Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Review

airman - 2011-04-19 18:25:19 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: August 9, 2011
Price: $179.99

Introduction:

I have always liked the looks of Corsair's cases and appreciate the innovation in its products. Last year, we reviewed the Corsair Graphite Series 600T when it first debuted, and it received excellent praise for the features, looks, and cooling ability. Unfortunately, we ran into a clearance issue with the upper 200mm exhaust fan rendering the ability to use a push/pull configuration on the particular heatsink not available — causing relatively poor CPU temperatures. However, aside from that, the original 600T is well-liked by many. Today, I will be sharing the Special Edition Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T with a side panel window that can be replaced with the included mesh insert. The white coloring offers a contrast in the design and the included window alone is worth $29.99 on top of the original price tag as a separate accessory.

Currently, the Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T is receiving great feedback on many different sites that sell it. It is a Corsair quality product, with great features, intuitive wire management solutions, and is huge for a "mid tower". The Graphite Series 600T includes a built-in, variable speed fan controller, six hard drive caddies with SSD capabilities, room for a top-mounted 240mm radiator for water cooling support, a removable side window that can be replaced with a mesh insert (allowing up to four extra fans), and what seems like a goliath list of more features. I really enjoyed reviewing Corsair's Obsidian 650D last month, and knowing that Corsair pulled a lot of features from its Obsidian line into this case makes me excited to get going and get inside the box.

 

Closer Look:

The packaging for the Special Edition White Graphite Graphite 600T is identical to that of the original version, as well as that of the Obsidian series. The front of the box shows a wire-frame image of the case, with paragraphs of text to the right of it. Each paragraph explains in detail some of the key features that the Graphite Series 600T offers (in several languages). The left and right sides of the case contain the same information, which is a small table that shares specifications such as the dimensions, construction materials, weight, etc. This information will be in the Specifications & Features section of this review. The rear of the box, as I pointed out in the Obsidian 650D review, has an exploded diagram of the case showing the individual pieces with an explanation behind each. This diagram makes it very clear what to expect, which is a strong reason why I like the way this information is presented on the Corsair packaging.

 

 

 

 

 

The case, just like every other case we see, is sandwiched between two Styrofoam blocks. The part that differs between manufacturers, however, is the materials used. Corsair uses a stiff, white Styrofoam and a cloth bag to prevent scratches on the paint job, as well as to act as a dust barrier. As far as accessories go, we see the difference between the original Graphite Series 600T and this Special Edition White version is the replacement mesh insert. Other than that, this case is provided with your normal screws — both fine thread for hardware components and large, coarse thread for fans — keys to the locking side panel, twist ties, and user manual. Also, you'll get the standard-issue Corsair reading material, which is a warranty card and a product "flier".

 

 

 

Now that the "cat's out of the bag", or rather, the case is out of the box, it's time to get started by taking a close look of the outside of the case and its features. Check out the next page for a detailed evaluation of the exterior of the Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T.

Closer Look:

The first thing that I noticed after looking at the case up close is the neat contrast between the white and black faces. The majority of the case is white, but there are black accents around the bezel, side panel window, panel door handles, and around the base. Again, as I was with the Obsidian 650D, I am blown away at the fact that Corsair can call this case a mid tower! It is absolutely massive and weighs almost 30 lbs bone dry — only standing at a few inches shorter than the tremendously sized, Obsidian 800D.

Looking at the front of the case, you will see the white rim around the bezel with the black center section. There are four external 5.25" bay covers and the removable fan filter at the bottom. This fan filter works just like that of the Obsidian 650D, where pressing it in at the top will release it. On the bottom of the fan filter is an embossed, silver Corsair logo that stands out against the black surroundings. Turning to the left, windowed side of the case, the quick-release handles and the window can be seen. The quick release handles are located at the top and are black in color. The window covers roughly half the inside area of the side panel and placed slightly toward the rear of the case. This placement is perfect, as there is still plenty of areas not visible through the window to hide wiring and potentially unsightly components, such as CCFL inverters, water cooling pumps, etc.

