Corsair Carbide 400C Mid-Tower Cabinet
The Corsair Carbide 400C is advertised as a “compact” mid-tower case, aimed at builders looking to save space while providing all the performance and expandability of a full-tower case. Apart from that, it is portrayed as a cabinet that is easy to build, meant for clean builds with a focus on looks and lighting. Let us analyse the Corsair Carbide 400C in detail and see whether it holds up to the experienced company’s claims.
Here are the official specifications of Carbide 400C, given on Corsair’s website.
Design and Build Quality
The first thing we notice when we remove the packaging and pull out the Carbide 400C is its compact size. The official dimensions of the cabinet are 464mm (Height) x 215mm (Width) x 425mm (Depth). This makes the 400C more compact that most consumer grade mid-tower cases. The case is suitable if you intend to fit it in tight spaces.
The next evident aspect of the Corsair Carbide 400C is an understated and minimalist approach to the overall look, feel, design and build of the cabinet. The 400C is shy of curves of any sort, and is characterised by straight lines and edges. On the front side, all you get is the Corsair logo at the bottom left corner. The remaining of the entire front panel is blank, smooth black matte finish. Overall, we like the looks of the Carbide 400C. They are modern and fit well with modern themes.
Being completely plain, the front panel has no provision for air intake. Air intake is done via small openings on the side, on the outer perimeter of the front panel. This means that the air has makes its path into the cabinet by twisting and turning. More on the air flow below.
A noteworthy aspect of the 400C is that there is no provision for mounting of front panel devices like DVD ROM drives. With the 400C, Corsair is confident that DVD drives are a thing of the past. This might not entirely be true, to the say the least, and we are not fans of Corsair’s decision to remove support for DVD drives. Grand Theft Auto V PC retail comes as a package of 7 DVDs. You just cannot use the DVDs if you’re using the 400C, and that means that you’ll have to download about 80GB of data just to play the game. In a country like India, most people don’t have the broadband speed nor the data quota to download that. Also, another challenge one is likely to face is in the the scenario when you purchase a new motherboard. You have to install the LAN drivers by downloading it on some other computer and then transferring it via a pen drive to your computer. That’s because you can’t use the motherboard driver CD to install the LAN drivers, and you can’t access the internet because your LAN drivers are not yet installed.
Completely leaving out the provision of front panel devices also means that if you have a motherboard like the ASUS X99 Series 10 Anniversary Edition, which comes with a front panel SupremeFX Audio Unit, you just cannot use it in the Carbide 400C. So if you intend on buying the Carbide 400C, just make sure that you won’t be needing a DVD drive or any other front panel device.
Moving past our major gripe for the Carbide 400C, lets look at the other aspects of this compact and minimalist cabinet. The I/O panels are located on the top front corner of the cabinet. You get two USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm headphone and a microphone port, and Power and Rest buttons. The top side also has good provision for airflow and fan mounting. You can easily mount two 120mm fans on the top. You also get a magnetic dust filter to cover the top.
The left hand side of the 400C is a windowed panel with screw-less, swing-out opening and closing mechanism. There is a knob that can be pulled to open the panel up. This is quite a convenient feature, especially when you are frequently fiddling with the internals of your computer. The glass panel is not of the highest quality, but will do for more most people. It attracts a lot of fingerprints and easy scratches. If your internal components use RGB lighting, the glass panel will ensure to pull glances towards your case. This is one definitely for the looks!
The right hand panel is completely plain. There are no protrusions on the panel, more on that later. The bottom has a good open surface area, meant for airflow to the power supply unit. There is also a removable dust filter for the bottom vents. The Carbide 400C cabinet sits on four really beefy feet. We quite like this addition. It makes for good gripping of the cabinet to the ground along with good shock resistance.
Opening the Corsair Carbide 400C, reveals a cabinet with a very well thought out and practical design, meant for clean, efficient builds which are easy to manage and tinker. This is where the 400C shines the most. It gives you a good sense of space, even when the size of the cabinet is not that large in the first place.
Keep in mind that you can only use 120mm x 3 (360mm) radiators with the 400C, such is the compatibility of this case. You can mount two 120mm fans on the roof, and three on the front side. The cabinet package comes with one fan attached in the front and one in the rear. Both fans are installed on height-adjustable mounts.
You get seven motherboard expansion slots in the back. That should do fine for most builds, including SLI and Crossfire builds with an added sound card. There is removable cage area that can house two 3.5” drives. On the right hand side, there is a rack with three trays for 2.5” drives.
Rest of the internal aspects are common to other Corsair cabinets. You get three rubber-grommeted cable routing holes. There are cut-outs on the top and bottom, for routing PCIe power cables from your power supply unit to the top of the motherboard.
