CORSAIR Crystal Series 680X RGB ATX Tempered Glass Case Review
A roomy dual-chamber case with RGB and tempered glass
Corsair has launched a pair of new enclosures today including the Crystal Series 680X RGB, a roomy dual-chamber design with plenty of tempered glass and RGB to keep things visually interesting. And we just so happen to have procured one before release, preparing our launch-day review secretly, and in the dead of night. And so it is that today we can, should, and will share this with you – or as soon as you move past this rambling opening paragraph and on to the meat of the review itself.
As you may know the Crystal Series is a line of premium cases featuring multiple tempered-glass panels and RGB fans, and going back to 2016 we have reviewed the Crystal Series 570X, the smaller Crystal Series 460X, and most recently the Crystal Series 280X, a dual-chamber micro-ATX design. The new 680X RGB is also a dual-chamber enclosure, but on a much larger scale with support for up to EATX motherboards. It is available in both black and white finishes, and we opted for the white version to help set off the RGB fans.
The CORSAIR Crystal Series 680X RGB is a dual-chamber tempered glass ATX smart case that keeps your system running cool with room for up to eight fans and four radiators, including one 360mm. Enjoy superb airflow and brilliant RGB lighting from three LL120 RGB fans, controlled by an included CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO and powered by iCUE software. Show off a stunning view of your PC’s components with three tempered glass panels on the front, roof, and hinged side door, while an optional vertical GPU mount allows you to put your graphics card center stage. Make your next custom build incredibly easy and undeniably cool with the 680X RGB.
One of the things that stands out immediately with the Crystal Series 680X RGB are the clear glass panels, which make this feel a little more contemporary after a few years of varying degrees of dark tinting in most cases we've seen implementing tempered glass. But this is far more than another cases with a glass side panel (it also has a glass front and top panel), as its dual-chamber design – which has origins dating back to Corsair's Air 540 which we reviewed way back in 2013 – offers a level of room and ease of build that is quite a departure from the typical mid-tower design.
- Material: Steel, Plastic, Glass
- Motherboard (Main): E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Expansion Slots (Main): 8 + 2 Vertical
- Storage: 4x 2.5" SSDs, 3x 3.5" HDDs
- Cooling Layout:
- Front: 3x 120mm, 2x 140mm (3x 120mm included)
- Top: 2x 120mm, 2x 140mm
- Bottom: 2x 120mm / 2x 140mm
- Rear: 1x 120mm / 1x 140mm (120mm included)
- Radiator Compatibility:
- Front: 360mm / 280mm
- Top: 280mm / 240mm
- Bottom: 280mm / 240mm
- Rear: 120mm
- PSU: 225mm
- CPU Cooler: 180mm
- GPU: 330mm
- Dust Filters: Front, PSU, Top, Bottom
- Front I/O: USB 3.0 (x2), USB 3.1 Type C (x1), Headphone/Mic (x1)
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 423 x 344 x 505 mm
- Warranty: 2 years
Launch price: $249.99
The 680X has three glass panels, beginning with the one up front. The position of this panel is critical to proper airflow, and here Corsair seems to have provided adequate intake with sufficient spacing around the glass.
Both the (hinged!) side panel and top panel are also glass, with the side simply sliding up and off for removal, and the top secured by four thumbscrews.
Top IO includes USB 3.1 Type C and a pair of standard USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5 mm audio combo jack, flanked by power and reset on either side.
Looking at the rear of the case we see eight expansion ports (plus two more for an optional vertical GPU mount), space for a 140 or 120 mm fan (120 mm comes pre-installed), and the vertical PSU mount with ventilation for the storage bays just above.
Next we check out the back side panel, which offers a magnetic screen filter for the PSU air intake on the lower half.
And finally, we turn the case over to see the bottom panel, which has another screen filter for lower intake which slides out the side for easy cleaning. The case sits on four chrome-finished feet which provide a solid base.
Inside the Crystal Series 680X RGB
Accessing the component chamber couldn't be any easier as the glass side panel is on two hinges, held in place with a magnetic closure.
With the door open we can see the large space supporting up to EATX motherboards and an assortment of liquid cooling options ranging from single fan radiators on the rear to a 360 mm triple fan system on the front intake if desired. The front is populated out of the box by a trio of RGB fans, Corsair's LL120 RGB model with addressable RGB lights (no fewer than 48 individual RGB LEDs between them) that can be controlled via software.
The back of the case holds 140 or 120 mm fans (a 120 mm exhaust fan comes pre-installed), and there is a vertical GPU option here as well, though the hardware and PCIe riser to do this are not included.
As this is a dual-chamber design, removing the rear cover (this is a standard steel panel that comes off with a pair of captive thumbscrews) reveals an unusually large compartment that provides a ton of room for cables on the left side, with storage and the PSU on the other side.
The rear of the case also houses the lighting control module, which Corsair calls the "Lighting Node PRO", and this can be used to control more than just the included fans in conjunction with their iCUE software:
"An included CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO turns the 680X RGB into a smart case, powered by CORSAIR iCUE software that brings your system to life with dynamic RGB lighting synchronized across all your iCUE compatible products, including fans, RGB LED light strips, DDR4 memory, keyboards, mice and more."
