Corsair Obsidian 250D mITX Chassis
It doesn't seem that long ago that I was able to get my hands on the Corsair Obsidian 900D, AKA Godzilla. Without a doubt the Obsidian 900D is a massive case to say the least. It has all the bells and whistles and just an enormous amount of room to work with. Today we go to the opposite side of the spectrum of the 'Godzilla' case with the Corsair Obsidian 250D. Corsair has decided to take a step into the mini ITX chassis market, and with the release of the Obsidian 250D it looks like they are going to make a splash! The Corsair Obsidian 250D may be a mini ITX chassis but it isn't exactly a case of small stature, measuring 13.8" x 10.9" x 11.4" it's certainly pushing the SFF boundaries. The Corsair Obsidian 250D hit the streets in January with a retail price of only $89.99!
The Corsair Obsidian 250D features the same great styling of the 900D and others in the Corsair Obsidian family, only smaller! The front panel is the same great looking black anodized aluminum panel that was on the Obsidian 900D last year. While it's smaller than the others in the Obsidian series, Corsair didn't cut any corners or sacrifice the ability to fit the components that you want in your system. Unlike many of the small form factor chassis out there, the 250D will fit a full size optical drive, a pair of 2.5" drives and a pair of 3.5" drives all at the same time. Corsair doesn't want us to have to choose between one or the other. The 250D gives us all we could want when it comes to storage, with the option for five drives, it seems to offer more than most mITX boards at this point in time. Most of the mITX motherboards only have four SATA ports onboard.
In addition to the storage options, Corsair felt that cooling was an important aspect. More importantly, the ability to run a 240mm radiator inside the Obsidian 250D. The difference between the Obsidian 250D and a case like the BitFenix Prodigy, you won't need to choose to leave out hardware if you want to run a 240mm radiator. The Corsair Obsidian 250D is more than capable of including it all!
Let's take a quick look at the Corsair Obsidian 250D specifications and then we can take a look at the packaging and start opening this one up!
|Corsair Obsidian 250D mITX Chassis Technical Details|
|Dimension||13.8 x 10.9 x 11.4 inches|
|Motherboard Support||Mini ITX|
|Form Factor||Mini ITX|
|Material||Black steel and anodized Black aluminum front fascia|
|Drive Bays||(2) 3.5”/2.5” drive bays (2) 2.5” drive bays (1) 5.25” optical drive bay|
|Cooling||Front: 200mm, 140mm (140mm included) Side: Dual 120mm (single 120mm included) Rear: Dual 80mm (optional)|
|Front I/O||(2) USB 3.0 (1) Headphone (1) Microphone|
ATX (Not Included)
Corsair Obsidian 250D Retail Packaging & Accessory Bundle
I'm a fan of simple packaging, and Corsair hits it on the head with the Corsair Obsidian 250 packaging. There's nothing flashy about their packaging, straight and to the point. All there is on the packaging is the name, an outline drawing of the chassis, and a general overview of the Obsidian 250D specifications.
Spinning the Corsair Obsidian 250D packaging around there is a more comprehensive specifications list and a more detailed drawing of the 250D chassis. While it isn't the most detailed drawing in the history of drawings, it gives us a peek at the layout of the inside of the mini ITX chassis.
Looking at the back of the Obsidian 250D packaging, Corsair supplied a break down of the chassis and all of the parts included.
Opening up the Obsidian 250K box doesn't reveal to much of the chassis, but it does show the 250D is well packed and secured within a couple inches of foam and plastic
Each end of the Corsair Obsidian 250D is well protected in the package as you can see.
The Corsair Obsidian 250D doesn't have much of a bundle, nor does it really need one. Within the chassis we will find the box seen above. Inside the box there are a handful of screws for mounting the hardware and fans, as well as a couple of zip ties to aid in cable management. The 250D has the room for four drives internally, two 2.5" drive bays and two 3.5" drive bays. The 3.5" drive trays will also support a 2.5" drive if you are looking to run additional SSD's.
Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag let's head to the next page and look at what the Corsair Obsidian 250D has to offer on the inside!
Corsair Obsidian 250D Exterior Features
The Corsair Obsidian 250D looks like it fits in to the Obsidian family without an issue. The
The Corsair Obsidian 250D mini ITX chassis has the same great features as the Obsidian 900D just significantly scaled down. The side panel above has a subtle yet stylish series of cutouts to allow plenty of airflow to the graphics card.
