Corsair unveils double-wide, ultra-quiet cases

Computex kicked off in Taipei, Taiwan today, and the torrent of product announcements from smaller hardware vendors is upon us. We already told you all about Corsair’s updated mechanical keyboards this morning. Now, we have news about the company’s latest two enclosures, which are both a little unusual.

The Carbide Series Air 540 is the most intriguing of the two. It stands at a portly 16.5" x 17" x 18", and it features two side-by-side chambers. One of the chambers plays host to the motherboard, which can be as big as Extended ATX, and the 3.5" hard-drive bays, which lie on the floor of the case and are hot-swappable. The enclosure’s second chamber sits behind the motherboard, and it’s home to the power supply, dual 5.25" bays, and four 2.5" SSD bays.

Corsair claims this two-chamber design allows for cleaner cable routing, lower noise levels, and better cooling than traditional layouts. Speaking of cooling, the Carbide Series Air 540 has room for as many as six 120-mm fans—or five 140-mm ones, if you’re more partial to larger spinners. Also, if air cooling isn’t enough, you can fit a 280-mm radiator at the top and a 360-mm radiator at the front. I can’t imagine what kind of gear would need that much cooling, though.

The Carbide Series Air 540 carries a $139.99 price tag—pretty inexpensive, considering Corsair’s Obsidian Series 650D still retails for a penny under $160.

Next up is the Carbide Series 330R mid-tower, which is both more conventional-looking and more affordable, at $89.99. Corsair says it tuned this enclosure for both low noise levels and "excellent cooling." There are noise-damping panels at the top, sides, and front, but Corsair didn’t skimp on fan emplacements; there are five of them, including a 140-mm front intake whose airflow purportedly has a "direct path" to the processor and graphics card.

Other features include room for a 240-mm radiator (provided you remove the top panel), Extended ATX motherboard support, rubber feet, and four hard-drive bays, all of which support either 3.5" mechanical models or 2.5" SSDs. The Carbide Series 330R measures 19.5" x 8.3" x 19", so you should have no trouble stowing it under your desk, either.

This isn’t Corsair’s first case with noise-damping panels, by the way. The Obsidian Series 550D also has them—and it came out last year. The 550D is more expensive, at $139.99, and I think the 330R is better-looking. Too bad Corsair hasn’t sent us pictures of the inside.

Comments closed
    • DeadOfKnight
    • 7 years ago

    I’m still waiting for them to refresh the 650D, hopefully with a USB 3 motherboard header.

    • kilkennycat
    • 7 years ago

    For me, the Corsair Air 540 potentially answers a long-term problem. I have a computer desk with a pair of very handy drawers below the desk on the right-hand side. Clearance to the ground below the drawers is 18 inches. The Corsair Air 540 is the first “performance” full-ATX case that will nicely fit that otherwise-wasted space and with a design that will properly accommodate one or more high-end video cards.. no hard-disks or cages competing for the depth dimension.

    Just 2 little “flies in the ointment”. Space for only 2 hard-disks without using one or more of the 2x 5.25 bays… supplementary hardware to optionally convert some of the SSD space to hard-disk would be very nice. Also, the vertical orientation of the 5.25 slots implies a need to specify slot-loading for any DVD drives… tray loading has never been very physically secure in a vertical orientation. Burning multiple DVDs in pairs on trays, trivial in the horizontal becomes a stressful exercise in the vertical, since the second tray is visually obscured.

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    I actually like this Ultra case better. I found it locally at a TigerDirect brick and mortar store. It’s huge and it’s built like a tank.

    [url=http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5401120&CatId=1510<]Ultra Etorque X10 Double/Full-Tower Gaming Case [/url<] I really like the concept of the "penthouse compartment" with the easy drop-down doors (on both sides of the case) because this would allow for easy hot-swap hard drive access in the upper compartment. Be sure to look at the "larger product photos" on that link above and you'll see what I mean about the upper compartment. Additionally, the case front has hot-swap trays built in. Love that. It's about time. I need to see if I can purchase additional trays before I buy it. The only drawback to this case is that it will not fit under ANY desk; it's way too tall unless you are the Jolly Green Giant. And he uses a tablet now anyway... I am thinking of buying this case for a back-bedroom server build that I have been promising to do for myself this summer.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]I actually like this Ultra case better. I found it locally at a TigerDirect brick and mortar store. It's huge and it's built like a tank. Ultra Etorque X10 Double/Full-Tower Gaming Case [/quote<] I have *never* spent $200 on a case for personal use.

