Corsair Carbide 330R Review
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.