Despite its small stature, the Obsidian 250D has a lot of features at the back of the case. Up at the top of the rear panel is placement for a pair of 80mm fans. I'm not gonna lie to you, it amuses me that a company like Corsair that has their hands in nearly all peripherals, including performance case fans, produces a chassis that uses 80mm case fans, one size that Corsair does not make! Along the right edge of the Obsidian 250D there is a pair of removable expansion slot covers, for those adding a dual slot graphics card you'll certainly need these. On the bottom of the panel there are two separate removable sections, on the right side is a bracket for the power supply. The left side cover will allow access to the 2.5" and 3.5" internal drive bays. Corsair certainly likes their thumb screws, there is a grand total of 14 thumb screws in the back of the 250D.
The opposite side of the Obsidian 250 features the same design to allow plenty of airflow. We can see a single fan hiding behind the fan filter though.
The front of the Corsair Obsidian 250D has the same great style as the other chassis in the Obsidian series, a look that is sleek but not overdone. At the top center there is a single 5.25" drive bay.
To the right of the drive bay there is a pair of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports as well as the front panel audio ports.
To the left of the drive bay it's not exactly obvious, but the top of this corner is the power button while the reset button can be seen just below there.
The front panel of the Corsair Obsidian 250D mini ITX chassis pops right off after depressing and releasing the upper corners of the panel. Behind the front panel there is a fan filter that snaps into place. Coming pre-installed in the Obsidian 250D is a Corsair 140mm fan. The 140mm fans is rated for a maximum speed of 1000RPM, though you can easily swap out the fan for either a 120mm fan or a 200mm fan of your choice.
If you need to remove the front filter down the road to clean it, or swap out the fan simply pull the two tabs at the top of the filter and it will pop right out for you.
The Corsair Obsidian 250D features only a single window, you can find it on the top panel of the chassis. The window really focus's your attention on the mini ITX motherboard that you have installed in the chassis.
The Corsair Obsidian 250D rests on the usual four feet (call me captain obvious) each one of them has a rubber pad on the bottom. The rubber pads can serve as protection for the surface of your desk if you were to slide the system around. The 250D has another intake filter that slides into place for the power supply.
Removing the filter is easye, depress the filter edge towards the bottom of the case and pull it out. Once that has been accomplished you can clean the filter any way you see fit.
The filter measures 4.7"x 5.65, along the right edge of the photo you can see the catch that holds the filter in place.
Now that we have taken a look at the outside of the Corsair Obsidian 250D mini ITX chassis, let's peel off the side panels and see what's inside!
Corsair Obsidian 250D Interior Features
Removing the shell of the Corsair Obsidian 250D is as easy as removing the six thumb screws that hold the panels on. Once you remove the thumbscrews each of the panels slides towards the back of the chassis and lifts right off revealing the interior of the chassis.
Once we have all of the exterior panels peeled off, the Corsair Obsidian 250D appears to have plenty of room inside of it.
While this may go unnoticed by some, it caught my eye right off the bat. Pretty much the entire underside of the mini-ITX motherboard is left exposed. This will allow easy access to swap out CPU cooler brackets without the need to pull the motherboard out. Though removing the four screws that hold the motherboard in may be easier than removing the power supply and all of the cables.
I mentioned that the Corsair 250D came equipped with a 140mm fan when we were looking at the exterior of the case, but what I failed to mention was that the inside of the fan was protected with a wire grill. The grill on the inside is a small but brilliant idea as it will help keep wires from getting stuck in the fan and tearing the fins off!
The 250D from Corsair is quite capable of handling a standard dual 120mm radiator. Direct from Corsair though, the 250D has a single 120mm fan installed to act as an exhaust fan.
Taking the drive bay cover off is as simple as removing four of the fourteen thumb screws.
The Corsair Obsidian 250D has enough room for two 2.5" hard drives or SSDs and two 3.5" hard drives. The drive cages for the 3.5" HDDs will also support 2.5" drives.
The power supply cage removes with only two thumbscrews needing to be removed. Once the cover is removed you can put the power supply in and then secure it all from the back.
