In and Around the Corsair Carbide 200R

The Carbide 200R takes Corsair's design cues and refines them down to their most basic degree. In this market, oftentimes the best you can hope for is a black box with clean lines and fairly smart aesthetics, and that's what we have. It's been tough for me to really figure out exactly what sells and what doesn't since I mostly only have your reactions to cases to go by, and AnandTech readers are by default going to be a bit more well-informed than the garden variety consumer. I can't say if the gloss that's common from other manufacturers in this bracket sells well or not, but I'm never happy to see it. The clean matte plastic that Corsair uses for the fascia is appreciated and matches the black SECC steel used for the remainder of the enclosure well.

You can see the front of the case is fairly spare, but the flat surface is appreciated and should be good for deflecting some noise. Air intake is handled through the sides of the fascia, while Corsair includes a fairly standard three 5.25" drive bays. Note also that they've included USB 3.0 instead of 2.0, which is welcome in a $49-$59 case. The I/O, power, and reset switches are at the top of the front of the case, positioned for whether you plan to use it on or under your desk.

The rest of the 200R's exterior is pretty bog standard, though. The top features dual 120mm/140mm fan mounts with rubber grommets, and the 120mm mounts are oriented more towards the left side of the case to provide additional clearance for a 240mm radiator. Meanwhile the left side panel includes two more 120mm/140mm mounts in case the end user wants to add directed cooling over the video cards. Finally, the back sports a 120mm exhaust fan.

Opening up the Carbide 200R involves removing four thumbscrews and sliding off the notched side panels, and the interior is familiar for Corsair fans. They include a version of the recessed motherboard tray with dedicated cable routing channels that we saw in the Vengeance C70, as well as a mounting post and pre-installed standoffs for the motherboard itself. There's also a clear and open channel for air to travel from the intake fan through the case, but beneath it is one of Corsair's new designs, presumably a compromise between price and usability.

Integrated is a hard plastic drive "cage" that supports four 2.5" drives and four 3.5" drives, all toollessly. At the risk of spoiling the review, if the 200R has an achilles heel, it's this cage, which mostly seems like a good idea in theory but is an exercise in absolute frustration in practice.

All told, though, the design of the Carbide 200R feels mostly par for the course for Corsair and I appreciate the continued extra mile of convenience that's been a hallmark of their cases. Other manufacturers would do well to follow their example. It's not the kind of attitude that sells cases on its own, but it's worth continuing to mention and it's not a bad thing to build a reputation on.

Introducing the Corsair Carbide 200R Assembling the Corsair Carbide 200R
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  • Grok42 - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I like to see good clean looking case designs like this at a low price point. Given the price I would expect some compromises and honestly it could have been a lot worse. I think the industry needs more experimentation with how internal drives are mounted so I applaud any effort even failures. Hopefully they will come back with something better next time around. Maybe next time they will save some money by killing the external bays and putting the resources into the internal bays.
  • versesuvius - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    The only time one needs a tool for a case is the hard drive and other storage parts. The problem is not that people do not know how to use a screw driver, but that it has screws on the two sides of the case. As it is right now, you have to go through more trouble with the toolless case than you have with traditional ones. The answer lies not with the case manufacturers, but with internal storage manufacturers. It is very ease to design a hard disk casing so that it needs screws only on one side, and not two. Yet after maybe 30 years of hard disks, the casing has not changed a bit. Even the SSD casing design has adopted the same philosophy. As far as backward compatibility goes, the casing can be designed to accommodate old cases as well. Anyway, I agree with the article about the drive cage. It is a stupid decision in all cases to begin with and it is stupid here too. After all, how many drives one changes during the lifetime of a PC? Two? As long as the case has to be opened that amounts to 10 during the lifetime of a case, while the extra accumulated heat is there all the time.
  • arthur449 - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    "How many drives one changes during the lifetime of a PC?"

    I have a Coolermaster ATCS-200 case I bought in 2000 still kicking around the house. While it only has 80mm fans, it remains a very attractive and functional case for 'that random frankenputer' one generally has after a few years of building their own PCs.

    How many times have I changed the drives in that case? More times than I can remember. Some of them due to drive failures, some due to SSD / SAS experimentation, and many times for just cramming old drives in there and doing some bare metal testing of the latest silly OS that trickles down the MS TechNet vine.

    A good case will survive multiple generations of hardware, and (since its target audience is already building their own computers) will more than likely put up with many drive swaps as it's handed down to friends, relatives, or simply demoted to closet server duty.
  • Lonyo - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I still have my ACTS 200 or 201, and the next gen replacement case for it, but neither are in proper use.
    The motherboard tray from one is in use for a makeshift computer elsewhere where I can't use the full case.

    The drive cages in both are hideous though, compared to modern cases. We have come a long way from the old days.
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I won't buy a case with an open top.
    Too much chance something will spill in it, or dust will settle on my gear.
    Copy Lian-Li and Fractal Design - give us a simple option to use the holes or not.
  • Blibbax - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    That'd add cost. It could sold as an accessory though - I too avoid open top or even open side cases.
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Toss some sound dampening material over the fan mounts you don't intend to use; it works like a charm. The only problem, in my experience, is that the adhesive on sound dampening material is so strong that your decision is basically permanent.

    It's funny, I bought a box of sound dampening material, just for kicks, like seven years ago and I never used it as it was (presumably) intended to be used -- but I've used bits and pieces to great effect. And I still have some left.

    Cut out four tiny little strips of the stuff and place it on the borders of your fan mounts, and vibration basically disappears. That silly-sounding trick single-handedly resurrected two positively ancient (circa 2002) jet-engine-sounding cases (6+ 80mm fan mounts each) that were sitting in my basement, collecting dust.
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    That said, I agree that the proliferation of computer cases featuring fan mounts in every available space is somewhat annoying -- especially given that those cases typically only come with 2 fans out of the box.

    Likewise, I'd love to see more cases with the old fashioned top-mounted PSU design. I understand the benefits of the alternative, but even with a filter, a bottom-mounted PSU is less than ideal on my carpeted floor.
  • Blibbax - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Agreed on all accounts.
  • TekDemon - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I think it's actually great since it's the cheapest case that appears to support the H100 cooler, which was the main reason I bought my Carbide 400R (which I love-it's an awesome case). I wouldn't have been able to use this case though since I have a super long pci-e card.

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