The rear of the case is like most others, with a 120mm exhaust fan at the top, the I/O cutout on the side, eight expansion slots above the bottom-mounting PSU mounting location, and overall covered with mesh/perforations allowing for extra airflow. There are two water cooling grommets, just like that of the original Graphite Series 600T, located beneath the exhaust fan and beside the expansion slots. These grommets are large enough to fit tubing up to 3/4" in outer diameter, large enough for even the beefiest of tubing. The right, un-windowed side is nothing special, though it does still offer the quick-release handles just like the left side. Both panels are identical in fit, so one side could fit on the other. However, with this case having a window, there would be no need for a switch unless the user choose they do not want a window later on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the case is centered with a black, mesh area with a large 200mm fan underneath it. This top section acts somewhat as a filter and is also removable like the front section is. One difference between this case and my recently visited Obsidian, is that the Graphite Series 600T has a locking mechanism for the quick-release handles on this side. The lock is hidden underneath this removable section, and will prevent removal of the windowed side panel when the lock is engaged. This is always an great option for the LAN party-goer, where the owner may feel the need to secure their hardware with more than just a couple of screws. On the bottom of the case is the standard vent for the PSU and a slide out filter for that as well. The front I/O area of the case houses 4x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x 1394 Firewire, and headphone/microphone jacks. In the center of this I/O area is the fan controller knob, which controls four fan channels simultaneously. Just behind the I/O ports are the inconspicuous power and reset buttons, which follow the lines of the top center mesh.

 

 

 

The front bezel is attached to the case like just about all others — by tabs that pop in and out of the holes of the frame. Removing the front bezel only takes about 30 seconds and is easily reattached. The nice thing about this bezel is that, since there are no electronic peripherals attached to it, there are no wires tying it to the case that may be damaged or even broken if you aren't careful during its removal. Behind the front bezel, you can get a clearer view at the large, 200mm intake fan.

 

 

 

Now that I have explored the exterior of the case, I can now get along to checking out the inside of it. I expect to see nearly identical traits to that of the original Graphite Series 600T, which will be a very spacious interior with lots of room, great wire management, and easy to use features, such as the hard drive trays and removable cages.

Closer Look:

Opening the case exposes the all-black interior and gives us a better look at what's available for wiring management. There is a total number of eight pass-throughs on the motherboard mounting tray, with one of them actually being underneath where an ATX motherboard will mount. This is perfect for routing the front I/O wires completely out of sight, except for a small sliver of wiring that shows as they loop up from underneath the motherboard and plug into the headers. We also see the massive CPU mounting access hole, which tells me that I probably won't have any problem of running into clearance issues. The hard drive trays run horizontally in respect to the front of the case, allowing the ability to face the I/O ports of the drives toward the rear — cleaning up the wires very nicely. Looking at the other side, you'll find the "nest" of wires, sheathed in black, which helps camouflage them. The 4-pin Molex connector powers the fan controller and there are four 3-pin leads that are secured near it that power the fans already in place. If I had seen the included fans already wired up, it would have been a nice touch. However, it still gives me the option to route the wires how I please. The other bunch of wires is for the front I/O. We see that the USB3.0 is not an internal header, but an external one that will require passing through the rear of the case and on to the motherboard. The other cables are standard (power/reset, USB2.0, sound, Firewire, etc).

The clearance between the side panel and the rear of the motherboard tray is over 3/4" (19mm) and will provide enough clearance to allow the large ATX power monstrosity to pass through the wiring grommets on the motherboard to clean up the look a little bit. There is no hard divider or support running between the hard drive cages and motherboard tray either, so I won't have to worry about pinching any wires at that point once the right side panel goes back on. So, in essence, the entire area behind the motherboard tray is wide open.

The interior of the case reminds me greatly of the Obsidian 650D, as far as the looks and features that are provided. The case's power supply bracket is located at the bottom of the case at the rear, and just in front of that are two wiring holes in the motherboard tray. All my wires will be able to pass through these two grommets! There are eight, re-usable (re-attachable, as opposed to the tear-out) expansion slot covers, which are made out of slotted sheet metal and are held in by thumb screws. Above this is a black, 120mm exhaust fan that will be plugged into the fan controller, along with the 200mm exhaust fan at the top. Removing this fan will allow installation of two 120mm fans or a 2x120mm radiator. Corsair says this is possible, but realistically, the user would probably have to use slim fans for it to fit or figure out a mounting scheme to place the fans on the outside of the case, beneath the removable top cover.

There are four 5.25" bays at the front of the case that use toolless securing mechanisms just like that of the Obsidian series. To lock/unlock a device, all it takes is the flip of a lever. Of course, it only secures the device on one side, but the fit is tight enough to not allow very little lateral movement once it is secured. Below the four 5.25" bays are six 3.5"/2.5" hard drive trays, each in cages that are removable. Removal of one cage may be necessary in the event where there may be interference between a large video card and the cage. However, for most, if not all consumer cards, I don't see this being a likely issue.

As I said on the previous page, the main thing that this case has that the original one that we reviewed doesn't, is the window. Not only does it have the window, but the window is removable and can be replaced with the included mesh insert — allowing for up to four additional fans on the side panel. This can provide significant additional airflow over the video cards and adds a cool change to the overall feel of the case. Exchanging the two panels is a two-step process. First, the window must be removed by taking out ten Phillips head screws, and then the mesh piece is locked into place by folding the thin, sheet metal tabs over. I wish something different was done here, as these tabs could easily break if it is removed and replaced just one more time. Anyways, not unlike the other Corsair cases on the market, the quick-release handles are located at the top of each panel and once released, the side panel pivots along the bottom edge and can be moved out of the way. Both panels are geometrically identical, so they can be used interchangeably — but with the addition of the window on the left panel, it's easy to distinguish between the two.

The hard drive trays are very standard to what we see with other manufacturers on the market today. Each is a simple, single piece of molded plastic with four pins that lock the 3.5" hard drive in place. For smaller hard drives, they are secured through the bottom with screws that go through the tray and into the hard drive. To remove the tray, the two outward-sticking tabs are squeezed inwards. Replacing the tray is as simple as sliding it back in until it clicks into place. As I said earlier, the cages that contain the hard drive trays are removable. These are held in by thumbscrews, and are easily removed. This is useful to both clean up the interior of the case if extra hard drives are unneeded, as well as to allow as much clearance as possible for super large video cards.

I pointed out earlier that the headers for the I/O ports and controls on the front of the case are located in a nest that is bundled up behind the motherboard tray. For this review, and all intents and purposes, with my hardware and preference standpoint, I will only be using USB2.0, power button, power LED, reset button, and HDD LED. I will not be using, USB 3.0, Firewire, and front audio jacks, though they are available. I will be using the fan controller with the included fans. Luckily, the sheaths for the wiring are all black and don't expose any of the multi-colored wiring inside. This way, they'll be very subtle and will be easily disguised.

For an experienced user, the fan controller is self-explanatory, but to the novice, it may need some explanation. The 4-pin Molex connector has an obvious purpose and that is to supply power to the fan controller itself — which ends up running out to the fans. Thoughtfully enough, there are plastic "covers" on each of the four, 2-pin male plugs that go to each fan. Therefore, for supply lines that are not used (we will only be using three of the four with the included fans), the live, exposed leads can be covered. This prevents any possibility of there being a short caused by the leads touching each other, or grounding out on the chassis. Generally, we see a shrouded plug where the leads are nested and safe, but this is just another way of doing it. I'd be afraid to lose these covers, however, so I would have rather seen the more common, shrouded version.

The fans are not supplied with any expanded data, other than that we know they operate on 12V. There are no labels for current draw, RPM, or CFM on any of the included fans, and they are supplied with a Corsair sticker on the back. The two 200mm fans are equipped with white LEDs, which thoughtfully match the paint job, just like the white LEDs that were packaged with the original, black Graphite Series 600T. I like the look of white LEDs, plus with the black interior, it allows the hardware to stand out clearly while not being overly bright.

Getting the case together with all the components was an easy task. I of course took my usual extra time on wiring management, as I always try to get the most out of every case with each review to show what the wire management is capable of achieving. Removing the upper hard drive cage was far unnecessary, even with the large, HD6970 video card. The only thing that stands out, and drives me kind of nuts, is the hole in the motherboard tray where the inside of the white side panel glares outward. The inside of this panel should have been painted black, as it sticks through like a sore thumb! Anyways, the white LEDs emit a subtle glow and offer a different type of look compared to other cases. This is the first case that I've had my hands on that come with white, LED fans. Other thoughts, off the top of my head, is the room at the top of the case for a radiator — which seems minimal. It'd be a tight fit, if even possible, even though Corsair mentions that there is 2x120mm radiator support. Moving on, it's now time to take a look at the manufacturer-provided specifications, followed by an intense performance test.

