Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Mid-Tower Case Review

At CES 2018 Corsair once again presented a range of updated and new products geared at expanding their product line with new and innovative ideas. While we are still in the half of 2018, Corsair has already launched several new computer cases, Obsidian 500D, Carbide 275R and the Spec-Omega. Today, we will be taking a look at the Spec-Omega (specifically the White model with part number CC-9011119-WW), a Mid-Tower ATX case, that features a Tempered Glass side panel, built-in LED lighting on the front panel, and an angular design for a unique look.  The Spec-Omega is currently available for purchase with white, red or black exterior accents. The black or white versions run $89.99 with free shipping, while those looking to make a statement can pick up the red version for just $85.09 shipped. [caption id="attachment_203194" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - White Overview[/caption] In addition to the previously mentioned features, the Spec-Omega also features multiple cooling options, which includes support for up to a 360mm radiator or up to six 120mm radiators; Corsair includes two SP120 fans with the Spec-Omega (one LED and one standard). Storage options include support for three 2.5in on the back side, along with two 3.5/2.5in drive trays; not to forget about the dual USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.  It will support all modern graphics cards up to 370mm in length, all inside a case that measures 495mm x 232mm x 516mm or 19.5in x 9.13in x 20.3in. [gallery ids="203197,203196,203199,203198"] Continuing with the modern trend of keeping the packaging simple, Corsair packs their cases in a standard printed cardboard box. This keeps the printing costs down, while still being able to protect the case and provide plenty of information for a consumer if they should purchase this in a retail setting. In typical fashion, the front of the box, provides a little information; generally an overview picture of the case, and the model.  For the details, you turn to the back of the box where you find an exploded view of the case. Some specifications are listed in multiple languages on the sides of the case.  Of course, for detailed features and specifications, you have to go to their website. Opening the box, the case itself is packed in a plastic bag, and nestled between two large foam blocks.  Interestingly the manual is taped to the foam blocks, which has a purpose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lZ2Gb30-Z8 Corsair Carbide Series Spec-Omega Features and Specifications:
Corsair Carbide Series Spec-Omega Specifications
Weight 7.56kg
Color White/Black Red/Black Black
Form Factor Mid-Tower
Dimensions 495mm x 232mm x 516mm
Motherboard Support MicroATX, ATX, Mini-ITX
Maximum GPU Length 370mm
Maximum CPU Cooler Height 170mm
Maximum PSU Length 200mm
Expansion Slots 7
Drive Bays (x3) 3.5in (x2) 2.5in
Material Steel
Power Supply ATX (not included)
External Connections (x2) USB 3.0 (x1) Headphone Port (x1) Microphone Port
Fan Mount Locations Front:  (x3) 120mm or (x2) 140mm Top: (x2) 120mm or (x2) 140mm Rear:  (x1) 120mm
Fans Included Front: (x1) 120mm LED Rear: (x1) 120mm
Radiator Mount Locations Front:  360mm or 280mm Top:  240mm Rear: 240mm
Warranty Two Years
[caption id="attachment_203215" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Accessories[/caption] Corsair is known for including a well thought out accessory pack with their cases.  The Spec-Omega includes six cable ties, one additional motherboard standoff, four SSD pan-head screws, sixteen motherboard, sixteen SSD flat-head screws, sixteen short fan screws, and four long fan screws.  Included with the previously mentioned user manual is a standard hex-key; we'll see shortly why this is needed and why Corsair made sure it was easily visible with the user manual. [gallery ids="203190,203189,203188"] The Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega is available in three colors, White/Black, Red/Black and Black. Other than the obvious color difference, there are two other side differences.  The White model includes a White LED accent light on the front, and a White LED fan.  The other two models have a Red accent light, and a Red LED fan. Let's take a look at what the Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega has to offer.

Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Exterior Overview

[caption id="attachment_203194" align="aligncenter" width="645"] Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - White Overview[/caption] Overall, the Spec-Omega is a nice looking case with it's unique design.  The unique shape of the front panel is not the only uniquely designed features on the Spec-Omega.  The legs and top panel also implement the angular design to give them a different look as well.  We quickly see why Corsair included a hex wrench with the Spec-Omega and the reason it was the first time you see when you open the case.  The Tempered Glass side panel is held in place with hex screws rather than thumbscrews.  This will be a matter of preference, however I personally prefer to use thumbscrews on the side panel as I tend to open my cases frequently. [caption id="attachment_203202" align="aligncenter" width="613"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Front I/O[/caption] The front I/O cluster is actually on the front panel, which for me is one of the best places for it.  The front I/O cluster includes all standard features, a power button, dual USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, headphone, microphone, hard drive activity indicator and a reset button; no big surprises. [caption id="attachment_203203" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Bottom of Front Panel[/caption] The front panel is made up of two sections, in our review model the white side is solid, while the black side has a solid clear acrylic panel.  Airflow into the front intake fans is provided by a little vented section at the bottom of the case.  Other than this little area, the front panel is solid from top to bottom. [caption id="attachment_203204" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Top Panel[/caption] The top panel is design is similar to the front panel, where half of it is solid white, while the other half is black.  One big difference here is the black portion is all vented. [caption id="attachment_203205" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Tempered Glass Side Panel[/caption] Taking a look at the Tempered Glass side panel, the first time we notice are the hex screws holding it in place rather than the thumbscrews we are used to seeing from Corsair.  Next we can see that the side panel is lightly smoked, but not enough that it would obscure showing off your components.  The Tempered Glass side panel also rests on the bottom feet, which makes it easier to install onto the support pegs, which have a rubber gasket to keep the Tempered Glass from chipping on the metal support posts and to reduce vibration.  The unique "angular" design of the front and top panel is easily noticed when looking at the case from the side. [caption id="attachment_203207" align="aligncenter" width="452"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Back Panel[/caption] On the back of the case, we can see that the top panel is held in place with two thumbscrews.  Other than that, everything else is exactly as we'd expect.  The rear exhaust fan, motherboard port key slot, and seven expansion slots.  The expansion slot covers are vented to help with airflow, while the space above the expansion slots is also vented.  At the bottom of the case is the bottom mounted power supply hole.  None of this should be any surprise. [caption id="attachment_203206" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Power Supply Filter Removal[/caption] With a bottom mounted power supply, it's going to take in a lot of dust.  As is  common practice, Corsair has installed an easily removed dust filter on the bottom of the case.  It is held in place very securely with a little slide clip.  Pressing down on the filter handle and pulling it out, the filter removes from the case without any trouble. [caption id="attachment_203208" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Bottom Panel[/caption] Taking a quick look at the bottom of the case, we find the power supply filter that we just discussed.  The other features that we see is a thumbscrew, that is one of three that hold the 3.5 inch drive cage in place.  The four feet each have little rubber pads, which helps reduce vibration and keep it from sliding around.  There are also four slide lock slots on the bottom panel, which do not correlate to anything inside the case, so I have no idea why they are there. Time to take off the Tempered Glass side panel and take a look at the interior.

Corsair Spec-Omega Interior Overview

[caption id="attachment_203211" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Internal Overview[/caption] With the Tempered Glass side panel removed, we can get a clear view of the internal components.  The first thing I noticed was the large number of holes in the motherboard tray which can make easier to route your cables; the three large cable management holes have rubber grommets to protect and keep your cables neat.  In addition to the cable management holes, there are also a large number of places to secure those cables on the back side, Corsair has also included several on the front side, near the holes by the front intake fan locations.  Next, along the back edge of the case there are seven holes meant to make it easier to remove the screws that hold the expansion slot covers and any expansion cards in place.   Corsair has pre-installed the motherboard standoffs, with the center standoff being a peg to guide your motherboard into the proper location. [caption id="attachment_203230" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Rear Panel Expansion Slots[/caption] The back panel isn't very exciting, it's exactly as we expected from the exterior view.  The several expansion slot covers are held in place with thumbscrews, while the rear 120mm exhaust fan is a standard case fan, not an LED fan.  I would have liked for Corsair to include another LED fan here to light up the case a little as the Tempered Glass side panel allow you to show off your system; of course you are welcome to swap it with either a 120mm LED fan of your choice if you wanted to. [caption id="attachment_203232" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Front Radiator Space[/caption] The included 120mm SP120 LED fan is pre-installed at the bottom position, which will give you the best view of the LED's through the front window.  If you were to install a 360mm radiator there is space between the front fan and the 3.5in drive cage to slide your radiator into place. [caption id="attachment_203231" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Top Panel[/caption] With the top plastic panel removed, we can see that the top panel is fully vented and has room for two 120mm or two 140mm fans.  There is also a small round punch-out behind the front panel I/O cluster. [caption id="attachment_203212" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Back of Motherboard Tray[/caption] On the back side of the motherboard tray, we find many of the usual suspects.  Corsair has installed a large number of cable management holes, a total of twelve holes are in the motherboard tray, not counting the oversize hole for the CPU bracket or the power supply cable hole at the bottom.  To secure your cables there are close to 20 places that you can use cable ties to keep your case secured!  All of the cable management holes have rolled edges to keep your skin and cables safe from cutting. [caption id="attachment_203228" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Rear Mounted 2.5" Drive Trays[/caption] Just below the CPU bracket cutout, there is a triple 2.5 inch drive cage.  Here you can install your 2.5 inch drives simply by sliding them into place with the power and data connectors facing up (towards the top of the case). [caption id="attachment_203229" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Back Side 3.5" Hard Drive Trays[/caption] In the 3.5 inch drive cage there are two trays for the drives.  These are standard drive trays with little pegs that go into the screw holes on the sides of the drives or if you prefer to use screws there are holes in the bottom of the tray.  In addition to using 3.5 inch hard drives, you can also install 2.5 inch drives.  Removing the drive trays is done through the back side of the computer.  Should you wish to remove the 3.5 inch drive cage, there are two screws on the back side that secures it to the motherboard tray. [caption id="attachment_203234" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Front Panel Removed[/caption] Removing the front panel isn't as straight forward as pulling it off.  There are three clips on each side that need to be released, then there is one at the top in the middle, about 1.5 inches from the top edge.  While pressing on them, you need to slightly pull on the front panel to pull it away.  I recommend removing the top panel to be able to get a good grip.  once it's pulled away, we can see the three 120m fan mount locations on the case, and a fairly short cable for the front panel's integrated accent LED.  This cable is a little tricky when putting the front panel back on the case, however there are a few clips on the bottom that are used to keep the cable secure and away from the fan. Now that we know everything that the Corsair Spec-Omega has to offer, let's build a system in it and see how it goes.

Corsair Spec-Omega Build

[caption id="attachment_203368" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Completed Build[/caption] During the build process, there were several things that caused us to take a step back and do a little modification to our build process.  None of them took more than a few minutes to fix and overall everything went into the Corsair Spec-Omega with ease.  Let's take a look at some of the things we found during the build. [caption id="attachment_203308" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Top AIO Cooler Space[/caption] Typically I like to install the AIO liquid cooler at the top of the case, and I typically build it in an orderly fashion.  After the motherboard and CPU is installed, I install the AIO liquid cooler; usually before anything addition is put onto the motherboard.  However, with the Spec-Omega you could run into some spacing issues, in connecting the 8-pin AUX power cable, and fan headers.  In addition, installing memory is highly problematic after the liquid cooler is installed. [caption id="attachment_203307" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Post AIO Cooler Hardware Installation[/caption] Removing the fans did allow the memory to be installed, however the fan headers and AUX power cable the entire cooler would need to be removed.  With the memory installed, in this case the HyperX Fury DDR4 kit, which has a small headspreader over the top edge, it barely fit.  There was just enough space to force a single sheet of paper between the two.  Had I wanted to install the HyperX Predator memory, or memory with LED there wouldn't have been enough space.  I considered installing the radiator, and placing the fans in a pull configuration on the other side of the top panel.  With the fans there, the top wouldn't go into place; if I had some thin 15mm fans it might have fit. [caption id="attachment_203309" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Bottom Mounted Radiator[/caption] Corsair says a 360mm radiator will fit in the front of the case, so I decided to use the included fan and one additional fan for the Corsair H105 AIO Liquid Cooler.  There is about 1.5in of space between the fan and the 3.5in drive cage.  This particular radiator is 1.5in thick, causing some spacing issues, I was able to get it to fit, by forcing the radiator.  If you happen to have a slim radiator this might not affect you.  Also, if you are not installing a 360mm radiator, there is a simple solution.  Of course if you are not using any 3.5in hard drives, you could remove the 3.5in drive cage and then space won't be an issue. [caption id="attachment_203369" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - AIO Corsair H105 Install[/caption] In my opinion, if you are going to install a 240mm liquid cooler radiator, I would put it at the top of the front panel anyways.  There are no spacing concerns here, and if you wanted you could put fans into a push/pull configuration.  Even with the radiator installed here, all of the cable management holes are easily accessible. [caption id="attachment_203370" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Power Supply Installation[/caption] Installing the power supply can be a little tricky with the larger cables and non-modular power supplies.  There is just under 2inches of space between the power supply the 3.5 inch drive cage.  If you need to install cables after everything is installed and running, it might a little difficult, of course you can remove the 3.5 inch drive cage for some additional space.  Also, if you are using a non-modular power supply, there is very little room to store extra cables. [caption id="attachment_203386" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Rear Cable Management[/caption] To be honest, I'm not the best at doing cable management, especially on the back side where nobody but me would ever see it.  I much prefer to spend my time making sure the cables on the front side are as neat as possible.  When building a system, the cables usually tend to fall into the right place to be tied down.  The space on the back of the Spec-Omega is around 1/2 inch and with the back panel being flat there isn't a lot of extra room.  For the most part, the biggest obstacle with cable management is the SATA power cable and the large 24-pin ATX power cable.  Extension cables would be helpful to get them to go into the right spot to get tied down and better organized.   With the cables quickly organized as they are, I was able to get the back panel to go into place without any difficulty. [caption id="attachment_203367" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Cable Routing Holes[/caption] One thing that has always bugged me about cable management holes, is that they don't take into account some of the common cable locations.  For example, the front audio cable, so many times you have to run it in front of your motherboard.  Corsair has done a great job at trying to accommodate most motherboards with varying cable locations by including a number of holes.  I was particularly pleased to find one at the back of the case that lets the HD Audio cable for the front panel fit through perfectly and happens to be near the most common location of the header. [caption id="attachment_204109" align="aligncenter" width="444"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Front Panel LED and Fans[/caption] For the LED's on the internal fans, the bottom white one is the one that comes with the case and looks really nice through the front panel.  The two I added for the Corsair H105 AIO Liquid Cooler, I used a couple Red LED fans as those were the only LED fans I had on hand, sadly they're not as bright as the fan from Corsair; you can still see a little bit of them through the front panel. [caption id="attachment_203388" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Tempered Glass Window View[/caption] Even with the Tempered Glass having a light tint to it, with the room lights turned up, you can see through the side panel pretty well.   When the lights are off, how well you can see the inside components will depend on any LED's you have on the inside.  With the lights in the test room turned down to a normal level, the Corsair logo on the H105 pump looks great, as do the white LED's on the front intake fan.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

