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Corsair Carbide Air 540 case rethinks the PC layout

Corsair's new Carbide Air 540 PC case breaks from the normal ATX layout with a compartmentalised design that separates the hottest components from the rest of the system

Corsair has introduced the new Carbide Air 540 PC case at this year’s Computex. It uses a radical new layout that differs from the usual ATX model by separating the hottest components from the rest of the system. We took a hands-on look this morning.

Corsair Carbide cases

The Air 540 is much wider than the average case, as Corsair has moved the PSU and disk drives to behind the motherboard tray. This leaves the hottest (and arguably best looking) components in a section to themselves, letting you concentrate cooling from the twin front intake fans where they are most needed. They sit much closer to the hardware too, so they should be much more effective.

Because the PSU doesn’t need to sit below the motherboard, the Air 540 is shorter and shallower than most cases too – it’s practically a cube, so we doubt it will be long until an enterprising modder turns it into Portal’s Companion Cube.

Corsair Carbide cases

Despite being primarily aimed at air cooled systems, the Air 540 doesn’t skimp on water-cooling support – as well as radiator mounting points in the roof, you can also add a second loop to the front of the case should you desire.

The Carbide Air 540 will cost roughly $140 when it launches in July, with UK pricing still to be confirmed.

Corsair Carbide cases

Corsair also revealed the new Carbide 300R – it uses a more traditional ATX layout, and is designed for silence rather than ultimate air cooling. With sound-dampening foam on the side panels, front door and removable roof panel, it should be able to keep even the loudest of heat sink fans under control.

Corsair Carbide cases

That’s not to say it isn’t adept at cooling, as it retains Corsair’s pattern of placing the front air intake above the hard disk cage, letting air flow directly over the graphics card. Finished in black, it’s a less ostentatious PC upgrade than the Air 540, and should be available later this year for system builders craving quiet.

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