Corsair 350D Reviewred454 - June 23, 2013
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Corsair Obsidian 350D Closer Look: Working Components:
Before we dig into the internals, let's take a closer look at the front. The brushed aluminum panel sits below the optical drive bays and covers the intake fan. It is attached at the top with a push lock indent at the top left and right corners. Just use a finger to give a simple push and you will hear a click at each corner as the locks release. There are even little marks at the top corners so you know where to push. The bottom is loose hinged so the entire panel is easily removed by just lifting it out. When you remove the cover, you will then see the front intake filter. When the cover is in the installed position, there is a nice gap all the way around the cover to allow the intake fan to draw air in.
The filter is easy to clean and reinstall. So what is behind the filter? Well, there is a nice 3-pin 140mm fan (included) with room for up to two fans. Mounting holes are provided for both 120mm and 140mm fans so you can use what comes standard or add on for additional cooling capacity.
I removed the thumb screws to get the side cover off and look inside. It is a small case, but it doesn't feel small. I am not wondering if everything will fit, and this is a good feeling. Smooth, rounded edges on all the internal surfaces. Wide open motherboard tray. Now I am a little curious about where I will mount my Corsair H100 radiator and fans. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I can't help but plan where to mount my H100 radiator. Front or top? There is plenty of room at the top, but the front looks to be a bit cramped. I see the hard drive cage that will hold two standard spindle drives. Then right below the two optical drive bays is an odd looking plastic cage for your SSDs (Solid State Drives). The box shows only two cages (and the instructions also only show two), but my case came with three - probably an oversight. The box of assembly hardware was placed in one of the hard drive cages for shipping.
The backside of the case looks like it will be able to accommodate plenty of additional cabling even though the side panels don't have any bump outs. Corsair's Obsidian cases are usually wide enough to allow for excellent cable management space, and this puts my earlier concerns about cable space to bed.
Here is what the SSD cages look like when they are separated. Each cage attaches to the one above it with six integrated clips. They snap together and the top unit is a dummy unit that only attaches the cage asembly to the bottom of the optical drive bays (it does not hold a SSD). Be careful when pulling them apart or snapping them together. The little clips can break off - as you can see in the top right corner of the picture on the right. But even with the broken clip, the assembly is still locked firmly together with the other five clips.
And really, you don't have to disassemble them at all to get your SSD in place - it just pushes right in and locks in place. So if you don't have to separate the cages, just leave them together. Just push the SSD in and it "clicks" in place. Push the thumb tab release and the SSD pulls right out. The tool-free drive bays are really nice.
The instruction set is thorough and easy to follow. The hardware consists of two slide in mounts for your hard drives, wire ties, some motherboard stand offs, and assorted screws for securing the motherboard to the tray.
I thought about trying to mount the H100 radiator up front. The more I looked at it, the more it looked like it would be somewhat of a challenge, at least for the H100. The hard drive cage would have to move over, and fortunately it is held in with screws rather than rivets. But there are no holes for the relocation. The SSD cages can be moved to the top of the HDD cage, but still for a front radiator, they would also have to move; I am not sure where as there are no provisions beyond the top of the HDD cage. A smaller 120mm radiator would easily fit without having to relocate anything. So for this build, I will go with the radiator at the top - and this is not really a disappointment, as I like the way the radiator fits up top.
You can see the included rear 3-pin 120mm rear exhaust fan. I'll bet that at least one of those grommets at the top will come in handy when getting the power lead to the CPU at the top of the motherboard.
There is a nice bit of room above the motherboard to allow for the radiator, and it is really nice to have some room to work. While there is space, you can only do a push or pull configuration for the fans, not both. And a pet peeve of mine is having enough room for the power lead for the CPU, which this case clearly has.
And here we have the finished product. A small case with plenty of room for a clean build. One thing to note is that if you go with the top mounted 240mm radiator, the top optical drive bay becomes a bit shallow and the back of the optical drive will interfere with one of the fans, so I had to use the lower bay for my optical drive. This actually works better, as an optical drive in the top bay sometimes gets in the way of things you plug into the front USB ports.
Now I have to say that I am not sure that I like the way the optical drive looks after it is installed. The way it is recessed a bit - it really breaks up the smooth look of the brushed aluminum. Almost like it was an afterthought. I am not sure if there is an easy way around this without using a custom fabricated face plate. It is not a show stopper, but I think it detracts from the overall look of such a fine looking case.