Corsair Carbide Series 200R Case ReviewWaco - November 14, 2012
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Popping off the thumb screw-secured side panels is about as simple as you can imagine. A well-painted black interior greets the eyes along with a box of accessories tucked away in one of the 3.5" drive bays. The cutout in the motherboard tray for heat sink retention brackets is more than large enough to accommodate any mounting system imaginable as it extends fully from the top motherboard standoff to the center standoff. There are no rubber grommets on the tray to cover up any sloppy wiring when doing cable management, but at such a low price point on a case without windows I can't really fault Corsair for this. Even a well-painted interior on such an inexpensive case seems like a luxury! There is a fairly good-sized cutout near the top of the motherboard tray to allow for the routing of both CPU power wiring as well as any fans you wish to connect to the PSU by routing them behind the motherboard tray. All in all there are no real surprises here and the layout seems to be fairly well done.
The front of the 200R houses three 5.25" bays with tool-less clips on one side (although the other side will require screws for a secure fit). These tool-less clips are simple metal tabs with pins to hold your drives in place and while they do look a bit cheap they feel quite sturdy and should do their job just fine. Just below the 5.25" bays is a 120mm intake fan with no real restrictions in the path of airflow. All too often I see cases with front intake fans essentially blocked entirely so it is nice to see such an open design with plenty of room for airflow without obnoxiously powerful fans. Below the front intake fan is the combination 2.5" and 3.5" drive mounting area – that's right, this Carbide Series case continues on with the tradition of real 2.5" drive mounts and ships with not one, not two, but four tool-less 2.5" drive bays! A simple latch holds the 2.5" drives in place (quite securely I may add) and the 3.5" bays below require zero tools as well. The four 3.5" bays have a spring-loaded pin design similar to the 5.25" drive bay clips and hold quite securely.
Moving along to the bottom of the interior of the case you can see the 120mm/140mm fan mounting location as well as the holes cut for PSU ventilation. The small metal tab seen protruding from the motherboard tray isn't quite formed to be parallel to the bottom of the case – this allows it to provide gentle pressure on the top of your power supply to keep it from rattling against the bottom of the case. If you're worried about scratching up the topside of your PSU you should definitely bend this up and out of the way before installing your hardware. Glancing up from the power supply mount you can see the vented rear panel as well as the vented PCIe expansion slot covers. These are common features on almost all cases these days but they do provide latent heat an easy escape route instead of cooking your components. The rear 120mm exhaust fan is a bit different than those seen from Corsair in the past so I have to wonder if it outsourced the rear fan on this case to save a few dollars.
Remember the worries I expressed about the rear panel being completely flat and its impact on cable management? Consider those worries pointless. The motherboard tray itself near the PSU opening is bumped back for more clearance (about 1 inch or 2.5 cm total room). The rest of the backside of the motherboard tray makes do with around .75 inches (approximately 2 cm) of room. The bottom lip on the case is quite deep as well, which allows you to cram a few unused cables out of the way without impacting the ability to attach the side panel or crushing your cables. While not the roomiest case I've had the pleasure of reviewing, the room here is absolutely huge compared to most budget-oriented cases, which tend to have little to no room at all behind the motherboard tray. Good job Corsair! Another nice touch I wasn't expecting to find was the USB 3.0 internal connection wiring: it uses flat cables. Unlike the bulky round cables normally associated with USB 3.0 connections (even on more expensive Corsair cases) these cables are barely thicker than a standard SATA cable and are exceedingly easy to route without getting in the way.
Of course, no case would be complete without an accessory bundle. The included accessories in the case of the Carbide 200R aren't lavish but Corsair does include a few zip ties, a manual, and enough screws to mount whatever hardware you decide to fill the chassis with. Do note that Corsair has included quite a few black fan screws should you deem it necessary to add a few more fans to bump up the cooling capacity of the 200R. A small touch, but a nice one!
You know how some cases just bring out your inner drama llama when trying to get your hardware installed? Be assured that there's no drama here. Everything installs effortlessly and with the exception of the somewhat "ugly" wiring poking through the routing holes because of the lack of grommets I honestly have zero complaints with the internals on the 200R. The 2.5" mounting bays work wonderfully though if you have a Crossfire or SLI setup you might have to remove your second GPU to install any new drives and the associated cables. There's plenty of room up top for additional fans without getting in the way of most CPU coolers and installing a water cooling system like the Corsair H100 would be a breeze even if you have RAM with tall heat sinks.
Powering up the Corsair Carbide 200R for the first time was uneventful and quiet. The included fans, although possibly a bit less expensive than the usual fans included on Corsair cases, are not overly loud and do not emit any obnoxious noises. The power button lights up in the signature Corsair white glow and the reset button doubles as the HDD activity indicator (which also glows soft white). Overall the 200R appears to be constructed better as well as designed better than its price tag would lead you to expect. If relatively laid-back styling and easy installation are what you want the 200R certainly delivers. Keep reading to find out how this chassis stacks up when the heat is on!