Corsair Graphite 230T Mid Tower Case

Corsair has several case lines, Obsidian, Vengeance, Carbide and Graphite.  Legit Reviews has been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take a look at most of these cases.  Today, we are taking a look at the latest in the Graphite Series, the 230T mid-tower case line.  While the Corsair Graphite series is made up of four models of the 230T, each of them are pretty similar with minor cosmetic differences.  These differences are mainly about color, there is the battleship grey, black and orange.  There are technically two versions of the black, one with a side window and one without.  All four version can be found online starting at $68.99 shipped for the solid side panel black model (no window), and $78.99 shipped for the other three color choices that include the window. So, at the end of the day having a window or if you want a color other than black it will run you an extra ten bucks.

Corsair Graphite 230T Color Choices

Corsair Graphite 230T Case Choices:

 

Graphite 230T Full View

Today we will be looking at the Corsair Graphite 230T Battleship Grey model, is exactly what is sound like; it has been painted grey.  This model features a side panel window and is sold under part number CC-9011040-WW. It has advanced features such as tool-less installation, 2.5" SSD compatibility, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, multiple cooling options and easy CPU cooler upgradability.  All this is provided in a fairly standard size mid-tower that measures  19.8 x 7.9 x 17.3 inches while weighing close to 13lbs, and includes a 2 year warranty.  

230T Hard Drive Bays

The Graphite 230T can support up to eight hard drives without utilizing the 5.25" bays.  These eight hard drives are split between four 3.5" drives and four 2.5" drives.  Each utilize a tool-less installation methodolgy, which is done simply by sliding the drive into place, clips will keep it secure.  The four 3.5" drives are installed at the bottom front of the case, while the 2.5" drives are installed just above the 3.5" drives in a connected cage.

230T Internal View

 As a mid-tower case, the 230T will support most common desktop motherboard sizes, which includes Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and ATX.  Looking for a case to support the larger motherboard sizes, you'll have to look elsewhere.  Cooling options include the included two front 120mm fans, and the rear exhaust 120mm fan; additional fans can be installed at the top and bottom.  The top supports two 120mm or 140mm fans, while the bottom supports one fan.

Corsair Graphite 230T Case Key Features

Corsair Graphite 230T Technical Specifications
Warranty Two years
Dimension 505 x 210 x 440mm
MB Support ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Expansion Slots 7
Form Factor Mid-tower
Material Angular, steel aesthetic panels with high airflow plastic front fascia
Drive Bays (4) 2.5" (4) 3.5" (3) 5.25"
Cooling

Front:  (x2) x 120mm (included, with LEDs)
Top: (x2) x 140/120mm
Rear: (x1) x 120mm (included, no LEDs)
Bottom: (x1) x 140/120mm

Front I/O (x2) USB 3.0
Power Supply ATX (not included)

 

Graphite 230T Retail Packaging

230T Box Front

Most manufacturers are going to the plain brown box with most purchases being done online, and Corsair is no different.  The box for the Graphite 230T provides a view of the 230T without the window along with some promotional information.

230T Box Back

The back of the box provides a nice exploded view of the case.  Some information on the features of the 230T is provided in multiple languages. 

230T Box Sides

The sides of the box are nearly identical, presenting the specification and a couple of pictures of the case with the dimensions.  The one difference is in the upper right corner, as there are several models of the 230T, the specific model information is listed on a little label with a small view of the modified side panel with the window.

230T Shipping Material

As expected, the 230T is shipped inside a plastic bag, and rests between two hard Styrofoam blocks.  Where most cases are shipped with the blocks on the sides, the 230T has the blocks at the top and bottom. 

Graphite 230T Accessories

All cases need several accessories to complete the install.  The Graphite 230T includes a very brief Quick Start guides that shows the components in an exploded view, and the list of the various accessories.  These accessories include six cable ties, twelve motherboard mounting screws, sixteen fan screws with four additional plastic guards, eighteen device screws, and four long fan screws.  This points to the motherboard standoffs coming pre-installed.

