Under the hood
The bottom of the 400R features an easily removable dust filter that shields the intake venting for the power supply and a neighboring fan mount. Speaking of fans, this case is armed to the teeth with mounting points for 120-mm and 140-mm spinners. With two mounts on the left side panel, two on the top, two up front (which only accommodate 120-mm fans), one in the back, and one more on the floor, the Carbide offers 6,561 (3^8) possible cooling configurations with just the three fans included with the case. Even more configs are possible if your cooling compulsion calls for additional fans, mixing and matching sizes, or adding water-cooling radiators to the mix. There's even room for the 240-mm radiator attached to Corsair's Hydro Series H100 water cooler.
With a spacious interior and ample cooling potential, the 400R seems focused on performance junkies rather than silent types. While not as cavernous as taller members of the Obsidian series, the 400R gobbled up the components of our test system and seemingly asked, "is that all you've got?" Video cards approaching 12.4" (316 mm) in length can be accommodated, which should cover everything one might consider popping inside a $100 case. Just about any PSU should fit, too, although longer units may block access to the optional fan mount on the bottom panel.
Excellent cable management has been a hallmark of Corsair cases, and the 400R is no exception. The cable management cut-outs surrounding the motherboard area are lined with the best rubber grommets I've seen to date. They stay firmly in place when cables are passed through, and they look excellent to boot. The motherboard tray features an especially large cutout around the CPU region, which enables quick and easy access to a heatsink's retention plate. This layout saves builders the time-consuming hassle of removing the entire motherboard and attached peripherals just to adjust or install an aftermarket CPU cooler. To save even more time, the mounting posts for standard ATX motherboards come pre-installed, ready to accept most standard motherboard layouts straight out of the box.
The 400R offers ample storage space for cabling, allowing us to veil our power supply's excessively long tendrils with ease. While I certainly wouldn't argue with the inclusion of a few extra tie-down points punched into the back of the motherboard tray, the Carbide does include a couple of stick-on cable clamps that can be placed where desired.
Like Corsair's earlier case designs, the Carbide is loaded with tool-free drive bays. Four external 5.25" bays occupy the top of the 400R and hold optical drives in place with very little wiggle. Below them, you'll find six 3.5" drive sleds that feel a tad flimsy at first. This flexibility is by design, and it makes installing hard drives insanely easy. You'll have to bust out a screwdriver to attach solid-state drives to the 2.5" mounting holes included in each drive sled, though.
While assembling our test system, the only feature I wished for was some sort of tool-free mechanism for the rear expansion slots. Each slot cover is secured by a thumbscrew, but there isn't much room around the screws to wrap your fingers. Otherwise, I find it difficult to pinpoint any major issues with the overall build experience.