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Corsair Carbide 500R Computer Case E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases
Written by Dan Ferguson   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Corsair Carbide 500R Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Closer Look: Interior
Detailed Interior Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Corsair Carbide 500R Computer Case Review

Manufacturer: Corsair
Product Name: Carbide 500R
Model Number: CC-9011013-WW
Price As Tested: $139.99 (white) or $121.16 (black)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Corsair

If you're looking for more than a normal mid-sized ATX case can offer, or if you are having a hard time finding all the features you want without breaking the bank, then you'll definitely be interested in the Corsair Carbide 500R. Benchmark Reviews recently showed you the 400R and its excellent capabilities. A step above that is the 500R. We looked at model CC9011012-WW which has an arsenal of features. Four stock fans for massive cooling, tool-less installation, modular/configurable drive bays, eight expansion slots. It's got everything you need, and nothing you don't. This is a great case for the expanding system; for users who want to step out of something small and start getting big on their performance.

Mid-tower ATX cases are like mid-range video cards. The decision of which one to buy is far more involved than just buying the most expensive case or card and calling it good because you got everything that could possibly be offered. The mid-range market, for both cases and video cards, offers something slightly less than top-of-the-line. This means that to save on cost you are sacrificing SOMETHING whether it's room, performance, features...SOMETHING. Often you don't realize how much you need a certain feature until you are suffering from its absence, when it's already too late. So every time we look at a mid-range video card or a mid-tower case we are trying to find out what features were included, and which features were left out to fit into the mid-tower footprint and price-range.

If you have this understanding when looking for a case then you can save yourself some time and money by finding exactly the features you need at the expense of others. Sometimes. There's almost always something you learn with each case, something you realize that would have been nice to have. But your odds are still better at finding a case geared towards your specific needs. If you are new to custom builds then you may not be sure what you need. If you are a more experienced builder then you probably have a growing list of likes and dislikes as well as pet peeves.

Now enter the Corsair Carbide 500R. It's designed to be more than your average mid-tower case. It can simultaneously meet the needs of new builders and aficionados. Its feature list is long enough to warrant issuing a pamphlet, and the features are not only useful, but they are exactly what you need for a near-perfect build. It's still not a perfect case, if there is such a thing, and we'll again show you what you're getting and what you may be sacrificing.

Corsair Carbide 500R Mid Tower ATX Case

With this in mind, Benchmark Reviews will take a more comprehensive look at the features of the Carbide 500R compared to the less expensive 400R and other similar cases. We will focus on the core features for which this case was designed: cooling, ease of build, expandability and looks. All aspects will be gauged while keeping price in mind and what you could otherwise get for your money. In the end a score will be assigned based on this evaluation.

Corsair Carbide 500R Features

  • Excellent cooling capacity
  • USB 3.0 support
  • SSD support in all 3.5" drive bays
  • Thumb-screws on front and back panels
  • Thumb-screws on PCI slots
  • Tool-less 5.25" drive installation
  • Tool-less 3.5" drive installation
  • Integrated dust filters
  • Black painted interior
  • 8 Expansion slots
  • Supports video card up to 17.8"
  • Room for 240mm radiator
  • 3x 120mm fans
  • 1x 200mm fan
  • Multi-channel fan controller
  • Movable /configurable drive bays
  • Large CPU cutout
  • Large holes for cable routing
  • Rubber grommets on cabling holes
  • Extra space under motherboard tray for cabling
  • USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter for front IO ports

Computer Case Specifications

Motherboard Support: ATX
5.25" drive bays: 4
3.5" drive bays:
(with 2.5" compatibility)
Expansion Slots: 8
Front I/O panel contains: 2x USB 3.0 connectors
1x Firewire connector
3.5" headphone and microphone connector
Power and reset switches
Fan LED on/off switch
Dimensions: 20.5" x 8.1" x 20"
Material: Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces
120mm/140mm fan mounts: 6
120mm fan mounts: 4
Included Fans: 1x 200mm side panel fan
2x front-mounted 120mm fans
1x rear 120mm fan
Side panel with mesh fan mount locations
Supports most 240mm dual radiators (15mm spacing)
Multi-channel fan controller
Supports graphics cards up to 452mm in length (with hard drive cage removed)



# ehhhoblivionlord 2011-11-03 10:17
Great case however the biggest letdown is the 120mm fans at the front and lack of any fans at the top for $120 shipped. If this case fitted 140mm fans at the front and 2 140mm fans at the top then this case would be awesome.

120mm fans are good, but compared to 140mm of today, the 120mm just doesn't compare. A good 140mm fan can best a good 120mm by 10dba and still provide the same overall cfm. That's cutting the noise by half.

The 690-II Advanced still has this case beat hands down in price and features.
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# Choice is a funny thingMergatroid 2011-11-09 19:26
Corsair put those 2 x 120mm fans on the front because that's what their build community asked them for. Many people were modding their other mid tower cases by adding 2 x 120mm fans at the front in place of the 200mm fan Corsair installed stock. Personally I don't recall anyone modding the front for 140mm fans. IMHO, it really doesn't matter much. You can get high flow quiet fans in almost any size. Personally I prefer 200mm fans but that's really a personal preference.

