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Sunday, 22 February 2015


Corsair Obsidian 900D Review and Specifications

The Corsair 900D, massive metallic monster! When I first saw this cabinet I was blown away by its plain and simple looks alone and admired its massive frame that oozed with productivity and promise of a decent and extreme built. To be true reviewing this case took a lot of time than usual maybe because it is bigger than any usual cabinet that you come across everyday and each corner has its own unique feature hidden underneath.
The monolith like Obsidian 900D is classified as a Super Tower rather than the usual mid-tower or full-tower cabinets that we find in general. Mainly meant for water-cooling and building extreme gaming setups or server line ups this is the highest offering from the home of Corsair.

Yeah that's right it can house 15 storage drives! Before we get too much further into this review, I want to be absolutely clear about how the Obsidian 900D is being evaluated, because it's a very different beast from most cases. It superficially looks and is built like an overgrown ATX case, but at an MRP of Rs. 27000 it's about as premium as it gets. We'll start with the review in the following algorithmic manner:
  • The Packing
  • Inside and Out the Obsidian 900D
  • Key Features
  • Testing: Load tests and Noise Levels
  • To Buy or not to buy?

The Packing

When you buy a premium cabinet you ought to be worried about its packaging quality and the contents that it comes bundled with from the manufacturer. Especially when you are in India where the transit process is not very gentle to put it right.
Corsair thankfully has taken full liberty in packing the Obsidian 900D with the best quality of material available, covering this huge case in thick layers of styrofoam from both top and bottom. The sides are covered with bubble wraps to prevent any sort of damage or shock that might incur during the shipping process even if its not covered by any additional layer of protective material by the seller. All the slots and panels are taped to avoid any movement and all of this ensures that you can just order the 900D and relax with a cup of coffee even if there is a hurricane looming in your area!
Inside the box you receive an installation manual and lots of screws for installing the HDD or mounting fans etc a L-shaped Screw driver is even included to help you install parts in the tight corners easily.
Three 120mm fans in the front as intake and one 140mm fan in the back as exhaust are pre-installed. Don't worry about a ATX12V extender as it is pre-installed inside the cabinet along with the other cables. 
Mine came to me traveling half of India and it is in ship shape condition with all the bells and whistles intact. All in all this is the best quality packaging I've come across so far with detailed attention given to every tits and bits.

Inside and Out the Obsidian 900D

Outside: What meets the eye
Corsair uses a combination of aluminum and steel for the chassis that's both attractive and sturdy. The brushed aluminum is on the front fascia of the 900D, and it's very thick and really demonstrates the best qualities of using aluminum for a chassis. The top 5.25" segment of the case is a drop-down door that hides the USB and headphone connectivity along with the reset button; the notch above the door is the power button, and the power and activity LEDs are embedded in it. Below this are four shields to protect the internal drive bays after which we come across the 320mm radiator or 3x120mm fan (included) mount which is hidden behind the metal sheet and a magnetic dust filter.
On the top we see a diagonal honey combed grating which looks stylish and elegant at the same time. Below this is a magnetic dust filter similar to the front one and mounts for a 360mm radiator/ 3x120mm fan mounts or a 480mm radiator/ 4x120mm fan mounts upon removing the top 5.25" drive bay.
The back of the 900D has a 140mm fan pre-installed, area for 10 expansion slots which indicate directly to its enormous capacity to contain a quad SLI/CrossFireX graphics card configuration. The bottom has two vertical mounts for the PSUs, you have the option to install a single or even two separate Power Supply Units!
The sides of the 900D are a dual door affair. There are side panels for the top chamber that are hinged at the bottom, and the left panel has a large window. Ordinarily I'm on the fence about windows, but with something like the 900D I think it would be ridiculous not to have one. These hinged panels are easy to remove, secure when in place, and a godsend for builders. Meanwhile, the two bottom doors are also hinged at the bottom, and though they don't come off, they're easily pushed open from behind. In the photography they're blocked off, but they actually have magnetic filters behind them, and the blocked off panels can be removed to turn them into vents if you install radiators and/or fans in the bottom chamber.

Inside: Spectacularly Spacious!
Open up the 900D and Corsair has a plethora of features including a smart two chamber system. The 5.25" bays are tool-less, and the drive cages are all some degree of removable; they're all held in place by screws behind the motherboard tray. Corsair only includes three cages with three trays apiece, but you can order two more directly from them to fill the whole thing out creating a server configuration.

