Corsair Carbide Air 740 Case Review

Corsair has a long history of making some of the highest quality computer components available.  They are constantly watching the market and developing new products to meet new demands.  Since CES 2016, their computer case division has been silently working on some new designs.  Today, we are looking at one of these new designs, in the Carbide Air 740, the follow-up to one of their most popular cases, the Air 540, which we took a look at back in 2013!  Available in September 2016, the Air 740 has a suggested retail price of $149 and comes with Corsairs 2 year warranty. [caption id="attachment_185958" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740[/caption] The Air 740 builds on the most popular Air 540 features that includes dual-chamber layout, Direct Airflow Path, and a large number of cooling options, and expands on those features.  For cooling, the Air 740 includes support for up to eight 120mm or seven 140mm fans (Corsair includes three AF140L fans), if you prefer liquid cooling, the top will support up to a 280mm, while the front supports up to 360mm just to name a few.  On the back side of the dual chamber design, you find the power supply and tool-less cages for 3.5" and 2.5" drives.  The Air 740 supports up to four 2.5" drives in a cage, and three 3.5" drives using the common tray system. [gallery ids="185794,185793,185795"] Sticking with pretty standard packaging, the front of the box for the Air 740 presents a high level overview of the case, along with a short list of its features.  Flipping the box around to the back of the box, we get to see an exploded view of the case, plus some additional information on it's features.  The key specifications are listed out on both sides of the box, in various languages. Features and Specifications:
Corsair Carbide Air 740 Specifications
Form Factor ATX
Drive Bays Front: None Internal:  3x 3.5" tool free, 4x 2.5" tool free
Cooling Front: 2x 140mm AF140L Fans Rear: 1x 140mm AF140L Fan Top: None Side: None Bottom: Supports up to 3x 120mm or 2x 140mm fans
Radiator Support Front: Up to 280/360mm Rear:  Up to 120/140mm Top: Up to 240/280mm Side: None Bottom:  Up to 240/280mm
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0 Headphone and mic
Power Supply Standard ATX (not included)
Clearances Heatsink:  170mm PSU: 225mm Graphics:  370mm
Warranty  2 Years
MSRP $149
  [caption id="attachment_185867" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Accessories[/caption] As always, Corsair includes an accessory pack that includes an installation guide.  The accessory pack includes six cable ties, 1 additional motherboard stand off, 8 long fan screws, 12 short fan screws, motherboard screws and 8 SSD screws. Let's take the Air 740 out of the box and take a look around the case before opening it up.

Corsair Air 740 Exterior

[caption id="attachment_185792" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740[/caption] The Corsair Air 740 that we received was black, we haven't heard of any additional colors.  If you are familiar with the previous Corsair Carbide Air models, you will immediately notice a major change to the design.  Previously design had the horizontal ribs going vertical and only on half of the case.  The overall size of the Air 740 is 426mm x 340mm x 510mm (HxWxD) or 16.75in x 13.4in x 20.08in.  Which when compared to the previous Air 540, it is slightly larger [caption id="attachment_185796" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Front Panel[/caption] Corsair has done a great job at updating the look of this case,  I loved the looks of the previous Air cases, however this one looks even nicer.  The horizontal plastic bars look sharp and will make the case stand out.  On one of the bars is the large power button, while the front I/O cluster rests between two of the horizontal bars.  The front I/O cluster has the standard reset button, 2x SuperSpeed USB 3.0, and headphone/microphone jack.  However, this is the first case I have seen that includes a new LED button.  This has a 2-wire cable on the inside listed as LED_SW, it has a standard header connector, and if I was to make a guess it's for a new generation of Corsair Lighting feature. [caption id="attachment_185797" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Side Window[/caption] The main side panel we find a large clear window, which will provide an unobstructed view of the system.  The top and bottom of the panel are heavy duty metal, while the window and handle are plastic.  As you can see, the metal is a fingerprint magnet! [caption id="attachment_185799" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Side Window Panel Open[/caption] The windowed side panel doesn't come off like most cases, instead it swings open simply by lifting the handle. In addition to the handle, little magnets on the inside of the door help to keep it closed.  The side window is surprisingly sturdy, even looking at side panels that are mostly metal, this one seemed to be more sturdy. [caption id="attachment_185800" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Back Panel[/caption] Looking at the back panel, we can see the layout of the split chamber design.  In addition, we can see that there are a large number of vents on the back panel, including above the power supply.  It appears that there is room for 80mm fans to be installed back here, however Corsair doesn't mention that in their specifications. On the motherboard side, we find the normal eight expansion slots, the motherboard rear I/O key port, and the exhuast fan.  I like how Corsair used a user replaceable fan grill for the back exhaust rather than using the case metal as the fan guard. [caption id="attachment_185801" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Back Side Panel[/caption] Nothing too exciting on the back side panel, other than an area for the power supply intake the panel is solid.  The power supply intake has a wire mesh filter on the inside of the case, which is held in place with magnets.  This panel is removed like most panels, remove two thumbscrews and then it slides towards the back of the case and comes off. [gallery ids="185803,185805"] The bottom panel is easily removed as it is held in place with two thumbscrews and then it slides towards the back and pops off.  Once removed we can see that there is one section that is solid (power supply side), while the other side has room for 2 fans or a radiator up to 280mm.  Four rubber coated feet raise the case off the surface by 1/2 inch, but should provide plenty of airflow through the bottom. [gallery ids="185804,185802"] The top panel is removed just like the bottom panel, and reveals the same layout as the bottom.  A solid panel on the power supply section, and space for two 140mm fans or up to a 280mm radiator. [caption id="attachment_185807" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Front Removed[/caption] I have worked on a large number of cases over the past 20 years and this has to be one of the most difficult cases to remove the front panel.  While most use plastic prongs or tabs to keep the front panel in place, Corsair has gone with metal prongs that pop into nine holes on the case.  One of the reasons it is hard to remove is that there are very few places to grab to pull the panel away.  Of course, this is debatable whether this is good or bad, however you will have to remove the front panel in order to clean the front intake fan filter.  From looking at the front side of the bezel, we saw a small door beneath the front I/O cluster.  With the panel removed, we can see there is a cut-out in the frame for an add-on.  In talking with Corsair, we found that this is for a VR add-on, as an HDMI/USB 3.0 pass through. Let's open the case up and take a look at what Corsair has done with the interior.

