Corsair Carbide Series 400R Reviewairman - September 1, 2011
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The Corsair Carbide 400R has continued my belief that just because there is a $300+ dollar case on the market, it doesn't mean a $100 case cannot perform similarly. Of course, we aren't going to see matching numbers as far as temperatures go. If you're only in it for the most airflow though, why fork out hundreds of dollars for temperatures that are just a few degrees cooler? With a case like the Carbide Series 400R that houses up to ten fans, you can find yourself wondering if spending an extra $30-$40 in fans would be worth it. From my perspective, it absolutely is. With just the three included fans, I can almost see the locations of the airflow dead spots inside the case. I can name two right off the bat: the graphics card and heatsink areas. With a push-pull configuration like I use, the air at the top is truly stagnant. Alongside the self-contained blower system on the HD6970, the same holds true directly above the card, between itself and the heatsink. Adding an intake fan or two on the side panel and by the hard drive cages would absolutely help out all temperatures, especially with the well-ventilated rear panel.
While I like this expandability for fans, I just wish that Corsair chose to add either a top exhaust fan or a side intake fan...or both. I'm sure it was a careful decision, but the lack of the top exhaust fan really hurts the CPU load temperature in my opinion. That aside, I'm incredibly thankful that Corsair included the internal USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 header adapter. Before writing this review, I had read other articles to educate myself on the case and saw no USB 2.0 ports on the front! I was shocked, but then very relieved to find the adapter – something of which I didn't even know existed – alongside the included accessories. The lines of the case are nice, as I prefer the harder, sharp, "edgy" edges. The one thing that breaks the flow is the rounded portion at the top of the bezel. The rest of the case is dominated by a sharp and clean-cut geometry, but finished off with a “bubble” bezel – it just bugs me! While you may like it, I don't prefer mixing rounded and sharp geometries. Another note about the front bezel is that unlike the higher-end Corsair cases, the front fan filter is not removable in the way that the others are. On the more expensive models, the fan filter is attached by a simple push-clicker that releases and reattaches when pushed in. In this case, the entire front bezel must be pulled off to clean the filter. While slightly disappointing, we must keep in mind that this is a less-expensive case. Thankfully, pulling off the bezel is fairly easy.
The handle at the top is useful for picking up the case and carrying it while it is empty, though I'd be nervous to rely solely on this handle with a full computer installed inside. With all of the components, especially if you're running multiple GPUs, the computer can get heavy! That being said, the top handle can still be used, but definitely not while "one-arming" it – I would suggest holding the bottom when carrying the case. The ability to turn off the front LED fans is also there for those who like to sleep with their computers on and ready to go in the morning. Corsair made the right decision to include this feature, as it makes all consumers happy, whether or not they prefer to keep the lights on.
As far as wire management goes, if you skimmed through the review, I would definitely go back to page 3 for a brief but up-close wire management guide. I chose to do it with this case because it's not a super-duper specimen for having the best wire management, but offers features that are common with many other cases on the market. I did run into a bit of trouble with the areas around the perimeter of the case behind the tray, as there wasn’t really enough room. In my opinion, Corsair could have added an extra 3-5 mm to the distance between the rear of the motherboard and the edge of the frame to help get the side panel door closed. However, the popped-out shape of the side panel really makes a big difference with cable management and offers loads of room to pile up wires. Overall, I achieved the look that I always go for, though with slightly more effort. In conclusion, this case is definitely a great option for someone looking in the $100 range. It looks good (leaving my opinion of the bezel aside), is capable of installing TEN FANS, has good wire management possibilities, and comes with Corsair’s famous build quality.
- Less than $100
- Has room for ten fans
- Has a built-in "handle"
- Wire management is "airman-approved"
- Front fan LEDs can be toggled on and off
- Performance comes close to higher-end Corsair cases
- Performance may suffer from lack of top exhaust fan
- Front fan filter not easily removable like other Corsair cases