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Corsair's Graphite Series 600T enclosure

From obsidian to graphite

Manufacturer Corsair
Model Graphite Series 600T
Price (Street) $159.99
Availability 9/23

Corsair's first foray into the case market left quite an impression on us, earning a TR Recommended award and, later, a spot in our system guides. Unfortunately, Corsair's Obsidian Series 800D can't exactly be called affordable. Quite the opposite, in fact, considering it still sells for about $260. Such a price might not be too onerous for a high-end PC build with an Extreme Edition CPU and dual graphics cards, but not everyone has that kind of cash, especially these days.

Enter the Graphite Series 600T. With a $160 price tag and many of the same features as the 800D, like intelligent cable management, an ample interior, and a sober exterior, this case seems almost tailored for those with shallower pockets who've been drooling over the 800D all this time. $160 still ain't cheap for a computer case, but it's about what one can expect to pay for established enthusiast favorites like the Antec P183 and Cooler Master Cosmos.

Corsair hasn't actually released this puppy into the wild yet—Newegg currently quotes a September 23 availability date—but it shipped us one to pick and apart and study earlier this month. Is the Graphite Series 600T worthy of an entry in your holiday shopping list, then? Is it so good that you should pre-order one right now, even to store your aging Athlon XP rig, or is this a swing and a miss for Corsair? Read on, and you'll find out.

We first got to see the 600T at Computex in June. The case's external design immediately betrayed its less upscale roots. Unlike the Obsidian Series 800D, which stands at an impressive two feet tall (or the slightly cheaper 700D, which has the same dimensions but no window or hot-swap bays), the Graphite Series 600D is decidedly more manageable at 20" x 23.3" x 10.4". It has a more rounded appearance, too, with a sort of plastic lip that surrounds the front and back surfaces. Corsair designed the enclosure to be picked up by that lip, making the 600D easier to move around than its higher-priced siblings.

Three months later, as I was unwrapping the 600T and setting it on my test bench, the weight and solidity of the case's steel frame were foremost on my mind. This thing is nowhere near as heavy as the Thermaltake Level 10 we reviewed recently, but don't mistake it for a flimsy plastic or aluminum contraption. Unless an obese LAN party attendee slips on some pizza grease and, falling stomach-first, topples an entire rows of PCs and monitors in a single, helpless tumble, you needn't worry about putting a dent in the 600T. By the way, Corsair did have LAN parties in mind when building this enclosure. That's why the 600T is relatively straightforward to carry and comes with a locking mechanism to keep the left side panel shut.

Once Big Bob recovers from his fall, cleaning the Cheeto dust and Mountain Dew splatters off the 600T shouldn't be too difficult, either. The case has a matte, gun-metal finish that, at the very least, shouldn't showcase smudges. The metal side panels are a little shiny, but not to the point where fingerprints will make you feel like reenacting an episode of NCIS.

Turn the case around, and you'll notice the right panel has the same two door handles as the left one, meaning it's just as easy to take off. If you've ever used enclosures that only make one of the side panels easily removable, you'll probably appreciate this touch. Admittedly, Corsair encourages—nay, expects—users to route cables behind the motherboard tray, so requiring a screwdriver to remove either side panel would have been unwise.

Before we remove both of these panels to take a gander inside, we should take a brief moment to lay out the 600T's key specs. You know, for the nerds out there who don't want to find out as we go along. This enclosure has eight expansion slots, support for ATX or Micro-ATX motherboards, four 5.25" bays, six 3.5" bays that can also accommodate 2.5" drives, two 200-mm fans, one 120-mm fan, and two liquid-cooling holes at the back. The front panel hosts four USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, one FireWire port, and headphone and microphone jacks. Oh, and a fan controller. That's actually better in some respects than the 800D, provided you don't need hot-swappable storage bays or room for an Extended ATX motherboard.