While the angular design of the Spec-Omega will be a turn off for some, others will love the unique design.  At first, I was unsure how I felt about the design, I came to find that I rather like the design of it.  The clear acrylic portion of the front panel provides a nice contrast to the other side panel, allowing any LED fans to shine through.  While the top is vented to aid in air flow.  The downside to the front panel is that the only air intake is at the bottom in the triangular wire mesh area. [caption id="attachment_204107" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Front Accent LED[/caption]   As a modern case it includes the current features that are being sought.  The current trend is to replace the normal acrylic or metal side panel with Tempered Glass.  Which helps to show off your system.  To really make your components shine, you'll need some LEDs to light up the interior.  Corsair has included one SP120 LED fan in the front, while the rear exhaust 120mm fan is a standard case fan.  The only current trend that is not included on the Spec-Omega is RGB, you are of course welcome to change the included fans to RGB fans, or add other RGB light strips or fans. [caption id="attachment_203368" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Completed Build[/caption] One of the downsides to the Spec-Omega is that the interior space is a little limiting.  Without the front and top panels it is a slightly smaller Mid-Tower ATX case than we normally see.  The overall dimensions of the Spec-Omega are 19.5in x 9.13in x 20.3in, without the front panels it is closer to 15.5in x 8.25in x 16.75in.  You lose around 4in for the front panel, and close to the same for the top panel.  The smaller interior cause some space concerns, however if you carefully think out the components, and the installation process you shouldn't run into any major issues.  For example, if you want to install a 360mm radiator in the front, I would recommend making sure it is less than 1.5in thick.  Likewise, I wouldn't install a radiator at the top of the case as you could run into space issues with memory and other connections at the top. [caption id="attachment_203386" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega - Rear Cable Management[/caption] The interior size of the frame can also provide a little obstacle for cable management.  A modular power supply with flat cables will make cable routing much easier.  However if that is not an option, Corsair has placed enough tie down locations and cable routing holes to allow for most power supply cables.  The holes in the motherboard tray, Corsair did a great job at adding other holes in locations that help route cables to the normal spots, such as the front panel HD Audio cable. All three color variations of the Corsair Spec-Omega are currently available online starting and $85.09 with free shipping and are backed by a 2-year warranty.   Legit Bottom Line:  If you take your time, and carefully think through your build process, the Corsair Spec-Omega would be a great case to build your next system into.  The Tempered Glass side panel along with the angular design would make for a great looking gaming system.