Introducing the Corsair Carbide 300R

Ostensibly, Corsair's Carbide line of enclosures are their budget cases; the Obsidian and Graphite lines both start where the beefy Carbide 500R leaves off. Corsair's least expensive entry is the one we have on hand today, the Carbide 300R. Yet like a certain fruit-flavored company we know, they seem unwilling to part with many of the amenities that make their cases such a joy to assemble and work with, and the result is a Carbide that's caught between two worlds.

The Carbide 300R attempts to bring many of the things we've come to know and love and expect from Corsair cases down to a hopefully more palatable $79 price tag. While that's not in the "true budget" arena we've seen companies like Bitfenix and Antec stake out, it's definitely more affordable than most and may hit a sweet spot for users who don't want to spend too much on a case but want something of slightly higher quality.

For the most part you can see it just by looking at the case, too. While we've gone down to the raw fundamentals of SECC steel and black plastic, there are still a lot of smart details, and at this juncture it's still uncommon to see USB 3.0 connectivity in a budget case. When we pop it open later on, we'll see why the Carbide 300R commands its $79 asking price, for better or worse.

Corsair Carbide 300R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25”
Internal 4x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fan (supports 2x 120/140mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120/140mm fan mounts
Side 2x 120/140mm fan mounts
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170 mm
PSU 240 mm
GPU 17.7" / 450mm
Dimensions 19.1" x 8.3" x 17.7"
485mm x 211mm x 450mm
Weight 15.9 lbs / 7.21kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Price $79

There are really only two places where you can tell Corsair trimmed some of the fat, at least from the spec sheet. Corsair's cases typically have dual drive cages, but with only four internal drive sleds, they open up space for an intake fan as well as extra long video cards. They've also removed one of the expansion slots; normally there's an eighth one (a convenience I appreciate), but going down to seven isn't a total loss since we're still within spec for a standard ATX motherboard.

What you should appreciate is the copious amount of clearance for all of the components, including the heatsink. After having a couple of close calls with our Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, I was pleased to see that it fit in the 300R with no complaints. The top of the 300R is designed to handle a 240mm radiator (like, say, a Corsair H100) as well.

In and Around the Corsair Carbide 300R
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  • mikbe - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I sure am glad I had a DVD drive when my Gigabyte motherboard refused to boot a Win7 install thumbdrive.

    I also like to buy used CDs at yard sales, flee markets, and Goodwill. You get some really cool stuff you can't buy anymore or was never even on iTunes.
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I couldn't get Win 7 to install from a thumb drive either for some reason. I also install Fedora every ~6 months. I haven't purchased a CD in ages, not sure there is even a place in my town I could if I wanted to. I simply pull the external USB DVD drive out of the closet, plug it in and then put it back. Even weekly this isn't a big deal. Would an internal drive be easier? Sure, but I guess I build too many machines to waste $20 for a drive in each so I just quit. I think there are certainly an argument to be made for one external 5.25" bay on some cases. I'm just saying there is also an argument for one, just one good case with zero.
  • futrtrubl - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    I agree somewhat about the external bays since I hardly ever use optical drives these days, but as others have said there are enough other uses for them (card reader for me, fan mods/hot swap bays/etc for others) to justify 2 bays on a modern case.
    I do however find your objection to the 7 expansion slots puzzling. Why not have the seven? You aren't going to save space by cutting the numbers down since you would still have to fit an ATX mobo and it wouldn't save much money either. With modern layouts for PCI-E card slots some users require 2 slots per card so 6 slots just for graphics triple SLI and then one more for any other card/bracket. So in short we loose nothing by having all the slots but gain flexibility.
    Which is why I love your 3.5 HDD stack system ;'] One reason I don't use optical media much anymore is because I archive everything to HDD since it tends to be cheaper (Thai floods excepted) and is more convenient for me, and I backup religiously. So I currently have 8 drives in my case (one 2.5 SDD, 2 hot/fast HDD and 5 slow/cool HDD) and would love better drive management.

  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    If you put an mini-itx board in this case and try to stuff it full of drives, there is an awkwardly large bit of dead space where the 5 unusable expansion slots are. My basic premiss is that in trying to build a case for everyone, they have built a case that only works well for those building a monster rig. Those building a monster rig would probably pick a different case and not a mid-range $79 case. Case manufactures need to quit pandering to a small number of outliers and remove some less used features and improve those that are most commonly wanted. Large number of 3.5" and 2.5" drives, room for large power supplies and smaller form factors.
  • ggathagan - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    While I understand your point, I think you look at design from the opposite viewpoint of a case maker.
    Consider this:
    How does it benefit a company to only provide one or two functional expansion port openings if the space where the additional 1-4 slots would be still has to exist?
    In doing so, you've just eliminated that case from consideration by thousands of users who DO want 3-7 useable expansion slots.
    The case has to be large enough to fit the board and a standard power supply, so it's not as if you can somehow eliminate that area on the back of the case.

    The same holds true with the front of the case.
    Modifying the drive bay area to allow for only 3.5" or 2.5" drives would give you, at most, enough space for 1 additional drive.
    In doing so, however, you've just eliminated that case from consideration by thousands of users who DO want a 5.25" bay.

    Neither of those are wise business decisions and the bottom line IS business.

    What you describe in a desired case is what SFF cases try to achieve, but that involves eliminating drive bays, since that's the one area of case design that *is* flexible.
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    What is the most number of expansion slots you have ever used in a build? I've been building rigs for almost 20 years and the most I used was eight but that was a crazy fax server. In a personal case the most I had was Sound Card, Video Card, SCSI controller and Nic. But that was 10 years ago. I haven't put a Sound Card or Nic in a box since and just use the on-board versions. These days you put a single double slot video card and you are done. Most ATX motherboards don't even support more than 4 expansion slots.

    Maybe I should have included in my argument who needs ATX motherboards anymore? This would have cleared up some of the confusion.
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    dont forget tv card
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    Have a look at the BitFenix Prodigy.
    That said, you're right, we need more mATX/ITX cases with less drive bays and shorter depth. Not every case has to support every configuration.
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - link

    On my short list with the FT03. All the mATX/ITX cases have pretty severe shortcomings. Not in features but with trying to do everything an ATX case can do. The FT03 has a 5.25" external slimline drive bay for some inscrutable reason which is just wasted space and complicates assembly. The BitFenix would be a hands down winner if not for the external 5.25" bay that more than anything ruins the look of the case in my opinion. The 5.25" bay also forced them to squeeze the power supply bay down in size so the top drive racks wouldn't interfear with the MB.
  • rickon66 - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    In the first part of your post you want to abolish all external drive bays and then later you just want one decent case for the 90% of us. You make a lot of assumptions that 90% or 99% do this or want that based on what data? I can only speak for myself, not 90% or 99% of people-but I need a DVD/CD drive to access the dozens of disks that have accumilated over the years. Sure you can have external drives, but that means more wires and often another power brick. I would not buy a case without two or three external drive bays and if I don't want to use them, leave the covers in place. There are many uses for the external drive bays, card readers, fan controllers, I installed Antec easy sata bays in several of my compuers.

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