Corsair shows off Carbide 400 and Spec-Alpha cases at CES

Corsair Spec Alpha

Corsair showed up to CES 2016 with its usual wide array of hardware: RAM and power supplies and cases and keyboards and a couple pet projects, like the Bulldog living room PC. Corsair's hardware and peripherals are reliably good (and frequently great), and the two new cases I checked out look like they'll be continuing that pedigree. My favorite of the two was the Spec Alpha, which is a bit of a departure from Corsair's usual look.

The Spec Alpha's angular front panel gives me a 1950s vibe, which may not be the look Corsair was going for, but either way, I dig it. It's bold without being obnoxious or aggressive, and overall the mid-tower case is compact enough to be displayed on a desk without taking up too much space.

Inside, there's plenty of room for serious business. Corsair removed the 5 1/4 inch drive bays to make room for a 240 front-mounted radiator, but there’s still space for a pair of 3.5-inch hard drives and four SSDs, two of which are mounted on the backside of the motherboard chamber. And if you don’t want that 3.5-inch drive cage, it’s removable. There’s a nice dust filter on the bottom side of the case and a fan speed controller on the front panel. Nothing groundbreaking here, but if you like the look of the case in either black or white and red, it’ll be available in March for $80.

Corsair 400C

Corsair’s other new case comes in two variants: the noise dampened 400Q and the windowed 400C. This is a mid-tower version of Corsair’s similar 600C/600Q, except without the motherboard mounting being inverted as it was in those cases.

The 400C has a nice clear window on a hinge that detaches easily by lifting up, and the inside you’ll be displaying is pretty open for customization. It can fit a 240mm radiator up top and there’s a magnetically attached dust filter up there to keep things clean, or a 360mm radiator along the front. Another nice touch: a removable shield for the entire bottom of the case, covering the PSU and its usual rats nest of cables. If your case has a nice big window, the interior better be clean.

Corsair Carbide 400Q

The 400Q is the same on the inside, but with sound dampening material attached to both side panels, and the top comes with a removable panel instead of a filter. It’s closed off with another panel to minimize noise. Instead of the swinging door with a window, the main side panel is the usual matte metal, attached with thumbscrews.

The 400C and 400Q fit neatly into the black box aesthetic, but they’re built from nice hefty metal and also nicely curved. I don’t think they’re quite as stylish as Fractal Design’s cases, but they’re still quite a handsome pair. Corsair will be shipping out the 400Q and 400C in February for $99.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).