The fasteners for the Carbide series products are shipped in a small cardboard box fastened in one of the disk bays.
The interior is painted black, just like the exterior. You don't often see that in a system case priced below $100.
The disk rack is not very tall and ends far below the 5.25-inch bays. It can accommodate four hard disks but the gaps between the bays are small, which may have a negative effect on ventilation.
The top part of the disk rack lacks a side panel to give more room for long expansion cards. There is a generous 41 centimeters of space for cards installed into the top slots. Corsair’s specs even mention 450 millimeters but this would require chopping the top of the disk rack off altogether and removing the front fan. Anyway, the available space allows installing a pair of any graphics cards in a SLI or CrossFireX tandem.
There’s quite a lot of space for expansion cards in the mainboard’s bottom two slots, too. It's about 29 centimeters, so you can install as many as three graphics cards of modest length (although we doubt that anyone would build an expensive triple-GPU graphics subsystem in such a cheap and small system case).
The expansion-slot brackets are fastened with thumbscrews. Well, you still cannot do without a screwdriver because the screws are very tight. The threading breaks in after a while, though.
The protrusions in the bottom panel for a PSU to be installed on lack any protection against vibration. The mainboard is installed on similar protrusions, too.
The cable compartment is rather deep but it’s anyway difficult to close the side panel.
The disk guides have a familiar design. We’ve seen them in the Graphite 600T. They feature vibration-absorbing spacers for 3.5-inch devices and are compatible with 2.5-inch ones (using the disk's bottom mounting holes).
The Carbide 300R is quite easy to assemble a computer in except for some minor inconveniences. The difficulty of installing the side panel over the cables hidden behind the mainboard’s mounting plate was the biggest problem we encountered.
Another problem is the HDD LED connector lacking polarity markings. The wires lack color coding and are all black. Thus, you only have a 50% chance of plugging the disk access indicator correctly at first attempt.
Besides the quick fastening mechanism (which is the same as in the Graphite 600T and the rest of the Carbide series), 5.25-inch devices can be additionally fixed with two screws on the quick fastener side and with one more screw on the opposite side of the bay.
The CPU cooler cutout is large, so you can easily install and uninstall your CPU cooler without taking the mainboard out of the system case.
As for ventilation, the 300R comes with two fans by default: a 140mm intake fan on the front panel and a 120mm exhaust fan on the back panel. Both have 3-pin connectors. In the mainboard’s Silent mode, the front fan had a speed of 755 RPM and the back fan, 860 RPM.
We have to note the improper position of the front fan. It is installed above rather than opposite the disk rack. This default position leads to problems with cooling: the HDDs in the middle bays were as hot as 65°C under load during our tests! But when the same fan is moved to the place of the optional front fan, the temperature improves dramatically. So, we strongly recommend you to change the position of that fan if you buy this system case.
The 300R has five seats for additional 120/140mm fans: two at the top, two on the side panel and one at the front.
We wouldn’t say that the Carbide 300R can impress anyone with its design when assembled. It’s just an ordinary enclosure for PC components and nothing more than that.
- Supports USB 3.0
- Good opportunities for improving the default ventilation
- Quiet fans
- Compatible with longest expansion cards
- Improper position of the preinstalled front fan
- Unhandy side panels
- No rubber rims on the openings for the pipes of a liquid cooling system and on the holes of the cable compartment
- No adapter for a mainboard’s USB 2.0 header in the box
- No adapter for installing a 3.5-inch device in an open 5.25-inch bay
- No protection against dust from above and untidy screw holes for fans on the top panel