Having fleshed out their case lineup from top to bottom, Corsair is starting to show some of that old experimental spirit again. The Obsidian 350D turned out to be one of the best micro-ATX cases I've ever tested, and the Carbide Air 540 will actually be showing up in a future article as the case of choice for a very specialized build. Now, with the new Carbide 330R, Corsair has created a variant on the Carbide 300R designed to offer silent performance for end users who aren't ready to spend up on the splashier Obsidian 550D.

The competition at $99 is tough, though, especially for users who want a silent enclosure. Corsair has to contend with the intermittently available Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 and 2 along with Fractal Design's Define lineup. Silent computing is a tough racket to break into; while the 550D was a solid enough option, it continued to suffer from the iffy air cooling thermal performance that has plagued many of Corsair's designs (excepting the stellar Carbide Air 540).

The 330R adopts the internal framework of the Carbide 300R but changes some of the exterior, extracting additional mileage out of a fairly solid design. The front fascia is replaced by an acoustically padded door, but there are gaps around where the door closes that allows plenty of air to travel into the enclosure. Meanwhile, the side panels are both solid and feature acoustic padding, and the ventilation on the top of the case is covered by a snap-in shield that allows you to choose whether you want to close off the top and prevent noise from escaping or employ up to a 280mm closed loop cooler.

As I mentioned, the interior of the Carbide 330R is basically the same as the 300R, just with acoustic padding added where appropriate. There's a fine enough balance struck in expandability, and Corsair's commitment to making the case as easy to assemble as possible is evident as there's a stud in the middle of the motherboard tray for aligning the motherboard; no standoffs need be installed, either, as the tray itself has standoffs built into it and extruded.

Corsair Carbide 330R Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25"
Internal 4x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fans (supports 2x 120mm/140mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 240mm
GPU 450mm
Dimensions 19.49" x 8.27" x 19.06"
495mm x 210mm x 484mm
Special Features Supports 280mm radiator in top
Acoustic padding
Price MSRP $89; $99 at NewEgg

Interestingly, Corsair doesn't include any kind of fan control, opting instead to include a pair of low noise 140mm fans. You'll see later that they do manage to keep noise levels down, but at the risk of spoiling the results, the overarching trend with computer cases continues to be "Silence, Performance, Price: Pick Any Two."

Building in the Corsair Carbide 330R
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  • ShieTar - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I can't really imagine that being the noise floor, my mobile phone gets a noise closer to 20dB. I would assume it is rather that the equipment can not be well calibrated below 30dB, or that measurements below are just not repeatable over time-periods of several years.
    But I'd love to see a more detailed description of where the 30dB come from. Care to educate us, Dustin?
  • casteve - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    Here's your education :)
    The noise meter has a floor of 30dB.

    Also, unless you've calibrated your mobile app with known good test equipment in someone's anechoic chamber, it's just flailing around. Pretty to look at, possibly useful to compare relative things (hey! the back of my PC is louder than the front!), but not a tool for absolute measurements.
  • ShieTar - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the link. And as I suspected, it notes "The SL130 is rated to go as low as 30dB". The instrument will realize if it is measuring less than 30dB, the software will just refuse to put a number to those measurements as it can no longer be accurate in this region.

    That the difference to the mobile app, of course if it is showing 20dB it might be 25 dB in reality, but a silent room (no traffic noise nearby, no AC running, etc) will easily be below 30dB. If you can hear another person breathing, its probably closer to 10dB.

    Its understandable and scientifically correct for Dustin to not post results below 30dB then (even if his equipment would make a guess), but in reality there is still a slight difference between a 30dB and a 25 dB installation. It is more relevant for people trying to keep their system running while they read/sleep in the same room, and generally unnoticeable whenever your PC is generating sounds/music.
  • briandel - Sunday, August 25, 2013 - link

    The use of 'hail mary' in the article doesn't make sense. A hail mary would be a desperate attempt at something with a low probability of success. 'Slam dunk' would be more appropriate sports analogy.
  • Amoro - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I think they did a worse job than the 300R.

    CPU Stock: 0.4 degrees C lower
    GPU Stock: 6.0 degrees C HIGHER
    Load Noise Levels Stock: 2.2 decibels HIGHER
  • Primoz - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    "Meanwhile, the 300R is essentially overwhelmed and the 330R is able to produce better acoustics under stress."

    This is prolly switched around?
  • gelatinous_blob - Thursday, October 3, 2013 - link

    "I love the Nanoxia Deep Silence cases and would easily recommend one over the 330R"

    It would be good to elaborate on this. I'm evaluating cases and it would be good to know in what ways the Nanoxia is preferable.
  • Max22258 - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    I have bought a 330R to replace an Antec case that I had. Right from the start I found my old Antec case with the side panel latch was a much better design then the corsair. I wish they would have panels that latches instead of the old sliding hook that are dated from the beginning of personal computer. I had problem installing the panel on one side when the computer case was upright. Also I do have a corsair power supply, when I installed the motherboard and the video card, the six pin connectors could not reach the motherboard and video card, I had to use an extension. Also when installing SATA cable for a drive, you should use the 90 degree connectors, mine were touching the side panels. At the top if you want to install the 140 mm fans, you cannot have the top panel installed, the clips for the top panel falls right on the mounting screws. They should have design the top panel to enable the mounting of the 140 mm fans. Also there was no manual, as I searched on how did they install theses fans. The foam covering must be removed and only one fan can be mounted.

    All of these points should have make your review, I have look for years at Arnand Tech for advice and reviews. I am quite disappointed with this review.

    Max 22258

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