title="Permanent Link to Corsair Carbide Air 540 chassis review">
Now, this is my kind of companion cube. Those fluffy plushies do nothing for me, give me something like the Corsair Carbide Air 540, which will happily house a raft of high-performance graphics cards and be my Battlefield 4 enabler at crazy-high resolutions.
The cuboid dimensions of this $140 chassis may make it seem like a hilariously large PC case, but despite the extra width it’s actually a fair bit shorter and more shallow than a good selection of proper mid-sized towers.
That’s because the Air 540 has ghettoised your PC’s components. Segregating the components is a smart move because it has allowed Corsair to shift the placement of the PSU and drive bays, cutting down the height and depth of the case.
On the left is all the beefy stuff, like graphics card and mobo, and on the right, hidden away, are all your drives and power supply. This means there’s little clutter around the key components, the ones most likely to be generating a significant amount of heat and therefore most in need of good spacing and decent airflow. A pair of front-mounted 140mm intake fans, and another 140mm at the rear help out here.
As well as being a pretty darned functional form factor it’s also an absolute joy to build a big gaming rig into. Unfettered access to the motherboard's surroundings makes it a doddle to drop components in and out. Huge cutouts on the partition wall between the two compartments mean fitting CPU cooler backplates is simple, and cables can be routed neatly around the back.
The Corsair Air 540 is also pretty modular too. If, like me, you’re sick and tired of optical disk drives taking up unnecessary space in your PC you can pluck out the drive bays. There’s also a quad-bay 2.5-inch drive caddy on the right hand side you can remove too.
On the left side, in the base below the motherboard, are a pair of hot-swappable 3.5 / 2.5-inch tool-free drive bays. The SATA data and power plugs are built into the barrier between the different side of the case making the drives easy to slide in and out if need be.
There's even a funky silver option too
Corsair has done a mighty fine job designing the Carbide Air 540. It may be a little chunky when you’re used to thinner mid-tower cases, but they seem to have considered everything. I haven’t had as much pleasure putting together a new machine as I have building into the Air 540 and that’s down to just how hassle-free the whole process is made when you’ve got room to build.
It’s a blessed relief having ripped whole butcher’s shops worth of flesh from my poor hands over the years building PCs. Especially in the last few months of battling with mini-ITX machines.