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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  • 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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