Today I will be reviewing the illustrious Obsidian 800D case from Corsair. The Obsidian (now a series) represents Corsair’s first foray into the realm of computer cases. This is an area that up until now has had numerous players, less than a handful of those who could be considered dominant from the enthusiast’s point of view. Corsair faces stiff competition from the likes of Lian-Li, Silverstone and Coolermaster, all who have a great deal of experience and vast portfolio’s in this market. Will the 800D be able to hang? Let’s find out.
Features / Description:
Corsair’s take on the Obsidian 800D…
“The Obsidian Series™ 800D is built to last through years of motherboard, power, memory, cooling, and component upgrades.
The steel structure has a matte black coating both inside out and is finished with a brushed aluminum faceplate for a professional look that’s both serious and awe-inspiring. A windowed side panel makes it easy to show off your work.”
For more information, see Corsair’s product page.
The Package / Unboxing:
As you can see, the box is just enormous. I could barely get it through my hallway, up the stairs, into my nerdy laboratory. Luckily, what was inside was more than worth the exertion.
If you look closely at the shot above you can see tape and twist ties are used to secure the case accessories during shipment. Hopefully this is enough to prevent even the greatest drop-kicks from UPS employees from dislodging any of the components. We also get our first glimpse of many of the unique and original features that this case brings to the table, but we’ll discuss these in detail later.
Examining the motherboard tray, we can see small rubber sealed holes surrounding it. These holes are designed for routing wires and tubes to give your interior a overall much cleaner look and to improve airflow at the same time. Combine this feature with one of Corsair’s modular power supplies and you can create a very tidy scene.
On the back-end, we see the rear 140mm exhaust port teaming up with a super silent, low CFM 140mm fan. Corsair has also included holes to mount a 120mm fan should you feel the urge to go smaller. We also see a couple rubber-sealed holes for water cooling tubes to pass through for an external radiator or even an entire external loop. Lastly we can see the buttons at opposite sides at the very top which are used to release the side panels from the case. Simply press in the button and the corresponding side panel pops right off with ease. I have always dreaded the hassle of opening up my case before, this has changed all of that.
Setup & Installation:
The 800D came with several different types of screws, extra standoffs for the motherboard tray, and hard drive rails for the lower hard drive cage. It also included black zip-ties and a single page diagram and parts list. There is no manual with the case, however there is a link on the diagram where you can download or view the PDF for the manual. I would have liked to have actually had the manual in hand, and for those who only have one computer, this could get tricky. In the future I would hope Corsair sees the desire for an actual printed manual and includes one with all of their cases.
Let’s look closely at the picture above. First of all, I realize it’s obvious, but to me the simple fact that it’s already powder-coated in a matte black finish is just great. I have always been a fan of black interiors in cases; I just think it looks clean and sharp. However, Corsair didn’t stop with interior when it comes to their black on black scheme. In addition, every screw and case accessory they include is also in a matte black metal finish. This small, but important touch really adds an extra level of polish to the case once you’re finished with it.
Moving along, in this photo we can see all of the various cooling spots, including the top three 120mm fans, the lower 140mm fan below the motherboard tray, and the 140mm fan that cools the hot swap cage for the top four hard drives. This fan is located behind the Corsair logo as I will show you below.
Here is the hot swap drive cage. Corsair designed this in a really interesting way. First, we can see the 140mm cooling fan now exposed from behind the plastic corsair logo. This plastic enclosure also works as a duct to force air through the cage. At the back, we have four micro PCB’s, each with an SATA power and data connector. Corsair includes a daisy chain adapter (as seen in photo) which will allow you to use only a single SATA power connector from your power supply to power all four drives in this bay. What’s the front look like?
This is the front of the case with an optical drive installed. The case front is installed in an entirely tool-less manner. Essentially, to remove the front panel one must simply grab the panel from the bottom and pull up and away firmly, but carefully. It took me a few tries to get it simply because I didn’t want to break a clip or anything in the process. But after I did it once, I got the feel for it and realized that it was more durable than I may have initially given it credit for.
