An enclosure built from the ground up for custom liquid cooling loops is actually a fairly rarefied thing. Why wouldn't it be? Building a custom loop is expensive and time consuming, which would make that type of enclosure the very definition of niche. Yet Corsair has come forward with the Obsidian 900D for one big reason: to fill that niche.

And "big" is definitely the operative word. Riding high on their liquid cooling legacy with the popular Obsidian 800D, Corsair has developed a positively massive enclosure that's designed essentially to hold the most powerful desktop machine you can conceive of while providing ample space to mount radiators and all the accoutrements of liquid cooling.

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 MSRP of $349 it's about as premium as it gets. When you see the way Corsair designed it, you'll be able to tell like I did that it's destined for much more than a garden variety build.

What that also means is that while I have to put it through our conventional testing, that conventional testing is going to be primarily academic. Unfortunately it's much harder to tell how good an enclosure will be at its job when that job will vary from person to person in much more significant ways than just choosing which air cooler and graphics cards to use. What you're going to want to pay attention to are the feature set, ease of assembly, and overall design, and how they're going to suit your purposes. That's assuming you're in the market for a specialized case like this, and a lot of you won't be.

Corsair Obsidian 900D Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, HPTX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25"
Internal 9x 3.5"/2.5" (support for two additional cages for up to 15x 3.5"/2.5")
Cooling Front 3x 120mm intake fans (1x additional internal 120mm fan mount behind drive cage)
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan
Top 4x 120mm fan mounts (supports 3x 140mm)
Side 8x 120mm internal fan mounts (four per side, PSU blocks two of your choice)
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 10
I/O Port 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 280mm
GPU 500mm
Dimensions 25.6" x 9.9" x 27.2"
649.6mm x 252mm x 691.6mm
Weight 41 lbs. / 18.6 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Multiple removable drive cages
Secondary power supply bay
Removable filters on all fan intakes
Price $349

Corsair's press materials highlight the fact that the case is designed for liquid cooling, but you've probably figured that out given how much I've repeated it. What you're going to want to know now are the radiator clearances, and they're a doozy.

The top fan mounts have a 110mm clearance from the roof of the case to the top of the motherboard and you can intrude on the top 5.25" bay. Unfortunately in the front of the case, there's a slight spacing between the topmost 120mm fan and the two bottom ones, so that essentially means you can only install a single 240mm radiator; there does appear to be space to install a single 140mm radiator and fan instead if you're so inclined. The back of the case supports a single 140mm radiator in the exhaust fan slot. Corsair keeps the other bulk of radiator potential in the bottom of the enclosure, where you can theoretically install a 480mm radiator on one side and a 240mm radiator on the other, with 110mm of radiator clearance to the PSU. Note that installing a radiator in the bottom chamber does mean sacrificing those drive cages.

In and Around the Corsair Obsidian 900D
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  • Juddog - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Woah that case is a monster! Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Thought it was big? A few years ago, I built a PC with the Thermaltake Mozart TX. That case is easily bigger than this. The TX is almost all aluminum and very light. It even has mounting for a second motherboard (itx), tons of drive bays, off top of my head, 8 120mm cooling fan spots.
    It's a beautiful case, it's too bad they no longer make them. An update with USB 3.0 would be nice. It sold for about $250. Google images for the case.
    Reply
  • Juddog - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    I'm thinking Corsair probably added some steel because of complaints with various parts of the 800D having durability issues. Reply
  • KLC - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    "It superficially looks and is built like an overgrown ATX case..." No, it superficially looks like a CRT console TV from 1975. Reply
  • wolrah - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Am I the only one who yearns for the days when case windows were an optional extra or something people had to hack in to their case? These days it's challenging to find a large case without one. I do not want to spend hours doing Voodoo-style origami with my server's cables, please don't force me to put them on display. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    There are many cases that don't have a side window. I suggest you buy one of those instead of one that is designed for people who like side windows.

