The Corsair Graphite Series 230T is an entry-level mid-tower chassis that’s designed to offer excellent overall cooling performance without breaking the bank. The case currently sells in two configurations— a cheaper, “Battleship Grey” option that has no case window for $69, and a slightly more expensive version that retails for $79 but includes a case window and comes in one of three color options (Black, Battleship Grey, and Rebel Orange). The review unit Corsair shipped us is the Battleship Grey option with an integrated window panel and blue LEDs for the front fans.
It’s interesting to review the 230T after spending time with the massive Corsair Obsidian Series 900D. The 230T is small while the Corsair 900D is large, oriented toward the mass market where the Corsair 900D aims for the high-end watercooling segment, and retails for $250.
The 230T is a mass-market case designed to tackle mass market scenarios with a bit of flair. The front of the chassis is a mesh grillwork, not a solid slab of metal. This increases airflow through the interior of the case and Corsair has upped the ante further by including two front intake fans rather than just one. The front ports are standard—a pair of USB 3.0 ports and a set of microphone and headphone jacks.
The 230T’s fan configuration (two in front, one in back) is standard, but there’s plenty of room to modify it thanks to the radiator mounts at the top of the case. These are designed to fit a top-mounted water cooler, but can also accommodate two 140mm or 120mm exhaust or intake fans. That’s more than enough cooling for a standard system—even an enthusiast system.
The 230T’s side panels are a bit odd. In the past, Corsair has experimented with different side panel attach methods, including a novel quick-latch mechanism that used top-mounted levers and various thumbscrew arrangements. The 230T mixes things up again with panels that have to be removed by pulling them towards the front of the case rather than the rear. Standard thumb screws are still the default for mounting.
Still, once the front panel is off, this case hits the right notes. There are three 5.25-inch drive bays and four side-mounted 2.5-inch bays. The “side mounted” bays sit directly over the 3.5-inch ones, turned 90′ to the left. This is an interesting mount method, but actually cabling up four drives would mean a fair bit of clutter in the front of the board. Some of Corsair’s other cases have experimented with SSD mounting brackets behind the motherboard, and we wouldn’t have minded that option in this chassis.
The 230T offers support for up to seven expansion slots, which fits all standard ATX motherboards nicely. The system supports a GPU up to 430mm long in the top slots and 340mm long at the bottom. Here’s what that means, practically—every GPU on the market today will fit into this case, including behemoths like the R9 290X, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti, and the AMD Radeon HD 7990. To be more specific, they’ll fit in once. Whether or not you have enough room to fit two of them will depend entirely on the layout of the motherboard. A pair of 7990s might technically fit, but the second card would have less than an inch of clearance and be stuck against the bottom of the case, pulling hot air from directly over the power supply. This is decidedly non-ideal.
In practice, all this means is that shouldn’t buy a 230T if you intend to use two of the largest graphics cards on the market in a multi-GPU configuration. Everything else will fit just fine. Cooling performance from the 230T is excellent, thanks to the front-mounted grill. While the case tends to be a touch noisier than it would be if Corsair had used a standard front panel, it’s not loud by any standard. Corsair’s fan choices here are good.
Overall, the Corsair Graphite Series 230T is a very good case. There are only two downsides to the enclosure. First, it doesn’t include fan filters for any of the front or rear devices (there’s a fan filter for the PSU, but nothing for the rest of the system), and it lacks any kind of fan controller. The first point is arguably a bigger issue than the second—be aware that you’ll need to do a fair bit of dusting to keep the 230T performing at peak efficiency.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc