Corsair Carbide Series 200R Case Review

Waco - 2012-11-02 19:24:56 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Waco   
Reviewed on: November 14, 2012
Price: $59.99

Introduction:

When thinking of companies that produce great computer cases, Corsair is certainly at the top of the list that comes to mind. Corsair has established a reputation for designing cases that not only look great but are generally an absolute dream to work with as well. That quality does have a cost though, as Corsair cases tend to cost just a few more gold doubloons than ones from many other manufacturers. In the past Corsair has made attempts to produce less-costly cases for the Carbide series with the 300R and even the 400R, but both of them are much closer to the $100 price marker than the $50 line. Today, Corsair is looking to change that.

The Corsair Carbide Series 200R is the newest chassis to be introduced to the venerable Carbide Series lineup. Jumping into the mix at the unheard-of (for Corsair) price of $59, this case stands to fill in the bottom end of the price range without sacrificing the features and quality that Corsair is known for. Granted, at nearly $30 cheaper than the nearest case in the Carbide Series lineup, some features will have to be sacrificed to reduce costs – the real question is whether or not those sacrifices have also gutted the usability and quality from the chassis. Keep reading to see if Corsair has managed to cram all of the goodness from its higher-end cases into the new Carbide Series 200R!

 

Closer Look:

What's this on my doorstep? At a glance it is immediately obvious that a Corsair case has shown up. Corsair stuck with its tried-and-true packaging design here using plain cardboard with black ink. The bottom of the box for the Carbide 200R is blacked out with the series and model printed in very large white text along the bottom. A simple front isometric view gives you a pretty good idea of how the case is formed if not any idea of what color it is along with a quick list of features in various languages. I've said before how much I like simple packaging designs as it usually indicates that my money is going towards the actual product and not just a fancy box that my cat will want to play in.

Moving on to the side of the box reveals a table that lists the contents of the box in many languages (not surprisingly this box contains a Corsair Carbide Series 200R mid-tower case) as well as a side and front profile of the case with some dimensions listed to help give you an idea of the size. The back side of the box details the inner workings of the chassis via an exploded-panel view along with a long list of other languages (I can't even identify half of them) detailing the same feature list seen on the front of the box. The last side of the box again has a side and front profile with dimensions as well as a large table detailing the complete exterior dimensions of the case. Overall the packaging is minimalist and effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, enough about the box the case comes in, let's move on to the fun part! Extracting the 200R from its cardboard tomb is a simple procedure and won't leave you frustrated in any way. Unlike some manufacturers who seemingly cram the products in boxes with a shoehorn, Corsair has taken the time to ensure that the box as well as the case itself will survive the process of extrication. The case comes wrapped in a clear plastic bag to keep out moisture from the rainy day that always seems to accompany packages being delivered. Each end is protected by a sturdy foam cap to ensure a lack of dents and dings. If you get one of these in the mail it'll definitely arrive unharmed. Will the Corsair Carbide 200R live up to the Corsair legacy of quality even at this low price point? Keep on reading to find out!

 

Closer Look:

Finally free from all of its packaging the Carbide 200R immediately reminds me of the more expensive Carbide 650D. Granted, the 650D is a much more expensive and much larger case overall, but the initial impression and overall styling cues seem to borrow from the 650D stable. The front side panel is bare with the exception of a pair of mounting points for dual 120mm/140mm fans. The back side panel is completely featureless and doesn't even sport a simple bumped out section for cable management. This usually doesn't bode well for cable management but due to the overall width of this case I don't think that will be an issue, bumped out panel or not. At the front of the case there is a mesh opening to allow airflow in to the internal 120mm intake fan.

Moving on to the front of the case you can see that it is again very spartan. Personally I like designs like this that are clearly focused on function without a bunch of cost-adding "features" that do little more than offend the eyes. The Corsair logo is the only real interruption of the clean front panel aside from the front I/O panel at the top. The three external 5.25" bays are covered by flat plastic covers that match the finish of the rest of the front panel. Spinning around to the backside of the case we are greeted by a single 120mm exhaust fan along with venting holes next to the PCIe expansion slots. Curiously enough Corsair has skipped the inclusion of holes for external water cooling tubing, though I can't say I've seen someone take advantage of said holes in any build in recent memory so their loss doesn't seem very painful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A closer look at the front of the case highlights clean styling. The front panel of the case is actually slightly slimmer than the overall width of the case, which helps reduce the apparent size of the chassis when viewing it from the front. The front I/O panel includes a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a pair of headphone and microphone ports, and a combination power/reset button. Moving down a bit you can see more clearly the mesh opening for the front intake fan a bit more clearly. These holes are backed with mesh to allow for easy cleaning without dismantling the front panel of the case. As always the easier a case is to keep clean the more likely it is to stay clean!

