Corsair Obsidian 500D Premium Mid-Tower Case Review

Last year, Corsair gave us a sneak peak at their latest Obsidian case, the Obsidian 500D; originally slated to be released in October, was delayed as they wanted to perfect it.  Recently, at CES 2018, they showed off two versions of the 500D.  One with a Tempered Glass front panel, and one with a brushed aluminum panel.  They sent us an early engineering sample to take a close look at the newly designed Premium Mid-Tower Obsidian 500D.  The Obsidian 500D features dual Tempered Glass side panels that swing open, brushed aluminum front and top panels, vertical graphics card compatibility and other features.  Corsair is finally lifting the embargo and launching the Obsidian 500D today, February 22nd, 2018 for $149.99 shipped. This is the first new Obsidian series case in four years! Corsair Obsidian 500D [gallery ids="201859,201860,201861"] Like most cases, Corsair packs the Obsidian 500D in a plain cardboard box.  The exterior of the box provides enough detail that if you were to find it in a retail setting, you would have no question what the case features.  The one difference is that Corsair has packaged it more like a desktop rather than a mid-tower case. Corsair Obsidian 500D Features and Specifications   https://youtu.be/t_gKXqpef7M
Corsair Obsidian 500D Specifications
Case Form Factor  Mid-Tower
Dimensions (L x W x H) 500mm x 237mm x 507mm
Motherboard Support  ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Maximum GPU Length  370mm
Maximum CPU Cooler Height 170mm
Maximum PSU Length  ATX up to 225mm (not included)
Case Expansion Slots 7
Case Drive Bays 2x 3.5in, 3x 2.5in
Case Materials Steel, Aluminum, Tempered Glass
Front I/O USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (x1) USB 3.1 Type-A (x1) Headphone (x1) Microphone (x1) Power Reset
Removable Fan Tray Front:  3x120mm or 2x140mm (1x 120mm included) Top: 2x120mm or 2x140mm
Rear Fan 120mm (included)
Warranty  2 Years
[caption id="attachment_201862" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Internal Packaging[/caption] Opening the box, we find the 500D packaged in a fairly standard manner.  There are two large foam blocks on two sides of the case, which is more than sufficient to protect it during shipment.  The case itself is wrapped in a soft cloth bag, which further helps to protect the case. [caption id="attachment_201981" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D Accessory Pack[/caption] Corsair has included an extensive accessory pack with the Obsidian 500D.  Cable ties include six normal and two Corsair branded hook and loop straps.  For screws Corsair has included eight long fan screws, motherboard screws, twelve standard fan screws, eight SSD screws, eight 3.5" hard drive screws with rubber anti-vibration mounts.  Two additional motherboard standoffs and a user guide is also included. Let's finish unpacking the Obsidian 500D and take a look around the case.

