Corsair Carbide 600Q Inverse Tower

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.


The first case I examined with an inverted motherboard was the SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E back in 2011. Its good performance was was probably due to the large intake fan rather than how the components were laid out. Compared to cases with traditional designs, the most noticeable difference was the GPU being greatly affected by the rising heat from the CPU. It basically shifted the thermal burden from one component to another, leaving me unconvinced that this layout was advantageous.

The Corsair Carbide 600Q does a few things differently that makes this motherboard orientation more beneficial. The bottom of the TJ08-E is sealed while the 600Q's floor is heavily ventilated, giving the CPU heatsink an additional source of intake. The TJ08-E is designed such that the power supply intake fan faces up, essentially thermally isolating it from the rest of the system. In contrast, the PSU fan faces the video card in the 600Q, possibly helping the exhaust from the GPU escape the system (given how efficient power supplies are these days, it can handle a bit of extra thermal stress). Most importantly, supplied by unrestricted vents, the front fans have a straight shot through the case without being impeded by any drive cages.

Under our testing parameters, the 600Q performed at an extremely high level, running both cooler and quieter than almost every case we've tested. The third fan wasn't even necessary and in fact, its addition did not improve the overall results. A built-in fan controller is always nice to see but the three speed switch doesn't offer much granular control. While the case is quiet in the empirical sense, the stock fans are subpar subjectively, producing a distracting wobbly noise that sounds like something inside is off-balance.

Though the case has unusual dimensions, trading depth for height and width, its appearance is inconspicuous, more minimalist than even Fractal's Define towers as its top is completely featureless rather than having open fan placements or modular fan panels, and the build quality feels more solid all around. The Carbide 600Q, NZXT S340 and Fractal Define S share the same drive-less open airflow scheme and all suffer from limited hard drive support as a result, with the 600Q having only two slots for 3.5 inch drives. The fan positions at the bottom of the case could have been easily adapted to offer additional drive mounts for some extra versatility. The 5.25 inch bays are a rare sight in a case of this type and could be retrofitted for extra hard drives.

If not for the stock fans, the Corsair Carbide 600Q would be a killer quiet case. This is something that Corsair needs to work on as both the Air 240 and Carbide 500R are similarly afflicted. Cases from their competitors, like Phanteks, NZXT, Fractal Design, BitFenix, and SilverStone, are all equipped with superior sounding fans, so they really need to step up their game in this department if they want to be taken seriously as a noise-conscious manufacturer. The Carbide 600Q is painfully close to greatness, but falls just short. It's also rather expensive, selling for US$150 and the potential cost of replacing the fans making it an even pricier proposition.

Our thanks to Corsair for the Carbide 600Q case sample.

The Corsair Carbide 600Q is recommended by SPCR

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