A 4-slot bay allows up to four 2.5″ drives to be installed without the use of tools. The drives are held in place by the bay’s constricting dimensions and a plastic lever.
The 540’s tool-less hard drive installation method is very good – it’s simple and secure. 3.5″ drives clip in via four metal pins surrounded by silicone vibration absorbers, while 2.5″ devices require four screws which are fastened from beneath.
Our Seasonic Platinum-1000 power supply required the 540’s movable support to be placed one position away from the penultimate mounting location. The support does not interfere with either of the storage drives’ SATA hubs.
26mm of clearance between the PSU and right side panel gives plenty of room for air to reach the power supply’s fan.
During installation, we noticed that Corsair’s design choices could cause major problems for a large user base. Corsair shortens the 540’s front panel cables by a considerable margin. While this is a fundamentally wise decision for a case which has its front panel situated just a few centimetres from the motherboard, certain board layouts are totally incompatible with the Air 540 case.
Our ASRock 990FX Extreme9 motherboard has its front panel headers positioned further to the left side than many other ATX boards that I have worked with. Corsair’s 29cm front panel cables simply cannot reach the 990FX Extreme9’s header. We were forced to resort to shorting the power switch with a screwdriver for the purpose of this review.
Corsair should have spotted such an issue and eliminated it by increasing the cables’ length, or providing extensions in the bundle. A similar issue exists with the USB 3 header, but this is less of a problem with most modern motherboards making use of the near-24 location for such headers. Nevertheless, supplying an extension would have eliminated potential issues and allowed users to maintain effective cable management if the increased length is not required.
Corsair’s cable management system implemented on the Air 540 makes for one of the easiest building processes that could be wished for. Grommet positioning is almost flawless, with only the omission of a specific route for the lower-left positioned HD audio cable causing some slight untidiness.
Thanks to the interference-free design of the Air 540’s primary chamber, working inside the chassis is a pleasant experience, even for builders with large hands.
CPU cooler clearance is a sizeable 195mm, allowing the market’s premier giants such as the Noctua D14 and Phanteks PH-TC14PE to fit inside the Air 540 without any problems.
With both front fans installed, expansion card clearance is 320mm. That value extends to around 355mm with the fans removed.
Storage drives slip into place below the motherboard without blocking any components’ access.
The connection via a SATA power and data hub allows drives to be rapidly removed, although this does require the side panel to be detached, hence it is not quite a hot-swap system.
A large CPU cooler cut-out provides access to wide variety of motherboards. The tool-less 2.5″ drive will have to be removed for the most complete access to be obtained.
When there is 115mm of clearance provided, cable management is a simple and fast procedure. Our build’s cables were connected to the desired component and then housed in any available space.
A small amount of room between the 5.25″ bays and motherboard tray gives access to the upper two cable management grommets. Fitting a fat 24-pin cable through gap can be tricky, but it is possible.
We were not impressed by the 5.25″ devices’ fastening mechanism; our drive wasn’t particularly secure.
A black 5.25″ optical drive’s bezel fits in seamlessly with the design of the Air 540’s plastic front panel.
Recessed IO ports and PCI slots reduce the possibility of interference occuring with long cables.
Given that the cables and the power supply are located in the secondary chamber, Corsair was wise to use a full-sized side panel window that shows off the entirety of the primary chamber.