Graphite 230T Battleship Grey External Impressions

Graphite 230T Full View

As the name of this model indicates, the majority of the case is Grey.  While the majority of the case is made out of steel, the front bezel is made out of plastic.    This mid-tower case measures 505 x 210 x 440mm (DxWxH) or 19.8 x 7.9 x 17.3 inches but weighs just over 13lbs.

Graphite 230T Front Panel

The front bezel is made out of plastic and while fairly normal, it is indented to provide some depth and gives it a unique appearance.  At the very top is the standard front I/O cluster, three 5.25" drive bays and finally a vented area for two fan intakes.

Graphite 230T Front I/O

The front I/O includes two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone, reset and power switch.  While only a mid-tower, it would be nice to see four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports.  The 5.25" drive bay covers are solid and need to be popped out from the inside.

Graphite 230T Side Window

The left side panel is held in place with a single thumbscrew, a large arrow type window has been installed on this model.  Other models of the Graphite 230T do not include the window.  To make sliding the panel off, and to give a hint at the direction it slides, there are two indented areas that point towards the front of the case, this is the direction the panel slides off.

Graphite 230T Back Panel

The back of the case is pretty normal, at the very top is the motherboard I/O key, and a 120mm fan; this fan can not be changed for a 140mm fan.  Next are the seven PCI expansion slots, and finally the bottom mounted power supply.

230T Power Supply Filter

Corsair does include a removable filter for the power supply.  It slides out the back of the case, however the case needs to be lifted slightly to remove the filter as the clearance between the bottom of the case and the desk surface is very minimal; the filter is pretty much laying on the desk.

Graphite 230T Right Side Panel

Like the left side panel, the right side panel comes off by removing a single thumbscrew and sliding the panel towards the front.  To indentations make this easy to do.

Graphite 230T Top Panel

The top panel is fairly plain with vents for two 120mm or 140mm fans.  Instead of being plain vents, Corsair has made them into an arrow, to give it a little design.  When mounting fans, there are guards in place to reduce vibration noise. 

Graphite 230T Bottom

On the bottom of the case, we find a filtered area for the power supply intake, and another non-filtered 120mm or 140mm fan vents.  This is probably the first disappointment in the case, the bottom filter should cover the additional fan vents.  Another disappointment is the height of the feet, they are barely high enough to keep the power supply filter off a desktop, if the case was placed on any kind of plush carpet I would be concerned it would greatly lower the air potential.

Graphite 230T Internal Impressions

230T Internal View

The 230T mid-tower case supports Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX motherboards.  The interior is painted black, which on this model provides a nice contrast to the grey exterior.  On the motherboard tray, there are four cable management holes, none of which have rubber guards, however the metal has been rolled to avoid sharp edges.  Corsair has pre-installed the motherboard standoffs, in fact, most of them are permanently attached.  Below the 5.25" bays, is a large open area that will allow the top fan to push air unimpeded towards the motherboard.  The motherboard area of the tray is sunken a little.

230T Standoff Nub

While Corsair has pre-installed the motherboard standoffs, there is one that has a little nub to make sure the motherboard is positioned correctly.  I really like these as it helps get things lined up. 

230T 5.25" Drive Bays

The 5.25" device bays are tool-less once you remove the bay cover.  Simply slide the device into place and it securely locks in.  To remove it, you just need to pull out on the little tab and slide the device out.

230T Hard Drive Bays

The 3.5" and 2.5" drive bays are tool-less as well; no rail or tray system.  Simply slide the drives into place and they're secured.  There are screw holes if you want to make sure they are more secured.

230T Bottom Panel

The bottom panel is exactly as we'd expect, an area for the bottom mounted power supply vents, and a 120mm or 140mm fan vent.  While most cases are including rubber feet to reduce potential vibration from the power supply, there are none here.  Pretty much any A TX power supply should fit here, Corsair says up to 200mm power supply.