 

 

The top panel of the case along with the side panel both include mounting holes for 120mm and 140mm fans. The mounting points for the 120mm fans on the top panel are shifted away from the motherboard to allow for internal mounting of self-contained water cooling systems like the H100 without getting in the way of most motherboard components and memory. I have the feeling you could shoehorn a custom loop into the top of the case as well as long as you were careful to choose a slim 240mm radiator and standard-width 25mm fans. The side panel mounts are of the more standard type and have the 120mm fans centered within the 140mm mounting points. Should you desire to add more cooling to this case there is definitely room to do it! Unfortunately the back panel is only wide enough to accommodate a 120mm exhaust fan, but I have the feeling most will keep the stock fan in place anyway.

 

 

With the help of my brand new gravity-inversion device we can take a look at what Corsair has done with the bottom of the Carbide 200R. Four rubberized feet promise to keep any vibrations in your chassis from reaching the floor and vice versa. The center of the case has a large mesh section to add a bottom-mounted intake fan to keep your components cool – you have the option of using a 120mm or 140mm fan should you decide to take that route. Towards the rear of the case the 200R includes yet another welcome feature in the form of a power supply intake fan filter. This filter slides out from the back of the case and does not require you to lift, disassemble, or otherwise go out of your way to remove it for cleaning. Clearly Corsair thought through what features to keep when slimming down the price of this chassis!

 

 

Overall the exterior of the Corsair Carbide 200R seems to keep up with the overall level of quality and features seen in the higher-end Carbide cases. Move on to the next page to see how the insides of this clean and classy case stack up!

Closer Look:

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!

 

Specifications:

Warranty:
Two Years
Dimensions:
16.9 x 8.3 x 19.6 inches
430 x 210 x 497 mm
MB Support:
ATX, mATX
Expansion Slots:
7
Form Factor:
Mid-tower
Material:
Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces
5.25" Drive Bays:
3
3.5" Drive Bays:
4
2.5" Drive Bays:
4
Cooling:
120/140mm fan mount locations (x5)
120mm fan mount locations (x3)
front mounted 120mm fan (x1)
rear 120mm fan (x1)
Front I/O:
USB 3.0 (x2), headphone, MIC, power, reset
Power Supply:
ATX (not included)

 

 

Features:

 

 

All information is courtesy of: http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/carbide-series-pc-case/carbide-series-200r-compact-atx-case.html

Testing:

Testing the Corsair Carbide 200R required pushing my hardware to heat things up as much as possible. Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases. Recently, OCC upgraded to the ForceGT 240GB SSD from Corsair and has removed the HDD temps from case reviews. Thus, HDTune is no longer a part of the case benchmarking process.

Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs along with 3DMark Vantage looping 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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color me surprised. I expected temperatures to be roughly on par with some of the other similarly sized cases I've reviewed recently but for some reason the Corsair 200R lags behind a bit. The idle temperatures are fairly good across the board but the CPU and GPU load temperatures are higher than most of the cases we've tested. Do remember though that the cooling performance here is still by no means "bad" it just isn't quite as good as the other cases in the comparison. This Corsair case is substantially cheaper than almost all of the cases it's being compared to as well. I don't think this is any fault of the design but more of the lack of overall airflow per volume. A few fans in the top of the case or an additional intake fan at the bottom of the case would likely bring temperatures down substantially. Overall not a bad performance even if it was a bit disappointing.

Conclusion:

There are times when new cases come to me and I have no real strong feelings one way or the other about them. Those cases are usually average in performance and features at a given price point. I'm pleased to say that not only is this not one of those cases but also that this chassis really is outstanding in many ways. The asking price of $59.99 is extremely low when you look at the overall package that you get for that small amount of money. The Corsair Carbide Series 200R is roomy on the inside with plenty of room to route your wiring however your heart desires. There's ample room for long GPUs without obstructing the use of the 2.5" and 3.5" drive bays. The 5.25" external bays are tool-less as are the 2.5" and 3.5" drive bays. There are mounting points for an additional five 120mm or 140mm fans and there is ample room for a self-contained water cooling system or even a custom loop if you're feeling creative.

The styling on the 200R is also a personal favorite of mine – the resemblance to the Corsair 650D is more a result of the clean aesthetics and overall "black box" look but it really works here. Most cases down in the $60 range usually adorn themselves in bright colors and gimmicky features (which are usually poorly implemented). Like the GameTiger Mage Mi-3 I reviewed a few weeks ago, this Corsair Carbide Series 200R skips the usual additions that add no real value and sticks to what a case should do: house your components, be easy on the eyes, and be a pleasure to work with. There are no real faults here in terms of useless additions or annoyingly cheap "features".

If there is one fault in the 200R it is the stock cooling setup. While it is by no means lacking it does fall a bit short of most cases in terms of CPU and GPU temps under load. This is likely a combination of its larger size combined with the somewhat high position of the front intake fan, which I believe contributes to the higher GPU temperature and lead to the higher CPU temperatures from the heat off the back of the GPU. Simply moving the front intake fan to the bottom fan position would likely cure this at a cost of nothing other than a few minutes of time.

So there you have it. This case offers nearly everything that the more expensive 300R and 400R offer but at a much lower price without any real drawbacks in terms of usability or construction. If I were building a new rig today I'd honestly have a hard time passing up such a good deal on a case that must be built with razor-thin margins. I can't think of another way Corsair has managed to pack this much case into just under $60. People; we have a winner!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: