We reviewed the 300R back in March of 2012. Back then it was priced at £58 and seen as something of a deviation for Corsair to release what was essentially a budget case. We're guessing Corsair's decision must have paid off as winding the clock forward to 2013 we see the release of the 330R. The 330R shares the 300Rs internals, but has added sound proofing and major changes to the exterior, not least of which is a full length door. It's also still very competitively priced at £70. We can think of this then as a "Silent" version of the 300R, but with a few important changes here and there.
Max Mainboard Size
ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX, Extended ATX
Internal Bays Qty
Front Accessible Bays Qty
Rear : 120 mm fan x 1 / exhaust ¦ Front : 140 mm fan x 1 / intake ¦ Front : 120/140 mm fan mount x 1 ¦ Top : 120/140 mm fan mount x 2
CPU Cooler Max Height
Video Card Max Length
System Cabinet Features
Noise reduction, screwless drive bays, front panel door, cable management system
3 x 5.25" 4 x 2.5" / 3.5" shared
2 x USB 3.0 ¦ 1 x headphones - mini-jack ¦ 1 x microphone - mini-jack
Up Close: Exterior Overview and Roof
As you might expect from a silent case the exterior of the 330R is pretty clean and uninterrupted by fan grills and windows. Where the 300R was open to the elements at the front, having as it did exposed fan grills and 5.25" bays, the front of the 330R is covered by a full length plastic door, finished so convincingly to look like anodised brushed aluminium, that it's not until you place your hand on it, feeling the warmth of the plastic as opposed to the cold touch of Aluminium that you realise things are not as they seem. Remembering that this is a £70 case though it's nice to have the look without the cost premium.
Air intake comes from vertical recesses down the edge of each door side, with the exception of these rebates the external appearance of the case is pretty featureless
Up on the roof we see the second external difference to the 300R. Here Corsair have provided the option of closing off the the roof fan grill by means of a clip on soundproofed plastic panel. Tantalisingly there are also mounts for 120 and 240mm fans and perhaps radiators. Will the H100i fit up here? you'll have to read on to find out.
Up Close: Front, Rear and Base
Having taken a bit of a glance at the exterior on the last page it's time to look at things a bit more in depth. Aside from the subtle corsair name and triple sail logo the only other external feature on the front of the case is the front I/O. Keeping it simple and keeping costs down Corsair have opted for just a pair of USB3s the usual audio sockets and a soft touch short travel power/reset switch..
Opening the sound dampened door reveals the 3 heavily perforated 5.25" bays, which should serve to allow additional air into the interior. Below these is the front air intake.
The Intake is easily removed by means of clips on its upper edge allowing access to the single fitted 140mm fan. Mounting points are in evidence allowing an additional 140mm to be fitted or 2x120mm. A pin and clasp mechanism allows the door to be removed or the hinge side swapped.
Round the back a single 120mm fan is on exhaust duty, below which lay a set of steel push outs for non grommeted tubing holes. The metal fan grill is domed to protect the fan and presumably prevent the aperture being blocked off should someone push the rear of the case hard up against a wall.
Corsair have opted for vented PCI covers, which although affording better airflow out of the case will invariably increase its sonic signature. Odd choice for a silent case we think.
Flipping the 330R over to look at the base we're pleased to see a huge mesh filter protecting the PSU intake area. The filter itself is plastic and is held in place by magnets. The case feet are sturdy, but are made from a hard plastic as opposed to a rubber which we guess would have lessened vibrations but would have added to the cost.
Up Close: Interior Overview and Drive Bays
Those of you familiar with the 300R, or who read Tom's review of it back in March of 2012 will readily recognise the interior of the 330R. The larger than average CPU cut out extends over the rear of RAM area, and although the cable management holes are not grommeted they are nicely formed with rolled edges. Unlike the 300R however both of the side panels are lined with a heavy woven rubber/neoprene sound absorbent material. Corsair have also opted for raised motherboard nipples instead of a separate stand-offs, which will invariably make fitting your motherboard less odious.
At 495x210x484mm the 330R isn't exactly huge, it is though still able to accept CPU coolers up to 160mm in height which should be plenty for a case of this type.
Continuing the tool free theme the 3 x 3.25" bays will not require you to whip out the screw driver to secure your devices. Arrising from the base of the case there is a bank of 4 internal drive cages, with each tray able to hold either a 3.5" (tool free) or a 2.5" (going to have to whip the screwdriver out). Above the cage is a gap which at first looks like it should house another drive cage. It is in fact deliberately left empty allowing GPUs of up to 450mm in length to be accepted.
The base of the 330R has a large ventilated area for PSUs which will be ably supported by rubber topped mounts. The PSU cut out is clean being devoid any sound or vibration dampening material around. The seven vented expansion bay covers are held in place by black thumb bolts, sitting as they do next to a meshed ventilation area
Up in the top corner we find a single black 120mm fan sited above three removable tubing hole blanks. With the roof cover removed we get a good view of the large ventilation area at the top of the case. The holes for two each of either 120mm or 140mm fans don't appear to be off set, but the distance from the roof the motherboard does seem a little bigger than on the 300R so perhaps a rad up here is an option. Rest assured we'll find out when we get to the build section of the review.
Up Close: Rear of Motherboard and Strip Down
With 21mm of room there's plenty of space on tap for cable management. Shame then that Corsair have only provided Four cable tie point. Yes Four as in "two times two", we counted them twice (it didn't take long), we even looked for nifty secret hidden ones but alas nothing. But that's not the worst of it, the tie points that are present are positioned directly adjacent to the management holes, as opposed to being off-set to one side, which means the cables routed via them will have to pass over the holes and so be clearly visible.
Where a lot of cases have a trough on the underside of the top case section the 330R has an angled section of steel reflecting downwards, so any thoughts of routing and stashing cables up here are thwarted. In the picture below right you can also see the small hole you're expected to cajole your 8pin CPU cable plug through.
With the front section removed we can see the 330R "au natural" as it were. made of reassuringly solid steel for the price there's definite rigidity and quality in evidence here. Corsair may have come in at a low price point, but they haven't scrimped where it counts and produced a tin foil case
The front I/O panel stays in place when the front is removed. It's screw on so although it's unlikely this case will find itself in a modder's hands it's good to know you can whip it off should the desire take you. The front 140mm fan sits anterior to the area inside that is clear of drive bays maximising through case airflow. A second 140mm fan can be fitted underneath, or indeed 2x120 as an alternative, and although the area is somewhat obscured by the drive cage behind the area is at least heavily slotted and drilled to maximise the through put of air.
Despite being made from ABS plastic the front panel is rigid and quite heavy, being secured as it is with six metal as opposed to plastic clips, which are a lot less likely to break. The 5.25" bay covers are also plastic and again are heavily vented with fine mesh filters.
It's not often we can show you an entire set of instructions in two photographs, but as Corsair have favoured the fold out table cloth style and kept things pretty minimal with just an exploded diagram, some multi language scripts and a pictorial representation of the parts included, we can do just that. It does have to be said though that if you value your man card this is all you should need.
The minimalistic approach has also been carried over into the accessories box and it's contents, with separately bagged sets of screws being accompanied by just 4 cable ties. Hey, that's one for every cable tie point!
Here at OC3D we favour the PSU in first approach. While we recognise the same hammer won't crack every nut we figure you're much less likely to damage anything in the case if you drop the PSU whilst installing it. Even given the 21mm of space we have we think we're going to need more than the 4 cable tie points allocated to tame medusa's tresses
The vertical cable management holes are placed perfectly for the ATX form factor but will be obscured should you fit an E-ATX board, forcing you to route cables via the space between the 5.25" and 3.5" bays. We also found the front audio header cable to be a bit on the short side as it failed to reach the header on our test motherboard, something we haven't experienced with other cases we've tested. The image below right shows the extent of it's reach , so if your socket is further in you'll be ok, but be warned. Also, don't go thinking you could run it diagonally across the mobo, firstly because it will look ugly, and secondlt because there'll be a dirty great GPU in the way.
With a minimal install such as this we've managed to achieve a reasonably tidy job back here, with plenty of space down by the 3.5" bays meaning we can stash away unwanted cables, even if we can't run anything across the top. In the end, the 8pin CPU plug fitted pretty easily through the small aperture in the roof proving our previous concerns unfounded.
As we feared the placement of the cable tie points left us no option but to route the front I/O cables right over the management holes. Still, a gargantuan CPU cut out means we'll have no problem whipping coolers in and out with gay abandon.
Job done and not too untidy, shame about the wire crossing in plain sight, and yes, we know that there's no window in the case, but we will know it's there.
