Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review

May 3, 2017 // 2:11 p.m.

Tags: #atx #corsair #corsair-carbide-series-spec-04-review #mid-tower

Interior

The side panels are fixed, as expected, with thumbscrews using a notches and rails system that works fine. Inside, we find a very standard ATX tower layout with a front-mounted HDD cage, no optical drive bay, and no PSU shroud.

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Motherboard standoffs are pre-installed, although one had fallen out by the time the Spec-04 reached us, indicating perhaps a small slip in QA on Cosair's part. Either way, the motherboard is simple to install as a result, and the PSU installation is just as straightforward – it sits on rubber feet but isn't isolated from the rest of the chassis. Similarly, there's no sound deadening material to be found anywhere, but that's understandable given the price tag. Putting in graphics or expansion cards involves removing the rear slot cover first but is still simple. CPU cooler height is a little limited at 150mm, but any GPU will fit inside thanks to 370mm of clearance.

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Oddly, the HDD cage at the front of the chassis has room for four HDD trays, but the case only comes with three. This is still enough for most people, and as usual each plastic tray supports both 3.5” and 2.5” drives – tool-free for the former but only with screws for the latter. The trays themselves are a tad on the flimsy side, but they function fine.

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In addition, the elongated motherboard tray has mounting holes that allow you to install a pair of 2.5” SSDs at the front. The drives are screwed directly into the steel tray rather than onto removable sleds, and both mounting points have cable routing holes next to them to help neaten your build.

Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review - Interior Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review - Interior
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Unfortunately, cable management isn't especially good by today's standard. There are enough holes to cater for both ATX and micro-ATX users, but there are no rubber grommets on them, and space behind the motherboard tray is pretty limited. There's a good number of anchor points behind the tray, at least, but you only get a small selection of zip ties, and the holes for the CPU power cable is poorly thought out, as it ends up being blocked out by the motherboard. Corsair's cable management system here allows you to keep cables out of key airflow paths, but that's about all that can be said for it.

Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review Corsair Carbide Series Spec-04 Review - Interior
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Another unfortunate oversight is the lack of support for all-in-one liquid coolers. Even at this end of the market, we've come to expect support for at least 240mm models, and the official word is that only 140mm radiators can be accommodated. Now, the front HDD cage can be removed, so with some fiddling and maybe some drilling, you could install a 240mm radiator up front, but as the HDD cage cannot be relocated anywhere you'd then be left without any 3.5” drive support.
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