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        I know. But there is nothing like this case.

        And!

        The built-in hot-swap bays up top and down below will allow me to AVOID buying $200 worth of hot swap external bays.

        Since I NEVER build a system without hot-swap removable hard drives, it’s sort of like this case is free.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          So how often do you need to hot-swap drives anyway?

          I’d consider (and have done) all hot-swap bays on mission-critical servers, but for a desktop it just seems like overkill. One hot swap bay should be enough for most desktop usage scenarios I can think of; maybe two if you want to use the system to build RAID-1 arrays for subsequent transplant into other systems or something.

          Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a pretty sweet case; I just can’t see paying $200+ for it. And if I actually needed that many hot swap bays I’d probably be looking at something in a rackmount form factor, since it would be going into a server rack!

    • hans
    • 7 years ago

    I do not understand a double wide case with only 2 3.5″ drives.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Can’t anybody design a case that has a well-sized compartment for storing snacks? You know, so everytime I watch a movie on my PC and get hungry I can just open said compartment for some chips (the edible kind, obviously, not the ones from Intel or AMD) instead of getting off my butt to check the refrigerator, which is like, 10 miles away. They may also want to experiment with using the CPU’s heat to pop popcorn or warm last night’s leftovers (too lazy to cook today), or, if using LN2, use the surplus coldness to chill a few bottles of beer.

    Jeez, maybe I should apply for a patent.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      That double-wide is nearly the size of a dorm fridge. With all the excess PSU capacity a lot of people have these days, you could easily run a Peltier cooler capable of chilling a few beers. The side window even lets you see when it is time to restock!

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    You know with a case that big first impression was they simply decided to remove the side of the case and add a giant fan above it, like a house fan. That actually would be a pretty unique design. If you flipped that on it’s side and the top perforated part all around the case had a intake fan under it, then you could blow it out the bottom with channels or something. It would offer superb cooling characteristics too as it would cool everything under it.

    All you’d need is one super low speed, big fan to cool the whole case.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]16.5" x 17" x 18"[/quote<]C'mon, you go that far -- go all the way and make it a perfect cube. Or, wait, does Apple have a patent on that?

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 7 years ago

      Oh wow, [i<]you[/i<] still post here!

        • UberGerbil
        • 7 years ago

        Oh, wow, suddenly you do too.

          • BooTs
          • 7 years ago

          I used to post here too.

    • StuG
    • 7 years ago

    Any idea how many HDD bays are in the 330R?

    Edit: Answer is 4.

    • brute
    • 7 years ago

    140mm spinners? please

    we big boys roll on 24″ chrome

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    As someone famously said: ‘Call me a chubby chaser all you want, but I need it wider, baby!’

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 7 years ago

    540 looks like it could be a good choice for a machine room. Interested to see what the reviews on it are like regarding airflow.

    It looks like it might make a very good choice for DAW building.

      • cheerful hamster
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I build DAWs and it could be interesting. The layout reminds me of some 6U rackmounts, tipped up on its side.

    • odizzido
    • 7 years ago

    They go to the trouble of making a big cube case and then don’t even put a huge fan in it. Have a super slow moving 400mm fan in there and I would be interested.

    • oldog
    • 7 years ago

    Why is it that all case designers want to make PC cases wider?

    How about a double narrow case so my leg doesn’t always rest on the stupid thing under the desk.

      • swiffer
      • 7 years ago

      Consider mounting/placing the case next to the desk instead of underneath. A few cable extensions might be necessary in some circumstances. If that’s not an option, many smaller particle board (IKEA-style) desks are cheaper/less stressful to replace than the PC case in question.

        • oldog
        • 7 years ago

        My tact in general has been to build Shuttle boxes and put them on top of my built-in desk. Unfortunately, they take up desktop real estate and the devices are less than ideal.

        It would seem to me, with angled connectors, that a standard ATX computer case with superb cooling could be designed to be tall and about 4″ wide.

        I don’t believe anyone makes such a case.