Building the Corsair Carbide 400C
Our building experience with the Corsair Carbide 400C was pretty good, minus a few niggles. Our ATX motherboard fit in just fine, without any issues. Same was the case for our 2.5” and 3.5” drives. We made sure to use all the drive bays (a total of 5) to see if the cabinet could hold up, and it did.
Corsair has included removable plastic compartments to completely conceal the PSU and its cabling. We ditched the plastic compartment completely as it complicated cable management and removed the sense of space in an already compact cabinet.
The positions of the openings throughout the motherboard are perfect. Corsair nailed this one. We tried different size GPUs and they all fit in just fine. From the Radeon RX 470 to the extremely long GTX 1070 (370mm in length), we managed to fit in all these GPUs without any obstructions. We could even manage the cabling of the GPUs perfectly, because of the well thought out positions of the cable holes. We successfully installed the Antec H600 Pro Liquid Cooler into the Carbide 400C without any problems.
Building the Corsair Carbide 400C was a better experience than building cabinets much larger in size, like the Carbide 400R or even the Corsair Spec-02 and Spec-03. The is where the 400C shines the most, the sheer cohesiveness in building the internals from scratch.
Not all is a fairy tail story though. Once we were completed with the internals, it was time to close the cabinet. On the right side, it was a struggle to get the cover to close. Using all five slots for drives meant a lot of cables in the right. The right panel doesn’t have any protrusion, and the clearance for cables was way less. So that meant there was no provision for so many cables. Thus, fact of the matter is, we could not close the right hand side panel at all because it just wouldn’t slot in. Apart from missing provision for DVD drives, this is a our second biggest issue with the Carbide 400C.
Airflow and Noise
CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K
CPU Cooler: Antec H600 Pro
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 3
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GBx2 3000Mhz
GPU: Zotac GTX 1070 Amp Extreme, XFX Radeon RX470
PSU: Seasonic X850
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar DX
Drives: 2×3.5” SATA HDDs, 3×2.5” SSDs
Fans: 2x120mm Corsair fans in front, 1x120mm Corsair fan on roof, 1x120mm Antec fan with cooler radiator in the back.
The Corsair Carbide 400C has multiple zones for air intake and exhaust, depending on the alignment of your fans. For our build, we had two 120mm Corsair fans for intake in the front side. The front side is completely blocked, so the air is taken in through the vents on the perimeter of the entire front side. This works better than expected, as the vents are large enough to suck in enough air. Don’t let the small size of the 400C fool you, this is a very well thought out design, ensuring good airflow.
Our top panel’s 120mm fan was placed to exhaust hot air from the CPU and RAM area. During stress operation of our PC, we could feel a superfluous flow of hot air on the top and the back panels. This exhaust air was good in volume, better than our bigger Corsair Carbide 400R. This signifies good air take and good air flow pathways. We were fairly satisfied with the 400Cs performance in this department.
Things aren’t as good in the system noise department. While the Carbide 400C has enough justifications in its build and design to lessen as much noise at it can, one can’t ignore the fact that the glass window leaks out considerable noise. The glass panel is just not suitable enough to dampen noise. This is in no way a deal breaker or a major gripe, the cabinet manages to stay pretty silent in most cases, but “pretty” silent isn’t silent.
The Corsair Carbide 400C Mid-Tower Cabinet has a lot to offer. A glass panel, a swing out screw-free opening mechanism, support for ATX, MicroATX, miniITX motherboards, impeccable interior peripheral placement and cable management options. Add to that, removable screw-free drive bays, support for water coolers, USB 3.0 front panel ports and multiple fan mounting slots. It offers all of this in a compact cabinet that is made of high quality material.
What you get in the Carbide 400C is great cable management and ease of building, with a lot of options to achieve a clean build that will be great to look at. This cabinet will work really well with RGB LED lighting systems.
Yet, the Corsair Carbide 400C comes with its fair shares of problems. Lack of slots for mounting front panels drives like DVD ROM drives might be a deal breaker for some. No protrusion on left hand side panel means that on fully loaded build, it will be a challenge to shut the panel because the clearance between the panel and the left side is dangerously low.
Priced at ₹8,999 the Corsair Carbide 400C isn’t the most cost effective solution for a mid-range cabinet. You can find other Corsair and NZXT cabinets that cost lower and offer almost the same features. For those looking for a compact, high quality build that will fit in a liquid cooler, a big graphics card, lots of fans and good looks this cabinet is a good buy. However, that is all we can say about this cabinet. You can find more cost effective solutions, but then you will sacrifice on build quality and not-so-intuitive inner design.
+Great cable management, easy to assemble
+Sturdy build quality
+Modern, understated look
+Will fit in just about anything
-No optical drive slot
-Glass panel is a fingerprint and scratch magnet
-Very little clearance on right hand side for cables
-Useless PSU area cover