Corsair has been around a lot longer than my time in the PC buying market. Ever since my first set of DDR value ram, I knew they were a quality company. The noobish mistakes I made with voltage and timings should have killed that PC3200, but it faired very well through all the abuse I gave it. Of course Corsair designs and builds other things aside from memory. They are also a leader in recommended power supplies to new builders. This all comes down to word of mouth, or word of test rather, recommendations from current users of their quality products.
For a long time Corsair has been able to sit on the sidelines and ponder ideas, as well as seeing others fail and succeed with what innovations have already been placed into chassis design. Taking this giant step onto the scene with their first chassis design, Corsair had already set the quality bar pretty high with many of their other products, so they wanted to make sure this carries on to all pieces of their product line.
Since CES 09 we have been seeing videos and leaked images, as well as a couple reviews, all of which looked gorgeous to me personally. I already have high expectations of the multi-compartment cooling zones, and the superb wire management options I have seen. All black cases hold a special place in my heart already, but I am looking at this chassis through my own eyes this time and get a real chance to see what all the hype is about. Today we got a good look at the Obsidian 800D full tower chassis from Corsair, which they were nice enough to send along a little early. Let's sift through the specs and get down to the basics and see if Corsair passes all the tests.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Obsidian 800D reflects its name and arrives completely black aside from the large window in the side panel. This chassis measures in at 24"square and 9" wide of all black goodness. The main body and internal pieces are all painted with a textured, flat black paint. The front panel, however, is a plastic structure with black, brushed aluminum panels to clean up the overall looks. Up to five external 5.25" can be placed in this chassis and a total of six 3.5" bays. Four of those 3.5" bays are in a rack that is accessed via a panel in the door and are backed with hot swappable connections preinstalled and hidden from site. The other two can be installed at the very bottom of the rack internally. The rear of the chassis features seven expansion slots with a vented area underneath.
Cooling inside this chassis is handled out of the box with three included, 140mm fans. One is in the rear as exhaust; one is on the side of the hot swappable bays blowing across the drives; the last one is in the floor panel between the motherboard area and the power supply area, blowing cold incoming air up to the main area of the 800D. There is room for up to four 120mm fans to be added to the Obsidian for added cooling. The top of the chassis has a layout for a triple 120mm radiator or just fans in that configuration and the fourth fan can attach to the side of the lower hard drive bay.
The Obsidian chassis isn't available until September 10th by the looks of things on the web. A few discussions lead me to believe that the projected pricing was to be in the sub $300 range. Doing a bit of Googling, it led me straight to Newegg, who is currently taking pre-orders for the Obsidian. As projected, the Obsidian is in fact selling below $300 U.S.D., as this $279.99 pre-order price at Newegg proves. That includes shipping! This price plays well with most other premium chassis on the market, so let's get down to how well the Corsair Obsidian 800D stacks up.
Since things got to me early, the packaging wasn't quite ready, so they sent it to me in this all white package.
The same thing on the flip side, all white. Just a few labels from shipping to break things up!
Removing the box, the Obsidian 800D is secured with typical Styrofoam end supports. This chassis must have gotten a good bump in shipping somewhere because the lower piece of foam was broken. No worries, though, the 800D arrived in pristine shape despite the jolt it received.
The Corsair Obsidian 800D Full Tower Case
After removing the foam and plastic liner, there is yet another layer protecting the brushed aluminum front panel. Once all that is removed you are greeted with this super sleek looking front panel. The power button and HDD activity sits next to a closeable front I/O panel above five removable optical drive plates. The door below is where the hot swappable hard drive access is.
With the door open, you can see the four trays provided to allow you to hot swap any 3.5"SATA hard drive. With a gentle push of the tab on the left a bar releases and allows the tray to slide out. Also, the door itself, by pulling a pin at the top is reversible to open from whichever side is more convenient.
