Corsair is a relative newcomer to the computer case market, but the company has won accolades for itself with a line of popular mainstream enthusiast cases at a variety of price points. On the high-end of its offerings is the Corsair Obsidian Series 900D. With a premium $349 price tag and a feature set that’s meant to appeal primarily to the liquid cooling crowd, this case is definitely not a mainstream product.
The 900D is enormous, even compared to other cases of its type. The next step down in Corsair’s product line, the roomy and well-designed Corsair 800D, measures 24 by 9 inches by 24 (HWD) for a total internal volume of 5,184 cubic inches. The 900D is 25.6 by 9 by 27.2 inches (HWD) for an internal volume of 6,893 cubic inches, or about 33% more than the 800D. Anyone who intends to put this case under a desk or in a crowded area will need to measure first. With the size comes weight—the 900D is 41 pounds when empty. Once built, this chassis could easily hit 50 to 60lbs depending on just how many components you put into it.
The 900D’s styling is all done in brushed aluminum with minimal accents; it has a conservative, distinguished appeal that mimics the finish on the Corsair 700D and 800D. Internally, there are four 5.25-inch drive bays, nine 3.5-inch drive bays, and three front-mounted 120mm intake fans, and a rear exhaust fan. The rest of the case, including the copious amounts of space up top, is designed for radiator installation. Alternately, you can certainly mount standard fans— 4x120mm or 3x140mm are both supported.
The front panel is hidden behind a shield but contains the usual suspects—four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a pair of audio jacks. There’s plenty of 5.25″ drive bays—four total—but the front-mounted hard drives that defined the Corsair 800D are gone in favor of smooth aluminum siding.
Given that the case is marketed as being for water cooling, you might think at first that the second door about two-thirds down the body of the chassis is meant for the water reservoir. That’s not the case (badump-ching). The two-panel system is a nod to the idea that the 900D implements two zones of cooling, with one zone for the power supply and lower drives and the other for the motherboard, CPU, and primary components.
The side panels are held on by easily removed latches, while the bottom panel doesn’t detach—it opens on a hinge to allow access to the bottom components. Power supplies are installed on edge, to allow for up to two supplies in the same case. That’s a relatively rare configuration option, which gives an idea of just how specialized the case design is. The side panels are more than just an aesthetic option, they’re also mount areas for their own fans. While they look like contiguous pieces of metal, there’s a removable plate on each side. Pop it off, and the formerly solid panel becomes a vent to which fans can be attached. There’s room for up to 4x120mm fans on each side, but the practical limit is four fans on one side, two on the other—installing one PSU will block two of the fans on that side.
The 900D does a lot of things right as far as supporting a full range of motherboards (you can drop anything up to an HPTX motherboard into the chassis), well positioned board cut-outs for optimum cable routing, and drive trays that are sturdy. As an added bonus, a number of cases aren’t really designed for SATA cables that come off the side of the board, but the 900D nails this nicely. Cable routing in a case this large can sometimes be a nightmare, but not here—there are routing channels in the back and plenty of room. Corsair includes the cable extenders that are often necessary when working in huge towers and one of the drive cages comes pre-fitted with three SATA cables and SATA power.
This is precisely the type of perk we want to see in a $349 case, and it’s clear that Corsair has sunk in the time to build something that appeals to a luxury buyer. The case is easy to build in and virtually without downsides, though you’ll need an L-shaped screwdriver to tighten thumbscrews or swap rear components. Still, there are a few things missing, including an integrated fan controller or fan hub. When multiple cases at half the 900D’s cost include such features, it’s hard to justify their absence here.
Still, there’s another more basic issue with the 900D, which is “Do you need a $349 case to start with?” For the vast majority of buyers, the advantages of the 900D—copious space for two power supplies, easy liquid cooler mounting, and HPTX motherboard support—simply aren’t going to be important. Even if you’re a Corsair fan, the excellent Corsair 800D, at more than $100 cheaper, is probably going to suit your needs.
If you’re in the market for something truly enormous, with multiple power supplies, liquid coolers, huge radiators, or you’ve got a burning need to smuggle midgets, the Corsair 900D is absolutely worth consideration. Most everyone else will find better, more cost-effective options elsewhere.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc