I’ve had the same chassis for over two years now. Back in 2010 after my birthday I bought my first computer, assembled it and have been running it mostly the same ever since. I originally had my eyes set on some nice gaming cases, but eventually had to settle for the Cooler Master Elite 310. It had a nice orange highlight, had space for three 120mm fans and could fit anything up to a Radeon HD6870 inside with ease.
But I’ve always wanted to upgrade to something more visual, something that’s better to look at and easier on the eye at the same time. My front USB ports are dead, the front audio jacks shorted out occasionally before I disconnected them and overall I’m not too enthusiastic about rust. So I’m saving up for another treat for my birthday next year, and one thing I’m definitely eyeing is the Corsair Carbide 500R. Now I get it – we all want the Cooler Master Cosmos, or something by Lian Li or something black out of Antec’s Dark Fleet range. but the Carbide does things differently by incorporating a lot of high-end features and design that’s seen in chassis that are far more expensive. And its cheap. Well, relatively so, but lets not dwell on the fact that to get a really quality chassis you need to spend at least R1200. But consider it an investment, really, as a decent case outlasts many, many component upgrades over the years.
The Carbide is Corsair’s budget enthusiast chassis, for those who want better looks and features, but don’t necessarily want to spend Cosmos-ish money. The Carbide 500R is made out of steel coated in Matte paint, and comes in your choice of white or black. The front of the chassis is mesh ventilated and has space for four 5.25″ drives.
At the top is the front I/O panel with power button, USB3.0 inputs, Firewire 500, Headphone and mike jacks and two switches for controlling the large side panel fan. One turns off the LED lights, while the second switches between the two speeds offered: high or low. Looking lower, there are two pre-fitted 120mm LED fans that draw air in through the front of the chassis.
Moving left, we see the mesh side panel and the 200mm side panel fan. the side panels are slightly different to the Carbide 400R, and can’t be interchanged. The back of the chassis is clean and not too exciting, desked in black matte paint. Looking closer, we see four rubber inlet holes for water-cooling setups to reach external radiators with ease.
The PCI slots are well ventilated and the rear exhaust fan mounting can take a 140mm unit. The PSU is mounted at the bottom, as it common with gaming chassis today. A quick look at the top reveals a nice little tray for small things that can get easily lost and a removable dust filter for the top compartment where two 120mm fans can be installed. A large radiator can be installed here as well, with a gap left at the end of the hole for your tubing to go down easily.
Inside the chassis, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the different between this and a more expensive unit. There’s ample space for hiding cables and more rubber inlet holes to tidy up the whole appearance. There are six HDD 3.5″ bays, and each tray slot is a complete unit that slides out. The drives are mounted directly on the trays and then put back into the chassis. There are mounting holes for both desktop and SSD drives.
The rest of the chassis is mostly tool-less, employing thumbscrews for the PCI slots. Black motherboard stand-offs are thankfully standard here and there are plenty extras inside the bag you get with the case. Looking at the bottom, we see another fan grille for a bottom-mounted fan up to 140mm in size. This is a very flexible chassis from the looks of things, and most enthusiasts shouldn’t find anything to complain about. You can even remove the top hard drive bay for extra airflow – how cool is that?!
Finally, looking at the case full with stuff, it still impresses with its size, and even the longest graphics cards should fit. The cable management helps to minimise and feeling of mess inside, and there’s easily room enough for triple SLI or Crossfire. Looking at the examples below, just about any configuration will fit cleanly inside, up to triple HD7970 cards and a Corsair Hydro water cooling loop for the CPU.
This will definitely be my next chassis, and is today’s Fantasy Friday product.