With a simple push on the dots on the face of this panel, the door opens and drops out of the way. In here is not only the typical USB 2.0, mic, audio and IEEE 1394 connections, but Corsair also hides the reset button in here.
As I mentioned, the left side of this chassis does have a rather large viewing window. The door itself is steel and painted in the same textured, black paint as the rest of the body. (The window looks "milky" due to an extra layer of protection I had yet to remove on the inside.)
There are a lot of things to cover in the rear of the Obsidian, so pay close attention. At the top there are two push buttons that release the door panels on either side. These buttons flank a good sized vented area just above two water cooling grommets. To the far left is a long vent that allows for airflow behind the motherboard tray from the 140mm fan that also cools the hard drives; more on that soon. Then there is the rear I/O area next to the rear 140mm exhaust fan. These are above a 7+1 expansion slot setup that will allow for Tri-SLI setups, since the extra bit of venting at the bottom allows for the dual slot cooler to still blow outside the case. Last but not least is the large hole at the bottom for the power supply unit.
The top of the 800D isn't just some flat piece of stamped steel. Corsair knows what buyers want and utilized this area to allow for a triple 120mm radiator. You will see in a bit, they even left ample room inside for the thickest radiator choices. If you don't plan to water cool your build, you could also place three 120mm fans here to improve the airflow.
The bottom of the Corsair chassis also has features worth noting. The three piece foot design is very sturdy and stable, and have rubber pads applied to keep it in place on a glass surface, or not to scratch the wood ones. The intake vents in the floor for the power supply to draw from has a slide out dust cover that is washable for easy maintenance.
Inside The Corsair Obsidian 800D Full Tower Case
I already got a somewhat clouded view of the interior through the window, but when I removed the door to get the plastic off the inside of the glass, I stepped back and actually said "wow" out loud. The chassis is even sexier on the inside! The monochromatic paint scheme is perfect, and allows the plastic shrouds and the wire management grommets to virtually disappear into the landscape. Three different cooling zones, one for the motherboard, one for the hot swappable HDD rack, and the third at the bottom for the PSU and extra couple of hard drives, should keep heat build up at bay.
No corner is left unpainted! From every angle there is a lot of that sexy black. Corsair even takes the extra step to make sure the fan wire is black to "hide" itself in the surroundings.
Taking a look inside the front half, you can see where Corsair ships all the hardware, secure strapped inside the 5.25" drive rack, which is tool-less I might add. Moving down, you run into the connection and the PCB for the hot swappable SATA setup. Yes, Corsair includes the necessary cables to make it all function properly.
Under the plastic "Corsair" marked cover is a 140mm fan to cool the drives. Just below, you can add another 120mm fan to cool the lower rack if needed. And to the far top left, you can see I have released the access panel that removes to allow easier installation of a back plate.
Spinning the Obsidian around, you can see there is plenty of room, to get everything you have to wire, hidden. With thirteen various holes that have grommets and two that aren't I don't see what you could install that couldn't benefit from the provided access to hide everything. Well done Corsair! Lastly, keeping with the all black look, all of the power and front I/O wiring is also in black sheathing.
Accessories and Documentation
This is what you find inside the white box strapped inside the optical drive bays. At the left are two baggies; the top one is full of the screws for motherboard and drive mounting if you choose to, as the drive bays are all tool-less. The bottom bag contains black fan screws for the top, so when you add fans or a radiator it keeps the look Corsair intended, all black. In the middle is a rubber 120mm fan anti-vibration sleeve. This is for the single 120mm fan on the lowest hard drive rack. To the right are two more bags. The top one contains six very long screws I didn't find a use for and the bag below has a few extra motherboard risers. At the top and bottom are the four tool-less slides for the lower hard drive rack.
As I mentioned, the wiring is all included to get you well under way in keeping things neat and tidy inside. There are four 90 degree SATA wires in black, an 8-pin or 4-pin CPU power extension cable and a nicely wired SATA power connection to keep the wiring to a minimum on the back of the hot swappable SATA system.