          • swiffer
          • 7 years ago

          [url=http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=69&area=en<]Not anymore[/url<], or at least not standing vertically. You could find plenty of older 2U (3.5") server cases that support standard ATX board sizes. For a bit of irony on the article title, they're half-width ultra loud. 😉

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    I really like that 330R. *If* I were to ever get rid of my Antec Sonata II (and other than no USB 3.0 headers at the front, I see no reason why I would), I’d want to replace it with that.

    That’s un-obtrusive and looks like it belongs beside your tv.

      • glacius555
      • 7 years ago

      i got rid of the same sonata last year, in favor of a Fractal Design case. No regrets since there is more room, place for cables and less heat..

      • swiffer
      • 7 years ago

      Well, if you don’t mind a little surgery on the bits underneath the front chrome barrel, or along the top or side of the plastic facade, [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812400041<]this could be the solution to your only concern[/url<]. I've upgraded a few older cases to front USB 3 with similar cables, though the Antec Sonata II would require a more involved solution than most, [url=http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/84722-a-tour-of-the-antec-sonata-ii/3<]with its front ports being mounted on a PCB[/url<].

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    Here I had several double-wide jokes lined up and they’ve all been used….Anyways I like the design, though other photos I’ve seen of the internals make it look like just another crowded case.

    • swaaye
    • 7 years ago

    It’s an SGI Onyx! Oh wait needs more purple….

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I had flashbacks to those and even Crays and Apollos.

    • jjj
    • 7 years ago

    The Air 540 is interesting at first sight but ,as it is now, it’s not good enough.
    Seems to lack airflow in the PSU/HDD/ODD chamber and you can’t do that while targeting good temps.
    Also the optical drives are vertical, no idea if the case can take slot loading drives but it just complicates our lives.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      You don’t need slot load drives. Pretty much all optical drives made these days have 4 little tabs around the circumference of the disc tray that keep the disc from falling out if the drive is mounted vertically.

      When I do new builds I test all the components outside the case first. Optical drive usually sits on edge to save bench space. Never had a problem with discs falling out, but I did have one drive which simply wouldn’t eject reliably when vertical (this wasn’t by design though, the drive was actually defective).

    • UltimateImperative
    • 7 years ago

    The A540 is like a vertical Cooler Master HAF XB Cube. Or a CaseLabs M10 (without being $400+ and made of thick aluminium)

    • Neutronbeam
    • 7 years ago

    Love the double – wide… The only problem is that they always seem to get hit by tornadoes.

      • Disco
      • 7 years ago

      that made me laugh, but then I felt guilty about it… 🙁

    • bjm
    • 7 years ago

    [url<]http://www.accordion-wiki.com/images/f/ff/Accordion_Hohner.jpg[/url<]

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    I so want the Air 540!

    • danny e.
    • 7 years ago

    Microsoft announces Visual Studio Blue.

    [url<]http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry/archive/2013/06/03/visual-studio-2013.aspx[/url<]

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 7 years ago

    Double double your refreshment.

      • swiffer
      • 7 years ago

      Four words, three edits? Stop rolling 1s on your typing checks!

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 7 years ago

        I was trying to do the green-text tag, and I forgot that that hadn’t been around since the great overhaul of 2011 :/

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]I forgot that that hadn't been around since the great overhaul of 2011[/quote<] We lost a lot of good posters in that overhaul... I still have nightmares about it sometimes.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Lemme guess, you used a tablet to post this, right?

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    That double-wide design is very very interesting. We’ve all seen the cable pass-throughs where you need to snake a cable from the PSU to the back-side of the case and then back through to the components in the main compartment. The double-wide just puts the whole PSU on the backside where cables only have to pass into the main compartment once. Plus, it could potentially have some nice airflow benefits.

    Edit: Yeah, I don’t quite have remorse over my Fractal Design XL-R2 purchase, but since the price on that corsair double-wide is reasonable, I would give it serious consideration for a new build.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Ya but then they had to go put a damn window on the double wide and slap on dust collecting grooves all over the place. Now a double wide 330R would be nice.

        • swiffer
        • 7 years ago

        At least the window doesn’t have any significant obstructions (such as fan mounts). Its ugliness could be turned into a decorative asset with the application of a suitable or personalized picture or pattern on the inside surface facing out.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          Or maybe a plain solid side door will be available as an option. Or one with a fan grill…as long as it has a filter (why are there so many cases where they take care to put filters over every fan port except that one?)

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