The 690-II Advanced is a pretty nice case for sure, and has two main advantages I could see (the room for a bottom mounted rad and the external SATA hot swap bay), but it has no grommets, the drive cages are not removable, not as many fan choices on the side panel, not so much room for the cable management, none of the front panel or fan cables are sleeved (or at least black, and yeah little things like that make a difference). Of course you can't put as big a card in it as you can this case because you cannot remove the drive cages. And there's only 7 expansion slots instead of eight. I would agree Corsair should get this case price down by $20 or $30, but I would not say the 690-II "has this case beat hands down in price and features".
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# RE: Choice is a funny thingDoug Dallam 2011-11-09 19:57
Mergatroid--larger fans are not about personal preference as far as efficiency goes. Larger fans are simply quite a bit more efficient than smaller fans. The reason, all things being equal, is that each fan has a center assembly which takes up fan area. So, one large fan will have more fan area than two smaller fans, again, all things being equal. This also means that a larger fan can run slower than a smaller fan, while maintaining the same output.
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# RE: RE: Choice is a funny thingDavid Ramsey 2011-11-09 20:05
Larger fans do not necessarily move more air than smaller fans. Fan CFM output is one of the most abused metrics in the industry. Custom PC Magazine did a comprehensive review of 80, 120, 140, and 200mm fans some years back and actually measured the output CFM, which was generally much lower than specified.
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# RE: RE: RE: Choice is a funny thingDoug Dallam 2011-11-10 01:08
David, I didn't say that they do. What I should have said was: "All things being equal," the fan with the larger area of affect (blade area) will put out more cfm. Granted, a 140mm fan spinning at 6, 000RPMs will put out more air than a 200mm fan running at 600rpms, all things being equal, such as blade pitch, blade flex, and housing element. This, in turn, makes larger fans, all things being equal, more efficient than smaller fans, as far as air to rpm ratio goes.
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# minor diffrenceMergatroid 2011-11-10 11:14
The difference efficiency will really not be that much especially considering many smaller size fans will move more air anyway. The main advantage of larger fan is noise and if you do get one that moves a lot of air it will also be pretty noisy. The 200mm 166cfm NZXT fan is a good example. I can get more air movement from two 120mm fans and the NZXT is almoat as loud at high speed. The only major advantage is noise at ower RPMs.
A good case modder can always find equivalent performance when altering fan sizes and numbers.
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# RE: minor diffrenceDoug Dallam 2011-11-10 15:18
Merg, please reread what I said. It's not my opinion, it's simply physics. If you want to argue what I said, then you'll need to argue with the canons of physics because that's all I was pointing out. Also, two 120mm fans will not out perform one 230mm fan if the total fan blade area of the 120mm fans is less than the fan blade area of the 230mm fan, all things being equal, simply because the fan area--the area that actually moves air--will be less for the two 120mm fans than it will be for the 230mm fan (center hub takes away fan blade area, x2). Following from this, again, a larger fan, all things being equal, can move more air per revolution than can a smaller fan.
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# Sorry, I don't think you're reading my meaningMergatroid 2011-11-10 22:51
I know what efficiency is. What I'm saying is it doesn't matter.

Anything you can achieve with a 200mm fan I can achieve with any other sized fans, even if they're 5 or 10% less efficient and even if I had to use more of them. Adding in multiple fans or faster fans or whatever. Yeah yeah, we know about the centre hub area. So what? Someone may purchase a 700 RPM 200mm fan that only moves, say, 70 CFM. Someone else may chose a 120mm fan running at 2000 RPM that moves 110 CFM. So what if the 200mm fan is more efficient, what does it matter? So you may get a little less noise moving the same amount of air, that's about all your increased efficiency is good for.
I'm not arguing the physics, I'm arguing the point that higher efficiency is not necessarily any better unless you're strictly looking at noise per unit airflow.
Another advantage is that smaller fans can fit in smaller areas. One more thing to consider is that if you go looking for 200mm fans you'll find that, as a percentage, there's a lot more crappy large sized fans than in the smaller sizes. I've seen people in build forums going through a lot of larger fans because they purchase them and then are unhappy with their performance. As a matter of fact, many of them end up with the same NZXT 166 cfm 200mm fan I use in the front of my case because they're looking for better airflow, not lower noise. A lot of 200mm fans don't have especially good airflow for such large fans, especially in places where you could mount two 120mm fans and get exceptional airflow (like 2 x 120mm Scythe 2000 RPM Slipstream fans at 2 x 110 CFM for 220 CFM). There are other 120mm fans that offer lower airflow and lower noise, but add two together and they're better than most 200mm fans. This goes right back to my first post where my point was what type of fans you use is really a personal choice, efficiency be damned. After all, if it wasn't, ALL manufacturers would be using the SAME fans.
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# RE: Sorry, I don't think you're reading my meaningDoug Dallam 2011-11-10 23:17
I do see your point. One reason to go with less fans is less wiring, which means a cleaner interior. If you simply want as much airflow as you can get, noise bedamned, I might mention using one of these:

