Introducing the Corsair Obsidian 350D

It seems like just yesterday we were talking about Corsair's gargantuan Obsidian 900D, a behemoth designed with the single goal of housing as much computer as you can possibly imagine. The Obsidian 900D supersized the already successful 800D (along with its price tag), and judging from the comments left on the review it's exactly what a lot of the watercooling enthusiasts were waiting for.

What you may not be aware of is the fact that the 900D ran...a little late. I had one of the early review units, and it had actually been sitting in my living room for some time before the new embargo date hit and gave me a deadline. That's part of the reason why we're seeing another case from Corsair as quickly as we are; had the 900D been on time this still would've seemed like a pretty quick turnaround time. Proving someone over there has a sense of humor, though, Corsair is following up their largest case with their smallest.

I'm actually a little disappointed that the campaign around the 350D was basically subsumed by the 900D, because of the two cases I think the micro-ATX 350D is actually the more interesting one. With the 900D, the sky is really the limit as to what you can put in it (or more accurately, your wallet is the limit). The 350D, on the other hand, is a case for people who thrive on limitations. That's not to say the case has limitations, per se, but when you're confined to the micro-ATX standard you start having to make creative decisions. As you'll see, Corsair made a few of their own that make the 350D a particularly interesting specimen in what's often one of the most diverse enclosure categories.

Corsair Obsidian 350D Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25"
Internal 3x 2.5", 2x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 140mm intake fan (supports 2x 120mm/140mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 5
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 160mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 300mm
Dimensions 17.3" x 8.3" x 17.7"
440mm x 210mm x 450mm
Weight 13.3 lbs. / 6.1 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Removable drive cages
Removable filters on intakes and bottom
Supports 280mm radiators
Price $99/$109 (without window/with window) MSRP

What needs to be considered in evaluating the Corsair Obsidian 350D is that this case is pretty clearly designed capitalize on liquid cooling. While my experiences with Corsair's closed loop coolers have been inconsistent, everyone benefits from them having a 280mm cooler like the H110 in their lineup. The existence of a 280mm cooler in Corsair's portfolio doesn't necessarily demand they include a place to mount it in all subsequent case designs, but it makes a convincing argument.

The reviewer's guide makes a big deal about using the 350D for water cooling, both with Corsair's products and with custom loops. There are five total fan mounts, and all of them support radiators: the top of the case features two 120mm/140mm mounts, the front of the case features another pair of 120mm/140mm mounts (and the 3.5" drive cage is removable), and then the rear of the case features a 120mm fan mount. What does surprise me is that Corsair opted not to include an additional fan mount beneath the drive cage, in the bottom of the case. It feels like a missed opportunity.

In and Around the Corsair Obsidian 350D
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  • bobbozzo - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Maybe a black bowl would not be so visible?

    Thanks for the reviews!
    Reply
  • Zap - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Always good to see smaller-than-ATX cases given some attention. A lot to like about this Corsair case and I think all pertinent points have been made. I will point out, however, that this case seems pretty big for a mATX case. Of course coming from the company that just brought the world the 900D case, to be expected.

    I still feel that people aren't "getting" SFF (small form factor). The trend seems to be "how much crazy high end stuff can be built around a small motherboard" and not "how small an overall system can be achieved."
    Reply
  • Rolphus - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    For "how small a system can be achieved", you've got Mini-ITX cases. For "how much gaming power can I pack into a box I can reasonably easily carry", I've got mATX ;) Reply
  • michaelheath - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Rolphus, I think you're also missing the point.

    First: There are ATX cases that are smaller and more portable than this one. Just because you shaved 3 inches off the bottom of the motherboard doesn't mean you've somehow magically made the whole system lighter, especially if you stuff it full of high end hardware and cooling.

    Second: There are mITX cases larger than some mATX cases. The Bit Fenix Prodigy is only marginally smaller than, say, the Fractal Design Mini, which is just silly. This is the reason why I think this case is silly: It's a stupid huge enclosure for a board that's not even a 10" square.

    Third: The 350D weighs over 13 pounds *empty*. If you look, you'll find dimensionally smaller full ATX cases that weigh less than that at roughly the same price point.

    The assumption made when creating mATX and mITX standards was that people wanted smaller systems. In fact, as devices become more powerful and less power hungry, there's actually *fewer* reasons to design cases like this. As someone looking to build a small, powerful gaming system that I can easily carry, I would't even begin to consider this case.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    "As someone looking to build a small, powerful gaming system that I can easily carry, I would't even begin to consider this case."

    Nor would Corsair expect you to. Like the other recently reviewed mATX case; this one is targeted at people building high performance systems who've decided they don't need a full ATX board but who have otherwise not changed their building patterns. Just big enough to hold an mATX board cases and just big enough to hold a full ATX board cases (with a full ATX board installed) don't have room for anything beyond a 1x120/140mm closed loop rad. Fitting in 240/280mm rads; never mind the pumps/reservoirs needed for full custom loops needs a few inches of space beyond the minimum required to cram the board in. That's the group this case is aimed at; and it is significantly smaller than what they'd need for an equivalent full ATX system.
    Reply
  • michaelheath - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    That logic can easily be defeated with the following statement:

    If you don't have enough equipment to fill up the slots of a full ATX board, you probably also don't have enough equipment to warrant water cooling.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Water cooling is quieter than air cooling whether you have 1 large GPU in your system or 4. Reply
  • Rolphus - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    I've got an mATX system with 2 GTX 580s and an overclocked (closed-loop cooled) i5-2500K, and I'm very interested in exploring water cooling for the GPUs. If anything, having a mATX board makes this more relevant as I can't really get enough air between the GPUs to be comfortable. Reply
  • Rolphus - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    You're right, I have missed the point being made. My apologies.

    For me, all I care about is something more "portable" than my old Antec P180 (which weighed a ton and didn't easily fit in the boot of my car) so even the larger mATX cases are interesting.

    This is why I find the case market fascinating: everyone has their ideals :)
    Reply
  • lmcd - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Hence the SG09 ;) got a 3960X and saving up for a new GFX card for it :D Reply

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