Obsidian 500D Exterior

[caption id="attachment_201915" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Protective Film[/caption] Corsair definitely wants to keep the Obsidian 500D protected.  Not only is there protective film on the two glass side panels, but the top and front panels have the film as well.  Overall, we can see that the front of the case is brushed aluminum, while the sides are Tempered Glass.  Let's get to removing this protective film and take a look at the case. [caption id="attachment_202156" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Brush Aluminum Front Panel[/caption] The front of the Obsidian 500D is solid, and is made of brushed aluminum.  The slight curve on it, gives it a very high end feel and looks great.  The issue with solid front panels is airflow, Corsair has left space on the sides of the front panel to allow the front intake fans to pull in fresh air. [caption id="attachment_201932" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Tempered Glass Side Panel[/caption] As we know already one of the big features on recent cases is the use of Tempered Glass.  Both of the side panels on the Obsidian 500D are Tempered Glass and have been tinted.  Right now, it doesn't show very well, however with the entire side panel being Tempered Glass you will have a full view of the interior components. [caption id="attachment_202155" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Tempered Glass Side Panels Swing Open[/caption] Most Tempered Glass panels are held in place with thumbscrews for easy removal, Corsair has change this on the Obsidian 500D and instead of removing the panel, they swing out like suicide doors on a vehicle.  Both of the side panels are held in place with small magnets and have a couple rubber pads to keep the panels from banging against the case too loudly. [caption id="attachment_201938" align="aligncenter" width="467"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Rear Panel[/caption] Turning the case to the back panel, we can see the rear exhaust fan, and motherboard I/O port key.  For the expansion slots, we see there are seven vented slots, which makes sense since the case will hold up to ATX motherboards.  For those that want to place their GPU vertically, to show it off through the Tempered Glass side panel, Corsair has placed two additional expansion slots, meant for to mount your GPU vertically.  At the bottom we have the normal power supply mounting slot. [caption id="attachment_201937" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Power Supply Filter[/caption] As you might expect, Corsair has placed a bottom mounted filter for the power supply intake fan.  This filter is easily removed from the back of the case for cleaning. [caption id="attachment_201921" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Top Panel[/caption] The top panel is a fixed feature, and is another brushed aluminum panel.  This panel is vented both on the sides and vents going down the middle of the panel.  Rather than a honeycomb pattern or using plain holes, Corsair has gone a little fancy with using triangles for the vents.  While a minor feature, this does give it a unique look. [caption id="attachment_201922" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Front Top I/O Cluster[/caption] The front panel I/O cluster contains the usual items, Power and Reset buttons, dual USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, along with 3.5mm Microphone and Headphone ports.  Corsair has also gone ahead and installed a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port to make the case a little future proof. [caption id="attachment_201939" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Bottom Panel[/caption] The bottom of the case isn't very fancy.  We see the expected power suply filter, and a large generally unused area at the front section.  There are of course the four feet used to raise the case off the surface for airflow, and each of these four feet have a rubber coating to keep it from sliding around. Let's open the side panels and see what  secrets the interior has for us.

