Corsair Carbide 400C Reviewred454 -
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Corsair Carbide 400C Introduction:
With a small case come a few sacrifices. After all, there is only so much room, so it is not surprising that the feature set is usually limited compared to larger cases. You won't likely find a ten slot hard drive rack or support for liquid cooling. It is simply a trade off. Or is it? Manufacturers are always looking for clever ways to get more functionality from less space, and Corsair is no stranger to innovative designs that utilize every bit of case real estate. Corsair describes its Carbide Series as, "...cases (that) have the high-end features you need, and nothing you don't." I find this to be very true, but don't think for a moment that they are stripped down, economy versions. The Carbide Series has grown over the years to cover a range of styles, sizes, and prices to fit most build scenarios. My first PC build included a Corsair Carbide 500R and I am still using it.
Coming off the heels of OCC's 600C review, we now have the 400C. If you think the 400C looks like the little brother to the 600C, you would be correct - sort of. It shares a similar design and style, but the 600C shook up the design status quo by using an inverse ATX design. That puts the side window on the other side of the case, and of course with the inverse ATX, the motherboard is flipped over. We don't have any of those unconventional approaches with the 400C. Instead, it makes its mark in a different way, and we will see that big things can come in small packages. Like the 600Q, which is the "quiet" counterpart to the 600C, there is also a 400Q that has additional sound-dampening panels.
Corsair Carbide 400C Closer Look:
Out of the box, the case has some protective plastc covering the inside and outside of the side door window. It easily peels off to reveal the natural beauty of the 400C.
The case measures 425mm x 215mm x 464mm (16.73" x 8.46" x 18.26"), so you can see that the 400C is a small case. The side door is basically a full window that allows you to really show off your hardware, and who doesn't want to do that? The back side of the case has the standard solid side cover. There is a long vertical vent section on either side of the front cover to pull in fresh air. This indirect air path also helps to muffle some of the intake fan noise. The fit and finish are top-notch, which is no surprise coming from Corsair.
You'll notice that there are no optical drive bays visible. No, they aren't hiding behind a front door. There isn't a front door, and there simply aren't any optical drive bays. This is a trend that seems to be growing, as optical drives slowly take the path of the once standard floppy drive. Sure, a few of us grumbled at first when the floppy drives went the way of the dodo, but who misses them now? So back to the case - the front of the case is clean and conservative. The finish is smooth, consistent, and evenly applied. Not glossy or shiny at all, not exactly what I would call a matte finish, but it does seem to resist finger prints and smudges. The front and top panels are full steel. The rear of the case shows that the power supply mounts at the bottom and there are seven expansion slots. To the right of the expansion slots is a nice rectangular vented section and above that is the rear 120mm exhaust fan. The mounting for the fan allows it to be slid up or down for extra clearance if you use a top radiator. Next to that on the left is the opening for the rear I/O panel.
Looking at the bottom of the case, there are four rectangular rubber feet at the corners. The rubber, of course, adds some vibration isolation and keeps from scratching your floor. There is a nice vent panel for the PSU air intake that pops off for cleaning. The top has a flexible mesh filter that has a magnetic strip around the perimeter. It easily comes off for cleaning, or if you just like the looks of the case without it. The top is heavily vented with large hexagonally shaped holes, and there are mounting provisions for two 120mm or two 140mm top fans (not included). Let's take a look inside and see what the 400C has going on.