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Corsair Carbide 400C Review

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Corsair Carbide 400C Closer Look:

Okay, let's get down to business. Both the side door and side panel are removed so we can see what is happening inside the 400C. The side window door just lifts off the hinges. I love this type of side door. The 600C has one and it is carried over to the 400C. The other side panel has retained fasteners, which I also love. The latch on the side door is exceptionally smooth and with a soft touch, the door swings closed and firmly latches shut.

The 600C located the PSU at the top and concealed it with a cover that also hid any excess or unused cables from the PSU. The 400C locates the PSU at the bottom and uses a similar cover to hide the PSU and associated cables, and when we look at the rear of the case, you can see that the PSU cover also hides a hard drive cage with two hard drive trays. There are three rectangular holes and three oval holes with rubber grommets to help with cable routing, and there is the usual cut out in the motherboard tray for access to the back of the motherboard when installing a CPU cooler.

In addition to the two hard drive trays for your good old 3.5" hard drives, you also get a plastic SSD holder that lines three of them up on the back of the motherboard tray. And speaking of the motherboard tray, the 400C is quite remarkable in that it can handle anything from a Mini-ITX up to an E-ATX (extended ATX). There are a few full tower cases out there that can't make that claim.

   

 

The front panel pops off to reveal the included front intake fan, which happens to be a 140mm, and you have the option of mounting a second 140mm fan or three 120mm fans. The front filter panel hooks in at the bottom and latches at the top. It pops out for quick and easy cleaning. Corsair probably has some of the most well-designed filter panels I have seen. They seal so well and are so easily removed. You can tell that a lot of engineering went into the design and tooling. The top I/O panels consists of (from left to right) the reset button, the hard drive activity light (white LED), the headphone and microphone jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, and finally the power button (also white LED). I am happy to see the reset button and power buttons being so far apart to help in avoiding an accidental restart. You can also see the fine mesh of the magnetic top filter panel.

   

 

The rear 120mm exhaust fan is mounted to slots so it can slide up and down to clear an upper radiator or fans. It looks a little tight at the top for a radiator, but the top fan mounts are offset to help keep the radiator and fans spaced away from the from the motherboard. You also have the option of mounting a 120mm radiator at the rear, too. At the bottom of the case is the PSU and hard drive cover. The parallelogram-shaped hole in the top of the cover allows for GPU power cables to pass through.

   

 

Corsair's new Direct Airflow Path takes advantage of the open nature of the front section of the case. From the Corsair website, "One way to reduce noise is to make sure your fans don't work harder than they have to. By removing the drive cages behind the intake fans, we provide a more efficient direct airflow path to your hottest components, the CPU and GPU. It's just a smarter design."  With that in mind, let's take a closer look. Down in front is a better view of the additional fan or radiator mounting, and you will notice that the usual stack of hard drive cages is absent, which opens the airflow path. The front section can accomodate up to a 360mm radiator. Moving up to the top you can see the included 140mm front intake fan. This is usually the space occupied by the optical drive bays, but the 400C uses the room at the top for more unobstructed airflow.

 

 

Now we can't ignore the floor of the case. After the PSU cover is removed, the dual tray hard drive cage is visible. If you can go with all solid state drives and use the handy triple SSD mounting on the rear of the motherboard, then you can easily remove the 3.5" hard drive cage to open up the case floor to more airflow. I found it easier to completely remove the hard drive cage and use the space for the extra power supply cables since my PSU is not modular.

 

 

The PSU cover is actually two overlapping pieces that clip into the case at the front and there are thumb screws behind the backplane that secure the covers from the back. This cover is not necessary, so if you want to show off your PSU, you can certainly leave the cover off. The hard drive cage has two tool-less trays and can handle 3.5" hard drives or 2.5" SSDs. Of course, if you use SSDs, you have to use screws to secure them to the trays, so only the 3.5" hard drives are tool-less.

 

 

Speaking of solid state drives, as they become more affordable and mainstream, cases are making more room for them, and that is fairly easy given their small size. The 400C has three detatchable mounts behind the motherboard tray. So if you go all solid state, the 400C can handle three in the triple rear mount and two in the hard drive cage for a total of five. If you look at the bottom of the triple mount, you can see that there is a single eject spring that pops the SSD out of the holder like a piece of toast when you push the retention clip. I don't advise putting any butter or jelly on your SSD.

   

 

Corsair supplies the necessary hardware for a smooth system build, including an array of screws for the motherboard, fan, and SSD istallations. And of course, a few cable ties. The instruction manual is in seven languages and is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and well-written manuals I have seen. The illustrations, clarity, and organization are simply unmatched. 

 

 

So it finally comes down to the build. I have to hand it to Corsair - the 400C really has all the bases covered. While it is a compact design, it doesn't feel cramped or over-stuffed. You get a large, hinged side door with a huge window and the ability to handle large radiators for liquid cooling, long GPUs, and a variety of motherboard sizes. Plus the PSU cover does a great job of cleaning up all the cable and hard drive clutter.

   




  1. Corsair Carbide 400C Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Corsair Carbide 400C Closer Look: Working Components
  3. Corsair Carbide 400C Specifications & Features
  4. Corsair Carbide 400C Testing: Setup & Results
  5. Corsair Carbide 400C Conclusion
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