Performance & Conclusion
To ensure accurate thermal results, we installed the same hardware in each case in virtually the same way. Components included the Asrock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional, Phenom II X6 1100T, Prolimatech Megahalems in passive mode (i.e. no fan actively dispelling heat), the Inno3D GeForce GTX 580 OC and powering the system is the OCZ's ZX 1000w power supply.
The Corsair Carbide Series 400Q kept the CPU cool at 72 degrees, only a few degrees higher than some of the best results we have recorded using cases such as the RVX01, D-Frame and HAF X. This placed the 600C on par with the Chaser MK-1, while it is slightly better than the Vengeance C70, Lian-Li Lancool PC-K63 and Cooler Master Silencio 650.
It was to be expected, but the Carbide 400Q is also rather quiet and although I don't have any physical data to back this up, it's similar to the Cooler Master Silencio 650 in this category.
Last month the Carbide 600 series went on sale for $150, which is a tad expensive for a mid-tower case, though its build quality and design was second to none. The Carbide 400 series is every bit as capable and while the build quality is still excellent, many design elements from the 600 series are missing. For this reason we expect that the Carbide 400C and 400Q will arrive to be a more affordable alternative. If that is the case then a retail price of around $100 should be expected.
(Update: Corsair has confirmed to us the official retail price for the Carbide 400Q is $99).
For that money the 400Q is competing with the likes of the NZXT S340 and Cooler Master's CM Storm Scout 2. This is a crowded space because for a little over $100 you could buy the Be Quiet! Silent Base 600, Silverstone RV05, Cooler Master MasterCase 5 and NZXT H440.
Compared to the NZXT S340, the Carbide 400Q looks to be a higher quality case and we prefer the matte paint job over the glossy fingerprint magnet finish of the S340. In fact, we think the Carbide 400Q is better than most of those cases mentioned above and a good match for the MasterCase 5 and H440 which provide serious competition.
The Carbide 400Q looks great and we appreciate the minimalist design. Installation is a breeze in this case and there is plenty of room for cable management to create a near build. There is loads of room for high-end hardware and the only area where the case is lacking is in storage but we can't deduct points here as the 400Q is as well-equipped as the competition.
Pros: Clean, minimalist design should appeal to most. Ample space for high-end hardware and plenty of airflow. Quiet, compact and lightweight. Comes in a windowed version with more options for top mounted fans.
Cons: At $100, there isn't much to complain about here. Perhaps more flexible storage options, though we feel that two 3.5" drives and three 2.5" drives will be enough for most.