Introducing the Corsair Carbide 200R

Corsair entered the enclosure business from the top with a measure of care to establish a solid brand identity. The Obsidian 800D was released as a flagship product and signalled that Corsair was serious about case design and not just looking for another revenue stream, and for the most part it was well received. Since then they've gradually trickled their designs down, with the Carbide series aimed at more frugal users. Yet the least expensive Carbide, the 300R, still runs $79 when most people would peg the price of a "budget" case as closer to $50 or $60. Enter the 200R.

The Carbide 200R is the ultimate trickling down of Corsair's case line. Coming in with an MSRP of $59 and available for just $49 as of this writing, the 200R is Corsair's shot at the extreme value consumer, but this is a very tricky market to address. The balancing act of features, performance, and price becomes substantially more difficult to manage, and Corsair has a reputation to maintain. Were they able to get the price down while keeping up with their standards for ease of use and solid performance, or did they have to sacrifice too much?

Corsair has historically been approaching their case (and to an extent, power supply and cooling) lines with a pretty clear philosophy of quality first, price second, which makes the 200R a very intriguing proposition. That low price point can become very restrictive in short order, and while companies like BitFenix have been able to strike an excellent balance by producing custom designs for each market, Corsair has been operating on a kind of trickle-down evolution that may not have been able to extend this far down. The result is a case that has a lot of familiar Corsair technology, but some newer innovations too that come with having to adapt to the low price tag.

Corsair Carbide 200R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 4x 2.5", 4x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan, 1x 120mm fan mount
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Side 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 165mm
PSU 180mm
GPU 14" / 360mm
Dimensions 16.9" x 8.3" x 19.6"
430mm x 210mm x 497mm
Weight 15.8 lbs. / 7.17 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Toolless installation for all drives
Price $49

As you can see, Corsair's design isn't necessarily barebones as far as features go, but it's definitely stretched. Corsair has done with they can to allow for any type of expansion the end user may want to enjoy, including higher end closed-loop liquid cooling systems. The toolless installation for 5.25", 3.5", and particularly 2.5" drives is also welcome, but you'll see later on it doesn't work quite as well as we'd like.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 200R
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  • Torrijos - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I'm left wondering what is the useful effect of each fan in cooling the machine.

    It might be interesting to have a guide analysing the effect of some fans combinations on the cooling performances.

    As an example of the question that need answering:
    - As it been determined which is preferable, positive or negative pressure?
    - Should a top radiator be use as an intake port (thus improving the CPU cooling by using fresh air, and with a fan pushing air does it improve the fan efficiency since its pushing colder/denser air trough?), or as an exhaust (avoiding hot air build up in the case)?
    - Should fans be use to push or pull air through a radiator?
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    i think your looking for this. they are interesting articles.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflo...
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pr...
    Reply
  • billcat1447 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I played with different fans acting on the internal pressure and found you def. want more air coming in than going out which I guess would be pos. pressure.
    The case didn't have the vent holes that most modern cases have so when I had more pressure pumping air out than in it caused the fans to work very hard to remove the air from inside the case and worst case it also overheated the power supply because it could not move air though it and pump it outside the case. I almost destroyed the power supply, the air was super hot. With air holes in modern cases and if it was all run through filters it might case the same condition but not as bad. You want dust to be removed before it can enter inside components so I would guess if filtered the less air being added would be the way to go. Most cases don't filter all the holes and I would want more air removed from the case than fans pulling air into the case but I would really only care about which fans can remove dust and mount then that way and which ones will cool the best while not adding dust and bringing air into the case. If there is a lot of holes pos or neg doesn't matter but the way the fans are mounted to get the best out of them is the most important part. I'd have air removed from the top fans, air removed from the power supply. Air entered for the front hard drive cooling fans and air entered from the side fan cooling the motherboard and memory (only if it's filtered).
    Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    There are endless debates about positive versus negative pressure. Different manufacturers even seem to have different opinions on the subject. (Antec, for example, seems to endorse negative pressure by default, whereas Silverstone is a vocal advocate of positive pressure.) Purely as a matter of cooling efficiency, I don't think there's a right answer: the ideal solution depends as much on the fans' placement in relation to your hardware as it depends on the direction of their airflow.

    That said, and all else being equal, I will always favor (filtered) positive air pressure, just because it reduces (or practically eliminates, in some cases) dust build up, and thus it saves the user from having to clean out the inside of his case regularly.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Imagine an Obsidian 150D for premium ITX. Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    i like the look. im not into the alien abducted my computer look. im convinced i could design a better budget case then most of these companies. if im going to buy a case that costs under $50 all im expecting is good cable management and air flow. i wonder what this case costs corsair air to make. Reply
  • Donniesito - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Give me clean lines, and I'm happy. I'm of the opinion that since my computer sits next to my desk on the floor, it doesn't matter what it looks like. It needs to be unobtrusive, and doesn't need to look like an alien ate my computer, nor does it need to light up like a runway. It just needs to sit there and work.. My display on the other hand needs to be all sorts of awesome ;-) Reply
  • johan851 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I felt like that little dig at the end of the article was neither relevant or correct. Thinkpads are still great, and what's that got to do with cases? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    One Thing I would have liked to see:

    Completed cable management. Show me a finished computer with the cables all ziplocked down and looking clean. I just bought a Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 and did this and it's the best build I've done over the years. It really makes the PC look nice. Sufficient space behind the motherboard makes a huge difference, as do the pass through holes for the cables.
    Reply
  • Donniesito - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I agree with this also. However, I don't use zip-ties for cable management. Years ago I learned the awesomeness that are velcro zip-ties and I've never looked back ;-) Reply

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