One of the first parties we got to go to during the week of CES was with Corsair. At that party slash meeting before the libations started flowing, we all had an introduction from Robert and he handed over things to the new chassis Corsair has in the works for this year. There were a couple of chassis concepts that were almost ready for market, but still had a few minor things to work out with them before they went retail with the designs. That was until just recently when there was a pair of cases that arrived at my door. It seems Corsair is ready to deliver the chassis and I am more than willing to bring you yet another product from Corsair.
On one side of the coin for the designs of that pair was something I didn't think Corsair was going to do when the rush of cases came out in the Obsidian, Graphite and Carbide series of chassis designs. That was to strip it down of all the things that get in the way or caused headaches and deliver a Carbide series case that is very affordable for all of those who liked their designs, but weren't willing to fork over what a chassis like the 800D demands. At this point you are probably thinking what about the 400R and to that I will say this. The new design isn't as aggressive, doesn't have the bulge at the top and while being thought of a chassis that has only what you need to get the components into the chassis and deliver a clean looking build, this new submission has a style all its own and it's really not bad to look at.
The newest chassis in the Carbide series is the 300R mid-tower chassis. This chassis takes out the top hard drive rack to allow for longer cards, since most of us remove that section anyways. It also removed the rubber grommets and there are things around the chassis that makes it easy to see there are things from other cases that these parts come from that just aren't included with this model. That isn't to say that this is a plain black box with nothing to offer, as I say, it is more about two things in this design.
Taking all the things that you really don't need in the chassis out and in doing so, Corsair can deliver a chassis that is more affordable. It looks like Corsair is now playing to the crowd a bit, offering the Carbide 300R with just enough to get you by without stripping your wallet of every last image of a president.
Stick around - I think what Corsair is doing here is great and I commend them on finally bringing a simpler solution to market that everyone could use. I hope you feel the same by the time I finish writing this.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Aesthetically, the 300R is quite the looker. The front of the chassis has an industrial look with the sides of the front bezel protruding from the rest of the front panel and on the four corners and in a couple places across the front of the chassis there are what appear to be Allen screw heads. They are just there for show, but with the incorporated mesh panel taking up two thirds of this area, there needed to be something to attract your eyes away from that. The top of the chassis is recessed and again offers a very large mesh insert to allow for passive convection or you can add some fans there.
On the sides, the right is plain as can be, but the left panel offers yet another mesh area for a pair of fans to be optionally installed. To support things, Corsair chose longer chunky feet that are incorporated into the design as they blend into the shaping of the chassis.
Functionally the 300R will hold an ATX or micro-ATX motherboard, up to three ODDs, four storage drives and an ATX PSU that mounts in the bottom. This doesn't mean that you don't get any wire management options, nor does it mean the motherboard tray is pressed back against the rear door. What the chassis does lack in this regard are the grommets and there are fewer tie points. There are seven expansion slots to allow for dual, even triple video card solutions and the option to install up to six 120mm or 140mm fans around the chassis will help to keep any monster build cool inside this chassis. Even though things are simplified, standards must be met. Corsair, even with trimming some of the fat, still offers a chassis that is easy to work with and still offers tool-free options so that only the motherboard, PSU and video cards up to 450mm long to need the use of a screwdriver during a basic installation while still offering native USB 3.0 connectivity as well.
Corsair will sell you the 300R from the Carbide series directly from their site at the price of $89.99 plus shipping. While that isn't a bad price at all for what Corsair delivers in this product, I am always on the hunt for the best deal possible at the time I deliver this information. Newegg is sticking to the same price as Corsair, but out of the 100 or so listings I am looking at, the chassis can be had for much less. If you are feeling frisky, you can try out an unknown e-tailer to me personally, but the listing price may be worth the attempt. A shop called BuyAAE.com has a $76.06 listing of the 300R and that is the delivered pricing from California to Ohio. So the advice here is to shop around, there was quite a few places to find this chassis currently, so shop around for the best deal with a company you feel your payment is safe and you know there won't be any issues.
Either way, whether paying near $80 or near $90 I think the chassis offers enough style and functionality that the weight reduction it had to make it go faster won't make an affect your decision.
As I would expect with a Carbide chassis, the brown box with black printing is something which we have seen before. Corsair gives you a drawing of the chassis inside with a description of what the Carbide series is on the right.
