Corsair Graphite 230T Review
In reviewing the Corsair Graphite 230T we tried very hard not to be swayed by the Orange colour scheme. We happen to like it, and like it a lot. We think it's refreshing without being too in your face and we applaud Corsairs decision to go with it, even if they have chosen to listen to the accountants as well as the marketing people, you see Orange is not the only fruit as the 230T is also available in a Black and a Grey colour scheme. Colour scheme aside we also quite like the looks of the 230T, especially the way the side panels are scalloped around the corners as they meet up with the black front panel. The side window could do with being a bit bigger but it does its job showing us the sexy stuff without exposing all the dreary drive bays at the front.
On the subject of drive bays, inside there's room for 3x5.25", 4x3.5" and 4x2.5" which should be plenty enough for anyone. A large CPU cut out will make changing coolers from any CPU location a piece of piddle and with 160mm of headroom you're also going to be able to fit a decent sized tower cooler in here. As the internal storage is located towards the base of the case if you use the upper PCI slots on your Motherboard, which after all are usually the optimum ones, you'll be able to fit in GPUs up to 430mm in length. Should you need to use the lower slots then all is not lost as there's still 230mm of clearance to be had.
Cooling is provided by 2x120mm LED fans at the front and a single 120mm non LED fan on extract at the rear. Additional fan locations are up for grabs in the roof, which will accept either 2x120mm or 2x140mm and in the floor of the case where either a120 or a 140 can be placed. One of the more unusual decisions Corsair has taken is not putting rubber isolation pads onto the PSU mounts. This is especially odd when we note that there eye for detail sees them placing no less than eight adjustable isolation grommets in the roof fan mounts. Fortunately the lack of isolation rubbers under the PSU does not appear to have affected noise transmission to any extent.
Although the integral cooling is more than adequate it would have been nice if the 230T was able to accept some of the 240mm radiator based AIOs, however with only 28mm of clearance between the top of the Motherboard and the roof of the case this avenue is pretty much closed off. Heck 28mm is only just enough to get a fan up there. Another 20mm or so added to the chassis height would have opened up this option and made the 230T a much stronger contender especially as it's aimed at the gaming market where there's a distinct probability that the owner is going to want to overclock his rig to some extent. As there's only 8mm of clearance between the edge of the rear fan and the edge of the case it's also going to be a bit of a squeeze to get a smaller 120mm units in this location, Unsurprisingly the 120mm wide rads of the Corsair Hydro Series fit just fine, if you're opting for something else check the radiator dimensions before you buy.
Thus far we haven't talked about quality and build but really we should as it's here that Corsair never seem to fail. No matter whether you're buying top of the range or something further down the tree we've always seen, and begun to expect, top notch build quality from Corsair. That's not to say we take it for granted, as with all our reviews the 230T has been gone over with a fine tooth comb looking for faults rather than simply happening across them (we're not OC3D for nothing you know). Not only were we pleased to find nothing amiss but were actually quite taken aback by the attention to detail in a case at this price point. The paint is thick and well applied, the panels are straight and the shut lines are exceptional, even the rivets were neat and tidy, with all major joints being triple or double riveted. The case must have been built to a budget, but as with the 300R and more recent 330R it's hard to see where Corsair have made the cuts necessary to bring the case in at the price they have
So the 230T is a good case, perhaps with some areas for improvement but to bring these into relief let’s take a look at what else the £65 you'll pay for this case gets you. Assuming you're a gamer looking for a case with good airflow then the obvious competition here is the BitFenix Shinobi, perhaps now a little dated in looks the Shinobi does offer much of what the 230T serves up and although BitBenix Build quality is by no means bad, it's not anywhere as impressive as that found with Corsair. You might also consider one of the cheaper variants of the CM 690 II. For this price you're not going to get a windowed version and again the design is getting a bit long in the tooth, but crucially able to take a rad in the roof. Otherwise there's not really a lot else out there to challenge it at the £65 price point. However, spend just a fiver more and you're into Ronin territory, there's not the same build quality, or the colour options available, but you do get a huge window and native watercooling support for 240 AIOs in the roof.
We're more than pleased with the Graphite 230T. It might not be perfect, but then very little is. If it had native watercooling support in the roof we'd award a Gold, as it is though it gets a well-earned silver. We're also awarding a Gamers choice badge. Granted it might not improve your in game performance but we think it's damn sexy and offers all that a gamer needs for a dashed-darn decent price, especially the Orange, did we mention we liked the Orange!