Corsair Obsidian 450D Chassis Review – Hitting the Sweet Spot

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by J.D. Kane on August 28, 2014 in Cases & PSUs

Corsair’s Obsidian series of PC chassis represents the apex of the company’s offerings in the market. Innovative and user-friendly, they’ve also been overkill for most users. Now, though, the 450D has come onto the scene, intent on proving that the Obsidians shouldn’t be the exclusive preserve of users with deep pockets. Does it live up to its pedigree?

Final Thoughts

There is no question that I just adore Corsair’s Obsidian series. I’ve nursed a serious hardware crush – or is it outright lust? – for several members of this family of PC chassis from the moment it emerged in 2009. The 700D still rates as one of my all-time favorite PC chassis that I’ve owned, while the 900D is definitely the one PC chassis I would love to someday use and be part of my collection. I like the 750D as well, looking to all the world like a scaled-down 900D.

The 450D only strengthens that adoration. Although smaller than many of its siblings, it is possibly the most sensible member of the Obsidian family. It is the smallest Obsidian that can fit an ATX motherboard, but it’s neither too big nor too small, so this chassis sits in the sweet spot as far as suitability for most system builders is concerned.

It’s priced accordingly, as well. The Obsidian line is Corsair’s premier chassis family. At $119.99 (MSRP), the 450D is the most affordable of all ATX-compatible Obsidian-series chassis. So if you’re one of those holdovers of the classic PC format still based on the ATX/micro-ATX form factor and you’re just pining for an Obsidian-series chassis from Corsair at the perfect price point, the 450D just might be the one for you.

I mean, it’s got everything you’d probably expect from an Obsidian chassis. It’s still a black tower with no-nonsense good looks, augmented with the functionality of a front intake grille which won’t restrict airflow into the chassis. It’s got a flush-mounted window on the left side panel, which is great for those of us who like to show off our builds. It boasts a formidable assortment of features designed to facilitate the best cable management possible, including almost a full inch’s worth of space between the rear of the motherboard tray and the right side panel, as well as Corsair Obsidian-originated grommeted cable management holes. Heck, even the cables in the chassis are black to help us cable management fetishists.

Corsair Obsidian 450D Chassis

It’s got a plethora of features to help keep your system cool as well. A pair of 140mm fans up front feeds the system with a healthy supply of air, and all air intakes are protected from dust with filters secured in position by magnets.

Then there are those wonderful details that just delight the wannabe chassis designer in me. Foremost of these is the pair of SSD cradles mounted on the backside of the motherboard tray. The way the front grille just pops off is a simple concept executed brilliantly as well. Everything adds up to making the 450D the best value in the Obsidian family. And it’s not even a close-run thing.

But things aren’t quite perfect. Perhaps the most galling shortcoming that comes to mind is Corsair’s decision to leave the chassis roof devoid of fans. I understand why the company decided to do this: Adding fans would have increased the asking price for the 450D. The lack of fans installed up top out of the box, though, is something all Obsidian-series chassis share. However, I just think that most customers would probably prefer having the roof populated with fans. It’s just added value.

Another shortcoming is a bit more specific to custom water-cooling enthusiasts like me. The lack of room for a beefier radiator system up top feels like an oversight by the designers. Using a triple rad will obligate you to use only one optical drive at most. The bigger sin, though, is that using a thick radiator and/or a push-pull fan set-up is not an option due to a lack of vertical room to accommodate such a set-up.

I had hoped, actually, to move my primary PC into the Obsidian 450D. But since my rig needs its fat XSPC RX360 radiator to keep up with my overclocked i5 2500K and GTX680, I was honestly a bit gutted when I discovered the 450D’s couldn’t quite fit that thick rad with its push-pull fans. And, yes, I do still use a pair of optical drives in my primary machine. (Oh, and my primary system is based on an EATX motherboard too, so there’s that…)

These shortcomings may be disappointing to me specifically, but don’t let them make you think the Obsidian 450D is a badly-designed chassis. Far from it. I can honestly say that this is one of best-designed chassis I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling. For most users, it will probably be more than enough for their next two or three builds/upgrade cycles.

It’s very easy, therefore, to give Corsair’s Obsidian 450D Techgage’s Editor’s Choice award.

Corsair Obsidian 450D Editors Choice
Corsair Obsidian 450D