Corsair 300R Case Review

BluePanda - 2012-03-20 18:00:01 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: April 11, 2012
Price: $89.99

Introduction:

We all know Corsair for the wide variety of products for just about any budget. Power supplies, cases, memory, cooling, and SSDs are just a few of the products I’ve personally owned. A recent gaming release was made with the Vengeance Series with the M60/K60 and M90/K90 which I also had the privilege of giving my two cents on, just arrived in the last month. We’ve seen a lot of chassis' from Corsair including our review build case the 600T or the 650D. The ability to find something affordable even on a tight budget has become a staple for Corsair, and today we take a look at another addition to the Carbide Series family, the 300R, a sub $100 mid-tower case.

The 300R might not really compare with some of the higher cases such as the 600T or even one of its other sisters in the series, the 400R. However, for the cost, the quality Corsair branding still comes intact. Despite it being a smaller mid-tower case Corsair claims it is “big where it counts”, perhaps a little heavy with the e-ego here, but we’ll have our own look soon enough. Nonetheless, it has tool-free bays and room for any typical build. Fully painted inside and out the 300R looks like an affordable option with intentions to impress. Let’s get looking at the actual case and make our own judgments.

Closer Look:

The usual Corsair branded case box sat proudly on my porch when I arrived home from a long day of class. There are a few company names I cringe at when they arrive, but Corsair isn’t one of them; I can usually count on a fun review to be associated with most of the products. The box is exactly what it should be, not too flashy, conservative and not a blind attempt to sell the product. Well developed products sell themselves.

The front of the box shows an isometric sketch of the case. Gives you just enough to know what is inside. The back shows an exploded view of the case in an attempt to show off any features this little case might have. It does show some included fans, a PSU fan filter and some nice tool-less bays. These things are always a plus to see – nothing like putting hardware in so many cases just to have to go back to old school screw mounts. I love that most companies realize this. The two sides are identical in listing case specs and giving a couple more looks at the case. Box handles included, and it’s in the house ready to take out of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening every review item is still like Christmas to me. You have no idea how hard it is to wait to open products, just so I can take some pretty pictures for you to see the box. It’s so taunting to have so many items sitting unopened. Opened up it is like any other case these days, wrapped in a nice fabric bag and mounted with two foam cap ends. Seems like the flawless way to arrive unharmed from one coast to the other. Let’s take a better look at what’s inside - enough of the box and packing!

 

Closer Look:

Finally out of the box we can get our first look at what has recently been a hot disputed subject here on OCC - is the 300R a mistakenly overpriced case? A lot of first glances thought there had been a typo on the price when this case released…guess we’ll have to take a closer look and decide to see who was trolling who. Right away it does have that noticeably cheaper feel. It has the thinner panels and is generally a lot lighter than most. However, it doesn’t mean it will not turn out to be a rather nice case. The front is pretty basic with room for three optical bays. A mesh body with slight extrusion takes up the lower half of the case and if you look really hard you can see glimpse of an included front mounted fan. A few Allen screws give it a slight industrial look – I'm not exactly sure if that was the meaning, but it at least breaks up the front from being only plastic with mesh.

The back of the case is much like the back of most cases. There is room for a bottom mounted PSU, 7 PCI-E slots, an I/O panel, some punch-outs for water cooling and a rear 120mm included fan. Slightly odd from most cases is the 120mm fan back here – many have “upgraded” to supporting both the 140mm and 120mm options. It doesn’t really take away from the build only having the 120mm, but it is something to note.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The side of the case takes a jab at low costs. Two simple cutouts are punched for addition of two 120mm/140mm fans of your choice. The material feels thin, but it is just the side panel. It’s pretty plain from the side, but to be honest, I’m just happy both side panels came with thumb screws (unlike a few we’ve seen in just the recent past). The other side panel, behind the mobo tray, is plain with no fan mounts. I’m okay without the fan mounts, a lot of times you need a special thin fan to run, or if you are like me, you generally never fill it anyway.

 

 

A close look up front of the case to the front I/O panel you can see a pretty basic layout. It has a power button, reset button, and HDD indicator on the left upper corner. Symmetry plays a bit and the two USB 3.0 ports along with the headphone and mic jack match it up. There isn’t anything too special about it here on the outside, but that seems to be what case designers have been dishing out lately. The plain look is currently taking its turn on the market.

 

Overall from the outside the case doesn’t look that bad. It somewhat resembles the NZXT Tempest or Source cases I’ve had through here before. Unfortunately, the price doesn’t reflect that same structure, which does lead me to some concerns. I do hope to open it up and find a golden egg inside or something more special to give it more for its value tag.

Closer Look:

Taking away a side panel I get my first look inside. The internal cables for the front I/O panel are nicely tucked away and a nice little cardboard box is mounted in the HDD bay, full of screws and what have you, to get your build put together. Looking at the mobo tray, you’ll notice a center brass stand-off to hold your board in place – but you’ll notice in a few pictures as well, there are no other stand-offs. The little raisers built in are the only stand-offs you’ll need. I find it somewhat a relief, as if you’ve ever gotten a screw stuck in a stripped stand-off before, you understand issues I’ve had. Neat idea, but it definitely does limit the boards that will fit in here.

