Date: June 1, 2011
Author(s): Ryan Perry
After being left so impressed with Corsair’s Obsidian 650D chassis last month, we couldn’t wait to take the company’s Special Edition White Graphite 600T for a spin to see if it could match or surpass our expectations. Though similar in design to the original, the SE White has a couple of upgrades, and a whole new aesthetic appeal.
Hot on the heels of its Techgage Editor’s Choice awarded Obsidian 650D, comes another case from Corsair. This time around we look at a special edition white version of the previously released Graphite 600T mid-tower. This refresh features a different paint job along with other styling and performance changes, the latter of which came about thanks to Corsair’s listening to its customers.
Seeing how the original 600T was not reviewed on our site, I couldn’t wait to dive in and see what made it so popular and check out any improvements.
Wrapped in a white cloth bag and made of steel with plastic accents that wrap around the entire frame, the white Graphite 600T is just that; white. A re-launch of the original 600T, it supports micro-ATX and ATX motherboards. This time around the two 200mm fans have been upgraded to run at 1000RPM instead of 600. From what I have read on various forums, this was the major complaint from users, so it’s nice to see a company listening to what its customers have to say.
Ok maestro. From the top! Well, the front really, which is made almost entirely of a metal mesh surrounded by plastic accents. At the top of the mesh area are four 5.25″ drive bays. The bay covers can be removed by squeezing in on two tabs from within the drive bays.
Below those is a cover that hides a 200mm white LED fan. To remove the cover, simply press in at the top to disengage the catches and lift it away. All of the drive bay covers and the fan cover feature a filter on the backside to keep dust out of the system. Just as an FYI, the front fan cannot be replaced with more, smaller fans – so what you see is what you get for this one.
On the left side are two quick-release latches that have become a favorite feature of mine. Below those is a large window with black plastic trim that makes for a very clean, finished look. Where is the window you may ask? Well…
Shipped with the window pre-installed, Corsair includes a mesh panel to replace it. Removing ten screws from the inside of the panel allows the window and trim to be removed. The mesh panel has tabs that insert through slots normally covered by the window trim. Bending the tabs up from the inside of the panel once they have been inserted keeps the panel in place.
This panel allows for up to four 120mm fans to be installed if extra cooling is required. All of the mounting screws are included in a separate bag and rubber washers pre-installed to absorb any vibrations made by the added fans. For those who may be wondering, the window was swapped out because reflections are pain to deal with when taking product shots!
My laziness aside, the back of the 600T has the motherboard I/O opening and a 120mm exhaust fan at the top. Below that are eight vented PCI slots next to two holes with pre-installed rubber grommets to run hoses for water cooling and the opening for the power supply at the very bottom.
There isn’t much to talk about on the right side seeing how the entire panel is solid except for the same quick-release latches found on left panel.
Up on top things start to pick up with the front featuring four USB 2.0 connections to the left of a dial that can control up to four fans. To the right of that, stacked on top of each other are the USB 3.0 and IEEE 1394 connections along with the hard drive activity light beside it. The USB 3.0 port can be connected to a USB port on the motherboard I/O while the rest of the ports have connectivity provided directly from headers on the motherboard itself.
A little further back are the 3.5mm headphone and microphone connections and the power and reset buttons beyond them. To keep with the white theme of the case, the power button glows white when the system is powered on as does the hard drive activity LED when a drive is accessed.
The rest of the top is taken up by a removable mesh cover that hides the second 200mm white LED fan.
By pressing down at the back of the cover, it can be removed for cleaning and also allows access to the fan. Unlike the front fan, this one can be replaced with up to two 120mm or 140mm fans if needed. There is also enough room to mount up to a 240mm radiator inside the case with two fans on the outside under the top cover.
Also found under the top cover is a lock that ensures your components remain inside your system. Using the included keys, a quick turn flips a metal catch out, locking the left side panel in place. This should prove to be a welcome feature for those who visit LAN parties regularly.
With the case upside down, the four rubber pads that make up the case feet can be found. These are attached to plastic stands that run down the sides of the case and lift it off the floor to help keep the power supply fed with fresh air. Speaking of which, the power supply has a removable filter than can be slid out the back for cleaning when needed.
So it’s time to get those panels out of the way and have a look at what makes this case tick.
All of the plastic accents can be removed with the exception of the stand. There are white tabs that can be pushed in from inside the case that allow the accents to release but the stand has one way push pins. Seeing how neither obstructs the view of the interior I chose to leave them on.
Starting at the lower front end is the hard drive cage. The cage is broken up into two sections, each capable of holding up to three 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives on plastic trays. These trays slide in and out of the cage by squeezing in on the tabs at the front. 3.5″ drives can be installed without tools by snapping the drive into the trays to be held in place by metal pegs surrounded by rubber to help absorb any vibration. Installing 2.5″ drives will require tools since they secure through the bottom of the tray with screws.
Should extra air flow or extra clearance for a long video card be needed, the top half of the drive cage can be mounted in an alternate position on the bottom of the case or removed entirely. Just remove two thumbscrews from the left side of the cage, slide the cage out, slide it into the other position and tighten it down.
Above the hard drive cage are the tool-less locking mechanisms for the 5.25″ bays. Slide a drive in and that’s it. The mechanism will catch and keep the drive securely in place. To remove the drive, press in on the tab at the front and the lock will disengage allowing the drive to be pulled free.
The bottom of the case sports the mounting points for the top half of the hard drive cage and the opening for the power supply behind it. At the front of the power supply vent is a movable bracket that can be resized and is used to keep the unit lifted up off the case floor. This bracket negates any vertical or horizontal motion when the case is transported. Like everything else in this case, it can be moved without any tools thanks to two more thumbscrews.
As is the case with all Corsair offerings, the motherboard tray features a ton of cable management areas with pre-installed grommets to keep the interior looking clean. All power and data cables can be hidden by these thanks to Corsair taking into account where the cables will be run regardless of the form factor of the motherboard.
The open rectangular area next to the hard drive cage is for running power and data cables when the top half of the cage is mounted in the alternate position. Up towards the top of the tray is a large cutout to help with CPU coolers that feature back plates and up in the top left corner is a final cable management area to route the 12V power connector.
There isn’t much more to show on the very back panel of the interior that couldn’t be seen from the outside with the exception of the thumbscrews for securing any expansion cards in place and the top PCI slot cover having a small notch cut out of it. This notch allows for the USB 3.0 cable to run through one of the PCI slots to the motherboard I/O in order to provide connectivity for the top port.
At the top of the same shot is the 200mm fan and on the right side, the connectors for the fans. Each connector has a plastic cover to ensure the pins remain straight until the time comes to connect them to the controller.
The hardware included with the 600T is comprehensive to say the least. Starting at the top left and moving down are additional screws for installing extra fans if the window is swapped out in favour of the mesh insert on the left side panel, screws for securing the motherboard and 3.5″ drives, screws for securing 2.5″ drives in place and two keys for the top lock.
In the middle are the quick start guide and a product brochure that showcases some of Corsair’s other products. On the far right are rubber washers to help absorb vibrations from any extra fans installed in the top of the case by the user, more screws for installing the motherboard or securing 3.5″ drives and some zip ties to help with cable management.
Seeing how the interior is essentially the same as the 650D, I expect the build to go much the same way, however this time around we are using our case testing system so there may be a few twists and turns.
Before starting to install components I noticed that there were some scratches around one of the motherboard standoffs. They look like skip marks from whatever was used to install them. Chances are the tool slipped and chipped some of the paint off, which is uncharacteristic of Corsair’s cases seeing how they are usually in perfect condition.
When it came down to the overall build, there were no real issues. To start with, the power supply lined up perfectly and the bracket kept it snug and in place. All of the power leads were able to be properly routed as well with enough room for them to be fed from the power supply through one cable management area.
The grommets that surround each area also stayed in place even when stressed by a large number of cables. One of my favorite subtle features also makes a return. The middle motherboard standoff is actually a small nub that doubles as a way to keep the motherboard in place while securing it to the tray.
Hard drive installation was a breeze with the 3.5″ drives snapping in without tools. For a 2.5″ drive, four of the included screws secured it from the underside of the trays once one of the metal pegs used for mounting 3.5″ drives was removed to allow the mounting holes to line up.
The 600T runs into the same problem that the 650D when the top half of the hard drive cage is installed on the bottom of the case. The bottom tray becomes inaccessible because it cannot clear the frame. Yes, the cage is easy enough to remove but that’s two cases with the same issue. If any other cases are released using this internal layout, I hope this will be addressed.
One strange “quirk” is that there is no way to route the USB 3.0 cable from the top panel without feeding it across the motherboard and through one of the PCI slots. The top slot cover has a notch cut out so it can remain in place after the cable is fed through although this cover can of course be used in any of opening. It would have been nice if an alternative method put in place so it could be fed out the back of the case from behind the motherboard tray as it is with the 650D instead of cluttering up what would otherwise be a super-clean installation.
Overall, the build was great. All components fit in place perfectly and the top panel connections were long enough to reach the motherboard. Cable management was a dream in this case as well thanks to the multitude of options.
With everything installed there was a lot of room behind the motherboard tray. The extra room comes from the fact that the side panels need to be moved out further away from the motherboard tray to sit flush with the plastic accents so users should have no problem tucking all of the cables away and securing them with the included zip ties.
All of our testing is performed under controlled conditions to ensure accurate and repeatable results. The test system is kept in a near steady 20°C ambient environment with readings taken before and after testing with a standard room thermometer. AIDA64 Extreme Engineer is used for monitoring and recording temperatures throughout the test process. Tests are run with all case fans running at 100%.
Windows is allowed to sit idle for 10 minutes after startup to ensure all services and test applications are loaded before recording the idle CPU and GPU temperatures. CPU load temperatures are generated by performing a 20 minute run of OCCT’s LINPACK test using 90% of the available memory. LINPACK is a personal favorite of the Techgage staff because it stresses the processor more than other applications, which translates into greater heat output. GPU load temperatures are also generated by running OCCT’s built-in test for 20 minutes.
Stock CPU settings were obtained by setting the AI Tweaker option with the BIOS to Auto and the maximum overclock frequency of 4.0GHz was obtained after extensive testing to ensure stability. The VCore was raised to 1.250V and the memory run at 1.60V.
The final clocks for the GPU are 760MHz on the core and 2000MHz QDR or 4000mhz relative for the memory with the voltage increased to 1.087V using MSI’s Afterburner overclocking utility. As with the CPU overclock, testing was done prior to ensure full stability.
The components of our test machine include:
Techgage Test System
Intel Core i5-661 – Dual-Core (3.33GHz)
ASUS P7H55D-M EVO mATX – H55-based
Corsair Dominator 2x2GB DDR3-1600 7-8-7-20-2T
EVGA GeForce GTX 470
Western Digital 2TB Green
Antec TP-750 Blue
Corsair Obsidian 650D Mid-Tower
SilverStone Raven 03 Full-Tower
Corsair H60 (Exhaust Configuration)
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Am I surprised? Not at all. I thought that the results would show just this; nearly identical numbers to the 650D seeing they are essentially the same case on the inside and in terms of cooling capacity. While not able to best the SilverStone Raven RV03, temperatures are kept well under control during load testing while at stock and overclocked. The only differences between this case and its Obsidian cousin are the GPU temperatures while overclocked with both coming in one degree less.
Just for kicks, all tests were run again with the mesh panel installed instead of the window and ended up with only one degree less for the CPU tests. GPU temperatures were kept constant thanks to the noisy, yet very capable stock cooling solution. With extra fans installed on the mesh panel, the 600T should allow for one frosty system at the expense of extra noise.
Speaking of noise, I found the 600T to be noisier than the 650D, which is surprising considering each uses the same size and speed of fans. There was also a very fast, faint, high pitched chirp coming from the top fan. This borders on intrusive and can easily be heard above the fan on the H60 that runs at 100% all the time.
I guess there’s not much left to do but wrap this review up with the did-wells and could-do-betters.
Yet again, Corsair has impressed me. Having not used any of its cases until the 650D, I’m shown yet again what a good design can do for a build. All components installed flawlessly without tools with the exception of the motherboard and 2.5″ hard drives. Less fiddling with screws and such is A-OK with me.
Cable management was also excellent seeing how there are so many possibilities for routing them through the multiple openings. This helped cut down on overall system clutter and will ensure temperatures are not affected by cables obstructing the air flow.
The case itself is solid and well built, at no time feeling cheap or flexing during the build phase of the review. The tool-less mounting systems for 3.5″ drives and in the 5.25″ bays are solid and the front panel allows for a lot of removable media to be attached at once while providing connectivity for USB 3.0 devices.
Looks may not be everything but to me, this is one of the best looking cases I have seen. There are many who do not like a lot of plastic accents on their cases but the way they are done on the 600T makes it seem like they are part of the metal body. The side panels share the same texture as the plastic accents making for a seamless exterior.
What I don’t like to see are the scratches on the motherboard tray, especially for a case in this price range. Maybe someone had a bad day or wasn’t paying attention when the case was being assembled but this should never happen – although a quick bit of touch up with a Sharpie will hide the blemishes.
Carried over is the same issue where the bottom hard drive tray is inaccessible when the top half of the drive cage is mounted to the bottom of the case. I don’t see any way of fixing this due to the fact that if the cage were raised up too much, it would conflict with the bottom right edge of a full size ATX motherboard and one of the cable management areas.
The noisy top fan is also room for concern. I can’t say if our sample simply had a bad fan but no amount of adjustments kept it quiet. The noise came and went when run at 100% but disappeared all together when run at 75% or below.
One final point to note, the plastic accents mark very easily if scratched. Even a light brush against one of the other cases left a faint grey mark so beware. Luckily it was cleared up using a very soft pencil eraser.
All of this boils down to a great case with loads of features but be prepared to open your wallet if you plan on using the Special Edition White Graphite 600T for your next build. It retails online for ~$175, which to me, puts it well on the high end of the scale while still coming in quite a bit less than some other cases out there.
I love this case so much that it is now the new permanent home of my personal system. How did the commercial for the Hair Club For Men go? I’m not only the president. I’m also a client. Well I’m not only the reviewer, I’m also a customer.
Corsair SE White Graphite 600T Chassis
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