Introducing the Corsair Carbide 400R

Corsair started their enclosure business from the top of the market and worked their way down. Their first case was an expensive black monolith, the Obsidian 800D, popular for watercooling setups but less so for air. They fired a shrink ray at it and came up with the Obsidian 700D, roughly $50 less. It wasn't until the Graphite 600T that they produced a case with an enthusiast pricetag but also a design that deviated from the Obsidian standard; we were very happy with the 600T in our review back in December. That case proved to be a real success for Corsair; so many of its design cues were married to the design of the Obsidian series, and the net result was the even less expensive Obsidian 650D. Yet Corsair still hasn't tackled the sub-$100 market...until now.

What makes the Carbide 400R particularly interesting is that it's Corsair's first positive pressure case design. Not just that, but in many ways it's simultaneously their most advanced design despite being their least expensive. Take a look at these specifications:

Corsair Carbide 400R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro-ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25"
Internal 6x 3.5"/2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan (supports 140mm fan)
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount (supports 15mm spaced 240mm radiator)
Side 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
Front I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, mic and headphone jacks, 6-pin FireWire, fan LED toggle
Top I/O Port -
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearance 12.5" (Expansion Cards), 175mm (CPU HSF), 280mm (PSU)
Weight 20.5 lbs.
Dimensions 20.5" x 8.1" x 19.8"
Price MSRP $99

The more I examined the Carbide 400R, the more I felt like Corsair was "advancing in reverse." Each new release of theirs is just a little more innovative than its predecessor, and with the 400R we see a lot of features that frankly we'd like to see scale up the chain. Mercifully, though, the extremely flexible system for fans coupled with the increased real estate behind the motherboard tray, LED toggle, and USB 3.0 motherboard header cable are launching at the low $99 price point. That's a straight up win for the consumer: Corsair's first $99 enclosure is also one of its most advanced.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 400R
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  • Death666Angel - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    I don't understand that passage. I haven't used USB 3.0, yet. Is there some problem with booting from USB3.0 ports? Shouldn't they be backward compatible? :-)
    Thanks for the review! Could you add metric measurements? :-)
  • livingplasma - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    I've had much better luck with side fans being used as exhaust rather than intake. This was true when I tested with my an Antec Three Hundred with a 4890 non reference that exhausts from the back and front, there was a slight advantage with the side fans as exhaust under load. With aftermarket cpu coolers like the Scythe Setsugen 2, the cooling advantage was even greater. CPU and board temps were also lower than with the side fans as intake. Only during idle or cpu only loads did side fans as intake performed a little bit better. Same results even with a pair of 6870's in the Cooler Master 690 II. Another interesting thing I've noticed is that all the fans I've tried are less noisey when pushing through a grill vent rather than trying to suck air through them.
  • ckryan - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    I guess you have to admire what corsair is doing, even If I don't find the exterior to be particularly sexified. For an attractive, unusual, and generally backassward affair, see the Lian Li PC A05NB. I've been a hopeless shill for it for some time now, but a little Corsair magic on the inside wouldn't hurt (much).

    Hey, another case review so soon? Awesome.
  • B3an - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    Can you start reviewing cases like this that actually look nice and not like cheap tacky crap like they were designed by a 12 year old? I know they're very rare but these mythical beasts do exist!
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, September 5, 2011 - link

    Well shoot, I was just going to try and review as many bug ugly cases as I possibly could, but since you made the request I'll get right on it!
  • TrackSmart - Monday, September 5, 2011 - link

    I checked out the Lian Li PC A05NB (mentioned by ckryan above). For $90 on Newegg, I'm pretty curious to see how it would compare. The Corsair is not awful, but I still wouldn't put it in my living room. The Lian Li case, however, is undersstated enough to go anywhere.

    Maybe Dustin can request one of the Lian Li's for a showdown - if he isn't already buried in cases to review.
  • softdrinkviking - Monday, September 5, 2011 - link

    i just put together one of these for my dad, and it was great to work with. I didn't cut my hand even once!

    also, the usb 3.0 on the front is a huge plus if your popping external drives on/off all the time.

    one thing I did differently was I mounted the PSU upside-down becasue the holes on my seasonic didn't line-up properly otherwise.
  • AssBall - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    If your PSU fan is on the bottom, like many, you'd want to mount it upside down anyway.
  • wyhtmgm - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    I have a 650TXV2. The holes on the PS aren't symmetrical, but the holes on the case are symmetrical so it lines up the same way whether it's rightside up or upside down, i.e. I didn't encounter softdrinkviking's problem. I'm not that happy about how it lines up, since the head of one of the screws is sort of holding against the edge of sheet metal instead of going through a hole, but I haven't installed a power supply in years so maybe that's normal.

    Is the power supply in the review picture rightside up or upside down? In the picture I don't see the fan, which suggests rightside up, but the picture may just be too dark. There are other clues that it could be upside down; the position of the cables, and there's no visible label on top.

    The PS would probably run cooler rightside up, but my floor tends to be dusty and I don't like the idea of blowing dust into the PS.
  • Valitri - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    I currently use a CM 690 with 4 Yate Loon 120mm fans (1 front intake, 1 rear exhaust, 2 on Hyper 212+ push/pull out the back), and 3 Cheap NZXT White 140mm fans (1 bottom intake, 2 top exhaust, NZXT cheap white ones). The case has been banged up during moves and 3 different builds in it. I also redrywalled a room it was in so it's not clean either. I just ordered this 400R and will be ordering a few new fans for it as well. I curently load 54C on my 2500k at 4.5ghz after about an hour of Prime, so I'll test that against the 400R. I am also curious if my 6970 will run cooler if I install side fans on the 400R. The way my side panels work on my 690, I don't have room for side fans. The most important thing to me will probably be noise, I wish I had a way to accurately measure it. My case is very loud, and my fans seem to rattle sometimes.

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