As we suspected, the Air 740 coped very well indeed when pitched against our test gear thanks to some powerful yet quiet fans, plenty of mesh instead of rigid panels and no storage bays to interfere with the main airflow. A CPU delta T of 51°C was close to the top of the charts and is now the best-performing Corsair case we've seen with our new test gear, bettering the 600C and 400C by substantial margins, and getting the better of many of its competitors too, such as In Win's 805 and Cooler Master's MasterCase Pro 5.
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The GPU delta T was only 1°C off the top spot and we'd have been surprised if the case didn't do well here given there are two 140mm blowing unimpeded airflow through a mesh straight at the graphics card. With the system up and running, the mesh did allow sound to escape both from the case fans and the rest of the system, but this is something that will be greatly reduced by water-cooling your system, where radiators will benefit from the porous design compared to restrictive vents used by recent efforts from Phanteks and Be Quiet!
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Much of the enthusiast in us likes the Air 740, perhaps with some degree of nostalgia for the Air 540, which was fantastic and different when it was launched three years ago. However, the competition has become much more fierce since then, while the Air 740 remains very much a case of 2013 in terms of aesthetics, internal design and features. While it's large, we expect more for this kind of money both in features and build quality now, although we do appreciate the water cooling support and the ease with which you could build a monster system.
The cooling, though, is exceptional and would suit both air-cooled and water-cooled systems, while the fans didn't prove to be too intrusive despite their strong airflow and the open nature of the case. This all puts us in a tricky position as to whether we should recommend the Air 740. On one hand, it feels a little dated, especially at this price, and there are many better looking cases out there that are also good, if perhaps not quite as generous in terms of water-cooling support, such as In Win's 303 and 805 plus Cooler Master's MasterCase Pro 5 and if you want something unusual looking there's NZXT's Noctis 450 too.
It has a few improvements over its predecessor - the Air 540, although Corsair will need to tweak the design if it decides to revisit the design in future as it's already a tad dated. However, with excellent cooling, an interesting layout, good water-cooling support and a build-friendly design, we feel we can overlook the shortcomings and recommend the Air 740, obviously with the discussed caveats in mind.