Corsair Air 740 Interior

[caption id="attachment_185809" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Internal MB Side[/caption] Getting to the interior of the Carbide Air 740 is easy, pull the handle and the side panel will swing open.  It'll open a full 180 degrees, and can be lifted off the hinge if you want to remove the panel to make things easier.  The left side of the case is for the motherboard and there are several things that grabbed my attention right away.  First the number of cable management holes in the tray, there are twelve of them!  Nine of them have rubber grommets to keep things looking nice, while the bottom three are just rolled edges.  Next the large hole in the motherboard tray will make installing CPU cooling brackets after installation very easy, although the hard drive cages might pose a slight issue.  Corsair has pre-installed the motherboard stand-offs, with one of the stand-offs being a guide making it easy to install your motherboard without issues. [caption id="attachment_185812" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 MB Side Front[/caption] Taking a look at the front panel, we see the two AF140L fans which are rated for 1,000RPM pushing 67.43CFM with a large space between them.  These can be removed and three 120mm fans could be put in their place.  Another option is to install a radiator, up to a 360mm radiator will fit here. [caption id="attachment_185811" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 MB Side Bottom[/caption] The bottom of the case allows for additional cooling as well.  There is room for two fans, either 120mm or 140mm, or up to a 280mm radiator. [caption id="attachment_185810" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 MB Side Back Panel[/caption] The back panel shows the eight expansion slots, the covers are held in place with thumbscrews.  The rear exhaust is another Corsair AF140L fan, and of course that could be removed for a radiator as well. [caption id="attachment_185813" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Power Supply Side[/caption] While the motherboard side panel is on a hinge, the power supply side panel is removed with a couple of thumbscrews and sliding the panel back.  Here we can see the large amount of space that is available for cable management.  There are only five cable tie locations, all clustered in one area right by where the power supply will be installed. [caption id="attachment_185814" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Power Supply Area[/caption] Like most cases, at the bottom there is a bracket to support the power supply.  To allow for different power supply lengths, there is a bracket held in place with a thumbscrew that adjusts to allow for longer power supplies.  On top of the brackets are several rubber feet to reduce any vibration noise. [caption id="attachment_185815" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 3.5" Hard Drive Cage[/caption] Using a standard tray design, the 3.5" drive cage is at the top left of this side.  The tray design is pretty common now, and we've all seen them. [caption id="attachment_185817" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 3.5" Hard Drive Tray[/caption] As we said, we have seen this 3.5" tray design before in many different cases.  However, Corsair has take the anti-vibration rubber a bit further than I have seen before.  Instead of just mounting the metal prongs in rubber, they have placed L shaped rubber strips along both sides of the tray for the drive to sit on. [caption id="attachment_185816" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 SSD Cage[/caption] Just above the power supply sits the 2.5" SSD cages.  Drives slide into the cage and are held in place with the clips.  Above the 2.5" SSD cage you can install a single 80mm fan.  There is a little space between the cage and the back panel, however even the slimmest 80mm fan I have wouldn't fit. [caption id="attachment_185818" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 SSD Cage[/caption] While the Air 740 supports four 2.5" drives, you can always separate the cages and leave just what you need inside the case. Let's get to building a system inside the Air 740!

