Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Corsair has delivered another of the Carbide series. Have a look at the more compact, but still feature-rich 200R case.
| Dec 14, 2012 at 2:00 am CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction

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Just when you thought the Corsair line of case numbers couldn't go much lower, they drop the latest addition to the Carbide series of cases. Ever since I saw the 800D and pretty much every case since in the Obsidian, Graphite, Vengeance, or the Carbide series of cases, I have really liked what Corsair delivers in the chassis market. From what I have seen develop in this time, is that you don't have to buy the super high-end cases to get things you can really use, or even things you just demand of a chassis - Corsair covers the feature set well with all of its cases. That being said, I am sure I won't be disappointed with its latest either.

The concept behind this latest chassis had two major things that Corsair wanted to incorporate. First off was a size limitation. While this chassis is a mid-tower by size specifications, it is very stout and compact. This does remove a bit of the free space in some mid-tower offerings, but the chassis has plenty of room for all the mandatory components. The second thing Corsair wanted to offer in this chassis was the simplest user experience as possible during the build. To accomplish this, there are built in clips, a new 2.5" drive rack, and thumbscrews for the expansion slots. The only thing you need a screwdriver for is to mount the motherboard and the PSU.

Along with the two things I just covered, there is one other thing that really makes the Carbide Series 200R stand out, and that is the sub-$50 pricing I am seeing currently. So as we take a closer look at what the 200R from Corsair has to offer, keep in mind just what is offered in this feature set, how cool the chassis looks, and just how gentle it is to your wallet as we get in-depth with this chassis today.

There is a nice mix of a few of their other designs combined with a few new things in the 200R. If you were or currently still are a fan of Corsair cases, we both know what to expect, and know that the build quality is top notch. All that is left is to touch on are the fine points and to see if you will be advising your friends to buy one of these by the end of the review.

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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On the technical side of things this is by all standards a mid-tower chassis. The steel enclosure and plastic front bezel combined measure in at 16.9" from bottom to top and 19.6" from front to back. Something else to consider if you use a taller CPU cooler is that there is only 8.3" of space in the chassis width wise and almost an inch of that is taken up in the back behind the motherboard tray. Around the outside the entire chassis is painted black, but very flat black with a grainy texture to it. The lines on the chassis are pretty square with splashed of hexagonal shaped mesh on the sides of the bezel, in the left panel, and in the top of the chassis.

Internally there is room for an ATX or a Micro-ATX motherboard on the motherboard tray, and there are four holes around it to run the various wires. Up in front, at the top there are three 5.25" bays with strong metal tabs on the side to lock devices into place. Then after a bit of a gap for the 120mm fan to blow directly into the chassis, you run into a clip in style 2.5" drive rack made of plastic. This allows for four drives in a two wide two high setup. At the bottom you then have four 3.5" drives with built in clips on the sides of the rack. No need for trays or screws here, just slide the drives in until you hear the click, and you are ready to go. At the back there is another 120mm fan installed as the chassis exhaust, and there are seven expansion slots above the power supply.

I already mentioned that this chassis can be had for less than fifty bucks, but there are many places showing stock, and some of the deals aren't that great, and others at the moment are spectacular. On the higher end of the scale, you can buy direct from Corsair and spend $62.99. Being that I don't play favorites, I buy where it is cheapest, I seen both Amazon and Newegg have this chassis at $49.99, but Newegg is taking it one step further. As I write this up, Newegg is offering an additional $20 Mail In Rebate making the 200R an amazingly low $29.99 - and with free shipping!

At $50 I think it is well worth the money, but if you act fast, at $30 to your door, the chassis is an absolute no brainer for any build.

Packaging

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What little money you do put out for the 200R is kept in the chassis as Corsair delivers it in a plain brown box. On the front you see the 200R along with a list of what makes this chassis easy to build in to the right of it. Then at the bottom in the thick black band is the Carbide Series and 200R naming.

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Even though the transportation team decided to block off the English and another language completely, I do believe this to be a list of contents. It covers the 200R, the pair of fans, something I can't translate offhand, and the accessory kit. At the bottom are dimensional renderings of the chassis.