The cage for the 5.25" drive is completely removable. Removing the cage makes it much easier to work inside the case and is necessary if you want to install a dual radiator. Don't worry though, once the radiator is in place you can put the cage back in place and secure the optical drive.
Each of the side panels feature a fan filter on the inside of the panel. The fan filters help keep out dust, pet hair, and if you have children, who knows what else they may stick in there.
Each of the side panel filters attach with magnetic strips. Maybe it's me, but I'm still a little bit nervous combining magnets and computers.
Corsair Obsidian 250D Build
I didn't want to go to crazy right out of the box so I started out with a simple mini ITX motherboard with the stock Intel heatsink. Using the Stock Intel heatsink leaves plenty of room over the motherboard for the system to breath. It isn't the most exciting build in the Corsair Obsidian 250D, but it does gives us an idea of the area we are working with.
When installing the ASRock Z77E-ITX mini ITX motherboard the I/O shield installed into the Corsair Obsidian 250D without any issues. From personal experiences, if the I/O shield fits well you know you have a quality case.
I couldn't leave the Intel heatsink on there, I just couldn't do it. Though in order to install the Corsair H100 into the Obsidian 250D I had to remove the 5.25" drive cage. Once that was out of the way the H100 Hydro was able to mount right up.
Here's a look at the Corsair Obsidian 250D and the H100 from the opposite side, it pretty well fills up the entire side of the chassis. I tried to install the H100 with the fans mounted where the radiator is, but ran into some clearance issues with the hoses. Even as it is the hoses were a little close for comfort.
The hoses look as if they are running between the PS/2 port and the SATA cables, but they are a hair above the PS/2 port. The edge of the fan is right at the edge of the PCB though, same height and only a hairs gap between them. The Obsidian 250D will fit standard thickness radiators like the Corsair Hydro H100 and H100i which both measure 27mm, but not their latest and greatest Hydro H105 which has a radiator thickness of 38mm.
I will be the first to admit that cable management isn't my strong suit, and the combination of parts that I was using didn't make it any easier. The power supply that I stuffed in the Corsair Obsidian 250D is the Corsair AX860i, and while it is a beast of a power supply it isn't exactly designed for small form factor systems. Fortunately the AX860i is completely modular so I didn't need to worry about cables that I wasn't using. Using a power supply with shorter cables would have made cabling quite a bit neater. Just a suggestion for you Corsair if you're reading this, offer power supplies with short cables, or at least a set of short cables available for purchase.
This hurt my brain a little bit. Mounting two SSD's in the drive cage puts them a little to close for comfort. Using a single SATA power cable from the Corsair AX860i wasn't a brilliant idea, the way that the plugs are wired into the cable puts to much stress on the SSD power connections and causes them to flex. I'm not saying that they will break, but in the long run it can't be good for them. This is another brilliant idea, include an adapter for the SSD power that is properly spaced and can connect to a single SATA power cable.
The Corsair Obsidian 250D can handle some of the most powerful graphics cards on the market. Our ASUS Direct CUII GeForce GTX 670 measures 10.7" (272mm), and the Obsidian 250 can handle graphics cards up to 295mm in length.
It was a little tricky getting the 6pin power plugs to fit under the 5.25" drive cage, but ultimately I was able to route the wires and everything fit nicely without putting any pressure on the card.
Looking down on the Corsair Obsidian 250D when the system is all built up, you really can't see my rats nest of wires down at the bottom of the chassis. All the extra cable length is tucked away under the 5.25" drive cage and there are no windows that have a view down there.
I mentioned earlier that the window on the top of the Corsair Obsidian 250D shows off the motherboard and components of the build. From this slightly awkward angle the water cooling, memory, motherboard and the graphics card are all visible. What you can't see is the excess wires, power supply, and hard drives. It's always good to keep a little mystery in a build.
Although the side panel has plenty of ventilation, the magnetic filter keeps our view of the ASUS Direct CUII GeForce GTX 670 slightly obscured. It's still easy to see that is an ASUS card within the Corsair Obsidian 250D, but the cosmetic details aren't as readily available.
Once the optical drive is installed into the Corsair Obsidian 250D we can pretty much call the build complete. This particular drive is a little more on the grey side, and the system would look better with a darker black drive.
