In and Around the Corsair Carbide 500R

If Corsair's white special edition Graphite 600T and the Carbide 400R got a little too drunk one night in the factory and engaged in some improprieties, their offspring might look an awful lot like the 500R. The trends of companies a bit newer to the enclosure market like BitFenix, Fractal Design, and Corsair towards producing reasonably understated, stylish designs can't be appreciated enough. However you may feel about how the Carbide 500R looks, you're probably at least a little thankful it's an aesthetic that doesn't scream "GAMERZ!!!one!"

Corsair opts for black plastic accents in the form of a "stripe" that runs along the front and top to the back of the enclosure while using white-painted steel for the side panels and some of the internal framework (specifically the top fan mounts). The grilles on the front and the mesh bay shields allow for plenty of air to come in through the front, and Corsair wisely places the reasonably modern I/O and controls near the top. This is a trend I'm happy to see continuing and spreading. Finally, the top of the case has a removable mesh that reveals two 120mm fan mounts that can be used for a 240mm watercooling radiator. I took NZXT to task for this in their Phantom and I'm going to do it again here: having these mounts openly cut out like this is bad for noise if you're not using watercooling. No amount of fan control can make up for a case with poor sound dampening qualities.

Chances are, if you're looking at the side panels, though, you weren't expecting the quietest case anyhow. The Carbide 500R sports a large mesh on the left side capable of supporting either the included 200mm intake fan or a pair of 120mm/140mm fans. I'm personally a big fan of these side intakes in cases, although more exotic designs like SilverStone's much more expensive FT02 can usually happily eschew them while providing stellar cooling and acoustic performance. I'm not sure how I feel about the flexibility of the fan mounts here, though; the included 200mm leaves a lot of open, "dead" ventilation. This is probably one area where your mileage may vary.

Of course, once you unscrew the side panels (with handy thumbscrews that are affixed to the panel itself so you never lose them) you'll find yourself firmly entrenched in the one place where Corsair's engineers are the absolute masters of their domain: the internal design. The guts of the 500R are, just like its siblings, a masterpiece of convenience. Motherboard standoffs are already mounted in the tray, the grommets that line the cutouts around the tray are firmly affixed, and Corsair's tool-less mounts for optical drives remain among the best in the business.

If there's one place where Corsair dropped the ball a bit, it's the drive cages and drive sleds. The sleds are the same ones from the Carbide 400R and they're a bit of an improvement on the old ones, but still feel a bit flimsy. For most use they'll probably be alright, but I do long for the metal sleds Fractal Design opts to employ in their enclosures. As for the cages, while it's awesome that you can actually remove both of them, they both require at least four thumbscrews to be removed, with the second's thumbscrews mounted under the bottom of the case. This is a far cry from the 600T, whose drive cages required half as many. It's a minor complaint, but still at least a little irritating.

Finally, while space behind the motherboard tray seems narrow, looks can be deceiving. However you feel about the bowed side panels, the rear one does provide a substantial amount of space to stash cabling. It's not the most elegant solution in the world and I still found Fractal Design's Arc Midi to have a healthier amount of overall room to hide cables, but it's a great start.

Introducing the Corsair Carbide 500R Assembling the Corsair Carbide 500R
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  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I third it. I spent way too much on a Kandalf case from Thermaltake back in the day and to be honest, I prefer my smaller Ultra case I got free with a purchase from TigerDirect. The big case is fancy, but I don't do water cooling, and it ends up just taking up more room and being harder to work on due to having to move it with limited space. What we need to see more of is a focus on useability when it comes to putting parts in and taking them out.

    No more craning to get your fingers around a jumper, or working to get cables out of the way, or to get one plugged in, etc. Building a PC needs to become a bit easier.

    I think that it starts with chip makers (CPU sockets and cooler designs), moves to motherboard makers (who have always had to consider the case and access in design), and ends with case makers.

    Seems to me we could use some sort of new design, perhaps a new style of motherboard. I like the idea of one that has PCB in the shape of a blanket draped over a wire to form a lean/to or tent. I haven't had geometry in awhile and its a pretty useless subject in most career fields.

    Like this, /\ A fan at the bottom could draw in cool air along the bottom edge of a case and push it upwards over several components. The heat would rise some off each component and since they are on a slope, the heat would not all blow onto the next component. Just imagine a slew of newly designed cases that would come along with it. Conical ones could be quite interesting.

    I would love it if a motherboard manufacturer branched off and decided to try perfecting some arching/joining PCB. I wonder if anything like that has been done? What about two-sided PCB with the cooler running parts on the bottom and reinforced mounting brackets?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    $139 for a case, on the other hand, is totally worth it. ;)
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    A good case does not mean that it must have more holes. Fracle design labeled 139$ has much better quality, which provides you sound sponge isolation and dust filters on all holes as well as 3 pieces of silent cute fans.
  • jamyryals - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    If they are going to do a white case, I would prefer the grills to be white as well.
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    and right now there's a $15 rebate on the Corsair Carbide 500R if you're a gambler

    FWIW, I personally haven't had any problems with Corsair rebates...but they do take their sweet time sending out the rebate card.
  • ckryan - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Your detailed description of hot case-on-case action was appreciated. Have you considered trying your hand at bodice-ripping romance novels?
  • justaviking - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    The sun glistened on his 6-core abs. As he approached, the motherboard could feel the heat radiating from him as his fan breathed warmly on her neck. Her heart began to overclock...

    No, I don't think so.
  • SquattingDog - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Damn we need a like button here - this is awesome @ justaviking - made my morning :)
  • Jeffk464 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    It would take a lot of convincing for someone to prove to me that its 2.5 times better than my antec 300. Oh, and its white.
  • compudaze - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I went from an antec 300 to a corsair 600t. I loved my 300. It was the best case I ever owned until I got the 600t. But honestly, u don't know what u r missing until you build a pc in a corsair case.

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