    I found 6 on newegg in about 2 minutes that will hold huge motherboards and have 10 or more expansion slot capability.

    So, no it's not hard at all to find a good case without a side window.
    Reply
  • wolrah - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    Finding a case that meets those criteria is different from one that looks good and is good to work with. I assumed I didn't have to be that specific, but for purposes of clarity I have not been able to find any good looking (read: simple) large cases with good build quality and reasonable interior designs that lack windows. There are numerous cases like this one, excellent on all factors except that stupid piece of plexiglass.

    Looking on Newegg right now, since that's your example, I see what I assume to be the same six cases you found. The Thor, CM Storm, and Fusion are all chunky, fugly "LAN G4m3r" styled machines which look like they fell out of a [H]ard|OCP mod thread. All of those are really pushing the definition of "no window" as while it's technically not a clear window the massive open screen on the side has basically the same effect.

    That leaves two Lian-Lis. They're excellent but incredibly expensive and have always pretty much been in a league of their own.

    So yea, unless I want to pay out the nose for the best of the best, it is in fact rather hard to find a large case without this stupid computer ricer shit.
    Reply
  • Biggestinsect - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    All Caselabs enclosures give multiple options for side panel design; solid, vented and different windows. They have a couple cases in this price range. Sleeving wires and artfully plumbing the cooling is a lot of the fun of building plus having a window lets you quickly know when and if the thing gets dirty or starts leaking. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I get that you aren't finding what you want, but I still think you vastly overstated the situation, and tried to make out like Corsair did something wrong here. They didn't; they just targeted people with a certain taste in cases, and you weren't in that group. And, there is plenty of room to route cables behind the mainboard tray, so griping about needing to spend extra hours routing cables really doesn't make sense. (If you are watercooling, you are likely to spend far more time routing cooling tubes, heh.)

    The cases we found on newegg are all decent cases; it's really just a matter of personal taste in appearance and what price you are willing to pay. And, the Lian Li cases are about the price of this one, so I don't know how you can complain that this case comes with a side window but those are "incredibly expensive" so not suitable for you. If they aren't suitable because of price, the side window is a moot point, because this case is too expensive as well.

    I'm not trying to pick on you here, I'm trying to get you to see that the case scenario isn't as bleak as you think it is. :) Hey, at least we don't have to put up with one brand or the other of a beige box with no real ability to cool components, heh. Cases have come a long way!

    Really, I think the solution would be to provide optional side panels, but I don't know how feasible that is since not all that many people are going to buy a case like this anyway. I have no use for a side window myself - but I do like side fans, and that's one reason I went with an Enermax Fulmo GT. That case won't help you though since you can still see through the fans, and that's not what you want. (Newegg doesn't carry the Fulmo GT anymore, says it's discontinued, but I still see them on Amazon.) And, it's a steel and plastic case, so if aluminum is your thing that won't suit you either.

    CaseLabs is an option that people have mentioned - but it looks to me like you'll end up paying more for one of their cases than the ~$350 this one costs, so don't know how that's going to work for most people. I paid $210 for the Fulmo GT, that was plenty for my tastes. I'd be willing to spend more - but I have no need to, so there's no point.

    I just has a thought - could you buy a 900D and simply put it so the window doesn't show?
    Reply
  • kzinti1 - Friday, June 14, 2013 - link

    If you're so against looking at the innards of your case because of a window, why not just go to your local hobby shop, ask for a spray can of black paint for radio-controlled car bodies and paint the inside of the window? I guarantee a perfect opaque finish every single time.
    If you want a removable finish then go to your local car supply and ask for a roll of black-out limousine window tint and stick it on the inside of the computers window. Another simple way to ignore your lousy computer wiring job and also your trouble-shooting led's.
    The window tint would be best as it's easily removed when you sell your case, since with your inattention to detail when assembling your computer, you'll probably fry your components sooner than later.
    Reply

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