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. ”

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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.

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