Performance and Conclusion
Enclosure Performance: Temps
The Carbide 600Q was capable of cooling the system quite well with the case fans set to the highest position, but as you will see this was at the expense of quite a bit of additional noise. You can see the significant drop in performance with the low fan setting, but these results are just fine with my CPU never seeing anything above 50 °C (delta) on the stress runs using Prime95.
The Fractal Design Define S offered the most balanced performance once noise is considered in these thermal tests, as it sits directly in the middle of this first chart. The Define S has been one of the quietest enclosures I've tested (and the current champion among the enclosures re-tested using the revised test methodology), but there is going to be a tradeoff between the lowest noise and best cooling, as we will see.
GPU temps follow the same trend, and as tested the Carbide 600Q isn't very competitive against the two other enclosures benchmarked. Why stress "as tested"? Becase Corsair includes a third fan in the box, allowing users to choose greater cooling power at the expense of higher noise output.
An extra 140 mm fan is included
The 600Q (no doubt the Q stands for Quiet) is all about silence, not necessarily advanced cooling. However, the additional fan allows for additional, more powerful airflow configurations. As this is considered an "extra" I didn't test the enclosure with the additional fan installed (I try to stick to "stock" for enclosure testing, as manipulation of fan position can have a big impact on thermal performance in both directions).
Enclosure Performance: Noise
This is what the Carbide 600Q is all about, and it didn't disappoint with noise output. With the case fan switch in the low position it was the quietest of these three enclosures tested – and by almost a full dB accross the board. The sound dampening certainly helped lower the noise output from the test system's components, and its effectiveness in insulating the enclosure also explains why the temps weren't among the best we've seen.
Comparing the Carbide 600Q to the most recent quiet case champ, the Fractal Design Define S, there was a significant difference in noise output. System idle with both air and liquid coolers was lower with the 600Q by 0.8 and 0.4 dBA respectively, and load noise was even better with 0.9 dBA (air) and 1.2 dBA (liquid) improvements compared to the Define S. GPU noise was excellent as well, with a 1.1 dBA reduction in load noise vs. the Define S.
Exceptional results here when using the low fan setting, which is where I would personally leave the fan controller as the 600Q becomes significanty louder by highest setting.
The Carbide 600Q is a thoughtfully designed, well-constructed enclosure with exceptionally low noise output. Keep the fan controller set to "low" for the included case fans and you will have a very quiet computing experience. There are some tradeoffs here with case thermals, but the temps were still very good – if not particularly notable. Still, I didn't add the optional third fan (included in the box) as my focus with this review was silence.
Corsair has done something quite interesting with their launch of the new Carbide 600Q and 600C enclosures, as they both target the same $149 MSRP. With the 600Q you have an option that is tailored specifically toward silence, with sheets of noise reducing insulation inside each panel, including both side panels. With the 600C you have an identical enclosure internally, but lose all noise damping materials – gaining a much more advanced hinged, latching (and windowed) side panel instead.
For those interested primarily in silence, the Carbide 600Q is an excellent option. It doesn't particularly stand out in the aesthetics department, but there are certainly those who don't care for more ostentatious enclosure designs. In the end I found nothing to complain about during my time with the Carbide 600Q, and if its price tag of $149 is in your budget this has become a very attractive quiet enclosure option.