In Q1 2013 we began a major modernization of the desktop workstation. The Corsair Carbide 300R is a standard mid-tower ATX chassis.
Our old chassis was obsoleted when we acquired the Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 motherboard which features USB3 front panel support. USB3 is still relatively early in the curve and we expect this chassis will be adequate for many years of service.
The power and hard disk LEDs are both white. Historically power has been green and disks use red however white LEDs are widely used on portables now as well. The USB3 replaces the USB2 ports and there is the analog audio ports which are part of the AC97 standard.
The 300R is made of steel which which makes it more costly to ship. Steel chassis are stronger which makes them popular with extreme systems.
The 300R has almost an inch of room under the motherboard tray to manage cables effectively. Running all the fan cables under the motherboard leave the CPU area clear for air to flow.
Fan bays are available in the front, rear, top and side which is very common with gaming chassis today. With cable management there is no worry about air flow even with a rear fan, 2 front fans and 2 top fans. We have zip ties and velcro cable ties galore to make it easy to manage cables.
One shortcoming is the short front panel audio cable is at least 8″ too short to be able to route it under the motherboard and connect to the header along the bracket edge or on the bottom beside the USB port headers. This has been a problem generally with several chassis models in addition to the 300R. We have a USB audio headset so front audio is superfluous.
The fixed motherboard try features a large open area under the CPU zone to allow for the use of extreme CPU coolers. Some cooler models use a bracket that attached under the motherboard to support the weight better.
Some Intel CPU coolers use 4 posts attached to the motherboard so access is needed to change it. This avoids the problem of removing the motherboard from the chassis.
The front assembly is removable and its easier to pull from the bottom. The makes it easier to clear or replace front fans. The grill makes it easier for air to flow into the machine. There are also smaller grills on the side edges of the front assembly. The power, reset, audio and USB cables are grouped to be tied easily. Unfortunately the audio cable is too short to reach the rear placed header.
The 300R supports 120mm and 140mm fans making it more flexible. Many have a box full of old fans that can be pressed into service.
The 300R moves the PSU to the bottom of the chassis which seems to be a more popular trend in recent years. In addition there is an easy to remove dust filter if the PSU is installed fan down. We prefer to use the fan upwards so that dust is not a serious problem.
We installed our TX850V2 PSU and it was easy to route cables through the slot to the cable side. There is almost an inch of room to fit cables under the motherboard making the 300R very modern in design.
Only in very recent years has the PSU industry starting offering modular cables more widely. Most people are still using the older fixed cables which are easy to manage with the 300R. Zip-ties are very popular in securing cables. Unused strands can be folded up and zip-tied to make storage easier.
Corsair provides 2 fans, 140mm on the front and 120mm on the rear. We added a second 140mm intake fan to improve cooling over the disk cage. We also added a 140mm exhaust fan in the top near the CPU to supplement the rear exhaust fan. With air flowing in the front and then exhausting out the rear and top makes the 300R very effective at removing heat.
The hard disk bay is rotated 90 degrees for easier connections and cable management. The bays have spring clips which eliminate the need for screws. The bays have adapters to allow SSDs to be installed. Screw holes line up with the bottom mount holes making them solidly attached.
With the rotated disk bay, its possible to use shorter SATA cables which are readily available. We purchased several new SATA clip cables to support the faster SATA speeds. Our M5A99FX also has 90 agreed SATA headers which make cable management even easier.
The DVD bays on the top are have clips making it easy to replace a worn out drive.
Our old chassis disk bays routed cool inlet air directly into the GPU intake. The 300R however has a large open area between the fan and the video card intake. This means a video card will run a couple of degrees warmer but its not detrimental to the cards. NVIDIA cards are deigned for a maximum of 105°C operation, but typically A single GTX 260 does not get over 90°C even with extreme stress tests.
The disk cage sits lower relative to the video card which affords 17½ inches of room to accommodate even the longest dual GPU video cards. With the disk cage rotated there is easy room for 2 conventional 10 inch single GPU cards.
We have the window version of the 300R which has a grill for using 2 fans. Side panel intake fans can collect dust and filters are not provided so we prefer to install fans on the top bays where they will do more good. From a more aesthetic perspective, have a clear sheet of Plexiglas would have made this chassis a real winner.
LED lighted chassis fans provide any desired effect desired.
- Corsair TX850V2 power supply
- Asus M5A99FX PRO R.0
- G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133
- BFG GTX 260 MaxCore 55
- EVGA GTX 260 216 SC
For some reason the M5A99FX network adapter failed 5/17/2013 so we disassembled the machine. The spaciousness of the 300R is excellent and it was extremely easy to remove the motherboard.