Notice the door above the Corsair logo? This is the hot-swap bay that I discussed just a moment ago. To open this bay, you simply push on the symbol on the right side and it pops open. The mechanism is very sturdy and firm and most importantly, it won’t rattle when closed. I’ve had aluminum and steel cases in the past with similar kinds of doors on the front, and whenever I would have my music going they would all begin to rattle ever so slightly. It’s good to know that Corsair put the time into thinking this through.
Let’s move on to installing the drives…
This is what you see when you pop open the hot swap bay. Each drive has a lock on it. Simply press a button on the left side of the lock to release it. The drive will then slide out with ease.
I couldn’t get a could shot, but inside the cage there are simply male SATA power and data connectors that bridge to the connectors on the opposite side of the cage that I showed you earlier.
Next we can see what the hot swap drive caddy’s actually look like with a drive installed in them.
This is very straightforward, but the drive mounts inside the caddy, you secure it with the screws provided with the case and it’s good to go. Given the placement of the screws it’s fairly impossible to install the drive incorrectly, however be sure to install with the connectors facing out. With the drive secured, simply slide it back into the cage, push the lock down and you’re done.
Unrelated to the drive bay, but another feature of the case, is the intake dust filter located in the floor of the case below the power supply. Corsair realized that most larger power supplies with 120mm or 140mm fans will be sucking air directly through the floor of the case. With this, one could easily see how the power supply could become outright filthy in just a matter of weeks, let alone months. Corsair took it upon themselves to save our power supplies with the easy slide-out dust filter as shown below.
With all of the standard features explained, we can now move on to installing all of the other components.
With the substantial space that the 800D has to offer, installing all of the components was an absolute breeze! I cannot stress enough how having that little bit of extra space for your hands to work in can make all the difference for your frustration levels. How many times have you gone to put in that last motherboard screw in the top left hand corner above the CPU and it’s blocked by some case brace, metal lip, or something else in the way? With this case, I was able to get to every screw and work with extreme ease. Much appreciated.
Once the motherboard was in, I hooked up my Corsair H50 watercooler. I decided to mount the radiator at the top in one of the three 120mm fan spots, as none of them were being used.
With the H50 mounted, I moved on to wire management. I’m trying to remain as calm as I can, but this case got me outright giddy with it’s wire management capabilities. Take the motherboard tray holes I showed you earlier, add the extra long front panel cables that Corsair included, the extra long pig-tails on all of the case fans, and a wealth of space below the motherboard compartment and behind the tray to hide cables and you’ve got yourself a clutter free case. Here is a shot of my wire-tucking behind the motherboard tray. Keep in mind that even with all of this going on back there, the side panel for that side snapped right back on without a hitch and with absolutely zero bulge.
Another feature that is definitely worth mention about the motherboard tray, is the little trap door behind the CPU socket area. You can pop this door off which will grant you instant access to the entire backside of the CPU socket. This is EXTREMELY handy when swapping heatsinks and other cooling as it allows you to do so without removing the motherboard. A great feature and I’m very pleased that Corsair thought to include this.
With all of the components installed and the wire management finished, this baby was ready to rock. What does my wire management look like from the important side?
Not bad, yes? Everything is nice and clear, air can move freely and I can see all of the shiny pieces through the great big window on the side of the Obsidian 800D. And don’t all of the components look great against the matte black background? I think so.
I am extremely satisfied with this new case from Corsair. The Obsidian 800D is far and away the best enthusiast case solution I have ever had the privilege of using. The features it offers, such as the hot-swap drive cage, or the various cable management features, are at the top of it’s class. The aesthetics, whether it’s the all black color scheme or the monolithic front fascia, are extremely sleek and very pleasing to the eyes. The Obsidian won’t stand out like the wild girl in the red dress at the party. Instead, she will catch your eye wearing all black and being the classiest thing in sight.
From a cooling perspective, if you’re running air you will certainly appreciate all of the fan options this case offers you. However, for watercoolers, this is really where it’s at. With the pre-drilled 120mm fan holes at the top in addition to the tubing holes at the bottom and rear of the case. Watercoolers have never had it easier than with this case and I personally look forward to exploring this aspect of the case on my own in the future.
Corsair has hit a home run here. If you’re interested in a top quality chassis with enthusiast caliber features, this is it!
Thank you Corsair for the review samples.
You can find the Obsidian 800D for sale at Performance-PCs for $299.
Lastly, some shots of the finished build with the case closed up.