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Corsair's Obsidian Series 450D enclosure reviewed


Just the right size for an ATX build
— 8:33 PM on March 26, 2014

What's this? Another Corsair Obsidian Series enclosure? These things are multiplying faster than Duggar children, but we're not complaining. Some of our favorite PC cases come from the Obsidian Series, which combines understated styling with builder-friendly features and robust cooling capacity.

The Obsidian Series runs the gamut from the bit-sized 250D, which is built for Mini-ITX boards, to the gargantuan 900D tower, which stands over two feet tall. Between those extremes lies the 350D, a generously proportioned microATX mini-tower, along with the 750D, a larger mid-tower that can take ATX motherboards in addition to EATX and XL-ATX fare.

All the bases would seem to be covered, but there's a gap—and I don't just mean in the model numbers. You see, the 750D is pretty big for an ATX case. It's more of a mid-major than a typical mid-tower. The 350D has more manageable proportions, but it's limited to microATX motherboards and the accompanying expansion trade-offs. Where's the ATX mini-tower between those two models?

Right here:

This stately entry is the Obsidian Series 450D. Depending on how one looks at the thing, it's either a larger version of the 350D or a smaller variant of the 750D. Either way, the 450D sits between the two. It measures 19.5" x 8.3" x 19.6" for a total volume of 3172 cubic inches. The 350D is 17.3" x 8.3" x 17.7", or 2542 in³, while the 750D is 22.1" x 9.3" x 21.5", or 4419 in³.

Since it also accepts ATX mobos, the 750D is probably the more appropriate reference point. The 450D is 28% smaller by volume than the 750D, and it very much feels like it. The more compact dimensions make the 450D much less obtrusive when it's placed on or under a desk.

I'd be inclined to run the 450D in full view. It looks great, I think, with just the right combination of classic styling and a harder, more menacing edge. Brushed metal covers the front panels, and the rest of the case is a sea of stealthy, flat black finishes. There's also a decent-sized window that provides a view of the internals.

A sparse collection of front-panel hardware occupies the top of the front face. Two USB 3.0 ports sit on the right, and Corsair leaves enough room around them for oversized thumb drives. Headphone and microphone connectors sit on the left along with the recessed reset button. That rectangular button in the middle of the top edge controls the power.

The power button is flanked by muted white LEDs associated with power and HDD activity. Those are the only lights in the entire case, which helps to maintain the 450D's understated appearance.

Most members of the Obsidian family have solid front panels. The lower half of the 450D's face, however, is heavily perforated to provide airflow to the dual 140-mm intake fans. The vented panel is backed by an additional layer of mesh, and the whole thing can be removed for cleaning. Depressing the top corners releases the latches holding the panel in place, allowing it to swing forward and be lifted away.

Removable dust filters are a recurring theme with the 450D. There's another one covering the venting in the top panel:

This one is held in place by magnets, and so is the filter mounted below the bottom panel.

Oddly, the filter for the top panel has magnetic strips all the way around its exterior edges, while the one for the bottom is held in place by eight smaller magnets distributed around the rim. The lower filter sticks out a bit, and I inadvertently dislodged it several times when lifting the 450D from the bottom. The filter snaps back into place easily, though, and the magnets are otherwise strong enough to hold it in place.

Like its Obsidian kin, the 450D sits on stubby feet that elevate it about an inch off the ground. The resulting gap should allow cool air to be drawn into the enclosure through the bottom panel. The 450D doesn't come with any bottom-mounted fans installed, though. The only other stock spinner is the 120-mm exhaust in the rear.

Around back, the 450D has punch-out holes for liquid coolers and ample ventilation for airflow. Thumbscrews hold the side panels in place, and they're also used to secure the expansion slot covers. Seven slots should be enough for most system configurations, but it won't be sufficient for quad CrossFire and SLI setups with double-wide cards. Of course, that limitation only rules out a tiny fraction of enthusiast PCs.

Now, let's take a closer look inside...