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On the back there is an exploded view of the 200R as it shows off the fans, removable dust filter and bay covers, and the side panels away from the main body of the chassis. At the bottom I do believe they are describing the easy build features.

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The last panel offers a chart describing all of the possible fan locations and sizes for each spot. At the bottom Corsair again shows off dimensional drawings so that you are fully aware of its compact nature.

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To protect the chassis inside of the cardboard, Corsair first tapes the bay covers in place, then wraps the entire thing in a plastic bag. Once that is done they use Styrofoam caps for the top and bottom. Not only does it center the chassis in the box, it did a great job of protecting the chassis even with the box being pretty roughed up in transit by the couriers.

Corsair Carbide Series 200R Mid-Tower Chassis

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The front of the case is a bit thinner than the body, and is very flat down the front with a pattern much like brushed aluminium down it. At the top is the I/O panel above the three removable covers and at the bottom is the Corsair name and logo on an aluminium sticker.

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The front I/O panel offers a pair of USB 3.0 ports that are not reverse compatible out of the box, the 3.5mm audio jacks, and a power and reset buttons with the activity LEDs incorporated into it.

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The top of the 200R offers plenty of room for additional fans, or passive ventilation as it is shipped. There are grommets in place for a dual 120mm fan installation, but those can be changed out to the other holes to allow 140mm fans to fit.

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The left side of the chassis is basically an expanse of textured black paint with some ventilation in the side of the front bezel to allow the intake fan a way to breathe, and the mesh on this panel is much like that on the top. It is set up for the 120mm fans, but can be swapped for 140mm fans if that is what you want to buy.

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The back of the chassis has a fan installed next to the rear I/O opening. There is plenty of ventilation in the area next to the seven expansion slots with the PSU following right under it. This is where you get a good idea of the height of the chassis since everything is stacked so close.

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The right side of the chassis is just a large panel of texture painted steel, but at the front there is also ventilation to allow the fan to draw intake from both sides of the front of the chassis. This will help to redirect noise as well, keeping fan noise out of users ears.

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Under the chassis you get four large square feet to keep the 200R from moving around or damaging any surfaces. There is also a removable dust filter under the power supply, but nothing under the optional fan mounting position in the floor of the chassis.

Inside the 200R

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Taking the panels off the 200R, you will see that there is a brown cardboard box in the hard drive bay, and that the wiring has been run into the main compartment and tied up securely as not to damage anything including the connectors on the ends of each wire.

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The 5.25" bays do have the option to use screws at the front, but with this steel tab system, there is good pressure on the devices, and all you have to do is remove the cover and slide the drive in until you hear the tab click into its locked position.

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After a gap to allow the fan in the front to blow right into the chassis, there is a plastic compartment that will lock four 2.5" drives into it. Below, and the reason I left the box in, was so you could see the clip in the middle that has a pin on it to lock drives in with just sliding the drive into the slot and waiting for the click.

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As I looked into the top of the chassis, I realized that you are going to only be able to fit fans above the motherboard. Unless you get really lucky with motherboard clearance, I don't think you are going to have any luck fitting the H100 unless the fans are external.

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All of the risers are in place on the tray, including the two offset ones for Micro-ATX. There is also a large access hole and four holes around it to pass and maintain the wiring through.

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On the floor of the chassis to support the PSU, there are raised sections of steel, but no rubber padding there or a gasket at the back, but for this price, I'm not complaining, just pointing it out.

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The 120mm fans included in the chassis use a 3-pin power connection to spin the all black, seven blade fans. As for the ventilated slot covers, you have thumbscrews to use to remove the covers and secure your cards.

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Behind the motherboard tray you can see there is a good offset for the wiring to easily run back here. The larger part to the right is set in a half inch from the door panel, while the indented area at the bottom and left sides are much closer to three quarters of an inch - plenty of room.

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Getting the wiring organized for routing I snapped this image. All of the wiring is black to hide away in the chassis, and you get a Native USB 3.0 Connection, the HD Audio plug, and the wiring for the LEDs and switches on the front. If your board does not have native USB 3.0, you are going to need to grab an adapter.

Accessories and Documentation

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At the top of the chassis, as you remove the foam top, you will find the bag with the paperwork. As for the hardware box, just pull on the clip a bit and it will slide right out of the hard drive bays so you can get inside.

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In the box there are six tie straps to tend the case wiring. There are also four bags containing the motherboard and PSU screws, ODD screws, long fan screws for the front, and fan screws and extra grommets for the top and side of the 200R.

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Keeping things simple carries over to the installation guide for the 200R as well with the rendering and text being laid in black on the plain white paper.

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Even though the manual is in grey scale that doesn't mean that the information is bad. There you can find really good images on the pages with multi-lingual explanations covering what is being described on each page. This is after a component check list and some basics first.

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You also get the usual Corsair STOP card telling you to deal with Corsair and not the retailer. You also get the warranty information sheet telling you what not to do to keep the two year warranty intact.

The Build and Finished Product

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To remove the front bezel to gain access to removing the bay covers or adding a second intake fan, there are a few clips on the inside that you lift to allow the panel to come off leaving the wiring intact. The bezel does need to be on before you slide in an optical drive though; the panel is cut that tight.

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Clipping the bezel back on was easy enough, and sliding the DVD drive in until I hear the click of the locking tab, I knew we were ready to go and finish up the wiring.

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Inside there is plenty of room for the ATX motherboard and video card. I tested both the 3.5" and 2.5" drive bays and used the clips on them a couple of times. While devices are ever so slightly loose, these clips all work well enough not to need screws to back them up, but you do have that option as well on all the bays.

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Out back, the dust shield, video card, and the PSU all went into place easily with no issues to bring up on any of them.

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With seven tie points, three of which are on the right side, there is only one trail to tend the wires into. This is the deepest channel behind the motherboard tray and even with most of the wiring in one spot there is still plenty of room to get the panel back on easily.

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When it is all back together, since I didn't add any extra fans to this build, the 200R looks much the same as it did out of the box. If you don't use fans in the side, since the top allows a lot of light into the chassis, you can easily see them through the side mesh.

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When I powered the 200R for the testing phase, since you can't hear the whir of the fans running in an image, I will cover the backlit power button showing that the PC is on, and I was able to catch the white LED to the left as the SSD was loading up Windows.

Final Thoughts

While not being aesthetically aggressive in any way, the 200R is a case for the "every man". First of all anyone can easily afford this solution, its black on black, and it is simple enough your better half of the relationship won't deny its use even in the living room. If you are looking out for a case for your friends that aren't so mechanically inclined, the tool-less features leave them only needing to actually screw in just the motherboard and PSU, everything else just clicks together like the connections of a modular PSU. It really can't get any easier that this until they re-engineer the way motherboards and power supplies get mounted. In the end, even with the barebones looks of the exterior, once again Corsair is delivering a chassis that has real thought in the design and layout, not just the same old layout everyone else is using.

The fans are average in both their cooling capabilities as well as the noise levels. With the idea here allowing users to customize the airflow, the pair of factory fans can easily be removed allowing you to enjoy silence, or filter the room with something that sounds like a jet taking off. That is the beauty of this design. With six options outside of the pair of included fans, you can make this compact mid-tower chassis really force the air through the components and be quite happy with the temperatures of your components. As it was shipped, the CPU seemed to stay in the average range, but the video card could have benefitted from a fan on the side or at the bottom to give it its own source of cooler outside air. As the box and the Corsair site display, this is really a simple case to build in, and I cannot think of any reason not to buy one.

Now we are back to the point that will just make your jaw drop as you think back to the pricing, and me saying that while most retailers are offering a really good price of $49.99, acting fast and getting on Newegg makes this deal almost insane. At $29.99 after the MIR, there is no way I can say not to buy the 200R. Even if you miss out on the deal, and you are forced to pay full price, the near $50 pricing is so worth the investment. Heck, just go pick up a couple now to have as spares.

You may have thought this was a "budget" solution due to size and pricing, but Corsair proves with the Carbide Series 200R that you never want to judge a book by its cover. The truly interesting bits about the 200R are all contained in the middle, and the cover just doesn't do the story any justice.

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Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:31 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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