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Corsair's Carbide Series Air 740 case reviewed


Bigger can still be better
— 6:27 PM on December 5, 2016

If Corsair didn't invent the dual-chamber case design, it's certainly done a lot of the work behind making it popular. The Carbide Series Air 240 earned a TR Recommended award from me two years ago for its solid cooling performance and generous stock fan complement. Corsair expanded that same basic design into an ATX-friendly case with its Air 540, although we never got to test that case's performance in the TR labs. We're making up for that oversight today with Corsair's next evolution of its dual-chamber tech: the beastly Carbide Series Air 740

To bring the Air 740's style in line with its modern case lineup, Corsair traded the chunky longitudinal grating and hard corners of the Air 540 for a slightly curvier design that's at once softer and more aggressive. The 740's skin of gently-sloping plastic cladding is broken up by hard, chamfered horizontal bars and tightly-radiused curves at its edges, all set off by two broad curves running down the front of the case. That arresting design reminds me of Ford's Raptor pickup, and it doesn't need dozens of RGB LEDs or wild colors to stand out in today's crowded case market—a real achievement.

The Air 740 also makes a statement by bucking the downsizing trend that some case manufacturers are going for right now in favor of an unapologetically outsized footprint. Compared to the already-ginormous Carbide Series 600C we reviewed earlier this year, the Air 740 is a whole three inches wider. In fact, its 13.4" girth would let it swallow most high-end graphics cards across its width, never mind its length.

When we first received this case, the 740's full-length side panel window and huge size made me wonder where I could start stowing the six-packs inside. As with the Carbide 600C's expansive window, the Air 740's side panel rests on two sturdy metal pins at the rear of the case, and it can be lifted off for full access to the case's main chamber.

Since the Air 740's design moves a system's storage devices and power supply into their own separate area, the main chamber of the case can hold most any high-end component one might want to install these days. The 740 boasts 6.7" (170 mm) of space for tower-style heatsinks, 240-mm or 280-mm radiator mounts on its top and bottom panels, and a 280-mm or 360-mm radiator mount on its front panel. Graphics cards up to 13" (330 mm) long will find a cozy home inside the Air 740, as well. Corsair blesses the Air 740 with a pair of its AF140L fans, the same spinners we saw in the 600C.

Clean freaks might be troubled by the Air 740's unfiltered top and bottom fan mounts. Though those mounts are covered by a coarse metal grating, they aren't backed with filters that would stop dust from making its way into the case. The Air 740's front fans are protected by such a filter, at least, but that panel is surprisingly difficult to remove. That might be because of its unusual metal expanding pins, which felt stiffer than the average plastic pin and proved rather stubborn in the face of some help from squeezing fingers.

A healthy tug on the front panel did break it free of the case, but we'd be wary of breaking the panel itself during removal because of the comparatively fragile plastic that surrounds the screwed-in metal retainers. It's easiest to get a handle on the front panel by removing the thumbscrew-secured top panel and pulling from the top of the case, but be careful when yanking on this cover and don't hesitate to help the process along by squeezing the retainers from inside the case.

One victim of the Air 740's refit is the Air 540's optical-drive bays. Corsair ditched those 5.25" mounts entirely, so builders who still rely on spinning discs will need to plug an external drive into the case—perhaps into one of its twin USB 3.0 front-panel ports. The Air 740's front panel also offers hookups for headphones and microphones. A power button, reset button, and an on-off switch for the company's upcoming LED fan controllers dot the front panel, and a punch-out plug beneath the USB 3.0 ports will eventually make room for a front-panel VR port block.

The Air 740's Kardashian-esque back panel holds its 140-mm rear fan, eight expansion slots, and a vertical power supply mount. From this angle, we can also see the filtered intake for the PSU fan.

Four rather dainty rubber feet support the Air 740's heft on desks or other surfaces. From this view, we can also get a glimpse of the case's bottom 240-mm or 280-mm radiator mount.

Here are the Air 740's most important specs in convenient tabular form:

  Corsair Carbide Series Air 740
Type Dual-chamber ATX mid-tower
Dimensions (W x H x D) 13.4" x 20" x 16.8"  (340 x 510 x 426 mm)
Supported motherboards Mini-ITX, microATX, ATX
3.5" drive mounts 3
2.5" drive mounts 4
5.25" drive bays None
Fan mounts 3 120-mm or 2 140-mm front fans
2 120-mm or 140-mm top fans
1 140-mm rear fan
2 120-mm or 140-mm bottom fans
Radiator mounts Front radiators up to 280 mm or 360 mm long
Top radiators up to 240 mm or 280 mm long
140-mm rear radiator
240-mm or 280-mm bottom radiator
Included fans 2x Corsair AF140L 140-mm front fans
1x Corsair AF140L 140-mm rear fan
Front panel I/O 2x USB 3.0
Headphone
Microphone
Max. graphics card length 13" (330 mm)
Max. CPU cooler height 6.7" (170 mm)

The Air 740 goes for $149.99 on Newegg right now, placing it in the upper echelon of ATX cases available today. That's $10 more than the already-high-end Carbide Series 600C and about $20 less than Cooler Master's MasterCase Maker 5. We'll be expecting a smooth build and great performance for that kind of money. Let's get inside the Air 740 and get to building.