossFire, the 400R has you covered.
The last thing I want to mention about working inside the 400R are the cable-routing holes. If you read my review of the 600T, then you already know how much I like Corsair’s cable-routing holes. They allow me to keep the case free of cable clutter, resulting in unrestricted airflow and a better looking case.
The 400R comes with three 120mm fans––one rear exhaust and two front intake. The front intake fans also have white LEDs. With the default number of fans, the 400R has good cooling and is pretty quiet. However, if you have greater cooling requirements, the 400R supports up to 10 total fans. You can even install a 240mm radiator at the top of the case. Obviously, cooling options on the 400R are plentiful.
The 400R’s I/O panel is conveniently located at the top and includes 2 x USB 3.0 ports, power switch, HDD LED, mic and headphone jacks, FireWire (1394) port, fan LED on/off switch, and a reset switch. The only issue I had with the I/O panel was that the fan LED on/off switch is located just above the reset switch. Twice, I accidentally hit the reset switch when I meant to hit the fan LED switch. Granted, this happened in the dark, but they’re so close together, I could see myself and others hitting the wrong switch even in the daylight.
The 400R also comes with a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 converter for the motherboard, which is a nice touch. Additionally, the I/O cables are neatly wrapped in a black cover and clearly labeled. I know it’s minor, but it’s probably the best looking I/O cables I’ve seen yet for a PC enclosure.
Finally, I just want to mention another example of the detail that Corsair paid with the 400R. To install optical drives on the 400R, you have to remove the entire front panel of the case. Seasoned system builders have performed this act, countless times in their careers. It goes something like this: unclip the stupid plastic tabs located all over the left and right sides, partially pull the front panel out, unclip the stupid tabs again that clipped back in, then finally remove the front panel completely.
Removing the front panel of the 400R is a different story and it goes something like this: pull the front panel out. Done. The 400R doesn’t use plastic tabs. It’s a little hard to describe, but the 400R uses a circular metal tab that when you give it a quick pull, the entire front panel comes out without fuss. Those Corsair engineers are pret-ty smart.
||20.5″ (H) x 19.8″ (L) x 8.1″ (W)
||Steel structure w/molded ABS plastic accent pieces
||5.25” (x4), 3.5”/2.5” (x6) w/drive caddies
||120mm fans w/white LED (x2), 120mm fan (x1)
|Front I/O Panel
||USB 3.0 (x2), IEEE 1394 (x1), Headphone (x1), MIC (x1)
||ATX (not included)
The Corsair Carbide Series 400R mid-tower case has hit its mark. For $99, you probably shouldn’t expect too much out of an ATX case, but the 400R has raised the bar. The 400R gives system builders and enthusiasts an affordable alternative to Corsair’s higher-end enclosures, without sacrificing a whole lot. You still get the same Corsair-grade build quality, support, tool-free design, cable-routing holes, roomy interior, flexible cooling and good looks. So yeah, you could say that the 400R has lived up to its billing and is a great way to step into a Corsair case without breaking the bank. I highly recommend it.
Available from Amazon.com.
Review unit provided by Corsair