Since the Obsidian has yet to hit the market, there was no instruction guide or installation manual included, just this "reviewer's guide" which is more technical information than case assembly help. I will say this though, even with no instruction to go by, I found the Corsair Obsidian 800D very user friendly and easy to get into and get the job done.
The Build and Finished Product
Releasing six tabs, the front easily removes. This is needed to be done so you may have access to remove the correct bay cover for the drives you want to install. At this point I went ahead and set in the DVD burner and lock it into place.
Gently pressing the tab releases a bar to allow the tray to be removed. Set your favorite 3.5" SATA HDD, install up to six screws and slide the tray back into place. Leave the bar in the open position and slide the tray all the way in. Then press the bar back into place until you hear the latch click. All of this can be done through the access plate in the front bezel, just open the little door and swap out a drive; simple as that.
Even with a full ATX motherboard and a GTX 280, the case seems to dwarf the components. Like I was saying, the wiring pretty much takes care of itself. Just start them all out the back by the PSU and run them behind to where they need to go. This is bar none the cleanest build out of the box as well as the easiest. If you look closely, you can see I was even able to hide my IDE drive and ribbon cable in the lower bays. I also picked the Foxconn for the PCI-e X16 slot arrangement. You get a real feel for how the 7+1 expansion slots will allow the bottom fan to breathe correctly.
The supplied wires from Corsair make really short clean work of getting all this connected. The 90 degree SATA wires and the inline SATA power connection make sure of that.
Once you get things all wired up, just simply slide the supplied plastic covering over the fan and wiring and you are left with everything out of sight and out of mind.
As I say, when you go to slide in the PSU, first route all the wiring out the provided grommet. This cleanly gets all the wiring out of sight until they make a re-appearance for the appropriate connection on your motherboard. I misplaced the 8-pin extension shortly after the build started, so I had to sneak the 8-pin through the CPU back plate access door, which should be back in place at this time. Even with the big groupings of wires tied together, there is plenty of room to get the panel back on.
Getting all the panels back on was easy enough, so I went right to adding power and booting the build. The Corsair Obsidian has a white LED power indicator and a white HDD activity LED. This is the only lighting of the 800D chassis, yet again another sleek and elegant touch.
Really, when was the last time you saw the rear of a completed chassis look so nice? I don't know why but I feel this is the most finished looking rear image I have seen of a chassis, even though you will likely never see it, Corsair keeps the bar set high on all sides, in and out.
Looking through the window again, this time with the inner coating removed and all the hardware in place, things look a lot clearer. In my opinion the window is nice. Not the typical all square shape of most, and does a great job of highlighting the major components while hiding the more mundane.
Wow, what a great case! I took a little extra time with this review to bring any issues that might happen to my attention. The problem is, there are no problems. From my original impressions of the Obsidian 800D, through the build, and on through a week's worth of use, I still get a little grin as I walk in and see this Corsair chassis on my desktop. That's right, this chassis made me tear down the Lian Li PC-B70 and permanently house my review rig in here.
Tool-less drives throughout, black throughout and well thought out is a success for Corsair. Taking a huge leap and putting themselves out front releasing their first chassis is a bold move in the first place, and Corsair sure didn't disappoint with anything in their premiere launch of what has to be the sexiest chassis I have had the pleasure to review and use.
I mentioned in the beginning that I would see how well the Corsair Obsidian 800D chassis does against the competition I have tested at or above its price range. My Lian Li was nice, but not as sexy, the Ikonik was innovative, but doesn't hold a candle to the Corsair. The only case I can think of that is close is the Raven from Silverstone, but that chassis is bold, where the Obsidian is a sleek and attractive "every man's" chassis. Considering the Ikonik I tested was well over the Corsairs pre-order price of $279.99 with free shipping from Newegg, it is right in line with the Lian Li which I prefer a bit less than this Corsair, making it worth every penny.
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