Obsidian 500D Interior

[caption id="attachment_201940" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Interior[/caption] With the side panel open, we can see that the interior is a uniform black, matching the exterior of the case.  There are a few features that immediately grab our attention.  First, at the bottom, there is a 3/4 power supply cover that is plain, there are no logo or LED's like we have seen on other cases.  Next, the front section is slightly raised, which places the three vertical cable management holes at a slight angle; these cable management holes have rubber cable guides to keep things looking organized.  There are also three horizontal cable management holes along the top edge of the motherboard tray, which do not have rubber cable guides these just have rolled steel edges. [caption id="attachment_201944" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Removing the Tempered Glass Panels[/caption] Both of the two Tempered Glass side panels can be removed, at the top of the panel, there is a screw holding it in place.  Remove the screw, and you can lift the panel off the two posts. [caption id="attachment_201947" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Front Intake Fan[/caption] At the front of the case, Corsair  has pre-installed a 120mm fan, there is no model specifically listed on the fan.  There is room for two additional 120mm fans, or you can remove the included 120mm and replace it with two 140mm fans.  Fans are installed on a bracket, which is removable making installation very easy. [caption id="attachment_201946" align="aligncenter" width="502"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Front Intake Fan Bracket[/caption] The front bracket is removed from the case which makes it extremely easy installation of fans or liquid cooler radiators.  There are three cut-outs for fans, which it will support up to three 120mm fans, or two 140mm fans. [caption id="attachment_201949" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Top Fan Mount Bracket[/caption] The other removable fan bracket is at the top of the case, this bracket is capable of only holding two fans, either 120mm or 140mm.  The other option is to install an AIO liquid cooler at the top, which you will be limited to up to a 280mm radiator. [caption id="attachment_201989" align="aligncenter" width="437"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Top Fan Bracket[/caption] Like the front fan bracket, the top fan bracket is easily removed by removing two thumbscrews.  Where the front bracket allowed for up to three 120mm fans to be installed, the top only permits up to two 140mm fans. [caption id="attachment_201941" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Back of Motherboard Tray[/caption] For those that want to keep their cables neat and tidy, the Corsair Obsidian 500D does a great job at making it easy.  There is the vertical cable channel that should be capable of hiding the bulk of the cables.  For those that can't go under the cover, there are a total of 11 tie down locations, 3 of these are on the very bottom panel, and 2 directly under the bottom 3.5" hard drive tray.  The other six tie down locations surround the extra large CPU support bracket hole. [caption id="attachment_201942" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - 2.5 inch Trays[/caption] Corsair has opted to place all 2.5" drive trays on the back of the motherboard tray.  This allows them to be hidden from view, and uses the space extremely well.  There are three trays specifically designed for 2.5" SSD's.  There are no rubber pads to reduce vibration noise, since SSD's have no moving parts.  Technically, you could install a standard 2.5" hard drive here, but be aware there might be vibration noise. [caption id="attachment_201943" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - 3.5" Hard Drive Trays and Cable Management Channel[/caption] The 3.5" hard drive trays are mounted vertically along the section of the back panel.  These are pretty standard 3.5" hard drive trays, your drives will pop into the trays, being held in place with the metal pins.  Corsair recognizes that you might want to use screws to secure your drives, so they have provided those in the accessory pack.  The cover for the cable management channel is held in place with two thumbscrews and clips that go under the 3.5" trays.  There are a few holes on the side of the cover for cables to come though to the drives. [caption id="attachment_201945" align="aligncenter" width="444"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Front Panel Sound Insulation[/caption] Removing the front panel is a bit time consuming as there are multiple screws to removed.  On the outside of the case, there are two on the bottom, and two at the top (right under the front I/O).  Internally, there is one screw at the bottom of the panel (almost right in the center).  After these five screws are removed, the panel drops down a little to drop of a couple of internal clips.  It was nice to see that Corsair included a layer of sound insulation on the back of the panel, anything that can help reduce noise is welcomed. [caption id="attachment_201984" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D 2.5" SSD Tray[/caption] On the back of the motherboard tray there are two plastic 3.5" hard drive trays (which can also be used for 2.5" drives), and three metal 2.5" drive trays.  All five of the trays are held in place with thumbscrews, and tongue and groove clips. [caption id="attachment_202208" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Front and Top Filter Removal[/caption] Under the top aluminum panel, and behind the front aluminum panel are a couple of hidden filters that are easily removed.  We have seen removable filters before, however Corsair has made these extremely easy to remove.  Open the side pane, and then you can pull out the filter you want to clean; there are no finger holds on either filter however they are easy to lift and pull.  Each of the filters are held in place with small magnets. Now that we have seen the exterior and interior of the Corsair Obsidian 500D, let's build a quick system inside to see how it all comes together.

