So despite initially having a little apprehension about the aesthetics of the Carbide 400C, do Corsair have another hit on their hands to follow what has been a fine tradition of cases?
Straight off the bat, I can say yes, the Carbide 400C is certainly a damn fine case. It offers a sleek unassuming aesthetic that works very well, with a fantastic satin finish that seems to absorb light. Of course the real stars of the show are not its fairly simplistic styling or obsidian like paintwork, but the two-piece PSU and 3.5″ storage bay cover and the colossal swinging window that is the side panel. Sure perhaps the panel latch could be slightly smaller or more solid of build, but the overall panel itself is of great quality and looks fantastic (even more so with a full installation!). Perhaps the only real complaint is not about the look of the case or the quality materials used in its build, but just the acrylic panels ability to become a dust magnet (something that Corsair cannot be held accountable for).
Once inside the 400C we find enough working space for hardware installation that easily matches even the majority of full tower cases. Something which is no easy task given the 425mm(L) x 215mm(W) x 464mm(H) measurements of the case, which make it slightly smaller than your average mid-tower. The lack of 2.25″ bay and traditional drive rack give you so much space in fact that not only does the 400C allow enough room for an EATX motherboard and multiple Graphics Cards, but also a 360mm radiator up front, 280mm in the roof and/or a 120mm in the rear. You could actually say the Carbide 400C has the potential for being a water coolers wet dream, but it also draws you to the fact that whilst the case offers huge custom cooling potential, it doesn’t feature a dedicated pump mount or bracket of any kind and seems to be drawn towards the ever popular and expanding range AIO coolers available. We also found that after full installation, that although the PSU covers allow you to hide a lot of excess cables, the 20mm of space behind the motherboard tray isn’t quite enough to easily manage a thick 24pin motherboard power cable (like the one on the Corsair test PSU). Perhaps my favourite feature the 400C has to offer is in fact the 2.5″ storage drive rack. Not only does it take up just a little unused space on the reverse of the motherboard, but it is entirely tool-free and the sprung loaded mechanism is great (hours of fun for simpletons like me).
So is the Carbide 400C the case that offers you everything? In terms of thermal performance it may not be the coolest cat on the block when it comes to CPU or GPU cooling, but with a maximum Delta of 59C produced from the i5 4690K with its 4.5GHz overclock you’ve certainly no cause to worry or complain. In fact, the performance is pretty good when you factor in the use of a 92mm CPU cooler, which given the amount of mounting space free for radiators and your favourite AIO cooler, you’re unlikely to use. Cooling the R9 NANO is certainly apt with the GPU at its stock speeds, but with a little overclock its temperature rises to 82C (57C Delta), just 3C away from its throttle limit. While this won’t cause any problems I would’ve expected slightly lower temperatures here. It is worth remembering however, that the 400C sample we received was left in its stock configuration with the solo AF140 intake fan set in the top-most fan mount and directed more to CPU cooling. If moved to one of the lower mounts I’d expect the GPU to certainly benefit from it.
The Corsair Carbide 400C really is a good case that very nearly ticks all the right boxes and at just under £90/$100 it won’t break the bank, but what of the competition? Well, the most comparative case currently available is the NZXT S340 which is currently cheaper at approximately £60 and its slightly newer version the NZXT S340 Razer Special Edition which can be found for around £80. The NZXT offering is of a very similar compact size, has similar specs, it is also both a very good case and cheaper too, but I personally feel the Carbide 400C trumps it in all aspects and definitely worth the extra cost.
This sample was provided for review by Corsair, to which we’d like to extend our thanks.
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