Corsair Carbide Series 300R
Corsair's first case offering was the Obsidian 800D back in 2009. This case changed the case market in a good way, but was an expensive offering as have been all of the top of the line Obsidian series cases released since. Over the years, Corsair has released the Graphite and Carbide series cases that are aimed at different audiences. The Graphite series cases are usually the sleeker eye pleasing designs, while the Carbide series has been designed for function first with appearance being secondary. This means Corsair can keep costs down due to not using exotic metals or tons of design elements. Most gamers and PC enthusiasts want a solid case design at the right price, so the Corsair Carbide series should be of interest to many. The entry level Corsair Carbide PC case is the 300R and it can be purchased for a mere $79.99 shipped. The Corsair 300R might be inexpensive, but it is still packed full of features and is an attractive little compact chassis.
We have previously looked at the 500R and 400R cases from the Carbide Series. We now get a look at the 300R. The 300R is the smallest and least expensive case in the Corsair Carbide series. Coming in at just 17.7 inches tall, it is 3 inches shorter than the 500R and 2 inches shorter than the 400R. If you are looking for a smaller ATX case with a matte black exterior and interior, then the Corsair 300R might be it!
Despite this case's small size, the 300R has room for 4 hard drives, three 5.25 devices, and up to seven 120mm fans. There is room for graphics cards up to 450mm (17.7 inches) long for the main video card and 11.5 inches for secondary cards. Even at 11.5 inches that is more than enough room for the new 10 inch long GeForce GTX680. Out of the box the 300R comes with one front mounted 140mm intake fan, and one rear mounted 120mm exhaust fan. The hard drive cage supports up to four 2.5” or 3.5” drives. The 300R also supports either ATX or mATX motherboards.
Corsair Carbide 300R Features:
- Compatibility: ATX and Micro ATX motherboards
- Drive Bays:
- Three 5.25” drive bays
- Four 3.5” hard drive bays with 2.5” compatibility
- Two USB 3.0 connectors
- headphone and microphone connector
- Power and reset switches
- Two 120mm/140mm top fan mount locations
- Two side panel 120/140mm fan mount locations
- Two front panel 120/140mm fan mount locations
- Includes one front-mounted 140mm fan and one rear 120mm fan
Unboxing the Carbide 300R
On the front of the box is a drawing of the 300R along with a couple paragraphs talking about the features of the 300R in multiple languages.
There is not much on the top, just the UPC code and the shipping labels.
One end of the box shows the specifications for the 300R in 3 languages.
The back of the box shows a nice exploded view of the case and parts.
The opposite end shows the specifications in 3 more languages. This side looks to have taken a hit. It doesn't look like it was deep enough to get past the foam.
The case comes cradled in foam end caps front side up and wrapped in plastic.
Looking Closer at the Carbide 300R
The Carbide 300R is simple in looks, with all black construction.
At the top is the front I/O panel. Left to Right: Power, Hard drive activity LED, reset, Audio ports, and USB3 ports.
Though the front panel is made of plastic Corsair gave it some flair with faux socket head screws.
The lower front is mostly metal mesh for the front intake.
To the side of the front panel is more venting.
The top of the 300R is mostly mesh. It is setup to accept either twin 120mm or 140mm fans.
The left side panel has two mounting points for 120mm fans.
Moving round to the back of the 300R: the 120mm fan is pretty close to the I/O shield area.
The edge of the fan body is right on the edge on I/O shield cutout. Under the fan are knock outs for water cooling pass through holes, no grommets included.
The 300R has 7 expansion slots, each of the slot covers is vented. The area to the side of the expansion slots is vented as well.
The power supply area features a removable dust filter. The filter slides out from the rear of the case.
The 300R has case feet styled like those on the 800D, but are plastic rather than metal. In each corner of the feet is a small rubber pad.
Inside the Carbide 300R
Pulling the side panel off the Carbide 300R we can get a good look at the inside of the case. The motherboard tray has a massive CPU cut out, molded in standoffs, and wire routing holes.
The 5.25" drive bays are tool-less.
Bottom front is the tool-less hard drive cage. The cage holds 4 drive trays.
Each tray is can hold either a 2.5" or 3.5" drive.
The power supply area has a nice large vent. The supports for the power supply do not have any anti-vibration material on them.
In the top rear is the 120mm exhaust fan.
Pulling the front panel off we can see the pre-installed 140mm intake fan. There is space to install another 120/140mm fan.
The filter on the front panel is not removable. So to clean it you would have to pull the front panel off.
