Corsair Carbide 500R: A Corsair in Every Homeby Dustin Sklavos on October 25, 2011 12:00 AM EST
Assembling the Corsair Carbide 500R
The night I started working on the Corsair Carbide 500R, I knew I wanted something simple. Some of the cases on my backlog are going to require more work than others, but seeing that Corsair logo on the box gave me a sense of comfort and ease. I've already built computers in the 600T, 650D, and 400R, and every assembly was an absolute joy. And just as I expected, putting the 500R together was just like taking a vacation while still on the job.
Ease of installation with the 500R starts from the very beginning. Once you remove the thumbscrewed side panels, the pre-installed motherboard standoffs make popping in the I/O shield and mounting the motherboard a very simple affair. Installing the drives was just as easy: pop out a bay shield for the optical drive, gingerly apply a bit of force, and the optical drive locks into Corsair's tool-less system; these tool-less mounts are, by the way, the firmest ones I've seen. When you get that drive locked into place in the 500R, it's not going anywhere. You can still screw it in on both sides if you want, but I honestly found that isn't necessary.
The drive sleds are business as usual for Corsair. While they seem flimsy, that also makes it easier to flex them and snap a hard drive into place, and from there they use the bulk of the drive to maintain their shape. 2.5" drives and SSDs require snapping out the pins from one side and then screwing them into the drive tray manually, which does affect the tray's rigidity. Still, it's a good enough system and overall storage installation is very easy.
Corsair once again employs thumbscrews for the expansion slot covers, and I'm always happy to see eight instead of seven. What I noticed was that while some of the other enclosures required me to stretch and bend our GeForce GTX 580 a little bit to mount it properly, the card was able to align and mount perfectly in the 500R.
Getting the power supply and cabling in was also fairly simple, although there are the usual hiccups. The accursed AUX 12V line rears its head again, as the space above the motherboard tray feels just a touch narrow. Corsair also opts to use a molex connector to power the fans and fan controller instead of a SATA power connector; honestly I almost never use/need molex connectors anymore and desperately wish the standard would just fall by the wayside already. Note that the two front fans are pre-connected to the fan controller while the side intake fan needs to have its line run into the case before you close up. The rear exhaust fan doesn't work with the fan controller at all, either; the fan controller is only good for three fans.
Ultimately I think the 500R's hiccup is really the fan controller, but I can also sort of understand why it's designed the way it is. In addition to offering three fan speeds, you can also toggle the LEDs in the fans on and off. I'm assuming Corsair took criticism of the 600T's white LED fans to heart, because the 400R offered the same toggle. I personally like how the fans look, but if you're trying to sleep in the same room while the tower is running, I can see wanting to turn them off.
Everything else is a breeze, though, and as I mentioned on my work Facebook, the only way Corsair could realistically make assembling systems in their cases any easier would be to actually ship a technician with them to just do it for you. If you're prone to tinkering with your system, you'll want to give Corsair enclosures serious consideration for this reason alone.