Computer Case Testing & Results
Of course, the simplest way to test an enclosure is just build a system in it. I’ll throw a somewhat typical “enthusiast” build (consisting of a Core i5 2500K, Radeon 7970, 3.5″ HDD, 2.5″ SSD, with a Swiftech H220 providing cooling for the CPU) into the Carbide Air 540 and note any issues in doing so.
First, the power supply. Interestingly enough, one could easily do without the typical four screws to secure the PSU, as the Carbide Air 540 includes a bracket that fits snugly against most PSUs (the range of adjustment is quite large – I don’t have every size of PSU ever made to test, but it looks like most won’t cause a problem here). If for some reason your power supply can’t use this function, this bracket is easy to remove. Again, a nice touch and thoughtful addition by Corsair. There’s nothing more frustrating for a tinkerer like me to work with a case that advertises “tool-less” features but still require a screwdriver – not a problem with the Carbide Air 540.
The segmented approach tends to segment the build as well – while most time in other cases is probably spent alternating between the two sides, I found most of my time was spent on this side in the Carbide Air 540. Once all of the components are screwed in on the “hot” side, it’s easy to just poke whatever power connectors you need through and plug them in. Or, perhaps because of the many convenient features on the “hot” side (center post for installing motherboard, tool-less 3.5″ trays, tool-less PCI-E slot covers…) I just didn’t end up spending near as much time over there.
I had wanted to show a picture of how much room was available for stashing cables in front of the power supply. No need to have a modular supply if you don’t want one, as there are more than enough tie down points in this area to tie up every single cable if need be. Or, if you prefer, leave em all in a nest of cables – they won’t be in the way or obstructing any airflow anyway!
The only part of this case that isn’t tool-less would be removing the actual front panel, which wouldn’t be necessary unless you needed to remove the 5.25″ bays. Two small screws will do the trick, then thumbscrews are exposed for the optical drive bays. You can see the five tie down points on the front wall as well in this picture.
With the motherboard installed and a Swiftech H220 mounted up top, you can see there would be just enough room for a normal push/pull arrangement if desired. The radiator is mounted far enough away from the motherboard to still allow for some room to work back there and route cables. Depending on the motherboard, a push/pull configuration might still get in the way of plugging in the 8-pin CPU connector so make sure this is connected first if using such an arrangement!
Finally, the system is completely assembled. Notice the proximity of those intake fans, pointing straight at the Radeon 7970 and CPU area. With its unique configuration, there is still quite a bit of room to work in even with large GPUs, but the overall dimensions stay relatively short in height and depth allowing cool air to directly hit the hottest components.