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Product Listing
Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 Cube - A Case with Two Chambers
By Kenny Yeo - 28 Oct 2013
Launch SRP: S$189

Installation & Ease of Use

Installation & Ease of Use

The Corsair 540 has a spacious interior that we think most users will find sufficient. Notice the numerous grommets for cable management. 

The Carbide 540 is unique because of its dual-chamber design - a primary chamber for the motherboard and a secondary chamber for the PSU, storage devices and optical drives. Its a unique concept that is not often seen in casings (Lian Li's PC-D600 adopts a similar concept) and the most obvious benefit of such a design and layout is that without the optical drives and hard drives in the way, the motherboard, along with the graphics card, CPU and memory, can receive cool air directly from the intake fans. In addition, with the PSU on the opposite side of the casing, there are no pesky cables that get in the way.

The casing is able to accommodate all the popular motherboard form factors including mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX and E-ATX. Additionally, Corsair says it will also manage graphics cards up to 32cm in length and CPU coolers up to 18cm in height.

Installing the motherboard was a straightforward affair, since the standoffs for a regular ATX motherboard has already been put in place straight from the factory. The expansion slots use standard thumbscrews, so installing the graphics card was a cinch too.

At the bottom of this main chamber are also two drive trays for 3.5-inch drives, with SATA connectors round the back. This means you install your drives on the drive trays itself and then simply slide it into place and into the SATA connector. This means less cabling and it is a thoughtful and nice touch. Users can choose to install 2.5-inch drives into these bays too, but that would require using screws to secure them to the drive tray. As such, it's better to use the dedicated SSD cage in the secondary chamber.

Since the drives are installed in the secondary chamber, the motherboard receives cool air directly from the two large 140mm intake fans.

There are two 3.5-inch drive bays at the bottom of the primary chamber with SATA connectors.

To install standard 3.5-inch drives, simply attach them to the tray and slide them into the cage. The 3.5-inch drive trays can accommodate 2.5-inch drives but you would need to use screws to secure them in place.

The expansion slots use thumbscrews for easy installation. The casing was also able to easily accommodate our 30cm (12-inch) long Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics card. For reference, a vast majority of graphics cards are 10.5-inch long with the casing's design easily catering to 12.5-inch long cards.

In the secondary chamber, you will find two 5.25-inch optical drive bays, two hard drive trays for 3.5-inch drives, and a removable SSD cage that can hold up to four 2.5-inch drives. Installation of these drives is, as you would expect, a completely tool-less affair.

The SSD cage is secured only on one end and as such feels a bit flimsy and prone to shaking. Therefore, we would recommend using it only for SSDs, since they have no moving parts and do not vibrate. However, if you absolutely need to install a 2.5-inch hard disk drive, then it is best to install it in one of the deeper positions closer to the mounting point to reduce vibration.

Granted, your optical drives and hard drives require substantially less cooling than your motherboard, graphics card and CPU, but we would really like to have the option to, at the very least, install an exhaust fan to provide some ventilation. As it is, this chamber of the casing does not offer any active cooling options and only has an air mesh at the rear. That said, for users who do not mind improvising, we found that the size of the holes of the rear mesh is big enough to accommodate mounting screws for aftermarket fans. As such, users can improvise by mounting their own exhaust fan at the rear of the secondary chamber. But do note that this is not the most effective setup since the mesh continues to be in the way, and unless you have the right size screws, the fan might rattle a bit.

The PSU bay is pretty interesting as there is a tool-less installation option. By using the mounting bracket and thumbscrews, you can easily secure the PSU in position. Depending on the PSU, getting a good fit takes a bit of trial and error, but for those who hate using the screwdriver, this is a viable alternative.

On the top left corner are the two bays for 5.25-inch drives, the cage above the PSU bay holds up to four 2.5-inch drives.

To install 5.25-inch drives, simply insert the drive into the bay until the latch clicks into place, indicating that the drive is secured in position.

The SSD cage holds up to four 2.5-inch SSDs or hard drives.

 Users can avoid the hassle of using the screwdriver to secure the PSU by using the special mounting bracket and thumbscrews.

A look at the casing with the components installed. It is pretty spacious, and with the PSU on the opposite side, free from cable clutter.

  • Aesthetics 8
  • Functionality 8
  • Usability 8.5
  • Value 8
The Good
Unique dual chamber design
Largely tool-free operation
Spacious internals
Good build quality
Excellent airflow in main chamber
The Bad
Secondary chamber has little ventilation
Inadequate 3.5-inch drive bays
Occupies large footprint, tougher to position
Lack of handles or wheels, harder to transport
Installing front bay monitoring panels not ideal
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