The power supply mounts vertically, and this is where that vented portion of the side panel and its screen filter matter quite a bit. We'll look a little closer at this rear compartment in the next section as we put together a system with the Crystal Series 680X.
System Build Notes
First things first, we installed an ATX motherboard (appropriately the well-illuminated Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Pro from our new Z390 test platform), and as you can see there is still quite a bit of space left around this full-sized board – with EATX boards officially supported as well.
CPU cooling is next, and while I like to test case temps using an air cooler because it brings case airflow into play perhaps more than with liquid coolers, but I did test liquid cooler installation using a Corsair 280 mm model (the H115i RGB Platinum we reviewed back in November). This was very easy thanks to a removable bracket at the top of the case that is secured by two captive thumbscrews.
This bracket is designed to use the included magnetic filter to keep things clean, and we will see shortly that one of these filters is also on the front fan intake bracket.
The fit with this 280 mm AiO cooler was a little tight but fit just fine, and a 240 mm cooler would have some additional room up here.
One thing that a liquid cooler would interfere with is the removal of the front fan bracket, which is a actually a really convenient way to access and clean the front filter screen. It comes out with two thumbscrews like the upper fan mount bracket.
Storage support is pretty good, though not up to the level it could have been if the drive bays shared some of the cavernous component chamber's space. Still, for a couple of cages above the PSU mount there is still room for the simultaneous installation of three 3.5-inch drives and four 2.5-inch drives.
Both cages offer tool-free drive installation, with the 2.5-inch mounts the characteristic springy mounts from Corsair that have the drives snap in and pop back out with the push of a lever, and the 3.5-inch drives mount to flexible trays that offer rubber lining on each side to help prevent vibrations.
As to the power supply, this mounts on its side with the fan directed out, and there is so much room for even the chunky cables from this RM1000x PSU that managing "cable mess" is effortless with the 680X RGB – though I did try to tidy things up for the photos of course.
With the components in place let's see how it all came together.
Quite simply, the finished build in the 680X RGB looked fantastic. No matter what your thoughts on white cases (I chose white for our review because I thought it had a fresh appearance and set off the RGB fans quite well) you have to admit it provides a strong contrast with the typically dark-colored motherboard and graphics card, and also reflects quite a bit of light back out from RGB-enabled components. No, RGB isn't for everyone, but I'm assuming buyers of this case are in the RGB camp, and while the black model looks very classy I was very happy with the overall look of the build in this white version.
There is such an abundance of space that I almost felt like my build was unfinished, with seemingly half of the case still empty. Still, if you fancy some custom liquid cooling this extra room will disappear quickly, and in that regard the Crystal Series 680X becomes a fairly versatile option for watercooling enthusiasts, even though it is not being specifically marketed that way.
|PC Perspective Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8700K|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Memory||CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-2800|
|Graphics Card||EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SC2|
|Storage||CORSAIR Neutron XTi 480GB SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (Version 1803)|
Since this mix of components hasn't been used in a case review at the site before – and I've been out of the enclosure testing game for a while now – I'll offer just a brief look at what this particular set of components did within the case after our build was finished. Subjectively I will say that the 680X RGB is a very quiet case mainly due to the fact that those three included front fans are very low-noise, spinning around 500 RPM most of the time when connected via PWM and the motherboard's "standard" fan profile. It goes without saying that the included fans will make a big difference in a case's measured noise levels, with CPU and GPU load noise primarily dependent on the components selected.
The final result on the noise chart was made to get a sense of how this case handles a louder GPU load, since under normal load (even sustained) the EVGA GTX 1070 card used was very quiet. By manually setting the fans to 70% (close to the average from my retired R9 290X test GPU) we get an idea of how a louder card might perform, and the ~42 dBA result is not particularly loud in person.
Noise levels and temperatures were both very good, but that is a subjective assessment without direct comparison to other cases.
CORSAIR's Crystal Series 680X is very well designed and constructed, offers outstanding component clearances and tons of additional room, and plenty of cooling options. The included fans are very quiet and the LL120 fans with their 16 RGB LEDs apiece provide a great lighting effect that is fully customizable using the iCUE software. The added ability to control other iCUE-enabled devices makes a fully-synchronized experience promising to turn your desk into a 1980s rock light show (or at least prepare you for a career in game streaming), and is the sort of thing that does help a bit to justify the very premium price tag of this enclosure.
iCUE in action (image via CORSAIR)
There's no getting around the cost of the 680X RGB, which at $249.99 is one of the more expensive cases we've reviewed in the last five years, but there is also something to be said for a case this big and cool-looking sitting on your desk. Yes, tastes vary and I obviously really like the look of this case, but I was a big fan of the Crystal Series 280X, and this is in some ways larger and more advanced version of that mATX design while carrying on the legacy of the big dual-chamber Corsair cases going back the Air 540.
I love the look, spaciousness, and convenience features like the hinged door and removable fan brackets, and in every way the Crystal Series 680X RGB is a premium case worthy of your consideration – if you have the space and budget for it. $249.99 is a lot to spend on a case, but if you can this is a great option.