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Corsair Carbide 500R Computer Case E-mail
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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

Closer Look: Exterior

The Corsair Carbide 500R comes in two flavors, black or white. Benchmark Reviews has the privilege of showing you the white version (which in the author's opinion is the better-looking case). Both black and white versions are an improvement over the 400R which seemed a little unbalanced with the raised front.

Corsair Carbide 500R Mid Tower ATX Case

The Carbide 500R has straight panels and straight lines on the main edges that give it a balanced, clean look. The side panels protrude in the center of the case which give it some styling and break up the pure geometry of the edges which helps it avoid the solid box shape of a boring computer. The left panel has a perforated grill for improved airflow that also improves the style.

Corsair Carbide 500R Mid Tower ATX Case

In a matching fashion, the front of the Carbide 500R is mostly covered in the dark, perforated pattern of the side. The front panel provides an appealing veneer for two 120 mm fans, four 5.25" bays, and the array of input and output ports and buttons. Behind the grill are dust filters to help keep the interior of the case cleaner and increase the longevity of your components. It's very straight-forward to remove the front panel with a firm jerk to clean the filters or service the fans.

Corsair Carbide 500R Mid Tower ATX Case

Similar to the left panel, the right panel is also distended to provide room for cables, fans, CPU coolers, etc. Both panels are easily removable with captive thumb-screws so the screws won't be unintentionally lost. Quickly and easily removable panels are features on my list of things that you don't notice until they're missing. I've been surprised by cases with difficult to remove front and back panels, but you won't have to worry about that with the 500R.

Corsair Carbide 500R Mid Tower ATX Case

The back of the 500R better shows the cases true size. It measures on the taller side at 20.5", and the extra width is contained mostly at the convex extensions of the side panels. With the extra height, Corsair added an extra expansion slot, a 120 mm fan w/ option for 140 mm, and room at the top for additional fans or a radiator. Eight expansion slots are usually only necessary when using three or four graphics cards. That type of power needs serious cooling, and four water-cooling ports are provided if necessary.

Corsair Carbide 500R Mid Tower ATX Case

From underneath the case can be seen a removable dust filter, thumb-screws (for one of the removable drive cages) and the support feet. The support feet have two nice features that are easy to overlook. 1) They are made of soft rubber which helps dampen extra case noise. 2) They extend underneath the front panel. With the feet under the front panel this provides better access to the handle at the bottom of the front panel. It also means that the front panel can be removed and replaced without lifting the front of the case off the ground. Perhaps a small nuisance, but one I'm happy to discard.



# 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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