|Corsair Obsidian 350D Micro ATX Computer Case
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases
|Written by Austin Downing
|Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Corsair Obsidian 350D Micro ATX Case Review
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Corsair Memory.
When Corsair introduced its Obsidian line in 2009 with the 800D it brought out a case that was beautiful, functional, and massive. In 2011 Corsair introduced the mid-tower Obsidian 650D it was still beautiful, functional, and just a bit too big for many enthusiasts. In 2013, Corsair introduced its first Micro-ATX case the 350D. The 350D keeps the beauty and functionality of its larger brethren but fits it into 17.7" x 17.3" case, designed to contain a powerful multi-GPU system in a much smaller enclosure than many enthusiast have been accustomed to in the past. So let Benchmark Reviews walk you through the Corsair 350D and look at the new smaller case design.
The thermal design power (TDP) has been dropping quickly in the last couple of years, down from the 130W of the 2008 Nehalem architecture, to the 77W of the Ivy Bridge architecture brought out in 2012. This quick drop in heat output has allowed system designers to build ever more powerful systems in even smaller packages. Combine this with dropping power requirements of GPU's and incredibly potent systems can be built into very small packages. Cases are starting to catch up with these dropping heating outputs producing smaller cases that keep all of the functionality of their larger cousins. Corsair has joined the fray with its Obsidian 350D Micro-ATX case and it is Benchmark Reviews job to determine if the 350D worthy of the Obsidian name it has been given.
When reviewing a case you have four major things you need to look at. First, you need to look at build quality because no one wants to spend hours putting hardware in a case only to find defects or to have parts that will fail months later. Secondly, you need to look at cooling because as the heat output of components goes up, so do cooling needs. Third, you need to look at the acoustics of your new case because as anyone who has worked on or near servers knows adequate cooling can come at an acoustic cost unless a company put expenses into preventing this. Lastly, you need to look at the ease of build, which depending on your system may or may not play a big role in your choice of case. If you like, I spend lots of time inside of your case modifying parts then you want a system that you can easily move around in while making modifications. On the other hand if you want to setup your system and leave it then this becomes less of an importance and therefore can be moved lower on the requirements for your case.
Micro ATX PC Case Features
The 350D is smaller than mid-tower cases, so it's at home on a desktop or tucked away out of sight. The smaller dimensions make it great for building systems for travelling, too.
With the 350D, Micro ATX cases are no longer just for building basic systems. There's room for a full-size liquid CPU cooler and two dual-length radiators, and the five PCI-E slots allow you to install dual full-length graphics cards without using up all your slots. And with two 3.5" hard drive bays and two dedicated 2.5" bays for solid-state drives, storage expansion isn't a problem.
Flexible Cooling Options
The 350D comes with a 140mm intake fan and a 120mm exhaust fan, and there are mounts for five total. The front and top mounts are spaced for 240mm radiators for more cooling options.
Fast, Neat, and Smart
The 350D is designed for fast and neat builds, with features like tool-free access and drive installation and our innovative cable routing system. A front panel USB 3.0 connector and audio I/O make 350D-based systems easy to use, too.
Corsair 350D Specifications
Closer Look: Corsair 350D Exterior
The Corsair 350D keeps the sleek lines and dark exterior of its larger brethren but makes everything a little bit smaller.
From the left the 350D shows off its beautiful lines from front to back, the large window on the door allows for a enthusiast to show off all of the beautiful equipment and the brushed metal front looks great in an entertainment center or in a user's computer room. Corsair keeps things simple with its design and I love it.
The front of the Corsair Obsidian 350D opens up to allow access to the front filter and a 140mm intake fan. The Corsair A1425L12S is a 1000RPM 140mm fan rated for [email protected] The front can be rearranged to accommodate two 140mm intake fans should users have a need for more cooling. The large filter can be easily be removed and cleaned to help keep dust and grime out an enthusiast's expensive components.
In the top an enthusiasts easily add two 140mm exhaust fans or a 280mm radiator for a water-cooling setup. In addition Corsair included eight rubber grommets so that each fan installed is isolated from the metal case, which helps keeps noise down, perfect for a computer that sits at the center of a home theatre.
On the bottom the 350D has feet with rubber bottoms that help raise the 350D off the floor so that a enthusiasts power supply can breathe and keep itself cool. Just like all other Obsidian designs Corsair also gave its 350D a removable filter under the power supply so that an enthusiast's power supply does not gummed up with dust.