The front panel uses metal spring clips to hold it to the case frame. I like this over the plastic style. With the plastic clips it not a matter of if it will break, but when. The metal style should hold up to repeated removal of the panel for cleaning.
Behind the motherboard tray there is plenty of room to run cables, 20mm. What I would have liked to have seen more of is tie down points help pull wires tight to the back of the tray.
Installing Parts into the Carbide 300R
The Carbide 300R doesn't come with much. What you get are screws for 2.5" drives, some wire ties, long screws for mounting a second front intake fan, and motherboard screws.
When I first got the 300R and looked at the box I had high hopes; it looked like the little case had some real potential looking at the box. As I started to assemble my system into it I started to run into some issues. The first was interference with the rear exhaust fan and then my motherboard.
When I went to install my ASRock X58 Extreme 3 ATX motherboard in the Corsair 300R an issue became apparent. This board has a very large heat sink with a fan on it in the middle of the rear I/O panel that is far from common. It would not fit under the fan that comes pre-installed on the back of the Corsair 300R. This is the first case I have put this board in where this has come up, but not all motherboards have tall heat sinks on it like mine does so I can’t really fault Corsair on this. So, if you happen to have a mainboard with a large heat sink sticking up taller than the I/O ports, then the rear 120mm fan could be an issue. This issue is pretty minor, though, as you can just move the fan or get creative and mount it on the outside of the case.
I then attempted to install the Corsair H100 water cooler because the top of the case was set up for dual 120mm fans. It looks like there was enough space for it and the radiator lined up perfectly with the fan holes.
When I tried to install the 25mm thick fans that come with the Corsair Hydro H100 water cooler, I found that they interfered with the memory modules and even the RAM slots. If I wanted to make it work I could have used half-height 12mm thick 120mm fans in place of the stock H100 fans. Since the 300R is an entry level case, it is not a deal breaker that we ran into some water cooling issues as not everyone does water cooling. That said, if the case had been a ½” taller the Corsair Hydro H100 liquid CPU cooling system could have been easily used with this motherboard.
Since the water cooler wouldn't fit, I relocated the rear fan to the top of the case to make room for my motherboard and installed an air cooler. The Corsair Carbide 300R was flexible enough to meet our needs and didn't leave us unable to install our system entirely.
With 20mm of cable routing space behind the motherboard tray, I found running all the wires and data cables was easy. It would have been nice to have more places to tie the wires up, but it is doable without them.
Final Thoughts on the Carbide 300R
The 300R is the smallest case in Corsair Carbide series. It has plenty of features for an entry level case, and has a very nice build quality. The overall look is a nicely balanced blend of being both sleek and rugged. The Carbide 300R has room for large air coolers, the largest of video cards, USB3, and can handle up to 7 fans.
Coming in at 17.7 inches tall the 300R is on the short side for a midtower case; if it were 1/2"-3/4” taller it would have allowed for coolers like Corsair's own H100 cooler to be installed. Yes, the H100 cost roughly $30 more than the 300R, but high end air coolers like the Prolimatech Super Mega and the Noctua NH-U12P are $70 plus coolers. Not really a deal breaker on the case, but more of a nit-pick on my part. Besides, you could always step up to the Carbide 400R for another $15~20 and have room for the H100 or similar coolers if you wanted to use one.
The Closeness of the rear 120mm fan to the rear I/O area is somewhat of a concern as well. If you have a board with tall heat sinks you could run into issues. Not only with the rear fan body itself, but if you install something like the Corsair H80 which can stick out up to 4” from the back of the case you could run into issues with the body of the radiator not clearing motherboard components. In the above image from Corsair they have the Hydro Series H60 installed. It is smaller than the H80 by a good 2 inches. So take a good look at your motherboard if you plan on using a sealed loop water cooler in your build. If the heat sinks are over the height of the I/O shield there is a very strong chance you will have clearance issues.
The Carbide 300R had plenty of room for running cables behind the motherboard tray. The cable management holes in the motherboard tray are nice and big and were easy to get the cables through. I would have liked to have seen some more wire tie down spots, though. There weren’t too many on the back of the motherboard tray. It would have made getting the cables locked down a little easier.
The Corsair Carbide 300R can be found for $79.99 shipped right now. At that price the 300R is competing with close to 100 or so cases in the $75-100 price range, even its own bigger, flashier, sibling the Carbide 400R. Deciding between the 300R and 400R will boil down to what you want to do with the system, and which style suits you. The 400R is slightly bigger, has LED fans, and has a slightly more aggressive look.
Legit Bottom Line: The Corsair Carbide 300R has a solid build quality, all the features you need to get a system built, and comes with a 2 year warranty the 300R will get the job done.