Corsair Carbide Clear 600C ATX Fat-Tower Case Review

With room for two large radiators and four graphics cards, Corsair's Carbide 600C specifications read like a list of reasons to buy oversized. It looks good too, but is it really a full tower or just a wide mid-tower?

What separates a mid-tower from a full-tower? It used to be a drive rack or a secondary power supply mount opposite the motherboard from the power supply bay. That design generally required the case to be at least 21" tall, yet most gaming mid-towers have grown from previous 17 to 19" heights to 19 to 21" without adding any of those extra component mounts. Top-panel radiator support is one reason mid-towers now overlap former full-tower dimensions, and Corsair expands the height of its Carbide 600C slightly beyond 21" by making the feet thicker. While I'm not going to call a mid-tower on stilts a full-tower, this is far from the case's only deviation from tradition.

The Carbide 600C grabs attention with a clear side panel on the right side. Or is it the wrong side? While opinions vary, the idea of bottom-to-top airflow also happens to be the way convection works. The alternative layout is far from unique, yet still far from tradition as very few designers have chosen it. The 10.3" width is even less common, making this 21.2"-tall mid-tower appear far shorter when there's nothing nearby to compare its scale. And speaking of compactness, a shorter-than-normal 18.3" depth helps the case fit completely under many desks, rather than sticking out at each end.


Interior And Exterior

Ports are lined up along the right edge of the Carbide 600C's top panel, near its front corner. A reset button, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, headset jacks, a three-speed fan control switch, an HDD activity LED, and a lighted power button are all included. The top panel, face panel and drive bay door feature thick plastic construction inlaid with a thin steel sheet and finished in metallic graphite paint.

The drive bay door hides two 5.25" bays, providing a great place to mount a drive-bay style pump and reservoir, or a big fan controller, or a vendor-specific overclocking apparatus, or a mini backplane, or even (gasp!) optical drives!

Rip the face off, and you'll find a mesh filter covering two 140mm fans. The upper intake can slide downward to provide 3/4" radiator cap clearance beneath the forward 3.5" drive mount, and the mount itself is removable if you need another inch or so. Space below the bottom fan is more than adequate at 2.5", though you might want to slide things around if you're placing a second radiator on the bottom panel. Alternatively, a second set of slotted screw holes fits 120mm fans.

The rear panel is virtually all mesh, and includes a removable power supply plate to allow the power supply to slide into the case from the back. The bottom panel's mesh filter can also slide out from the back, though its magnetic mounts mean this isn't a pure requirement. A single 140mm exhaust fan is screwed to slotted mounting holes to allow repositioning for radiators, and the same mount also includes a set of slotted screw holes for 120mm fans.

Because the Carbide 600C inverts both the motherboard and cooling arrangement, its top panel radiator mount is on the bottom. It supports 2x 140mm and 3x 120mm radiators. Space between that panel and the motherboard's upper edge is actually below the motherboard, as described in the specifications.

Bottom-up airflow requires the bottom be free from obstruction, which excuses the use of tall feet. They're not quite stilts, but they also don't add to the capacity of the chassis.

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