230T Back Panel

The back panel provides no surprises either.  The seven PCI expansion slot covers are vented, and are tool-less utilizing thumbscrews to secure the cover.

230T Top Panel

As you would expect, nothing surprising at the top panel.  It might be possible to install a water cooling radiator, have to watch the clearance with the motherboard.

230T Back of Motherboard Tray

The back side of the motherboard tray doesn't offer anything unexpected.  We can see the four large cable routing holes, and the very large CPU cooler support bracket cutout.  There is some additional space that could be utilized to hide a 2.5" hard drive if a fifth one is needed.

230T Cable Space

With the motherboard tray being sunken a little, around the board, the metal has been raised to provide a little extra room for cable management.

230T Removed Front Bezel

Removing the front bezel isn't as simple as most, where you simply pull from the bottom of the bezel.  The front bezel for the 230T is held in place by three clips on each side, these have to be released from the inside of the case.  The 5.25" device bays are ready for installation as no additional guards are in place.  Below the bays are the two front 140mm LED intake fans.  Interestingly the bottom fan is installed slightly deeper than the top fan.  On the bezel itself, the bay covers snap in with two clips on each side of the cover.  The fan vent area has a filter installed, it has been glued into place so it can not be removed.

Graphite 230T Hardware Installation

230T Install View

Being a mid-tower most systems shouldn't have a problem being installed in the Graphite 230T.   As a Micro-ATX motherboard was installed, plenty of extra space was available to make things really easy to install.  While the 230T will support long video cards up to 320mm, multiple GPU configurations might run pretty close to the 2.5" hard drive connections.

230T Hard Drives

As previously mentioned, the hard drive cage will support four 3.5" hard drives, and four 2.5" hard drives.  These all slide in without needing any tools and are pretty secure.  In the 2.5" bay, an Intel 530 series SSD, and three hard drives were installed; two of which were slim drives.  These had a little vertical movement to them but stayed in place when moving the system.

230T 2.5" Power Cabling

SATA data cables won't be a problem doing the install for the 2.5" hard drives.  The power cables on the other hand are a different story.  The drives are so close together that the power cables were rather difficult to connect.  I was unable to connect the power to the drives using the two in line power connectors, but could if I used one in line and the end power connector.

230T Install Back Panel

Checking the area for the CPU cooler support bracket, it appears that it can support most CPU installations.  The solder connections for the four DDR3 slots were visible so it would be plenty wide enough.  Vertically, there was enough space for the Zalman support bracket to be installed or changed after the install was completed.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Graphite 230T Full View

The Corsair Graphite 230T offers what users are looking for in a modern case.  The design of the 230T is sleek, and a change to the previous Graphite cases such as the 600T that we already reviewed and had a more rounded look.

While internally it'll support four 3.5" hard drives, four 2.5" hard drives and three 5.25" hard drives it is fairly compact. This doesn't leave a lot of room for large liquid coolers.  Stick with smaller liquid coolers and there shouldn't be an issue.  The include three 120mm fans should provide a decent amount of airflow to keep the system running cool.  The front intake fans are filtered, which will help keep the interior of the case clean.

230T Window View

While Corsair has a long history of having great products, I feel the Graphite 230T series lacks some basic features.  A filter for the bottom fan is becoming a standard by most manufacturers.  Anti-vibration feet for the power supply seems to be a fairly common feature.  Also, I'd like to see the feet made a little larger to raise the case up off the floor.  However, the biggest issue I ran into (not many will probably experience this) was with the 2.5" hard drives, they're so close together it is impossible to connect the power cable using in line power connections.

Once everything is all said and done, what matter is whether this case will work for you.  Taking a step back and looking at the gaming systems I have had there is nothing I needed that the Graphite 230T doesn't provide at a budget price of $78.99 with free shipping from Amazon.com when they are in stock.

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The Corsair Graphite 230T is a great mid-tower case for a mainstream PC builds and the price is right!