Specifications:

Dimensions (L x W x H):
23.3" x 10.4" x 20"
592mm x 265mm x 507mm
Material:
Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces
Color:
White and black
Drive Bays:
5.25" (x4)
3.5"/2.5" Drive Caddies (x6)
Cooling:
200mm Fans w/White LEDs (x2)
120mm Fan (x1)
Expansion Slots:
8
Motherboard:
ATX, mATX
Front I/O:
USB 2.0 (x4)
USB 3.0 (x1)
IEEE1394 (x1)
Headphone (x1)
Mic (x1)
4-channel Fan Controller

 

Features:

 

All information provided courtesy of Corsair @ http://www.corsair.com

Testing:

To test the Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T, temperatures will be recorded for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and the overall system temperature during load and idle phases. Load will be simulated by Prime95 small FFTs and HD Tune for one hour, with maximum temperatures recorded by RealTemp. The GPU load will be the maximum value recorded by Catalyst Control Center after five loops of 3DMark06’s Canyon Flight test. For the idle temperature readings, I allowed each setup to remain idle for one hour, and the minimum value achieved during this period will be recorded. Each case is tested as is from the factory, including the fan configuration. The fan configuration for this Corsair case is left in its default configuration of one front 200mm intake, one 200mm top exhaust, and one 120mm rear exhaust. I will be running the fans at full speed for these tests.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it looks like the Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T seemed to lean toward the upper end of the graphs. Not terribly disappointing, as the spread between the worst and best results are really quite slim. For the test, I used the plexiglass side panel. I am confident that if I had used the mesh insert with even just one or two 120mm fans, I would have seen some lower numbers on the GPU and chipset. Anyways, I've got plenty else to share, so check out the conclusion on the next page where I'll wrap up this review.

Conclusion:

Well, with the Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T, I liked what I see. The styling is...well, stylish, (duh) and offers a contrast from the sharp-edged (also good-looking) Obsidian series cases. Corsair did a good job on the coloring scheme and converting the existing model to a white edition. Thoughtful "upgrade" styling, to me, is where a manufacturer can offer something different than the original model, while still retaining the same elements. Overall, the features of the Corsair Graphite Series 600T work well, and the Special White Edition offers some extra benefits over the original version — for only a tiny bit of a price-hike.

Bringing all my thoughts together, I can think of a few things that I'd like to point out with this case. Aside from the middle of the line performance, there are a few other things that I would have liked to see differently with the Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T. The first thing that I came across was the creaky side panel. With the plexiglass inside of it, simply picking it up would cause creaking sounds from the plexiglass rubbing directly on the metal panel due to the way that it was fastened. Using a different type of window material here would have helped that, or adding some sort of rubber spacers could have alleviated this as well. The creakiness just makes the side panel seem cheap, and I've even heard of the panel creaking during heat-intensive activities from other users.

Sticking with the side panel, the mesh insert is a good idea. However, the way that it's fastened makes me believe that Corsair wasn't planning on having users go back and forth between the two options. Though this is probably true for the majority of folks, I don't think that it would last more than two to three applications before wearing out and breaking one or more of the tabs that hold it into place. I could already tell that from putting it on and taking it off once. Perhaps a similar solution would have worked, such as the plastic tabs on front bezels that "grab" an edge and is completely reusable. The last thing I noticed, but not until testing, was the integrated fan controller. It's got a huge knob on the front, with probably 270° of sweep, but only the last 20% of the full sweep of the knob actually adjusts the speed of the fans at all. The first 80% of the sweep doesn't really do anything. Properly chosen electronics would have solved this problem. I couldn't verify this with an optical tachometer, but I was able to do the next closest thing. I took a small piece of tape and attached it to one of the fans so that it would make a subtle tick, and recorded that through an entire sweep of the knob. I then looked very closely at the wave file, and was able to determine the RPM. The RPM stayed around 400 all the way until almost 3/4th of the way around of the knob, where it then ramped up to about 800RPM.

I know I might sound critical with what I've just said, but seeing simple problems that are obvious and quick to fix can be frustrating, especially on a case above $150. Even though I feel that Corsair took just a few shortcuts on this case, I still like it. It's got plenty of room, looks good (I especially like the white color), and does everything that I need it to. Fixing the few problems would have definitely earned this case an OCC Gold Award, and I can be stingy with those. In the end, the Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T is a good case, though its price point may be a little higher than I would want to pay for a case that's not 100% perfect.

 

Pros:

 

Cons