Spinning the box around to the left, the right side panel offers multiple specifications charts and a rendering of the front and inside of the 300R.
On the back panel Corsair gives you a drawing of the 300R in and exploded view. This shows off all of the interior and exterior components that can be removed with letters in the image to go along with the multi-lingual descriptions at the bottom.
The left side of the box offers exactly what the right side showed us. The big difference between the sides is the languages the specifications charts cover. Both sides offer a total of six languages, as does the back panel.
Inside of the cardboard box you will find the 300R surrounded in a thin plastic liner with thick Styrofoam caps to center and secure the chassis in delivery. I have to say that FedEx did a real bang up job on this packaging. When I got the case the box was torn open at the top. Immediately opening it there was a sigh of relief to see that the inner packaging had done its job and even though FedEx tried, they couldn't damage my Carbide 300R.
Corsair Carbide Series 300R Mid-Tower Case
As I said earlier, the Carbide 300R has an industrial looking front bezel. The sides stick out past the three optical bay covers and large indented mesh panel. In the center of the mesh is the only naming on the chassis and there are eight faux screws to look at as well.
The front I/O panel offers the power button which is backlit, the HDD activity light and the reset button on the left. On the right there is the microphone and headphone 3.5mm jacks and a pair of USB 3.0 connections which are not reverse compatible as the 300R ships, but you can buy an adapter.
The bulk of the top of the chassis has even been removed to insert the large mesh panel that takes up most of the roof of the 300R. Here you have the option to leave it as-is, add some 120mm fans or add some 140mm fans. It is also designed to allow the H100 to go here.
The left panel of the 300R offers two mesh areas so that you can add some fans to cool the video card(s) inside. Even though there is less to offer than other Carbide solutions, Corsair didn't see a need to make things bake inside of this chassis. You have choice here of 120mm or 140mm fans as well.
On the back you can see the top of the chassis is lifted up from the rear I/O giving you more room for fans above the motherboard inside the chassis. There is even a wire pass-through to go along with the seven expansion slots and three water cooling punch-outs.
Under the 300R, Corsair made feet the straddle the bottom of the chassis. This makes the footing more solid and actually helps to strengthen the case. To keep the surface it is on free from marks and damage there are large rubber pads on all four corners.
Inside the Corsair Carbide White 300R Mid-Tower Case
The first look inside the 300R shows what I mean about the diet plan this chassis went on before its debut. Without getting into too much detail at this point, I will address the hardware and accessories box that is tucked away in the hard drive bays. As for the paperwork, it is shipped between the bottom foam and the chassis.
The three 5.25" bays have tool-less latches on this side to hold in any ODD. All you do is slide in the drive until you hear a satisfying click as the tab that says "push" will pop up to lock into place. Pressing that tab will remove the latches grip from the drive and allow it to slide out.
There is a full hard drive rack in the front of the chassis, but that is to support the installed 120mm fan and still offer room for one below next to the hard drive cage that can house four 3.5" and 2.5" drives with use of slide-out plastic trays.
The motherboard tray will accommodate both m-ATX and ATX motherboard using the "bump" style risers. There is one riser pre-installed with a pin on the top that will help hold the board in place while adding the rest of the screws. A large CPU access hole, four wire management holes and four wire tie points also accompany this design.
There is a 120mm fan installed in the rear of the chassis above the three water cooling holes. The seven expansion card slots use replaceable covers and use thumbscrews to securely mount even the weightiest of video cards.
This is just to give you some idea of the room allowed for fans to be installed in the roof of the 300R. There is plenty of room to house the H100, but for thicker radiators room will become an issue.
For shipping the wiring is tied behind the motherboard tray in a large bundle displaying the prowess of this designs ability to hide mass amounts of wires in the 30mm of room.
Even though things were removed and the case seemed sparse, things like the black wiring I like so much were not removed. The power LED, power, reset and HDD activity wires along with the HD Audio cable and native USB 3.0 connection are all long enough to get where they need to be.
To remove the front bezel, give it a tug at the bottom and the six metal clips release and you now have access to remove the bay covers and add another fan to the front if you want. The front I/O is attached to the chassis, so removing the bezel doesn't require the wires to come with it.