When a cabinet becomes this big the cable management becomes all the way more troublesome but not in case of the Obsidian 900D. It comes with all the vital wires aligned properly in the back with proper routing clips and straps. You just need to plug in your PSU connectors from the bottom chamber to the extensions and its done! As simple as that. One of the drive cages even comes with a SATA cable and power cable pre-installed.
The bottom chamber has another drive cage with space for installing two more and these are hot swappable. The PSUs are well separated from each-other if installed simultaneously and then you can easily install a 480mm radiator to keep all your goodies cool there as-well.

Key Features

Corsair didn't leave a single stone unturned while designing the Obsidian 900D making it an unprecedented built in its own right. Though its full of features I'll list down a few that are of key importance:
  • Water-Cooling: The case can accommodate even the largest water radiators available today including those that you can plan on with a custom loop. With a permutation and combination you can increase or decrease the size of radiator you want to install on any particular spot. Giving you the ultimate sense of flexibility.
  • Mother-Board Compatibility: It supports all the motherboard form factors ever made and maybe those even that'll be made in future. You can mount a mini-ITX to a HPTX motherboard inside and be still left for enough room to ponder about.
  • Dual PSU support: This is a rarity in any commercial grade cabinet. You can mount two individual PSU inside the bottom chamber of the 900D in a vertical position. You want a huge wattage unit for the whole or want to divide the load between two units, it all depends on you and your configuration's requirements.
  • CPU Back Plate Cutout: A cabinet of this size is obviously hard to move and open time and again. But this one comes with an open motherboard slot in the back, so that you can change the fittings for a new CPU cooler without needing to take out the whole motherboard outside! That's quality research right there.
  • Ample of Dust Filters:  It comes with four magnetic dust filters installed which eliminates the problem of a tedious cleaning session of such a beastly cabinet. Their efficiency ensures that your components stay clean and dust free even during a sand storm.

 Testing: Load tests and Noise Levels

I tested the Corsair Obsidian 900D in a fashion that any cabinet is meant to be tested---Air cooled. The reason is simple, the 900D is advertised as a water cooling favorable cabinet designed for the same and seeing the exceptional amount of cooling options it will surely pass with flying colors but hey how many of you will stretch it to the extreme in the first go? Very few.
So on a day with 23 degree outside temperatures, I chose the AMD FX 8350 4Ghz octa-core processor and a XFX 7950 3GB DDR5 graphics card.
In addition the Obsidian 900D was fitted with two Corsair AF 120mm fans added to the top in exhaust mode while the FX 8350 was mounted with a Deepcool Gammaxx 300 Cooler as the stock cooler is very loud and the noise test would have been flawed badly.
The idle state and load state temperatures were recorded at both stock frequencies and over clocked ones. The results were truly unexpected.
It passed with exceptional numbers! Corsair proved that it has kept the air flow inside the cabinet optimum making the Obsidian 900D ideal for water cooling and air cooling equally.
The noise test yielded satisfactory results with the levels stationary at 32.8dB (idle) and 40.2dB (full load), courtesy to small details such as rubber dampers between the fan mounts and the case body.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

The 900D is practically the holy grail for any hardware enthusiast, providing room for a ton of HDD/SDD and water cooling options that are unparalleled. It screams out loud for customizations and stock performance is definitely out of the equation, and why not its a premium Rs. 27000/- case.
But if you are just going to install a single CPU-GPU configuration inside this behemoth then its not meant for you. You'll be wasting both you money and energy lifting it around the house and left unsatisfied. Though you can purchase this if you are planning to add a lot of parts in the due course of time without changing your cabinet due to lack of anything, it is meant to last & serve you a decade easily.

My Verdict

The Corsair 900D is ultimately an exceptionally well built enclosure. It's sturdy and fairly thoughtfully designed for its intended purpose. It offers an ideal shelter for exotic and extreme technologies, leaving no wish unfulfilled. Its rigid frame and practical partitioning into multiple zones let you live your dreams and install anything you can think of. 
While the motto "less is more" aptly describes the chassis' exterior design, the interior may as well go by "feed me more". Gratuitous space is smartly partitioned, actively aiding (inspiring, even) more complex hardware projects.
I respectfully give it a 10/10

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  1. Very nice and thorough review. A must read for everyone who is planning to buy a good quality gaming cabinet. My big thumbs up for corsair 900D.

    1. Thank you for the generous compliment.
      Yes the Obsidian 900D is surely one for the gamers and not to mention server builders, I'm using it myself since a week now and still come across new features everyday.

  2. If I had the money then I would've bought it no matter what :(
    I loved your review and the small details that you've brought up......

    1. It's OK, this is a premium case after all very few can buy it and have space to fit it even, so cheer up.
      Thank you for liking the review.