Corsair's Carbide Series 200R—the assembly
Installing a motherboard in the 200R is nice and straightforward. All of the standoffs are pre-mounted, and there's a nub at the center to help position the motherboard before you screw it in place. Corsair has left plenty of clearance around the motherboard tray, as well, so getting the screws in (and hooking up the various fans) doesn't involve unnecessary contortions. The process would likely be a little more awkward with fans occupying the two top emplacements, though.
Inserting the power supply is also quite easy. There's a small steel lip between the motherboard and the power supply mount, so the PSU is kept steady and secure while you tighten the screws at the back.
Incidentally, the case comes with a special USB 3.0 connector designed to mate with newfangled motherboard headers. That's great if you're using a newer mobo, as we were, but it's bad news if you've got something a little older that doesn't have the right pin-out on the circuit board. Since there's no adapter in the box, you'll be forced to leave the front-panel USB ports unplugged—frustrating, even if one can (kind of) forgive Corsair for not accommodating outdated hardware.
Things are reasonably tidy around the right side. Well, okay, maybe not so tidy—but this is where you're supposed to hide cables. Strapping everything down with cable ties might look nice, but it's often pointless, since it impedes future upgrades and doesn't really affect airflow. We would have used ties if cables had bulged out enough to prevent the side panel from closing easily, but the mess wasn't quite that bad.
Happily, snaking cables around the 200R is a very pleasant experience. The routing holes in the motherboard tray are nice and big, and mostly everything is in the right place. There were a couple of minor exceptions: the CPU power connector, which wouldn't squeeze through at the top unless we bent the motherboard tray back a bit, and the SSD bays, which don't face the same direction as the hard-drive bays. The difference in orientation means you may be forced to use separate power cables for solid-state and mechanical storage, since feeding both with one cable can be tricky.
At least installing the drives themselves is a piece of cake. SSDs slide in with a click, as do hard drives. The process with hard drives is slightly different: pull back the tab on the side, push in the drive in with the connectors facing away from you, and release the tab so that it bites into the drive's corresponding screw hole. You can fasten the drive more securely with screws if need be. Some might prefer to do that, since the lone tab doesn't feel completely secure. In fact, our drive slid loose while I was pushing in the power connector from the other side.
Optical drives are installed in essentially the same way as hard drives, only the tab mechanism feels a little sturdier. Here, too, Corsair offers the option of screwing the drive into place, if you don't fully trust the tool-less mechanism.
All in all, assembling a full, working system inside the Carbide Series 200R comes surprisingly close to a premium experience. I've spent plenty of time with both the Graphite Series 600T and the Obsidian Series 650D, and this case doesn't seem like a huge downgrade. Aside from the aforementioned kinks with the SSD bays and USB 3.0 connector, my only gripe is that the side panels aren't really easy to put back on. Laying the enclosure flat on its side is almost a requirement.
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