Corsair Carbide 330R Reviewhornybluecow - September 26, 2013
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Corsair Carbide 330R Conclusion:
Let us recap my reasoning and scoring method before diving into the my final words. First I look at what the company is saying it offers. For example, the company states the case supports large / long graphic cards or ten quiet fans. In any example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be trying to overclock a CPU in a Mini-ITX case and expecting a low temperature. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the case offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include an extra fan, cable management, different color paint, or support for larger video cards. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.
With my time using the chassis being a bit longer than usual, I at first thought this is everything the Thermaltake S21 should have been, and in many ways this case has improved on nearly everything I complained about before. It does not, however, leave me with a feeling of must have. A lot of that has to do with the small issues that could have been resolved before assembly. Most notable is the audio cable length; I cannot stress this to companies enough that they need to make all the internal cables extra long! Unless Corsair stated this case only works with motherboard (X), there is no reason to not think ahead to avoid this type of problem. Every single motherboard has its motherboard connectors in different places and if yours is also next to the PCIe slots, expect to run the audio cable across the motherboard. The more minor issues include flimsy plastic 3.5" bays and a plastic door latch. Both can be solved with a little extra cost. I would have like to see the door latches made of metal and the bays thicker plastic or metal also.
Moving on to the pros and saving the best for last, the Corsair 330R really impressed me on many levels. The silencing foam is thin yet effective. The first time I fired it up I had to look into the case to make sure the CPU fan was running. Larger full towers can get away with similar results using 200mm fans, but that is a bit different because not everyone wants a huge case taking up space. The 330R does a similar job with smaller fans and counters it with the silencing foam.
Next up is something I would expect from Corsair, which is support for closed loop watercooling (aka H100) on the top with some room to spare. It is true I did run into a small issue regarding the top 5.25" bay being partially taken up, but that didn't bother me because I think the support was more of an afterthought. It is always good to have support for things not everyone uses like extra fans and I cannot complain since it's not a main selling feature listed on the box.
Last up for the pros is stuff I think should be in every mid tower chassis in the higher price range. That includes aftermarkte coolers up to 160mm and long video cards. I have yet to find a CPU cooler over 160mm and even so a few established ones are around 155-160mm that can cool a nice solid overclock. As for the video cards, I do think if you are going with multiple video cards, this case could cause problems in length. Only the top video card, or three slots, have 12" clearance. The rest of the slots are more or less the length of the motherboard. The video cards will be generating heat close to the hard drive bays and if the GPUs are not the blower style, hot air is just going to build up.
My final words on the Corsair 330R are positive ones. While the price is a bit high for my tastes, you have to realize the market. Cosair is filling a niche that very few companies want to deal with. Generally speaking, the effectiveness of the fans and cooling can match loud full towers and be nearly silent while at full load is a nod to the effective fans and silencing foam. Everyone's idea of silent varies, but when I have to turn up the TV because of the fans, that's a bad sign. Using a closed loop cooler like the H100 inside the case basically defeated the quiet aspect, but replace them with low speed or premium fans and you solved the issue.
In the end this case is great for what it is offering, but if you do not need the quiet part, Cosair and other companies offer better cases for cheaper.
- Quiet fans
- Internal silencing foam
- Support for large aftermarket CPU coolers (160mm)
- Advanced watercooling support
- Support for high-end graphics cards
- Tool-less design
- Dim I/O ights
- Flimsy plastic 3.5-inch bays
- Audio cable length
- Potential door issue
- PSU mounting issue