Corsair kept the front panel of the 350D simple with a large button for the power, two 3.5mm jacks for audio, a small reset button, and two USB3.0 ports with an internal header. Corsair also kept the power and HDD activity lights simple with two white lights that that flank each side of the power button.
Closer Look: Corsair 350D Interior
The Corsair 350D has as beautiful and simple of an interior as it does exterior. This translates into an easy build and a system that comes together beautifully on the inside.
When you first open Corsair 350D, you are greeted with a beautiful interior, begging to be worked in. Just like its larger brethren the 350D has rubber grommets for feeding cables behind the motherboard tray to hide the ugly cables coming from the power supply. The Corsair 350D is designed to fit the largest power supplies, up to 180mm in length and video cards up to 360mm in length.
In the rear, you can see the five expansions slots that allow for a SLI/CFX setup with space in-between the cards to allow for proper cooling when using high-powered cards. Also visible is the 1200RPM, 120mm fan rated for [email protected] Above the 120mm fan are three punch-outs for running tubing for a water-cooling setup.
When you open up the rear, you can see the large opening that enables the enthusiasts to install air coolers without needing to remove the motherboard, along with space behind the tray to hide a systems cabling. The front panel cabling also runs behind the motherboard having all the cables needed for audio, USB, and power.
The Corsair Obsidian 350D can hold two 3.5" drives internally with a tool-less configuration that allows the enthusiast to quickly switch new components in and out as needed. This is not a case designed to be a storage server but more of client to a much larger backend.
In the rear, Corsair included three 2.5" drive bays. To install a drive all a user needs to do is push a 2.5" drive in and the clip at the end will hold each drive in.
mATX Case Final Thoughts
The Corsair Obsidian 350D is honestly everything I could want in an M-ATX case. It provides a beautiful platform that will easily handle a multitude of configurations. As long as the enthusiast builds around the minor size constraints each enthusiast should be able to make the Corsair Obsidian 350D fit their needs. One gripe I have is that I wish Corsair had included a full complement of 140mm fans. Because the 350D ships with only two fans in the system, an enthusiast should expect to add two to three 140MM fans to increase the cooling performance of the 350D to accommodate the couple hundred extra watts heat that will be output from the system if a second video card is added to the system.
Corsair Obsidian 350D Conclusion
The Obsidian 350D performs superbly keeping an i5-3570K under 50C after 30 minutes of prime95 and the GTX 580 under 85C after 30 min of Furmark all of this while keeping extremely quiet. This is exactly what I expect out of a case, it keeps my system cool, while keeping noise at a minimum. If a second large video card is added, it should be expected that the enthusiast would need to beef up the cooling system with some more 140mm fans for both the intake and the exhaust.
Following the lead of the 800D and the 650D, the Corsair Obsidian 350D keeps the dark brushed metal exterior of its brothers. It looks great from every angle, and I am very happy to have this in my living room for everyone to see.
Just like the rest of the Obsidian line the 350D is extremely well built, all seams match up perfectly, even up front, were we have multiple panels that go together perfectly. Clearly, Corsair stands behind their product also as they provide a two-year warranty should something go wrong.
Beyond the most powerful systems, the Corsair Obsidian 350D is able to accommodate almost any configuration. It can hold not one but two of the most powerful video cards on the market and keep them cool once some additional fans are added to the system. If users would like to have lots of storage, or have more than two video cards, this is not the case for them, this is due to the size constraints provide by an M-ATX system and something that an enthusiast should have already thought about when they were determining if the Corsair Obsidian 350D is the case for them.
Although not for sale yet, the official MSRP for the Corsair Obsidian 350D is $99.99 (Newegg | Amazon), completely on the other end of the spectrum when compared to the $379.99 of the Corsair Obsidian 900D. For the price, the enthusiast gets extremely functional, beautiful case that performs admirably stock and can have its cooling performance enhanced with extra 140mm fans in the future. This price is extremely fair and Corsair has a really winner with the 350D.
If asked, "Should I buy the Corsair Obsidian 350D?" my answer would be an emphatic "YES!". Corsairs first M-ATX case is near perfect, it provides a beautiful exterior, an easy to work with interior and expandability without being massive. Because of all of these positives, I am very proud to award the Corsair Obsidian 350D with Benchmarks Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
+ Beautiful exterior
- In order to increase cooling performance users will have to buy at least 2-3 140mm fans to the system
Final Score: 9.45 out of 10.
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