Over the years I have had quite the assortment of cases to choose from. One fact has always remained the same. I always go for larger cases that are easy on the eyes, feature rich, offer enough room for my goods and even the option to get my whole arm inside, if need be. This path has had me housing goods in cases from Antec, when the 900 was first released, after that I was in the original Cosmos S. There is a bit of a blur where I was switching various Raven cases, but I know the 800D soon followed, and that chassis set on my desk for what seemed like years. From that chassis I moved all of my hardware over the Silverstone TJ11, and I was happy with that chassis for quite some time.
For a guy like me who keeps his day to day work rig in a showcase environment, and tests coolers in a $400 InWin open air chassis, I for sure am spoiled. Another factor that makes me not want to change cases all the time is that fact that it is my work rig, so down time to customize a case to do what I want is out of the question. I need ready to go solutions that in some way or another, easily offers water cooling support, great ventilation, aesthetic appeal, and has to have room for me to swap parts out if I am testing, or just simply replacing my gaming hardware. From what I have just seen, there is a new big dog in town, and it is no longer my SilverStone TJ11.
Corsair has had a few fumbles as far as I am concerned with a couple of their designs as of late, but with the chassis we are going to see today, this case is on a whole other plane of reality of what an enthusiast tower should be. Just like when the 800D was released, Corsair is now delivering the Obsidian Series 900D that really just kicks ass and takes names. I have a feeling it will be quite some time until there is another mainstream company that can come up with a similarly designed chassis with these sort of offerings, and at a price that any enthusiast will have no issues paying to get the best of the best.
Make sure all your bills are paid and you have already eaten today, because by the time you finish reading this review, I have a feeling you may be clearing out the wallet to get an Obsidian 900D of your very own.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Externally you are given a chassis that is designated as a Super-Tower chassis. This is due to the 27.2" height, the 9.9" width and the 25.6" depth. There isn't a listed weight, but I would guess that the 900D is in the 30 pound range, empty. The design features square corners, flat panels, accents of black brushed aluminum panels - you know, all the things that made the 800D so popular - but there are some major changes. Where the 800D has one side panel for either side, since the 900D is much taller, you have two panels to access the inside of the chassis. The front of the chassis looks a lot like the 800D; it has been redesigned as well to allow for a much better flow of air through it this time around. It still comes in the same black suit, it still has a large side window, and still uses large chunky feet that give these large towers such good footing.
The inside is where the magic happens with this design, though. You can house up to four 5.25" bays worth of devices or reservoirs, and below is room for nine storage drives. Even here the cages are split apart, have many optional locations, and three of them come with back planes to make them hot-swappable bays. The motherboard tray can house a plethora of form factors from Mini-ITX on the smallest end to HPTX boards on the larger end of that spectrum. There is a very large access hole, and much improved wire management than the 800D offered. In the rear of the chassis you are given ten expansion slots for boards like the SR-2 or SR-X from EVGA, you are given dust filters everywhere you can think they are needed, there is room for redundant or multiple PSUs, and the 900D offers a total of 15 fan locations inside of this design.
Considering other cases "like" the 900D, places like CaseLabs, MountianMods, or basically any of the companies that will custom assemble a chassis designed specifically to your needs all want in the $400 to $500 range to just get started. As I looked around via Google, there are only three locations listing the 900D, but they are all at the same pricing of $349.99. Think about that a minute. Full water cooling support for any needs you could possible come up with, tons of space, a sleek and sexy design that rings true of its heritage, and you can have this enthusiast super-tower delivered for less than where any of the other comparable cases even start.
Now you have some idea of why I said it is going to be very easy for enthusiast chassis builder to empty their wallet, this chassis is just that good, and at a great price considering what you are buying with the Obsidian 900D from Corsair.
Going with the plain brown cardboard and black screen printing is a great way to leave more money for the features. On the front of the packaging you are shown a rendering of the chassis along with its naming. Off to the right are four obvious reasons why someone would want such a tower.
Spinning things to the right you can now see that there are three specifications charts in different languages, and you are also shown renderings of the front of the chassis, as well as a look inside the left panel with both doors removed.
Here you are shows the chassis in an exploded rendering showing all the components and what comes apart where. Corsair give a list of the contents minus the hardware, and at the bottom discuss the flexibility, cooling, and its ease of use with bullet points for each topic.
This is a copy of the opposing smaller panel, but the specifications charts are covered in three other languages.
The inner packaging is the tried and true setup of thick Styrofoam used at the top and bottom covering a thick plastic liner. You will also find that all of the door panel edges, as well as the aluminum trim and widow are all protected with either plastic applied to them, or through the use of tape. Even with the chassis being this heavy, and the fact I think this came directly from the manufacturer overseas, it did a great job of getting this huge super-tower to my door in one piece.