Corsair Air 740 Build

[caption id="attachment_185954" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 System Install[/caption] With the system completely built, we didn't find anything unusual when doing the build.  Everything was installed without any incident and was very simple to do.  While we decided to use a DeepCool Captain 120 AIO Liquid Cooler, you can install up to a 360mm radiator or stick with air coolers.  For air coolers, the Air 740 is limited to a maximum cooler height of 180mm. [caption id="attachment_185955" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 GPU Space[/caption] With the amount of space inside the Air 740 you shouldn't have any issues installing the GPU of choice.  We installed an EVGA GTX 275, which measures 266mm.  As you can see, there is a large amount of space left for longer graphics cards; the Air 740 allows for graphics cards up to 320mm in length.  Which should be enough space to allow for any modern graphics cards. [caption id="attachment_185953" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Power Supply Side[/caption] On the back side of the motherboard tray, there is a lot of open room allowing you to easily do cable management, I have left the cables as they fell while connecting them with the exception of the motherboard AUX power cable, which I routed behind the 2.5" drive cage.  The majority of the cables all ended up being clustered in the same general area, which happens to be close to where the cable tie locations are!  Also, as I am using a modular power supply, there aren't extra cables attached to bundle together and out of the way, if there was though, that's not a problem in front of the power supply and below the 3.5" drive cage there is a lot of open space. [caption id="attachment_185925" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 CPU Cooler Support Cutout[/caption] After installing the motherboard, I went to install the support bracket for the DeepCool Captain 120 AIO Liquid Cooler, and quickly found a small problem.  The SSD cage overlaps one of the holes for the bracket.  Not a big deal as the SSD cage is easily removed, just a slight annoyance. [caption id="attachment_185822" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 2.5" Cage[/caption] The 2.5" cage is primarily designed for SSD's, however any 2.5" hard drive should fit. I have a 1TB Constellation.2 that is has a 15mm height, which won't fit.  Checking various other drives, up to a 9.5mm SATA drive fits inside the cage.  However keeping in mind that these drives typically vibrate and there is nothing on the cage to reduce the vibration, so it is possible a mechanical 2.5" drive will make some vibration noise. [caption id="attachment_185923" align="aligncenter" width="535"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 LED_SW Header[/caption] When setting up the front panel headers, we encountered an unusual header connection.  There were the standard, Power LED, Power Switch, and Reset Switch.  Missing is the HDD activity LED, but we found the LED SW header in it's place.  Checking the user manual, it says there should be a HDD LED but there is no sign of it.  Knowing there is a LED button on the front panel, it makes me wonder what this could be for.  We talking with Corsair, and they stated this is used to control the lighting on their new HD/SP fans, we hope to get some in so we can see how this works. [caption id="attachment_185957" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Power Supply Retaining Bracket[/caption] The little bracket holding the power supply in place needs to be removed to allow the installation of the power supply.  Thankfully it uses a thumbscrew so that's easy to do.  With the bracket removed, the power supply can be installed and secured to the case with four screws in the back.  Then the guide bracket can be replaced.  Route the cables and you're good to go.  

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

[caption id="attachment_185956" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 Completed Build Through Window[/caption] The original Air 540 was released around three years ago, and is still a highly sought after case.  Corsair has taken their time and really listened to the enthusiasts on what they would like to have improved on for the follow-up.  With the Air 740, Corsair has taken what they heard and implemented the updates. As this case is just being announced, it is not available for purchase yet, however I'm sure soon you'll be able to find it on Amazon, Newegg and other popular retailers.  Corsair has said that they have placed a MSRP of $149.99 on this case, and while there are lower cost cases that provide many of the same features, Corsair is well known for standing behind their products and manufacturing top quality gear that lasts for years.  However, if you should have an issue, Corsair provides a 2 year warranty on their cases. [caption id="attachment_185954" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Air 740 Corsair Carbide Air 740 System Install[/caption] Cooling the Air 740 is done by Corsairs Direct Airflow Path, which focus's the air cooling effect on the hottest components; the GPU, CPU, Motherboard and Memory.  These are all on their own side of the case, and has a huge number of cooling options.  For example, if you are an air cooler person, you can fit up to eight 120mm or seven 140mm fans (Corsair gets you started with three AF140L fans), and we found room for an 80mm exhaust fan on the power supply side.  If you prefer liquid cooling, there is support for a 280mm radiator at the top and bottom, up to a 360mm in the front, and up to a 140mm in the back of the case. After finishing the system, and thinking about it a little while, I did have two little areas of concerns.  First the issue of the CPU cooler support bracket, while removing the 2.5" drive cage is extremely easy, there aren't many better options.  Next we have the issue of fingerprints, this is an extremely minor and a personal annoyance.  Fingerprints drive me crazy and maybe I'm in the minority.  A change to the finish could resolve this as other Corsair cases don't show fingerprints as easily as the Air 740 did. Two new features we haven't seen before is the VR add-on, that is an HDMI/USB 3.0 pass-through option, and the LED SW header which is to control lighting on Corsair's new HD/SP LED fans. Overall, this is probably one of my favorite dual chamber cases I have had the pleasure to work with.  If the style is to your liking, there shouldn't be any reason not to build your next system inside this case. LR_Recommended Legit Bottom Line:  Updating the look and feature set of the award winning Air 540 was no easy task, but Corsair has done it!  The Carbide Air 740 is a great case to build a system in, and should be able to accommodate even the toughest builds.