Conclusion: The main draw of this case, beside the fact you can stash it in places a full tower can’t go, is going to be the uninterrupted airflow it affords over the motherboard—assuming you’ve done your cabling job well. If you’re looking to piece together a system with some serious power and need better-than-average air-cooling capabilities for the CPU and video card, the Corsair Carbide Air 540 is well-worth looking into.
Pros: Separate, side-by-side motherboard/PSU zones for streamlined cooling, 2.5-inch drive cage, Utilitarian-but-efficient design
Cons: No fans in the PSU chamber, No mesh under 3.5-inch drive sleds, Just two 3.5-inch bays
Summary: Honestly, it is very hard to NOT like a Corsair chassis these days. The Carbide Air 540 is something new and even a bit revolutionary as very little comes close. Even if you don't really like the looks, it is so unusual that it is bound to intrigue regardless.
The two compartment design is unique and sure, it does give the chassis a little more booty, but not once I had the feeling that the chassis is too big in any way or form.
Summary: My current computer desk has three shelves: the bottom, which is 19H x 20W x 24L, the middle, which is only 17H x 20W x 16L and, of course, the top is smaller. Most mid-tower cases are about 18" high, so I thought I was right on the money, but I was wrong, since I don't think manufacturers take the feet into consideration, which can add up to 1". Needless to say, they just will not fit and I won't remove the feet since my last two cases had bottom mounted Power Supplies.
Summary: At around 140 U.S. dollars, the Corsair Carbide Air 540 is not cheap. You can get a pretty cool mid-tower case with a great feature set at that price, or go even bigger for the same price. That said, the rather rare interior layout of the case--as a cube chassis is not like re-inventing the wheel--and the inclusion of three fans, and excellent compatibility for water cooling, make a strong case for such a high price tag.
Pros: Excellent concept, Extremely easy assembly process, Can hold two 3.5" and five 2.5" drives, Screwless HDD installation, Screwless ODD installation, Loads of space for up to two 240 or 280 mm radiators, Includes three high-quality 140 mm fans, Loads of room for large CPU cooler, Nifty white power LED, Excellent cable-hiding possibilities, Awesome window to show everything off, Hot-swap bays for 3.5" drives, Easy access to fan placement for radiator installation, Surfac...
Cons: A bit on the expensive side, Metal mesh area flexes rather easily, No possibility to use the USB 3.0 connector for USB 2.0-based boards, Basic I/O, Tool-less SSD system only works well for SSDs of a traditional height, There is plenty of space for even more HDD bays; a few extra 3.5" ones would have been good.
Summary: I have to say this is one of the best cases I have reviewed ever at Pro-Clockers. The cube-style chassis structure is something that is dominated by the likes of Lian Li, Mountain Mods, Cubitek and a few others. To have one, you will likely need a hefty sum of cash somewhere around $300 or more which pretty much dents anybody's wallet just for a computer case.
Conclusion: The Carbide Series Air 540 is exactly the sort of chassis that Corsair should be producing. It's different, interesting, and ultimately makes you want to build a new rig. This is very much a case of Corsair demonstrating an ability to create products that are right in line with enthusiasts' expectations. Attractive, easy to build into, great at showcasing your hardware, and plenty of air- or liquid-cooling possibilities: the Air 540 hits a lot of the right notes.
Conclusion: The Air 540 is a fresh looking a computer chassis design and you can clearly see that Corsair are thinking ‘outside of the box’. This case brings a unique and innovative design which is useful for a number of reasons. Not only are components separated into different chambers making the installation process easy but the thermal performance results for the integral aspects of the system are noticeably cooler thanks to the airflow design.
Pros: + Unique and innovative design, + Great build quality, + Excellent thermal performance, + Brilliant clearance for hardware, + Water cooling support throughout, + Great cable management
Excerpt: ‘Unique’ is a word that is reserved for only a few companies in the case market today. With a split-chamber design and cube shape, does Corsair’s Carbide Series Air 540 create a spark that could relight the flame of innovation for the chassis market?