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. For that 139 bucks (msrp) you receive a nice all black design chassis with mainstream features. There's enough of storage space, it is tool free, you can do some nice cable management, large graphics cards fit and sure there's plenty of options for cooling as well. These factors combined make the Corsair Carbide Air 540 series quite an interesting product. I'd consider this chassis more high-end then mainstream or entry level really. The overall build quality is very decent and the features offered will give the average PC aficionado plenty to work with. The one gripe I have are the holes under the HDD trays, I don't get that. They should have had some sort of dust cover or something. Anyway, large graphics cards will fit as well as ATX, Micro ATX, E-ATX, and Mini ITX compatible motherboards. Then the all black design is cool, the aesthetics are kept simple (which I like, but that's personal). Added benefits are of course the two USB 3.0 ports, the mainboard cutout on the motherboard tray and the overall tool free design. Killer is obviously the huge side see through panel, which is the decisive factor for me personally.
So the work space inside is just phenomenal thanks to the two compartment of course. You gain easy access to pretty much anything and with 8 expansions lots there is plenty room for even four graphics cards. Albeit due to the design we'd stick to two cards max. The all black interior cool looks, the CPU back plate cutout is huge and handy for easy installation/replacement of CPU-coolers and overall features that belong in the enthusiast segment. There are plenty of grommet holes that have been rubberized. A big plus is the massive space behind the motherboard (2nd compartiment) for extensive cable management and storage units, and then there are the multiple fan mounts throughout the case. The fans, we do recommend you to run the fans over the motherboard headers as there is no fan controller. Running them at 50% RPM would be silent. But if you hook them up at full power, things will become noisy.
I secretly fell a little in love with the Carbide Air 540, it's something different, something unique, something out of the ordinary. That said it won't be for everybody of course as it is a style that you need to like alright. being that the Borg cube intrigues most of us, I'd say Corsair has a winner in their hands. The big plus of the two compartments is that you can hide your PSU and storage units far better then anything you have ever seen/done. And ir surely brings unique aesthetics to the chassis as the motherboard and it accompanying components are the only thing in direct line/sight of your eyes. The big see through side panel will make you focus solely on the motherboard and with high-end motherboards nearly being artwork these days, with thee PSU not in eye-sight that is just a huge bonus.
Overall we think the Carbide Air 540 is a unique chassis. A quick check here in the Netherlands shows that the Carbide Air 540 can be found for 115 EUR already, and that I feel is a price I'd be comfortable with. Though not cheap it seems fair, honestly you can not go wrong with it and you receive a two year warranty as well. If you need a simple not too big chassis, then the Air 540 should by high on your short-list. For the money you really great a high-end class chassis with all black design up-to and including the cabling. It's tool-free and has enough storage space. Inside there is plenty of room to work in and to manage your cabling. There's lots of meshes and additional cooling options and the cherry on top of it all are the USB 3.0 headers.
The build quality I don't have anything to complain about though I wouldn't tag the chassis as extremely sturdy, combined with the more than sufficient enough feature set this is chassis downright interesting. We can recommend the Carbide Air 540 as a very unique chassis that will awe your friends. It is the kind of product that you watch with your friends accompanied with a beer and preferably a slice of pizza. The Carbide Air 540 is definitely something worth recommending, the MSRP of 139 bucks is a little steep but with a street price hovering at 115 EUR we feel it's priced fair. Excellent airflow, once RPM controlled it is low noise and sure, sheer perfection for water-cooling is what comes to mind. The only thing missing is a fan controller and a hidden door/latch that holds a nice cold beer ;), but other then that it ticks all the boxes, look no further as you have found it, highly recommended and rewarded with a top pick award.
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