The release of the 4000D Airflow nearly 18 months ago marked a triumphant comeback to the performance case market for Corsair, and subsequent releases of the 5000D and 7000D have cemented its standing in the raft of airflow cases now available. The attention to detail and finish of these cases made them easy on the eye too, so when Corsair told us about a new variant of the 5000 series with a focus on looks and RGB lighting, we were a little apprehensive. This new Corsair 5000T isn’t here to be just desk candy, though, it’s here to kick ass, chew bubble gum and, well, you know the rest.
Corsair iCUE 5000T RGB Review
While the 5000T is in essence a reskin of the 5000D, every aspect outside the core chassis has been completely redesigned. If you took off the Corsair badges, you wouldn’t know the two cases were related from a cursory look. While the original was very square with tight corner radii, the 5000T has softer curves and heavily bevelled edges. Even the case feet are brand-new, with two pieces of solid steel running the full length of the case – they angle out from the very bottom, but end level with the side panels, so the footprint isn’t made any bigger.
The roof and floor sections are pressed steel sheets, mounted to the rest of the chassis with plastic supports and push-pins. This approach gives an added feeling of quality, without making the case even heavier. These two panels mirror each other, angling forwards, so they overhang the side panels to reveal the side of the thick plastic front, while giving you somewhere to grab the hinged side panels to open them without an ugly handle.
All the edges have a 50mm wide bevelled face, with a repeating pattern of three trapezoidal cut-outs. It’s through these gaps that you see this case’s party piece – six LED strips that run along the length of the top, front and bottom of each side. The strips are bright with deep colors, and an opaque rubber cover that disperses the light evenly – they even produce white well. There’s a total of 208 LEDs across the six strips, which are controlled through Corsaih’s iCUE software by way of a supplied Commander XT controller.
Along with all the preset routines, these LEDs are individually addressable, so you can get them looking just the way you want. Together with the three supplied LL120 RGB fans, the case’s exterior is set to match any gear you put inside it, and it looks great from every angle.
However, the 5000T doesn’t stray too far from the winning formula of the Airflow models, with both the front, top and side fan mounts all having mesh panels. The front panel has a relatively fine triangular metal mesh in front, with a finer cloth 10mm behind it, and it can also be removed from the front for easy maintenance.
The cloth mesh is in its own frame, so it can be removed separately, but the cloth hasn’t been stuck to its frame tightly, and can get sucked against the fans if they’re placed on the outside of the removable front fan rails.
Meanwhile, the roof’s outer mesh has the same fine triangular pattern as the front, flush fit with the rest of the roof, and with another removable filter underneath. The ventilation in the right side panel comes from larger triangular cut-outs with fine triangular mesh acting as a filter.
Internally, though, its much the same story as Corsair’s 5000D/X, with ample room in which to build, capacity for six storage drives, just enough room for three 360mm rads simultaneously, and cable channels with Velcro straps for routing most of your cables. It also has a stacked front I/O panel, with four USB 3 ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a combined audio jack, plus power and reset switches. These are fixed to the chassis, leaving all the panels free from cable entanglement.
Building in the case is a pleasure for the most part, although the cable cover next to the motherboard tray struggles to make room for a chunky 24-pin ATX cable with individually sleeved cables. It would be better to raise the cover a bit higher, past the level of the expansion slots, in order to allow thicker cables a more direct route, so they don’t have to double back on themselves.
The three LL120 fans run at 2,200rpm at full speed, and are loud, so it’s hardly surprising that this case’s airflow system blasts its way to the top of the charts at full speed. When you tune it down to 35dBA (1,087rpm), though, it falls down, with a 71°C delta T on the CPU and 50°C on the GPU.
Adding additional exhaust fans did little to improve this situation, nor did removing the secondary filters, showing that the positive pressure setup works well with the case’s design. Also, when the fans are turned right down to their minimum speed, they’re essentially inaudible, so under light loads, browsing or streaming videos, you won’t notice the noise.
Whether its lying dormant, or lit up in your very own Aurora Borealis, the iCUE 5000T looks stunning, and it’s really well made too – it’s crying out to be crammed with custom water cooling gear. The addition of an LED strip or two in the interior of the case wouldn’t have gone amiss, though, especially to illuminate your PSU through the window.
As it is, the exterior LEDs can dominate and can’t be dimmed independently of the fans. Stock performance is decent, though, and the case has been optimally set up out the box. At $350, the 5000T is very far from cheap, but buying the LED strips and controller would set you back $190 anyway. This case might make your wallet cry, but it’s absolutely worth the money if you can afford it.
A premium case with premium features at a premium price, but it definitely delivers on looks, build quality and performance.