Duct that into the side of your case, and you'll only need one fan.
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# RE: RE: Sorry, I don't think you're reading my meaningStupido 2011-11-25 02:09

that would be very very nice ghetto cooling... :D
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# RE: Corsair Carbide 500R Computer Casekzinti1 2011-11-08 23:43
You forgot to mention the one thing that separates this Corsair case from all of the others. Corsair Quality. You get what you pay for. Quality materials, fit and finish do not come cheap. If you buy a cheap case then you've bought a CHEAP case! Not one that has the quality of Corsair. If you want the best you have to pay for it.
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# LolMergatroid 2011-11-09 19:33
If you want the best then go with a 600T or 650D. I love those cases. But this case is very well made. I hope Corsair pays attention to the complaint about the screws fitting. That's one of the things that can give a case a "quality feel". I've gotten compliments for a few cases I've built just by adding a touch of grease to the thumb screws to give them a smoother almost damped feel. Something so simple can have a big effect on how people perceive a case.
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# RE: Corsair Carbide 500R Computer CaseDoug Dallam 2011-11-09 00:08
A good review and good images too. And, a good case. The only thing I don't understand is why case manufacturers don't use 230mm fans these days front, side, and top (if applicable). They're just so much more efficient than 120s or 140s.
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# Because they're too bigMergatroid 2011-11-09 19:54
There are great fans in every size range. Lots of people were ranting about how great 200mm fans were when they started using them, now many enthusiasts replace 200mm with two 120mm fans. You can get great fans in any size. Look at the guy in the first post complaining about the case not using 2 x 140mm fans. We can't all have our way. The manufacturer has to settle on something. I bet the #1 complaint about computer cases is "Why didn't they use THIS type of fan". Well, they can't use them all. My personal 600T has 1 200mm NZXT fan and 8 120mm fans and it's working fine. Great air flow and not very noisy. One case cannot be everything to everyone. Luckily we all have minds and opposable thumbs so we can change minor inconveniences like that if we find a case we really like but doesn't use our favorite fan size. After all, it's not hard to drill a couple of holes or dremel away a bit of metal here and there. There's no such thing as a perfect case.
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# mrCHARLEYAM 2011-11-09 10:27
it a real nice case for a mid tower. its got alot of attention to detail, options and looks .. a good case to say the least..
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# Good stuffMergatroid 2011-11-09 19:56
I guess it is a little bit pricy, but it sure has most of the features that made Corsair's other Mid tower cases so popular. Good job Corsair, but fix the screw thread fit.
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# Which one...idunnosoSTFU 2011-11-10 06:37
is better, 500 or 650D?
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# 650DMergatroid 2011-11-10 11:21
The only advantage the 500r has is a little more room for cable management and a few more fan mounts. The 650 has a window instead of mesh which means the coolimg is likely not as good. However imho the 650 is a much nicer case and I think it looks way classier. If your on a bit of a budget though the 500 is an excellent choice.
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# HmmmidunnosoSTFU 2011-11-10 11:49
Let's just say I don't care about the price. Convenience and performance wise, which one's the winner? Or do you have any other suggestions that costs the same.
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# Performance?Mergatroid 2011-11-10 22:34
Well, if I was in a store and they had the 400, 500, 600 and 650 I would walk out with either the 600 or 650, but I'm biased because I think those are two of the best cases ever produced. I am an unabashed fan of the 600T and 650D. I love everything about the 600T except the big knob they have for the fan controller. The rest of that case is great. It's a medium airflow case, not high airflow. It has great looks, great drive bays, great cable management (perhaps the best cable management due to the convex side panels), choice of Window or Mesh (600T SE comes with both), filters, room for a rad, huge interior. I really love my 600T. The 650D is every bit as good, but I think it looks even better. If it had of been around when I purchased my 600T I may own a 650D right now. The ONLY disadvantage to the 650D is that there is not as much room on the sides for cable management. However, it is perfectly adequate (one of my roommates has the 650D and it's awesome, I love the looks). The 400 and 500 are great cases to be sure, but IMHO the 400 doesn't look all that great, and even the 500 a little too because I don't like those side panels even though they are very functional. I bet the 500 has the best air flow though with the two optional drive cage fans and the bottom fan (I modded my 600T so I have the same intake fan on the bottom, and the drive cage fans too although I removed the top drive cage).
I can't decide for you, as I said I'm sort of biased. Hope some of this info helps you out a bit though.
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# RE: Performance?Dan Ferguson 2011-11-14 09:05
Sorry I've not been getting emails on this thread. Most of Mergatroid's comments represent my findings and opinions. If price is not an issue you can't go wrong by upgrading within Corsair's fleet. Personally, I prefer the look and cooling arrangement of the 500R.
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