Obsidian 500D Build

[caption id="attachment_202149" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Completed Build[/caption] With the Obsidian 500D, Corsair shows they know how to design an interior so it is easy to install your components, while still keeping a clean interior.  For those that want to build a custom liquid cooling setup, there is plenty of room to install a large reservoir at the front of the case.  For those that go with air cooling or an AIO cooling solution, it becomes a large amount of "unused" space.  With one exception, all the cables easily come through the proper holes to reach their associated plug.  Only the front Audio cable need to be routed a small distance from the nearest cable management hole. [caption id="attachment_202151" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Vertical GPU Position[/caption] One of the features of the Obsidian 500D is the ability to install your graphics card in a vertical position.  When it is installed, it is held in place by two thumbscrews on the back side of the case.  There are also two slots at the bottom for the bracket to slide into.  With the thumbscrews in place, the card hangs in place, there is going to be some wiggle of the card, but it won't move.  You will have to supply your own vertical graphics card adapter as Corsair has not included that.  The two expansion slot covers for the vertical graphics card installation hasn't been completely removed from the case, they will need to be busted out in order for the graphics card to install properly. [caption id="attachment_201985" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Install AIO Cooler on Bracket[/caption] Removing the included fan brackets makes installing additional fans or AIO liquid coolers a breeze.  On the front panel, the Corsair H105i was installed.  A 360mm radiator would also fit if you wanted the ultimate AIO solution. [caption id="attachment_201992" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Back Side Cable Management[/caption] Routing the cables behind the cover worked flawlessly.  All of the cables fit nicely, this included all the front panel connectors, 24-pin ATX power cable, and three SATA cables.  The 8-pin ATX Auxillary power cable was routed along the back edge, and could have been routed behind the SSD power/data cables to keep a slightly cleaner routing.  The only little concern I have with the back of the case is the 3.5" hard drive.  The mounting style and location work great.  However with the back panel being Tempered Glass you are most likely wanting to be able to see all of your hardware, with the 3.5" drives needing to be mounted in this position, you won't be able to see the label.  Granted I understand why it needs to be installed this way, just hoped for a better way to do it. [caption id="attachment_202153" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - View of Build Through Tempered Glass[/caption] The Tempered Glass has been smoked, which makes seeing your system through the side panel a little difficult without some lights.  The Corsair H105i has a lighted water block, which shows through the Tempered Glass panel, as does the few LEDs on the motherboard.  If you really want the system to shine though the panel, I would recommend some LED light strips, or fans.  

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

[caption id="attachment_202156" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Brush Aluminum Front Panel[/caption] Corsair does a great job at designing beautiful looking cases, everything on the Obsidian 500D screams high-end.  The finish on the case is flawless, and the attention to detail shows.  With Tempered Glass side panels, you will want to have a clean interior to show off your components.  The vertical installation of the graphics card is a great way to show off the graphics card which is one of the key components to a gaming system.  Unfortunately, Corsair doesn't include the PCIe extension that you will need.  These are readily available online starting as low as $5.83 for an off brand model and goes up from there. [caption id="attachment_202151" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Vertical GPU Position[/caption] The Corsair Obsidian 500D supports up to the standard ATX motherboard, and provides space for two 3.5" hard drives, and three 2.5" SSD's on the back side of the case.  For those that are concerned about cooling, the Obsidian 500D supports up to three different sizes of liquid coolers (140mm in the rear, 280mm at the top, and 360mm in the front).  Of course if you want to use a CPU air cooler, that is an option, in which case you are limited to coolers shorter than 170mm.  Unless you install a large liquid cooler reservoir at the front of the case, you shouldn't have any issues with a graphics card fitting, however Corsair specifically states that the case supports graphics cards up to 370mm. [caption id="attachment_201922" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - Front Top I/O Cluster[/caption] The top brushed aluminum panel is unique and looks great, rather than just a flat panel, it is raised and has a depressed area, which is ventilated with triangles rather than the common honey-comb features. The front I/O cluster includes the necessary connections, and includes two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, plus one USB 3.1 Type-C; which you need a unique connection on the motherboard to use; such as the one found on the ASUS ROG Stris Z270G motherboard. [caption id="attachment_202153" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Obsidian 500D Corsair Obsidian 500D - View of Build Through Tempered Glass[/caption] While the exterior of the Obsidian 500D is beautifully designed, the smoked Tempered Glass panels do pose one small obstacle.  They are pretty dark, which makes it difficult to see the interior components without any additional lighting.  While the picture will make it a little darker than it actually is, without any LEDs on the interior you can barely make out the components. In addition to Tempered Glass, RGB lighting is pretty popular right now.  I would recommend adding some RGB lighting (using fans or light strips) to the interior if you really want to show off your components. If the design and features of the Obsidian 500D appeals to you, it runs $149.99 shipped. LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line:  If you are wanting a premium mid-tower case to show off your components with Tempered Glass side panels, the Obsidian 500D is a perfect choice.