Corsair Obsidian 500D
Hitting case pay dirt. “Along each side lie tempered glass windows — sitting on hinges, they’re clean, crisp, and removable, and each features a curved brushed aluminum edge, melding into the front panel. ”
In a world littered with aluminium boxes, it’s nice to see one that stands out. It’s not just another square black box. OK, the 500D does sorta follow that aesthetic, but that’s what the Obsidian line-up is about.
The 500D’s standout features are its subtly curved, black brushed aluminum panels, front and top. Fixed to the chassis, they aren’t designed for easy removal, but that’s not a problem. Along each side lie tempered glass windows — sitting on hinges, they’re clean, crisp, and removable, and each features a curved brushed aluminum edge, melding into the front panel. And speaking of panels, let’s dive into them, as they’re one of the 500D’s best design features.
There’s a one-inch gap between the fan mounts in front and the panel itself. Running along each side of the case, from top to bottom, this allows for substantial airflow. Despite the fact the front panel isn’t easily removable (there are screws that secure it in place, but they’re a nightmare to get to), you can easily install a 360mm radiator or three 120mm fans via a removable front bracket held in place by two thumbscrews and a couple of notch cutouts. It’s an intuitive design, which we’ve seen in a few cases, but what’s really smart is how Corsair has utilised this in conjunction with a magnetic dust filter. Remove the front radiator bracket and the filter, and you’re left with a massive rectangular cutout between the two. There’s absolutely no excess metal in the way of airflow. The fan filter is one solid unit, too. With a very fine mesh, strong plastic frame, and an abundance of powerful magnets, it slides out easily, and sticks securely in place with minimal fuss.
Airflow is a little more restrictive in the roof, as it doesn’t have the same one-inch clearance. To counter this, Corsair has milled out an array of triangular cutouts along the centre of the plate. It’s both aesthetically pleasing and an intuitive way to allow air to pass through. Either side of that, the panel is raised by around 0.25 inches in a smooth bend, to allow more air to pass through and out. It also features another radiator bracket, with cutouts and mounting points for up to a 280mm radiator.
This is where things get a little funky. Both brackets, despite different mounting cutouts, are the same dimensions. You can swap them around, and have the 360mm in the roof and the 280mm at the front. Which begs the question, why not just include two 360mm brackets? We guess Corsair wants to avoid conflicts with multiple 360mm radiators, and is encouraging you to only install the specs it has in mind. The thing is, there’s only a conflict if you use two relatively thick 360mm rads. If you fit a thick radiator in the front and a slim 360mm in the roof, there’s minimal conflict, and room for fans as well.
On top of cooling potential, the interior is also stellar. There’s a clean-looking, three-quarter, closed-off PSU cover, two 3.5-inch hard drive mounts in the rear, three 2.5-inch SSD sleds rear-mounted on the mobo tray, a cable management bar, including rubber grommets, a vertical PCIe GPU mount (but no cable), and a fairly beefy front I/O, including USB 3.1 Type C.
Couple all that with an aggressive $189 price point, and it’s hard to pick fault with this mid-tower of perfection.
The worst thing about the whole affair is the fact the cardboard box opens sideways. Seriously, that’s our gripe: the box.