Corsair Obsidian 900D Super-Tower Chassis
The front of the chassis has a large surround with a thin gap on all sides. Inside of that air gap, the top offers four removable bay covers, and a large fan access panel that are all glad in black brushed aluminum. At the bottom you will find the logo and Corsair name in natural aluminum.
Four tabs hold the aluminum cover at the bottom. Behind it, you find a dust filter that has side on it to cover the vented intake around the edge of the bezel, too. Behind that filter are three AF120L fans already to add a bunch of flow into the front of the chassis.
Above the four removable bay covers, the top cover hides the front I/O panel. There are HD Audio jacks and USB 3.0 ports on the left. The long bit of protruding plastic is the power button and is lit with two LEDs with the tiny reset button below it. Then to the right you have a quartet of USB 2.0 ports.
The top of the chassis has a thick band of material from the front bezel at the front, and the same at the rear of the chassis. Between them is the large expanse of mesh to allow the chassis to vent naturally as it is shipped, but it can house a 480mm radiator without blinking, too.
The left side of the chassis consists of two panels. There is the larger top section with a very large window, much like what we had in the Air 540. The lower section has a drop down panel that is held up with magnets. This panel also has side ventilation around it, offers a dust filter, and hides some cool tricks behind it.
The top half of the rear end of the chassis offers quite a bit to check out. There is a large section of ventilation at the top, with push button door releases on either side. Moving down you then run into the rear I/O area and the fourth and final fan shipped in the chassis, this time the AF140L.
The bottom half of it then offers ten ventilates slot covers next to another large ventilated area. At the bottom you have the option to put a PSU in either side, or you can also use two PSUs in here at the same time for more serious systems.
The right side of the chassis also offers the two door concept to chassis entry. Again the top panel will pop out at the top with the push of the button, and to access the bottom half, just flick the lever at the top and pull it the rest of the way over to release the magnetic hold on the chassis.
Under the chassis you find that the front and back feet are part of those panels and not bolted directly to the floor of the chassis. This clears up room on the floor for other things. Since the PSU gets mounted on its side, there is no dust filter or holes for air flow here.
Inside the Obsidian 900D
Inside the obsidian 900D
Just the top section of this chassis is larger than a mid-tower chassis, and is almost a full-tower on its own. The lower section had drop out doors, but the steel hinges can be unscrewed to get them out of the way if you wish for the build process.
The chassis delivers four 5.25" bays with very secure tool-free latches on this side, and you can back these up with the use of screws on the opposing side. The top is used for the I/O wiring, but it is very clear of the bays and all four can be easily populated without conflict.
There are three storage drive cages, each capable of housing three drives. They can all be stacked on the right like a conventional case, spread along the floor on three stands that accept the racks - or remove all of them. The drive cage in the corner is also hot-swappable because of the back planes added to that cage only.
The top of the chassis comes fully ready to accept a quad 120mm radiator. Not only that, but with the large offset to the motherboard, you can do push/pull fans on even thick radiators and not have issues with the motherboard.
Glancing at the motherboard tray you can see the superb wire management this chassis brings to the table. Fifteen wire management holes in view, along with a few along the bottom separation rails, 12 tie points, and a rectangular access hole to allow for socket offset on the larger motherboards.
Looking again at the floor, but the left side of the interior now, you can see how easy two power supplies will sit back to back, supported with steel rails. You can also see the magnetic dust filter that is stuck to the inside of the lower side panel. These cover the full length and are found on both lower doors.
Inside of the rear of the 900D there is a deep inset back panel. This keeps the fan and the expansion slots shifted well behind the edge of the chassis frame, blocking access to the thumbscrews holding the slot covers in place. Corsair do send along a 90 degree screwdriver to alleviate this issue, though.
There is a bit of management done from the factory to show off the new wire clips system employed. You also find the 8-pin extension cable mounted to the tray. It is a bit tough to see, but the lower section of this side offers yet another quad 120mm radiator support, so we are up to two now.
All of the chassis wiring is black. The F_Panel wires are shorter, but have no issues reaching. The USB 3.0 is long enough as well, and the much longer USB 2.0 cables and the HD Audio connection connect without issue as well. Other than this there is the 3-pin connections for the fans, and the trio of SATA cables and the SATA power lead for the hot-swappable bays.
Accessories and Documentation
The hardware box is found inside of the lowest hot-swap bay, and above pictured is what it contained. There is the angles screw driver at the left for getting in and tightening the screws in the expansion slots. You get a large bag of short fan screws, a bag of much longer fan screws, and I am not too sure what the two long screws and plastic spacers are for.
Then you get a bag of screws for the motherboard, PSU and hard drives. The second bag contains screws for the ODD and SSD installations, and again I am not sure about the single screw in a bag by itself.
You also get a three page manual to go with the chassis and the literature on the two year warranty that goes with the 900D. The reason the manual is so short is that this is geared to enthusiasts, and Corsair assumes you have knowledge of what to do.
Opening the manual you are given a two page diagram of the chassis. This diagram explodes the chassis into its various components and labels them so that you can read and familiarize yourself with the chassis in one place.
The last page shows all of the hardware, their count, and what each is used for with the 900D. It also shows that there are 12 cable ties that come with this chassis, and there are, but they were stuck in the bottom of the hardware box, and I missed it at the time of taking the photo.
The Build and Finished Product
I don't really care for the look of only one of the bay covers being gone, it really does break up the design a bit. I do however think it would look fine with a pair of reservoirs, or a reservoir, fan controller, and an ODD so that all of the covers are gone. It looks much better that way, if you have to remove any at all.
If the case didn't seem all that large and roomy, think about it now with the ATX motherboard installed. It takes what are normally some large components and makes it look like a Mini-ITX build with some super short VGA - just imagine the possibilities and sheer amount of stuff you can still pack in.
The chassis fills up nicely out back, and there wasn't an issue to report. Everything went in as it is designed to do, and even the fan wire is in the right location pointing at the motherboard tray, so I did not even have to rotate that to clean up the wiring, it was already done correctly.
This is where the 800D failed pretty hard. The 900D fixes all that and offers some of the best wire management I have seen to date, and the cables are all long enough to route it super cleanly. I also like the additional plastic straps, and they even allow for the 24-pin wiring to be strapped in them. Every single wire is well managed and hidden for the most part, and I haven't even dented the near 40mm of room offered here.
The window offers a great view, even if that view includes a fair bit of the bays. Again, if at all possible, I would remove all the covers or none at all, as the DVD drive really does break up the view was once very sleek and sexy to look at.
Two things I loved when I powered up the 900D - one is the absolute silence of the four sock fans inside of the chassis, and the second is the fact that there is only a faint white LED light denoting system power. There is also the occasional flicker of the HDD activity light, again in the power button, but nothing too bold as to distract you or keep you from sleeping.
There really is no stone unturned in the design of the Corsair Obsidian 900D chassis. From the moment I removed the plastic and foam and found all the edges taped, the window protected inside and out, and tape holding the front panels on so not to get lose and scratch things in transit, I had a good feeling. Then when you actually dig deeper, you find that all of the things that customers complained about in the 800D are certainly rectified. There are no wire management issues, Corsair nailed it this time. Adjustable flexibility in both the storage drive systems as well as the cooling possibilities, Corsair again knocks it out of the park. But there is still more. When you look at all the fine details like plastic trim on steel components inside the chassis to keep the parts for rattling or abrading, the magnetic dust filters, the funky box style dust filter in the front, I mean everywhere you look inside and out of the 900D, you are going to be very hard pressed to find fault with this design.
The case is just packed with features, too. Hot-swappable storage drives, tool-free bays, space, aesthetics, 15 fan locations, room for a pair of quad 120mm radiators and room for a triple in the front, you can almost cool a small car with that much radiator surface area. The fact that the stock fans are dead silent when the chassis is closed up is great for those who want to use this chassis as-is, but most enthusiasts who are going to pick up this chassis are likely to gut it anyways and add their own idea of a great fan setup for what they individually need.
At first I was going to pick on Corsair a bit for only sending four out of 15 fans, but when you think about it, they are saving us both time and money by going with just the four, and I am happy with that call being made. Surprisingly, with the four fans supplied with 12V, they were plenty enough to give me great thermal results, while only delivering 28dB of noise to the environment surrounding this chassis.
This is the best chassis I have had the pleasure of reviewing so far, and I mean the best of the best. I may be somewhat glowing with other product in other reviews, but this is really everything you need, want, and desire in a chassis as an enthusiast. And for the beginners, this is the chassis you strive to own one day. There isn't another chassis on the market currently that can stand next to the Obsidian 900D in features, room, attention to every detail, a great price, and what I would deem a flawless execution of design and technology.
At $349.99, I can see stock of these being an issue in the long run, because I think half of you that are still reading this are only about five minutes away from locating and purchasing your own. It is just that awesome, and this is the case of the year in my mind, and will be a tough design to beat for some time, pending any surprise additions to the market.
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