February 22, 2018 // 2 p.m.
UK price (as reviewed): £139.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): MSRP $139 (exc. tax)
Corsair's most recent cases have honestly left us rather disappointed. Numerous underwhelming budget-focussed designs of late have meant it isn't one of the first brands we think of when it comes to cases to recommend, especially high-end ones. And so it was that we breathed a sigh of relief when we removed the new Obsidian 500D from its box. Without spoiling everything just yet, this is easily the best case to come from Corsair in a number of years, and you may be even more interested to know that RGB lighting is not part of its feature set.
The Obsidian Series has garnered a high reputation, and deservedly so. Clean lines and quality materials made cases like the 900D, 750D, 450D, and 250D favourites of enthusiasts. However, those cases were released around four or even five years ago now, and things have moved on. Luckily, it seems Corsair has been paying attention.
Clean and minimalist is still the name of the game here, but with a few subtle curves and a deliberate use of gaps, Corsair has kept the design here more interesting than your average black cuboid, and we're faintly reminded of the chassis of the well-received Corsair One PC. Similarly, material quality is another strong point; a thin sheet of brushed aluminium hides the plastic front panel very nicely, while the much thicker curved sheet on the roof is really rather lovely. Both side panels are made mostly of tinted tempered glass, but front curved bits of yet more brushed aluminium act as handles and are a great addition. The rest of the core chassis is made of good quality steel.
The dual USB 3.0 ports are joined by a USB 3.1 Type-C connector on the front I/O panel, plus you get the usual audio jacks. The Type-C port is something we hope becomes normal quickly, and we like the attention to detail in blacking out the ports. Even the power and reset buttons have stable, consistent actions.
Despite the vent-free front fascia, this area is actually very breathable thanks to a substantial gap that the panel bends help to disguise. This is a good way of ensuring that aesthetics do not compromise airflow, something other manufacturers would be wise to note. Dust is also considered up front, with a full-height filter guarding the entirety of the intake space. This attaches with very strong magnets, meaning it locks back into place with a satisfying thud. You even get a bit of sound-deadening material fitted to the back of the outer front panel.
Corsair includes a pair of 120mm fans (SP120 models), with one mounted as a front intake and the other a rear exhaust. For a premium case, we had hoped to see more or maybe some 140mm models, but in fairness lots of people shopping at this price will also be purchasing aftermarket fans.
We can see from the two vertically aligned expansion brackets that this is yet another case that supports vertical GPU mounting to help show off coolers or water blocks through the glass. Unlike most cases, the 500D might actually have some airflow in this area (though not much) thanks to the gap between the hinged side panel and the core chassis.
The thick aluminium that forms the roof panel is perforated for airflow and has an integrated dust filter. Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be easily removable, but running a hoover along the roof should do the trick. Meanwhile, the bottom has a slide-out filter serving the PSU, and the rails for this make it easy to replace. It also has adequate clearance thanks to the rubberised feet.