Assembling the Corsair Obsidian 900D

Assuming the Corsair Obsidian 900D is right for you, be ready for a workout. I've only tested one or two other cases in its weight class, and manipulating a case that's copious in both weight and mass is tiring to say the least. Thankfully Corsair has made working with their giant case very nearly as painless an affair as possible.

As I've come to expect, the 900D comes with standoffs for a standard ATX board already installed in the motherboard tray, along with a guiding stud for the center of the board. That made getting our test board into the case a breeze, and with the healthy amount of space on virtually all sides, screwing in the board was easy and done with minimal scratches or abrasions.

Installing drives proves to be a very simple matter as well. I removed the drive cage from the primary chamber (held in place by a rail and four thumbscrews behind the motherboard tray) since there were still six drive bays in the bottom chamber. The 5.25" bay shields are easily removed; pinch the wedges on the backs of them from inside the case and they pop out. From there, Corsair uses a toolless mechanism to hold the 5.25" drive in place and it works well. The individual drive trays are almost cages unto themselves; they feature four pins that pop into the sides of the 3.5" drives, and you can remove one of them to screw a 2.5" drive into the bottom of the tray. All very simple and easy to do, and they lock into place securely in a fashion similar to the SilverStone FT02.

While mounting the power supply was a non-issue, expansion cards prove to be the 900D's achilles heel when it comes to usability. Because of the way the side of the case's frame overhangs the expansion slots, you have to use an included (and frustrating) L-shaped screwdriver to loosen the thumbscrews. Expect to take off about a layer of skin from your fingerprints and about a year of useful life from your wrist. I'm not sure how Corsair could've made this easier; perhaps some kind of locking mechanism instead of the garden variety thumbscrews?

Wiring up the 900D is comically simple. Part of this is because the backplane for one of the drive cages has the three SATA data leads coming out of it along with a single SATA power lead, but the rest has to do with how easy it is to latch cables into place behind the motherboard tray, as well as the gap between the back of the motherboard tray and the crossbar that separates the two chambers. None of this should surprise you; Corsair cases are historically among the cleanest and easiest to build on the market, and the 900D continues that fine tradition. Where I do think they missed an opportunity is with the fans, though; Corsair doesn't include a fan controller (which given the nature of the 900D is probably an appropriate omission), but they don't include any molex adaptors for the fans either, which meant stretching the cables for the front fans to the connectors on the motherboard.

Assembling a liquid cooling system in the 900D will undoubtedly be more complex, but the case is spacious and fairly modular, and Corsair did a lot of work to make it as easy as possible. The most confusing part may actually be figuring out how to remove the top panel; you press up on a notch from inside the top of the case and then slide the panel towards the motherboard side. As a whole, though, I'd be surprised if end users had much trouble getting a system installed in the 900D beyond the typical difficulties.

In and Around the Corsair Obsidian 900D Testing Methodology
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  • Subyman - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    I have a 800D and would not purchase something like this again. I really like the case, very well built, and so forth but with boutique manufacturers like Case Labs making thick, aluminum cases that weigh half as much with ridiculous customization, it seems a serious watercooling enthusiast has better choices out there. The 900D looks great and well built, but steel at $349 + 41lbs dry is rough. Believe me, a fully loaded 800D was is ***** to move! No wheel option is a little disappointing as well with something this large.
  • hero1 - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    This. I had absolutely forgotten about Case Labs as of late. And you do have a good point here and I think most people ought to know that they can have better cases for similar price or slightly more.
  • Blindsay04 - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Case labs makes some quality stuff but their pricing is a lot more. SMH10 is $500 and that is probably the closest to the 900D
  • pensive69 - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    see? Subyman picked up on the need for wheels...
    and the case didn't seem to have what i might term
    non slip handholds either.
    that's where my insurance kicks in.
    good god
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    it would require changing the appearance slightly; but to make installing cards easier I'd suggest putting holes in the frame at the proper screw location and extending the side panel to cover them. It worked well in one of the more plebeian cases I've used.

    I've had trouble with hinged toolless latching mechanisms not being compatible with dual slot GPUs before and am leery about suggesting them for something like this; although with a watercooled card the obstruction might not be an issue.
  • minijedimaster - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    So they basically just took a Fractal Design XL R2 and modified it, slapped their name on it and called it a day.
  • santiagoanders - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    The interior is much more similar to the CoolerMaster Cosmos II
  • JFord047 - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Which is basically Just an Antec Performance case re-jigged
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    Not sure why someone would question the "need" for this over the 800D. It's pretty simple:

    800D - 7 Expansion slots
    900D - 10 Expansion slots

    The 900D will simply hold a much larger mainboard. The 800D might well be crowding a third graphics card, and a fourth one would be out of the question.
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    I already own an 800D, and it's nice to see that they addressed the cable routing shortcomings in that case. It annoys me that I spent $300 on that case to see the side panel bow out because I'm routing a fairly common number of cables behind the case. While the side panel bowing doesn't really hamper you, I have found another issue with it that makes me reconsider ever buying another Corsair case. The other issue is that the 800D is limited in regard to the radiator sizes that it supports. Why is it that Corsair designed the 800D, their previous flagship case, to only support up to a 240mm radiator? If I had to guess, it's probably because Corsair was only selling a 240mm solution at this point (their H100 all-in-one). However, a few months ago, Corsair released a 280mm all-in-one solution called the H110i, which isn't even supported by the 800D!

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