In and Around the Corsair Obsidian 900D

I'll cut right to the chase, this thing is enormous. It was shipped to me freight, on its own pallet of one, and the FedEx guy bellyached constantly about getting it up to and into my apartment. And it's absolutely huge. Just to give you some idea of the scale, this is the 900D's box hanging out next to the unboxed BitFenix Shinobi XL I use for cooler testing. Please forgive the mediocre cameraphone quality.

Yeah, they're not screwing around. If you're a particularly tiny man (like, for example, me), know what you're getting into. Thankfully it's only 40 pounds, and I say that knowing that it could be worse.

Corsair uses a combination of aluminum and steel for the chassis that's both attractive and sturdy. The brushed aluminum is on the front fascia of the 900D, and it's very thick and really demonstrates the best qualities of using aluminum for a chassis. The top 5.25" segment of the case is a drop-down door that hides the USB and headphone connectivity along with the reset button; the notch above the door is the power button, and the power and activity LEDs are embedded in it. The shields for the four 5.25" segments below it are secure, but easily removed from the interior, and when removed there's an attractive finish surrounding them (you'll see in assembly later on.) Below all of those is a single panel that pops out to reveal the front fan mounts along with their removable filter. That filter has enough space inside it to comfortably fit around a radiator.

The top of the 900D is much simpler: a large, removable filtered grate bookended by steel on either side.  Corsair has done a good job of producing something dense enough that the fan mounts beneath it aren't unsightly while allowing air to pass through easily enough. Interestingly, there's virtually nothing on the bottom of the 900D. Though the 900D is able to stand a healthy distance off of even a carpeted floor, Corsair elected not to offer cooling options on the bottom of the case. This isn't a mark against the case, just something worth noting.

Get to the back of the 900D and you'll see it's almost all ventilation, but the patterns are tasteful and stylish, and it's obvious there's a lot of room behind the motherboard tray for routing cables. You can see the two power supply bays in the bottom, but I think Corsair missed an opportunity by not also allowing the user to install a power supply in the top of the case. The clearance is there, and though it would intrude on the radiator space somewhat, it would also free up radiator space in the bottom. Note that near the top are two wedges on either side; these are buttons that release the latches holding the side panels on, similar to the Obsidian 550D.


Big case, tiny photographer.

The sides of the 900D are a dual door affair. There are side panels for the top chamber that are hinged at the bottom, and the left panel has a large window. Ordinarily I'm on the fence about windows, but with something like the 900D I think it would be ridiculous not to have one. These hinged panels are easy to remove, secure when in place, and a godsend for builders. Meanwhile, the two bottom doors are also hinged at the bottom, and though they don't come off, they're easily pushed open from behind. In the photography they're blocked off, but they actually have magnetic filters behind them, and the blocked off panels can be removed to turn them into vents if you install radiators and/or fans in the bottom chamber.

Open up the 900D and Corsair has a heck of a lot going on with effectively a smart two chamber system. The 5.25" bays are toolless (and pretty secure), and the drive cages are all some degree of removable; they're all held in place by screws behind the motherboard tray. Corsair only includes three cages with three trays apiece, but you can order two more directly from them to fill the whole thing out. The bottom right cage also includes a SATA backplane and the trays themselves will line up both 3.5" and 2.5" drives to connect to it. To use the fan/radiator mounts in the bottom chamber you'll have to remove both cages, though; do so, and then there's a panel of mounts that flips up from the bottom.

There are plenty of well-placed holes in the motherboard tray for routing cables, and Corsair very smartly sets the one for connecting SATA cables to the motherboard a couple of millimeters out. This corrects for the extra clearance that side-oriented SATA ports require, something few case manufacturers actually account for. Finally, behind the motherboard tray, Corsair actually includes latches for cable routing.

The Corsair 900D is ultimately an exceptionally well built enclosure. It's sturdy and fairly thoughtfully designed for its intended purpose, though not totally flawless. The four fans Corsair includes are all revisions of their popular AF120 and AF140 case fans. As a whole, the package screams quality and I don't get the sense that Corsair ever really cheaped out.

Introducing the Corsair Obsidian 900D Assembling the Corsair Obsidian 900D
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  • Juddog - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Woah that case is a monster! Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Thought it was big? A few years ago, I built a PC with the Thermaltake Mozart TX. That case is easily bigger than this. The TX is almost all aluminum and very light. It even has mounting for a second motherboard (itx), tons of drive bays, off top of my head, 8 120mm cooling fan spots.
    It's a beautiful case, it's too bad they no longer make them. An update with USB 3.0 would be nice. It sold for about $250. Google images for the case.
    Reply
  • Juddog - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    I'm thinking Corsair probably added some steel because of complaints with various parts of the 800D having durability issues. Reply
  • KLC - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    "It superficially looks and is built like an overgrown ATX case..." No, it superficially looks like a CRT console TV from 1975. Reply
  • wolrah - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Am I the only one who yearns for the days when case windows were an optional extra or something people had to hack in to their case? These days it's challenging to find a large case without one. I do not want to spend hours doing Voodoo-style origami with my server's cables, please don't force me to put them on display. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    There are many cases that don't have a side window. I suggest you buy one of those instead of one that is designed for people who like side windows.

    I found 6 on newegg in about 2 minutes that will hold huge motherboards and have 10 or more expansion slot capability.

    So, no it's not hard at all to find a good case without a side window.
    Reply
  • wolrah - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Finding a case that meets those criteria is different from one that looks good and is good to work with. I assumed I didn't have to be that specific, but for purposes of clarity I have not been able to find any good looking (read: simple) large cases with good build quality and reasonable interior designs that lack windows. There are numerous cases like this one, excellent on all factors except that stupid piece of plexiglass.

    Looking on Newegg right now, since that's your example, I see what I assume to be the same six cases you found. The Thor, CM Storm, and Fusion are all chunky, fugly "LAN G4m3r" styled machines which look like they fell out of a [H]ard|OCP mod thread. All of those are really pushing the definition of "no window" as while it's technically not a clear window the massive open screen on the side has basically the same effect.

    That leaves two Lian-Lis. They're excellent but incredibly expensive and have always pretty much been in a league of their own.

    So yea, unless I want to pay out the nose for the best of the best, it is in fact rather hard to find a large case without this stupid computer ricer shit.
    Reply
  • Biggestinsect - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    All Caselabs enclosures give multiple options for side panel design; solid, vented and different windows. They have a couple cases in this price range. Sleeving wires and artfully plumbing the cooling is a lot of the fun of building plus having a window lets you quickly know when and if the thing gets dirty or starts leaking. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I get that you aren't finding what you want, but I still think you vastly overstated the situation, and tried to make out like Corsair did something wrong here. They didn't; they just targeted people with a certain taste in cases, and you weren't in that group. And, there is plenty of room to route cables behind the mainboard tray, so griping about needing to spend extra hours routing cables really doesn't make sense. (If you are watercooling, you are likely to spend far more time routing cooling tubes, heh.)

    The cases we found on newegg are all decent cases; it's really just a matter of personal taste in appearance and what price you are willing to pay. And, the Lian Li cases are about the price of this one, so I don't know how you can complain that this case comes with a side window but those are "incredibly expensive" so not suitable for you. If they aren't suitable because of price, the side window is a moot point, because this case is too expensive as well.

    I'm not trying to pick on you here, I'm trying to get you to see that the case scenario isn't as bleak as you think it is. :) Hey, at least we don't have to put up with one brand or the other of a beige box with no real ability to cool components, heh. Cases have come a long way!

    Really, I think the solution would be to provide optional side panels, but I don't know how feasible that is since not all that many people are going to buy a case like this anyway. I have no use for a side window myself - but I do like side fans, and that's one reason I went with an Enermax Fulmo GT. That case won't help you though since you can still see through the fans, and that's not what you want. (Newegg doesn't carry the Fulmo GT anymore, says it's discontinued, but I still see them on Amazon.) And, it's a steel and plastic case, so if aluminum is your thing that won't suit you either.

    CaseLabs is an option that people have mentioned - but it looks to me like you'll end up paying more for one of their cases than the ~$350 this one costs, so don't know how that's going to work for most people. I paid $210 for the Fulmo GT, that was plenty for my tastes. I'd be willing to spend more - but I have no need to, so there's no point.

    I just has a thought - could you buy a 900D and simply put it so the window doesn't show?
    Reply
  • kzinti1 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    If you're so against looking at the innards of your case because of a window, why not just go to your local hobby shop, ask for a spray can of black paint for radio-controlled car bodies and paint the inside of the window? I guarantee a perfect opaque finish every single time.
    If you want a removable finish then go to your local car supply and ask for a roll of black-out limousine window tint and stick it on the inside of the computers window. Another simple way to ignore your lousy computer wiring job and also your trouble-shooting led's.
    The window tint would be best as it's easily removed when you sell your case, since with your inattention to detail when assembling your computer, you'll probably fry your components sooner than later.
    Reply

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