With 160mm of space on tap, our review Havik 120 fits just fine, looking well proportioned in a case of this size.
But what of that space in the roof? can we fit water up there? Well with the 330R as with the 300R you can get an H80 in the rear extract if you don't mind losing the rear roof fan mount. You'll remember though that sadly even though the mounts were off set in the 300R there wasn't enough room in the 300R for the H100i. This is not the case with the 330R though, as with some 57mm of space between the roof and the edge of the motherboard there's ample rom for the H100i which with it's fans comes in at 52mm thick. If you're quick at maths you've already worked out that if you're using 25mm thick fans you can get any 240mm rad up here that is less than 32mm thick, which includes the Black ice GT stealth line, the Koolance CU720V and the AplaCool NxXxos ST30. We happen to know it will also take the 35mm thick XSPC RS 240 when used with this particular motherboard but be warned if you're going to push things even a few millimetres as like us you will probably get very close to the RAM slots and heatsinks as seen in the picture below right
Now all this talk of radiators is great, and it really is a nice feature, but let's remember whether you use an H100i, any other AIO or a custom loop, if you're going to use a top rad to chill your CPU then you can't go fitting the top cover which is designed to keep noise in at the expense of some conventional exhaust fan cooling. Do that and you'll bake your CPU in no time at all.
At the start of this review we moted that the Corsair Carbide 330R was simply a silent version of the 300R, and indeed, as the internal layout is damn near identical it would be very easy to argue this point. However, to say this is somewhat over simplifying the matter as the 330R offers much more than the 300R for pretty much the same price. It does of course share some of the same failings as the 300R, but these are largely niggles as opposed to major design faults, we're talking here about the scarcity of cable tie points behind the motherboard and the lack of rubber grommeted cable management holes. The latter of these can be attributed to a cost option, absent as a means of achieving the £70 price tag. The former omission however can't possibly be placed at the feet of the accountants. A few extra cable tie point pressed into the moulding can hardly cost the earth, and we'd certainly trade them for the 3 metal tubing punch outs on the rear panel. But these, as we say are niggles. It's important to remember the positive aspects here. Even at £70 Corsair have still managed to maintain their high quality standards, there's no sense that this was case was farmed out to a cheaper OEM to cut costs and boost revenue margins, it's Corsair through and through, the metal is thick, the finish is excellent, even the plastic front panel will have you fooled into thinking it's anodised brushed aluminium until you feel the warmth of it's touch.
So where have Corsair made the savings? Well at first glance you may think the feature count light, however for just £60 you still get sound dampening on both doors and the front panel, a full length door that can be hinged on either side, 3x5.25" bays, 4x3.5" or 2.5" bays, accommodation for ATX and EATX as well as m-ATX and Micro ITX, CPU coolers up to 160mm in height and GPUs up to 450mm in length, an included 140mm fan in the front and 120mm in the rear, and last but by no means least native support for radiators up to 32mm thick in the roof, which does of course include Corsairs own mighty H100i. Fitting a rad in the roof will of course mean you have to leave off the stealth roof plate as fitting it would starve the rad of airflow and cook your CPU in minutes, but if you want to go down the low noise air cooled route, fitting it is a great way of keeping the noise under control at the expense of a little cooling.
So what of the competition? As you most likely know, £70 buys you quite a lot of other cases. What it doesn't buy you however is a decent silent case, and certainly none of this level of quality. Add a tenner more to the pot and you can walk away with a Silencio Pure, or a Nanoxia DS2, another tenner or so and you'll get you the original Silencio, and again a few quid more will see you right for a Fractal design R4 or a Nanoxia DS1. All of these are good cases, the Silencio certainly retains our "Silence award for its sonic characteristics, but all that is offered is at a premium. The 330R is cheaper, it feels it, just a little bit, especially once you know that's not brushed Aluminium, but not much, and we don't mean cheaper in a negative sense, the 330R could never be described as "cheap".
It is we think the fact that the 330R comes in at the lower end of the pricing bracket of the silent case cohort that will prove it to be a popular choice, marketed as it is aimed at shared dorm rooms or lounge PC use, it represents great value. At the end of the day you're getting a Corsair case, a case that's able to accept big GPUs, tall coolers, even native AIOs plus normal rad support for just £70.
Thanks to Corsair for the 330R on test here today, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.