Corsair Carbide Series 500R Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 18, 2011
The Corsair Carbide Series features two models so far, the 400R and the 500R. We reviewed the 400R a couple of months ago, and it proved to carry a terrific cost/benefit ratio, deserving our Golden Award. Let’s see if its brother, the 500R, follows the same heritage.
The 500R is available in black or white. We received the white version for review.
The left panel of the 500R has a mesh that comes with a 200 mm fan on its side panel. This fan glows in white when turned on, and you can turn the LEDs off through a button located on the front panel. Unfortunately, Corsair doesn’t publish the specifications for this fan. It must be connected to the case’s fan controller, since it uses a unique three-pin connector. If you remove this fan, you can install two 120 mm or 140 mm fans on this panel. The 400R doesn’t come with a side fan and doesn’t support a 200 mm fan here.
The overall appearance of the front panel of the Corsair Carbide Series 500R is virtually identical to the 400R’s. The only difference between the two models is the addition of a small three-step fan speed controller on the 500R. Both cases have four external 5.25” bays, all using meshed covers with air filters.
The buttons and connectors of the case are located on the front panel. The 500R comes with two USB 3.0 ports, one FireWire port, the traditional audio jacks, a button for you to turn the fan LEDs on or off, and a three-step fan speed controller. The USB 3.0 ports use an internal connector, so you won’t need to connect them to the motherboard’s external USB 3.0 ports. If your motherboard doesn’t have an internal USB 3.0 connector, you can install the USB 3.0 ports to a USB 2.0 header, thanks to the adapter that comes with the product.
At the bottom part of the front panel, the 500R comes with two 120 mm sleeve bearing fans. These fans glow in white, and you can turn their LEDs off by pressing the button located on the top part of the front panel. See Figure 5. Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn’t publish the technical specifications for these fans, and the original manufacturer sticker was replaced by a sticker that has only the Corsair logo. These fans are also connected to the fan speed controller.
The top panel of the 500R can be seen in Figure 7. It has a mesh, supporting the installation of two 120 mm or 140 mm fans. While this configuration is similar to the one found on the 400R, the top panel of the 500R supports the installation of a 240 mm liquid cooling solution radiator (in particular, the one that comes with the Corsair H100 CPU cooler) and has an air filter, features not available on the 400R.
The bottom panel of the 500R is identical to the 400R’s, featuring a big, removable air filter, covering the meshes available for the power supply fan and for an optional fan.
The rear panel and the interior of the 500R are painted black, and the rear panel of the 500R is identical to the 400R’s.
One of the highlights of the Corsair Carbide Series 500R is the presence of eight expansion slots. (Usually, cases have seven.) This allows you to install three or four video cards in your system, depending on your motherboard. The slot covers are vented.
There are four holes for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, all with rubber covers.
The 500R comes with a 120 mm fan installed on its rear panel, but no technical specifications for this fan are provided. This fan uses a three-pin power connector, so you must install it on your motherboard, allowing you to monitor its speed. (This fan can’t be installed on the case fan speed controller.) You can replace this 120 mm with a 140 mm model, if you want.
Let’s now take a look inside the Corsair Carbide Series 500R.
Inside, the 400R and the 500R are virtually identical, with the notable difference that you can install a liquid cooling radiator on the 500R’s top panel, as discussed before. The 500R also has a different hard drive bay configuration, as we will talk about in the next page.
Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews. These thumbscrews stay permanently attached to the side panels, so there isn’t any way you can lose them. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes protected with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and a few metallic clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.
In Figure 13, you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using black thumbscrews. The 500R supports video cards up to 12.4” (316 mm) long on its default configuration or up to 17.8” (452 mm) if the hard drive cage is removed.
The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. Note that it can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it.
If you install a power supply up to 6.9” (175 mm) deep, you can install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel. With a power supply up to 7.3” (185 mm) deep, you still can install a 120 mm fan. But if you have a power supply deeper than that, you won’t be able to install a fan on the bottom panel.
As shown before, the bottom panel has an air filter for the power supply fan and for this optional fan.
While the Corsair Carbide Series 400R and 500R have the exact same number of disk drive bays (four 5.25” external bays and six 3.5”/2.5” internal bays), in the 500R the six internal bays are located inside two removable hard drive cages, a feature not available in the 400R. All bays use tool-less installation mechanisms, except when you have 2.5” devices.
You can remove the hard drive cage if you want to fit a video card that is longer than 12.4” (316 mm). With the hard drive cage removed, you can fit video cards up to 17.8” (452 mm) long.
Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a small drawer, with rubber rings around its pegs to absorb vibrations and, thus, reduce noise.
The main specifications for the Corsair Carbide Series 500R case include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The Corsair Carbide Series 500R is an upgraded version of the 400R. For between USD 30 and USD 40 more, you get a 200 mm side fan, a three-step fan speed controller, support for a 240 mm radiator, air filter on the top panel, hard drive bays in a two-cage configuration, and support for longer video cards if the hard drive cage is removed. In summary, a very good option if you want these extra features. Otherwise, the 400R remains as a terrific option on the USD 100-110 price range.
Weak PointsNo air filter for the left-panel fan