Corsair Carbide Air 540 review
The unusually designed Corsair Carbide Air 540 is half as wide again as a standard midi tower case, and its right side panel opens to reveal a second bay behind the motherboard tray. This space houses your PSU, two external 5 1/4in drive bays and four neatly designed 2 1/2in bays, as well as making it easy to route cables through rubber-grommeted holes to the main bay containing your other components. The large left bay is the business end of the system, housing your motherboard and two 3 1/2in drive trays at the bottom of the case.
The left-hand bay has a stunningly clear acrylic window which fills almost the entire side panel, while the case makes it easy to build a system that's really worth showing off. There are three fans installed in the case: two 140mm intakes at the front and a 120mm rear exhaust. There are also fan mounts at the top of the case.
We've never encountered a chassis that was as convenient to route cables through as this. In a few minutes, we knocked together a system that looked perfect and had outstanding airflow, simply because its cables were all tucked away. The case had plenty of room for our 275mm-long Radeon R9 290 graphics card, and can take cards of up to 320mm long without requiring you to remove any fans. There's room for even the tallest CPU coolers, too, with support for heights up to 180mm.
Although this chassis is easy to build and innovatively designed, it's not conspicuously quiet. It's built for airflow, so is ventilated on every side save the acrylic panel. Whether you opt for water or air cooling, you'll be able to hear your system’s cooling components and a muted rush of air from the fans. This is unlikely to bother you if you keep your PC on the floor, but bear in mind that there’s no mesh to stop dust being sucked into the cut-outs at the bottom of the case.
That lack of dust-proofing is the only fault we can find, but it’s not enough to keep the Air 540 from winning our Ultimate award. If you've got the money and the space, this is an outstanding case.