Corsair Carbide 300R Case Review: Corsair For the Massesby Dustin Sklavos on June 29, 2012 2:25 AM EST
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Introducing the Corsair Carbide 300R
Ostensibly, Corsair's Carbide line of enclosures are their budget cases; the Obsidian and Graphite lines both start where the beefy Carbide 500R leaves off. Corsair's least expensive entry is the one we have on hand today, the Carbide 300R. Yet like a certain fruit-flavored company we know, they seem unwilling to part with many of the amenities that make their cases such a joy to assemble and work with, and the result is a Carbide that's caught between two worlds.
The Carbide 300R attempts to bring many of the things we've come to know and love and expect from Corsair cases down to a hopefully more palatable $79 price tag. While that's not in the "true budget" arena we've seen companies like Bitfenix and Antec stake out, it's definitely more affordable than most and may hit a sweet spot for users who don't want to spend too much on a case but want something of slightly higher quality.
For the most part you can see it just by looking at the case, too. While we've gone down to the raw fundamentals of SECC steel and black plastic, there are still a lot of smart details, and at this juncture it's still uncommon to see USB 3.0 connectivity in a budget case. When we pop it open later on, we'll see why the Carbide 300R commands its $79 asking price, for better or worse.
|Corsair Carbide 300R Specifications|
|Motherboard Form Factor||Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX|
|Drive Bays||External||3x 5.25”|
|Cooling||Front||1x 140mm intake fan (supports 2x 120/140mm)|
|Rear||1x 120mm exhaust fan|
|Top||2x 120/140mm fan mounts|
|Side||2x 120/140mm fan mounts|
|I/O Port||2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic|
|Power Supply Size||Standard ATX|
|GPU||17.7" / 450mm|
19.1" x 8.3" x 17.7"
485mm x 211mm x 450mm
|Weight||15.9 lbs / 7.21kg|
|Special Features||USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers|
There are really only two places where you can tell Corsair trimmed some of the fat, at least from the spec sheet. Corsair's cases typically have dual drive cages, but with only four internal drive sleds, they open up space for an intake fan as well as extra long video cards. They've also removed one of the expansion slots; normally there's an eighth one (a convenience I appreciate), but going down to seven isn't a total loss since we're still within spec for a standard ATX motherboard.
What you should appreciate is the copious amount of clearance for all of the components, including the heatsink. After having a couple of close calls with our Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, I was pleased to see that it fit in the 300R with no complaints. The top of the 300R is designed to handle a 240mm radiator (like, say, a Corsair H100) as well.
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ahamling27 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkIt might be a great performing case at a decent price, but in my opinion, that is one fugly case. Those grill holes in the side for some extra fans don't do it justice. That being said, the ease of putting a computer together inside it does give it some merit.
stratosrally - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkI realize that it adds to the cost and possibly takes the case to a price level where you'd have more competition, but Corsair sells the solid panel from the other side of the case for $9.99. They are switchable, so you could have a mild custom that suits your preferences for a bit more. In fact, one of my favorite things about Corsair is how they sell almost every single part to every case seperately for very reasonable prices. You can modify many of their models by exchanging parts...
Link to panel here:
(disclaimer: I do not work for them!)
ahamling27 - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkThat's pretty awesome. I know CoolerMaster kinda does that, but I don't think they have every part, some need to be special ordered. Thanks for the info!
jeffkro - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - linkIt kind of looks like a copy of the antec 300, only the uglied it up a little.
Olaf van der Spek - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkWhy exactly is the Antec 1100 so much better noise-wise in the overclocked configuration?
The cases seem quite similar.
baloor - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkOne thing of note when I purchased one of these recently. The lack of a USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 adapter cable for the front USB ports.
The motherboard for my son's system only has USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard and finding an adapter cable that doesn't ship with a case isn't an easy task I have discovered.
stratosrally - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkCorsair sells a kit that contains just what you're looking for:
piroroadkill - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkI still think the Fractal Design Define R3 is better, maybe I'm biased because I have one, but it looks way nicer, and has blanked off fan holes when you don't need them.
Infact, if you have need of a full ATX board, a ton of drives, and have a graphics card that's short enough to fit, then I still can't think of a better case for value/performance/everything than the Define R3.
colonelclaw - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkI don't think too many people would argue with you that the R3 is a better case, it's basically fantastic. It's also $30 more expensive, which is getting on for 40% more. Definitely a different market.
dave1_nyc - Friday, June 29, 2012 - linkI bought an R3 on sale for $80 (total) because that made it almost $40 cheaper than the Arc Midi I wanted at the time, but couldn't justify the price difference. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I like the R3 (despite the laughably badly glued on rubber grommets).
I finally got an Arc Midi for something else and while it's a more capable case for cooling (and I like the use of 140mm fans), I'm surprised that in terms of "just liking" I still prefer the R3.
Even the door (which I was prepared to hate) is nice.