Accessories and Documentation
In a bag that rides out the trip under the chassis inside the plastic liner that surrounds the case is the folded in half Quick Start guide and the "STOP" paper explaining the process if you have an issue with the 300R.
On the inside of the guide it has the same thing we saw on the back of the chassis packaging. The image is a little bit easier to see and it is easier to keep around than the box for reference.
On the back page there is a parts list of the goods that you will find inside of the box that was shipped in the hard drive tray.
Here are the parts that the guide showed should have come in the box. I got the bag of normal fan screws to mount optional fans in the chassis, the motherboard screws that also work for the PSU, long fan screws for the front of the 300R and screws to mount 2.5" drives to the bottom of the plastic trays. You do also get four zip ties to help keep the wires behind the motherboard tray under control.
To install a 3.5" hard drive all you need to do is flex the tray and force it around the drive and align the pins with the holes in the drive. Just make sure that the connections for the device are facing away from the handles.
For 2.5" drive installation one of the pins and the rubber grommet need to be removed. All you have to do is remove the pin from the inside of the tray and then squeeze out the grommet. This allows the 2.5" drive to align with the holes in the bottom of the tray.
The Build and Finished Product
With all the usual suspects now lined up inside of the 300R you can see not only does it take on a full ATX build with multiple video cards, there is still plenty of room for a much longer card to go in the top slot. Lower cards will end up having issues with the drive rack though so keep that in mind if trying to assemble a monster build in this chassis.
In the back there weren't any issues. The rear I/O plate slips right in and the installation of the video cards is simple with the thumbscrews and access to them with the cut-away in the side frame near them.
As I normally try to do, I stacked all the wiring I could from this build in the same area to see how it affects the rear door going back onto the chassis. I was able to arrange it like this and had no issues putting the cover over it.
Just as proof of the point I was making, with the right panel back on the chassis, you can see for yourself there is no deformation of the panel as it effortlessly slid right over them.
The Corsair 300R doesn't look much different from the time we first saw the chassis. If you aren't installing optional fans the only change that is easily visible is the addition of the ODD which the clips alone hold it very securely into place.
With power added there is no sound to be heard at the distance from which I took this image. The only way you are going to know, from a distance, if the 300R is running is with the backlit power button that glows white when the PC is running. I tried to get the white flash of the HDD activity light, but with an SSD booting, it is near impossible to catch flickering.
Corsair delivered the Carbide 300R to me and at first I was thinking this is just another budget friendly case that has something missing that was the easy way for a manufacturer to save a few dollars. In reality the 300R offers everything you need, it just removed some of the things that typically sit in the box until you get a new case, or worse yet, you have to find somewhere to store them and then remember where you put them later.
Corsair did away with all of that mess and offers up a case with plenty of room to still have RAID and an extra pair of storage drives, offering room for up to three 5.25" devices and the top has been "lifted" to accept Corsair's own Hydro series coolers in the roof. To top it off, the Carbide 300R is stylish, yet not over the top where they would close off some of their market.
As the chassis ships from Corsair, it is dead silent. There are only two 120mm fan supplied, but they do offer sufficient air flow to keep my temperature in the average range for a mid-tower chassis. That isn't to say that it couldn't be improved, but here again Corsair has you covered. You can add a total of five optional fans. In the left side panel and in the top you have options to buy either 120mm or 140mm fans to fill these spaces, while the front offers room for only an additional 120mm fan. So if the temperatures out of the box are a bit too high for your comfort zone, there is always room for improvement, if while updating things in this chassis require the need for additional air flow. Even sitting her trying to pick on the chassis for even the smallest of details, there just isn't anything I can come up with to knock the 300R down a peg.
So now it comes down to why I think you should buy the Carbide Series 300R over anything else in the under $100 pricing of mid-tower cases. It looks good from the outside, offers some options to allow you to customize the air flow and delivers everything you essentially need for a rig built today without all of the fluff that other cases use to draw a bit more money. As I see it, there isn't a need for water cooling or wire management grommets in this case. If you do water cool you aren't staring at the back of the chassis and with no window in the left side of the chassis, does it really matter if you have mud flaps for the wiring?
These are the things that make me think that the round about $80 to $90 asking price, depending on where you buy it from, the Corsair Carbide Series 300R offers everything you need and nothing you don't at a really good price point.