Cube Case Final Thoughts
Overall, I was very impressed with the Carbide Air 540. There you go – review over, right? In terms of “innovation” (rather, daring to produce a design outside the norm) the Carbide Air 540 deserves your consideration, if only in respect to taking a risk and executing so well. Thankfully, Corsair has also delivered an incredible enclosure in doing so. I’m constantly switching cases and trying different configurations of hardware – this is the first enclosure I’ve built a system in that I really felt whoever designed it was thinking of me when they were drawing up the plans.
Everything from the center motherboard post to the SATA backplanes for 3.5″ drives, to truly tool-less 2.5″ (modular!) cages and tie down points everywhere… I’d still like the option for a side fan for those really hot CrossfireX configurations, but building systems in the Carbide Air 540 more than makes up for that specific scenario. Besides, anyone spending more than $700 in graphics cards will probably end up spending more than $140 on a case (or water cooling) to put them in. For virtually every other build out there, the convenience features of the Carbide Air 540 are very much appreciated and well worth the price.
That said, it still isn’t perfect. For a relatively unique enclosure, it’s very well done, but it could still benefit from some tweaks. I didn’t mind that it was so wide, but it did feel that there was at least an inch of wasted space on the right side (power supply and cable management area). The side panels (thank you for using hinged panels!) felt a little flimsy by themselves, but were adequate when secured – and since they were hinged, they weren’t difficult to close whatsoever. They were thin though, and didn’t do much to block any noise from the components inside – but Corsair makes other cases for that purpose.
Perhaps the biggest issue for me was the heat caused by the hard drive below being in close proximity to the 7970 when I tried an overclocked “worst case scenario” Crossfire X configuration – while the hard drive temps in the location shown weren’t horrible, they were about 9 degrees Celsius warmer than most other cases (and the Crossfire configuration ran a little warmer as well – but that’s been my experience with any case that doesn’t use a side panel fan). With an option to mount some fans on the bottom panel, that might have changed slightly. Also, using a 3x120mm fan configuration on the front might have provided a more direct path of cool air to the very bottom of the Carbide Air 540.