Pulling off the other side panel we can get a look all the way through. The gap behind the CPU is massive. There’s plenty of room to work with your odd CPU back plate and keep all the heat from being trapped right behind your board. The pass-throughs for cables seem to be nice and large for Molex, PCI-E and SATA connectors to push through without problem. No grommets are included to hide the extra mess, but the holes are rounded over so there aren’t any sharp edges to deal with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The three optical drive bays are easy tool-less mount bays. There’s only room for three, which makes me wonder what the wasted space below was for. It almost looks like another set of HDD bays could have been included, but for this model weren’t. There are screw holes behind the tool-less mounts, so if you have an unusual front bay item, you’ll be able to secure it with screws.

The HDD bay at the bottom of the case supports four drives including HDD or SSD options. The drive holders are the usual semi-flexible plastic that allows you to easily mount a HDD. The SSD mounting holes are still only off to one side, so you’ll have to pull out one of the metal pins that are there for HDDs. For some reason most companies haven’t addressed this issue (though a few have offered center mount holes for SSDs to avoid loss of a pin).

 

 

The bottom of the case has lifters for your PSU to sit on as well as holes we’ve seen in the 600T for an added support bracket to add additional support to your PSU. However, this seems to be the stripped guts of multiple Corsair cases thrown in one. A fan filter is mounted to the bottom, which can be pulled off for cleaning, but it’s mostly there to keep out the big dust bunnies.

In the rear of the case you can see the mounted 120mm fan. It’s a pretty basic fan, nothing too special other than it is at least included. The hole in the mobo tray seems even more extreme in size from this angle – you are guaranteed your CPU bracket will be accessible, no matter how oddly it’s on there. There’s room up top for a couple fans, either 120mm or 140mm, it is up to you; you can put in whatever you want. You can see the catches for the side panels on the front edge as well as the back edge of the case. Any of you with older or cheaper cases know how frustrating lining the side panels up perfectly is. Although newer cases have better methods for getting your panels back on, the old school punishment is back with this case. I’m genuinely not impressed with the innards of the 300R.

 

 

A quick start guide was included with the case, to help you when you just aren’t sure what you are doing it can give you some idea perhaps. Like I mentioned, there aren’t any stand-offs included, but that’s because you don’t need them (good and bad in my mind). You do get a few zip ties to help with cable management and a few different screw types to mount your mobo and other random hardware. It’s nothing too special, and you’ve been left with the minimum you’ll need to get it all up and running, provided you deliver the hardware.

 

Hardware in and it doesn’t look so bad. Getting things in place was surprisingly pretty easy. All the cut-outs were decent sized for cable routing and things just seemed to fit into place (as compared to some pain in the arse cases I’ve dealt with). The only real issue was putting the side panels back on. As always, the back panel required some effort to squash down some cables and with the old school panel mounting it was hard to line up the top and bottom at the same time without an extra knee to hold it in. All-in-all, it got the job done; it held my hardware in place and didn’t cause me to throw it across the room while putting it all together. That is a plus on any day.

Specifications:

Warranty:
2 years
Dimensions:
19.1” x 8.3” x 17.7”
Mobo Support:
ATX, mATX
Expansion Slots:
7
Form Factor:
Mid-tower
Material:
Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accents
Drive Bays:
5.25” (x3), 3.5”/2.5”(x4) Drive Caddies
Front I/O:
2 x USB 3.0, heaphone jack, mic jack, power button, reset button
Power Supply:
ATX (not included)

 

Cooling:

 

Features:

 

 

 

All information provided by: http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/carbide-series-pc-case/carbide-series-300r-compact-pc-gaming-case.html

Testing:

Testing the Corsair 300R required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases. Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs, HD Tune, and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing the 300R I was a little surprised. I expected some high temps but I was actually baffled by the results. I honestly ended up running it an extra hour through after the initial hour of testing. The CPU temp at load was remarkably low. It was the lowest I’ve seen in all the cases I’ve had through this year. Nothing else stood out besides the CPU and chipset temps, and the only explanation I could come up with was the fact that the case is rather small, the front fan is in the middle pushing air right up over the board and CPU and right out the back fan. The idle temps and load temps for everything else were on the high end. An odd channel of air that even caused me to take a second look; if nothing else you’ve got the ideal setup for cooling your chipset and CPU at full loads.

Conclusion:

Overall the 300R wasn’t the best case I’ve had my hands on, but it wasn’t the worst case either. Getting hardware in wasn’t painful and on any day I call that a win. I’ve worked with quite a few large cases that weren’t even user friendly. I’m disappointed to see that it is mainly a stripped down body merge of some of Corsairs higher-end cases. You can see where features exist in upper cases that have simply been removed here. However, it is expected to be sees such in case line-ups – higher-end cases stripped down to market to a lower budget build. I just wish it wasn’t so obvious that parts could be here and there.

The cost does play with my mind a bit as well. It is a bit better than the NZXT Tempest and Source cases I’ve previously mentioned, in a manner that the sides are a bit thicker and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart when you look at it the wrong way. It has a pretty nice feel overall, but for $90 I expected a little more. Perhaps this is just the release markup price still up on it, and as it sits on the market a while, the cost will come down. For about $20 less I’d say this is a heck of case and would recommend it to save coin on any build. It’s easy to work with, but isn’t quite on the level to compete with other cases in that price range. Overall not bad, but not a gold winner in my book.

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: