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Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Join us for a look at the small, but impressive Corsair Carbide Air 240 Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX chassis. Read on as Chad gives us his full thoughts.

@chad_sebring
Chad Sebring
Published Fri, Sep 5 2014 12:12 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 34 IMAGES

Thinking back to when we first laid our eyes on the Carbide Series Air 540, we knew Corsair was onto something good. There was just so much to like in that chassis. The main feature of Air 540 design was the dual chambered layout. This layout allowed the motherboard, GPUs, and some of the cooling options to be visible through the large side window, while the PSU, wiring, storage, and even more cooling options were to be found in the second compartment. This shrunk the height of the chassis considerably, and caused the chassis design to lean toward a cube since it is much wider than a typical chassis. Along with the attractive interior, the exterior of this chassis was simplistic, with venting done in a way that really made these cases stand out in the crowd.

As soon as that design was released, we had a strong feeling that Corsair would be back with yet another chassis design for the Carbide Air Series; and we were correct. This time around, Corsair is giving their Small Form Factor clients something to seriously consider when looking for a chassis. Of course, we have seen many SFF chassis designs, including everything from the Lian-Li Suitcase that is still one of the tiniest SFF designs we have ever seen, on through the more popular Prodigy and Prodigy M designs. However, with what Corsair brought forth with this SSF design, the typical boundaries associated with the Small Form Factor naming have been stretched.

The chassis we have today is indeed the little brother to the very successful Air 540, even despite its long winded name. Today we will be looking over the Carbide Series Air 240 Arctic White High Airflow Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX PC Case. In this design, we find almost everything that made the original such a hit with builders, gamers, and modders. Of course, with a slight size reduction to this new release, certain things had to be omitted, but that does not in any way mean that you should count out the Air 240 prematurely, as this chassis is still very impressive in its smaller form.

The Air 240 comes in two color choices, there is black, and then there is the arctic white version we received. Both versions weigh in at 5.6 kilograms, are 397mm in length, 260mm in width, and stand 320mm tall. We also see that Corsair lists the form factor as a Micro-ATX chassis, but it will house the smaller Mini-ITX motherboards as well.

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The main frame of the chassis and most of the components inside are made of steel, but there are also rubber grommets, plastic trays for storage drives, and of course, the top, front, and bottom are all skinned with ABS plastic panels. One other thing to note about this design that does not show up on the list is that this chassis omits any kind of optical bay drive slot.

On the inside, the left half, or the main compartment of the chassis, is where the motherboard is held. This side also offers four expansion slots with a swing-plate locking system toward the rear of the chassis, and above that there is room for an optional pair of 80mm fans. The top of the chassis on this side offers room for a pair of 120mm fans, with one supplied in this location.

The front of the chassis also offers room for a pair of 120mm fans, and both locations are supplied with fans here. The floor of the chassis will also house a pair of 120mm fans, and both the front location and the floor will allow for radiator and AIO support. As far as roominess is concerned, there is 290mm of length for video cards, and only 120mm of room for anyone planning to air cool their CPU in this chassis.

The right side of the chassis offers a three bay rack in the front, right at the top, and this is removable. There is another location to mount this rack in the floor, and that is where three 2.5" drive bays are. To the back of the chassis, again at the top, there is another three bay rack; this rack houses 3.5" drives, but the trays are also drilled for more 2.5" storage as well.

The lower half of the right side is completely open, but the rear of the chassis features the PSU location. The PSU will be installed on its side here, with a maximum length set at 225mm. The side panel that covers this area is ventilated to allow the PSU fan some fresh intake. Toward the front of the chassis there is also a location for a 120mm fan to add a bit of airflow for the storage drives.

On top of all this chassis can do, how well it does it, and just how slick a finished build looks inside of it, we also really dig the pricing. For less than $100, you are going to get either a black or white chassis that is only similar to one other chassis on the planet as far as aesthetics and layout are concerned. The only other similar chassis to come to mind is the Node, and its aesthetics and layout are not quite the same; it doesn't have the flair that the Carbide Air Series cases offer. In every venue we considered that had stock of this chassis, we found they are sticking to the MSRP listed on the Corsair site, which is $89.99. That is only $10 more than the Prodigy released at. If you like small, but aren't in the market for the tiniest case available, then Corsair has just the case you have been hunting for, and at a really great price point.

PRICING: You can find the Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 (Arctic White) retails for $83.60 at Amazon, and the Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 (Black) retails for $89.99 at Amazon.

Packaging

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Keeping things simple with the packaging helps keep the cost invested in the actual chassis, which is why Corsair went with plain brown cardboard with black printing. Here we see a rendering of the chassis to the left of the naming, with a list of reasons why this needs to be yours translated in six languages

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The shipping label is blocking the naming at the top, but to the right we can see a sticker denoting this is the Arctic White version with a window. Below we find three translations of the specifications lists, and three renderings of the chassis without the panels on the sides, as well as a front view.

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Along with the Corsair and Carbide Series Air 240 naming in both corners at the top, we also see a large exploded view of the chassis between them. Across the bottom, Corsair covers the outstanding cooling, quieter operation, air cooling and water cooling potential, a short mention that the chassis is built for builders, and the chassis' clever space saving design.

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The last of the panels offers three more specifications charts under the chassis naming, and we also see those three renderings of the chassis again.

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Inside of the box we find the Air 240 with some of its bits taped up with green tape to be sure parts don't come lose or fall off. The side window has a plastic film applied to the outside, and the entire chassis is placed inside a plastic bag. Corsair also uses thick, solid Styrofoam end caps to protect the chassis. This combination of packaging allowed our Air 240 to arrive in an unharmed and unmolested state.

Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 Micro-ATX Chassis

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In our instance, the front of the Air 240 consists of a bold arctic white used to make the angles, large flat surfaces, and even the bars that section off the six bands of black mesh off to the left. There is a logo and name plate in the middle of the mesh, and in the middle of the flatter right side, the front I/O panel is in easy reach.

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From left to right, the front I/O panel consists of the reset button, the HDD activity LED, backlit power button, 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks, and it ends with a pair of USB 3.0 ports. As for the LEDs, both the power button's backlight and the HDD activity LED are bright white to match.

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The same design we saw gracing the front of the Air 240 is also found at the top of the chassis, only without the logo and I/O panel.

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The left side of the chassis has very little steel left in its panel due to the enormous size of the window offered here. The window is tinted, so you may want to ponder lighting to take advantage of what will be a great view of some hardware.

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The back has a lot going on. At the top there is an access cover to the left that allows access to the 3.5" HDD trays. To its right is the rear I/O opening, which is flanked to its right with room for a pair of 80mm fans. At the bottom we find the PSU location to the left, and on the right there are four expansion slots to fill.

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Rather than leaving the right side of the chassis with a plain side panel, Corsair opted to offer a wide expanse of mesh here. This mesh allows the PSU to breathe at the back, has a 120mm fan location near the front, which is also covered with a magnetic plastic dust filter.

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As we look at what we refer to as the bottom, we see the same six stripes we saw on the front and top. Without feet at this point, we could consider this a side, and put the feet on the right side we just saw, giving more of a test bench look to this chassis.

Inside the Carbide Series Air 240

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All of the panels (what we call the top, bottom, and the sides) are all held in with thumbscrews, so removing them is simple. With the plastic cover gone, we can see the left side offers adjustable fan locations to fit each build, while on the right is it mostly solid except at the front where there is access to the trio of 2.5" drives.

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The front bezel is held on with four clips -one at each corner. Behind the cover we see that the logo plate can be turned, and that the I/O panel is not connected to it. The front of the chassis offers a view of the pair of 120mm fans that come equipped in this chassis.

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As we get our first look inside, we see that the cabling has all been bound with foam wrapped around the ends, and then the ends are taped securely onto the wiring. This eliminates the possibility of damage to the inside of the window. We will address the remainder of what we see here shortly.

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As we look toward the front of the chassis, we once again see the pair of fans. Off to the left we find six large holes that have had grommets placed in them to allow a very cleanly wired look to this side of the chassis; this will make the view through the window as nice as possible.

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The left side of the motherboard tray will house either a Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX motherboard, and has a very large CPU backplate access hole; although, currently the 3.5" drive rack is blocking it a fair bit. You can also see at the top edge there is not a lot of offset for fan and radiator, but it is doable.

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The floor of the chassis looks much like the top does. Since there isn't a PSU located here, the entire panel can be opened up for optional cooling. Due to the thickness of fans in the front, while it looks like three 120mm fans would fit, they are not specified to fit.

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Also, since the bottom panel could also be the side of the chassis, the panel is easily removable. This allows easy access to mount any fans you may want to put here.

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Inside of the back of the chassis, we find no screws in the external expansion cards mounting bracket. Instead, we get this steel plate that swings open to allow the covers to come out, and then swings back as you see it now to hold cards, without any option to secure with screws.

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The right side section of the Air 240 houses the 2.5" bay rack at the top front, and at the back is the rack for 3.5" drives. The bottom left is used for wiring or water cooling gear, while most of the right will be taken up once a PSU is installed.

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Near the front we have all black wires to connect to the motherboard. We get a long HD audio cable, a much longer USB 3.0 cable than we found in the Air 540, and a ribbon of connections for the buttons and LEDs.

Accessories and Documentation

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The hardware box we found in the 3.5" drive rack holds all of the hardware we need to get our build underway. We find PSU screws, motherboard and HDD screws, fan screws, a set of long fan screws, a single standoff, and a bag of screws for SSD mounting in both the 2.5" drive trays (optional) as well as for the bottom of the 3.5" ones.

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Also, in the box we found a set of four rubber feet that can go on what we have been addressing as the bottom of the chassis, or if you would like the chassis to have the window on the right, you may put the feet on the top. Another option is to put the feet on the right side panel, and have the window facing upward. There are also six tie straps to help with wire management.

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The guide shows all of the parts we should have, offers an exploded view of the chassis, and that is really about it. Corsair sort of assumes that if you are buying this chassis, you have a pretty good handle on what it takes to get your build finished. However, the detail of the exploded diagram does pretty much explain how it all works.

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We removed both of the drive bay racks. Both are ventilated rather well, and with the addition of that optional 120mm fan in the side panel, drive temperatures should be very good. Of course, the more SSDs you use, the less that ventilation is needed.

Case Build and Finished Product

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We were quite pleased with our final results, as we were able to pack in quite a bit of gear. Even with a Micro-ATX system and a radiator with push/pull fans on it, we still had no issues fitting in a normal length GPU. The best thing is, with all of this gear in the chassis, there is still ample room to work in the Air 240.

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The back of the chassis fills out well with the PSU off to the left, the dust shield in the rear I/O opening, and our cards in the slots. We would like to stop here a moment to discuss the failure of this swing cover they used. The holes are not threaded for screws, and even if they were, they are too close to the chassis wall to use anyways. The swing plate barely holds anything, and we ended up using a zip tie to try to secure the GPU.

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From this angle we can see the cabling we used all bundled in the bottom left corner. There is still room for the 2.5" drive cage we kept, and there is plenty of room to get the 3.5" rack back in, but we chose not to. There are some wire management tabs available to help here, but we didn't end up needing them with the amount of wiring we had to deal with.

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As we were getting everything back together, we stopped to look into the side window. It is pretty easy to see the majority of the gear inside, but this chassis just screams for interior lighting so it really showcases the hardware inside.

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Whether you decide to use it as we showed it, invert it for a right hand side window, or opt to have the window face up, is all up to you. We do like what we have here, and we think Corsair will have no issues selling the Carbide Series Air 240.

While this image is typically followed by a powered up image, the only changes that occur when the chassis is powered is that the power button will glow white, and the HDD led will flicker white too. As for noise level, the fans supplied are low speed, low noise variants, and are only audible when very close to the chassis.

Final Thoughts

About ninety-five percent of our experience with the Air 240 was smooth sailing, all the way from getting into the chassis and installing most of the hardware, on through the wire management, and into a really nice looking finished build. That isn't to say Corsair had it all figured out though. With the panels off, this chassis is a tad bit flexible, and while we are on about the side panels, they don't seem to fit very flush. Both of our side panels, near one corner or another, the panel would flex away from the frame and leave a noticeable gap that can even be seen in some of our images.

What really sort of broke our spirits with this chassis was the lame expansion card holder - if you can even call it that. It's almost like they built the chassis expecting to use screws, found out the holes were too close to the back wall of the chassis to use screws, and decided at the last minute to fashion something else up. There is too much room in the gap when it's closed to even attempt to fully support even our lowly 660 in our build; just imagine the trouble with heavier cards, or those with water blocks. We were able to alleviate some of that issue with a zip tie run through the holes, but with everything else about the design being so good, it is just so strange to have such an important oversight in a design.

Outside of that, the chassis was still solid and attractive enough to be filled with one of my personal rigs from the office, and will spend a year or two in good service for us. Considering the main rig in the office has used the same chassis for almost four years now, you can tell swapping out cases is not something we do on a whim. It takes a nice feature rich layout to catch our attention. Of course, when I bring people into the office, the "wow that looks awesome" never hurts to hear either.

Outside of looks, we are always thinking that it is really nice to have a smaller form factor chassis that is super easy to work inside of and doesn't have to come apart completely to get certain parts installed. Also, it is nice that even with the regular suspects when components are required, you can simply move the radiator from the front, and there is plenty of GPU length supported. Just keep in mind: if you do not plan to water cool the CPU in this chassis, you need to find a very stout CPU cooler, as there is only 120mm of room allowed for it.

The price of the Air 240 is definitely right at $89.99. The layout is a great compromise from the much larger Air 540 that this design comes from, and it still offers everything most up-to-date users will need. Allowing racks to come out offers a lot of room to use for pumps, reservoirs, and tubing to set up a multiple radiator system and cool everything enclosed. This chassis really does offer that sort of room.

Considering we are only asked for $10 more to move from something like the much more restrictive top selling cases already out there, we feel that even with our pickiness about a couple of things, Corsair really did bring forth a chassis we can see many gravitating to for their next build. Also, with multiple orientations accounted for in the design, no matter how you want to use the Carbide Series Air 240 Micro-ATX case in your home, we are sure it will look stunning, be cooled internally really well, and be a case you will keep over multiple systems.

PRICING: You can find the Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 (Arctic White) retails for $83.60 at Amazon, and the Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 (Black) retails for $89.99 at Amazon.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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