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Corsair's Obsidian Series 250D case reviewed


Say hello to Corsair's first Mini-ITX enclosure
— 11:00 AM on January 21, 2014

Over the past little while, Corsair seems to have developed a taste for small form factors. The company introduced its first microATX enclosure, the Obsidian Series 350D, back in August. That chassis wasn't tiny by any means—indeed, it was somewhat large by microATX standards—but it was as small as Corsair had gone.

Well, now, Corsair has gone even smaller.

Today, the company takes the wraps off the Obsidian Series 250D, its first case designed around the diminutive Mini-ITX form factor. At 11.4" x 10.9" x 13.8", this is officially Corsair's tiniest case by far. And at $89, it's also one of the company's most inexpensive enclosures.

Don't let the small dimensions and (relatively) low price fool you. The Obsidian Series 250D retains much of Corsair's trademark tool-less goodness, and it blends sobriety and elegance in much the same way as Corsair's other offerings. It's no accident that the 250D is part of the Obsidian Series, which comprises some of Corsair's finest high-end enclosures.

Seen from the outside, the Obsidian Series 250D looks an awful lot like the Obsidian Series 350D and its full-sized cousin, the Obsidian Series 750D. The 250D's brushed-metal front panel is similar, and it has the same sort of groove that runs all the way around the edge. (That groove is, of course, a vent for the front intake fan. More on that in a moment.) The feet and the side vents follow similar styling.

Even from the back, the 250D is classic Corsair. There's a small window at the top, so you can peer down at your motherboard; and there are vents on both sides, left and right. In a case this tiny, cooling a full-wattage processor and graphics card can be a challenge. More vents allow additional airflow through the chassis.

Corsair doesn't skimp on thumb screws, either. We'll crack open the case for a full look at the internals very soon, but for now, it's already obvious that the top, left, and right panels are all easily removable. The same goes for the cover that sits over the 2.5" and 3.5" storage bays—and for the bracket that's over the power supply compartment. No screwdrivers required there.

Speaking of those internals, here's a quick run-down of the Obsidian Series 250D's specs, including how much gear it can carry:

  Corsair Obsidian Series 250D
Dimensions (H x W x D) 11.4" x 10.9" x 13.8"
Supported motherboards Mini-ITX
3.5" drive bays 2
2.5" drive bays 2
5.25" drive bays 1
Fan mounts 5
Included Fans 1x 140-mm front intake
1x 120-mm side exhaust
Front panel I/O 2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
Headphone
Microphone
Max. graphics card length 11.8"
Max. CPU cooler height 3.7"
Gap behind motherboard N/A

The 250D isn't as small as certain other Mini-ITX cases, like Silverstone's SG07. But thanks to its larger dimensions, the 250D has room for a wealth of hardware: a graphics card up to 11.8" long (meaning anything up to and including thousand-dollar behemoths), two hard drives, two SSDs, one 5.25" optical drive, one full-sized ATX power supply, up to five fans, and a liquid-cooling radiator up to 240-mm long.

Out of the box, the 250D comes with one 140-mm fan at the front and another 120-mm spinner pinned to the right side, next to the CPU socket. Both fans are AF-series models of Corsair's own design. It's possible to mount an additional 120-mm fan on the side and two 80-mm ones at the back, as well.

Conventional CPU cooling is a little more limited. The 250D will only fit CPU heatsinks up to 3.7" tall. As we're about to discover, that limitation can be exceeded in a build without a 5.25" optical drive—but not by very much. The big, tower-style heatsinks common in desktop rigs just won't fit inside the 250D.