Side panels are on and the system is built!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Overall the Corsair Obsidian 250 is a great chassis if you're looking for a mini-ITX chassis. Although it is designed for a mini-ITX motherboard which is mainly a small form factor motherboard, the 250D is pushing the limits of SFF. The Corsair Obsidian 250D measures 11.42" (H) x 10.9" (W) x 13.82" (D) (290mm (H) x 277mm (W) x 351mm (D)) which is definitely on the larger side of the SFF spectrum. As we have seen throughout the review today, the size isn't wasted space and Corsair has been able to take advantage of the room offered. While the Obsidian 250D offers a lot of room and features, it asks for little in return, only $89.99.
Over the last couple of years small form factor PC's have become more and more common. A number of years ago a friend of mine built his 'toaster', it was an LGA775 system that used a mATX motherboard (if memory serves), water cooling, and was a system ahead of its time. We spent time modifying the case to fit a 120mm radiator, reservoir , as well as a couple of other mods to fit the parts he wanted. These days though, they are producing small form factor chassis that fit everything you'll need. The Corsair Obsidian 250D is one of those cases, it will fit a 240mm radiator out of the box, multiple SSD's and hard drives, an optical drive and pretty much everything you'll find in a system built in a tower! Though it is a bit amusing that it won't fit the latest in the Hydro Series, the H105. The H105 radiator is 11mm thicker than the H100 that I stuffed into the 250D, there isn't enough room between the chassis frame and the PCB of the motherboard for it to fit. You'd think that the Corsair Obsidian 250D would have been designed to fit all the Corsair Hydro Series coolers on the roadmap, but it is obvious that was not the case.
The only other gripe I had with the Corsair Obsidian 250D was the 2.5" storage drive bays, they are a little close together. Plugging in the SATA power cable from the Corsair AX860i put a lot of stress on the SSD power adapters as shown above. There are a couple of ways that this can be remedied. First and the easiest way, if you aren't using the 3.5" hard drive cages, you can mount one of the SSD's in there. Putting the SSD in the 3.5" HDD tray will space them out and put less pressure on the power plugs. Another option is to pick up a 15pin SATA power cable splitter like this one.
Using an adapter like this will allow you to use both the 2.5" drive trays and the 3.5" drive trays without any issues and it won't put any pressure on the SSD power connectors. I think this is something that Corsair should include with the bundle for the Obsidian 250D, though not doing that does help keep the cost down as I'm sure not everybody will be running a pair of 2.5" drives.
With the minor gripes that I have about the Corsair Obsidian 250D out of the way, we can move on to what I liked about the mini-ITX case. Just about everything else falls into that catagory! The best part of the Corsair Obsidian 250D for me, is the build quality. I've looked at cases in the past that look great, but when you get down to it, there are sharp corners, pieces don't go together quite like they are supposed to or crack when they do. That's just not the case with the Corsair Obsidian 250D (or any of the Corsair Cases I've used). It used to be that whenever I built a system, no matter how big the chassis it was inevitable that I would come out of it drawing blood at least once from a sharp corner or edge. The Obsidian 250D while it's large for a SFF PC, it is still a little snug to work in, and I fully expected to find a sharp corner but that didn't happen. All of the corners are rounded off and I came out of the build with all my blood still in my body!
During the build, the only time I ran into any issues was when I was installing the Corsair Hydro H100. Though the fault lies with me, so hopefully you can learn from my mistake. The H100 fits inside the Obsidian 250D without any issues, installing it was a different story. The easiest way to install the radiator was to remove the four screws that hold the 5.25" drive cage in place and pull it out. Once the 5.25" drive cage was out of the way everything went in without a hitch!
When you look at all you get for $89.99, the Corsair Obsidian 250D really is a great deal. If by some chance you should have an issue with the craftsmanship, or find an issue with the materials used in the construction of the Corsair Obsidian 250D, Corsair warranties the Obsidian series of PC cases for a period of two years. The warranty covers defects in material and workmanship but not issues like wear and tear, modifications, or operation outside of the intended use. The full details of the Corsair warranty can be found here on the Corsair website.
Legit Bottom Line: If you're in the market for a small form factor case, the Corsair Obsidian 250D should make the short list. It may not be the smallest SFF chassis out there, but it has a no compromise attitude for the components you want inside of it!