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Installation & Conclusion
Installation and Ease of Use
The internals of the Obsidian Series 250D can be divided into two main sections - one on top and another below. The top section consists of the motherboard tray and 5.25-inch external drive bay, while the bottom section is comprised of the PSU bay and the four drive bays for storage drives. Its a logical setup and allows for users to fit full sized standard ATX PSUs (up to 200mm in depth), CPU coolers (up to 95mm in height) and graphics cards (up to 290mm in length). This means it will accommodate all but the largest PSUs, CPU coolers and graphics cards.
Most Mini-ITX casings have their installation quirks and the Obsidian Series 250D is no different. While installation is mostly pretty easy and straightforward, users would first have to remove a lot of panels and backplates to begin the installation process.
To begin, users must first remove the top and side panels and this involves removing a lot of thumbscrews, 14 in total. Also, we found the thumbscrews to be fastened a tad too tightly for our liking, making removal difficult without a screwdriver. Once the panels are off, users will gain unrestricted access to the motherboard tray and 5.25-inch drive bay.
The motherboard tray only accommodates Mini-ITX form factor motherboards and Corsair has thoughtfully included built-in standoffs to make installing the motherboard just that little bit less cumbersome. Installing the 5.25-inch devices such as optical drives or aftermarket front panels is easy. Simply remove the front panel and slide the device into until a click sound is heard. To remove the device, simply use the tool-free tab to release it. If you've a 3.5-inch front panel bay to use in place of an optical drive, you'll have to find your own drive bracket converters, including a face plate that doesn't differ too much from the finish on the Corsair casing.
Moving on, backplates must first be removed before users can install the storage drives and PSU. Again, these backplates are secured by thumbscrew that we found to be fastened too tightly. Once the backplates are off, installation is as simple as sliding the PSU into the bay and securing it with screws. Although Corsair claims that PSUs of up to 200mm in depth can be installed, we found it to be a bit of stretch with our 1200W PSU. While it will fit, cable management was a problem. We definitely recommend users to go with a less bulky PSU. In any case, we doubt anyone would need a PSU of such high ratings to run a Mini-ITX system.
As for storage drives, the Obsidian Series 250D comes with four internal drive bays and is able to accommodate two 2.5-inch and two 3.5 drives. It uses the tried-and-tested tool-free drive cage system and the 3.5-inch drive trays can also, with the use of screws, be used with 2.5-inch drives.
As the photos above show, large size graphics cards such as the dual-GPU Radeon HD 3870 X2, which is around 11-inches long, will fit with no problems. That said, do note that if your graphics card’s PCIe connector is aligned in parallel, that is going to “lengthen” the card as the power connector is going to need more room.
More impressive is the fact that our 750W PSU could fit so comfortably and with adequate room being for cable management. In most compact casings, fitting a 750W would be a squeeze and makes cable management tough or next to impossible. As we mentioned, we could even fit a 1200W PSU, but that’s really pushing things a bit as it was very tight, making connecting and managing the power cables difficult and tedious.
Conclusion: One of the Best in its Class
Corsair’s past offerings have been very solid and the new Obsidian Series 250D - their very first Mini-ITX casing - follows in this tradition.
It might not be the most stylish or eye-catching casing, but the Obsidian Series 250D has a pleasant design and classy looks that will not offend. More importantly, it is solidly constructed and exhibits a very high level of build quality. The only thing that disappointed us was the shoddy dust filters that are used on the side panels.
As for installation and ease of the use, the Obsidian Series 250D was actually one of the more straightforward and less quirky small form factor casings that we have used. Granted, removing all the side panels and thumbscrews was a little cumbersome and tedious, but once they were out of the way, installation was fairly easy. It also helps that the interior design and layout is logical and pretty spacious. It is one of the few Mini-ITX casings that we have reviewed to be able to easily fit our 750W test PSU. Cooling options are also very decent as according to the manual, the case is even able to fit liquid cooling radiators of up to 240mm in length and we did notice it has room for such exotic cooling. Finally, we like that Corsair has given the casing four internal storage drive bays and even dedicated drive trays for 2.5-inch drives.
Corsair’s casings have often commanded a premium over its competitors and the Obsidian Series 250D is no different. Fortunately, the premium this time round is much lesser. With a recommended retail price of S$139, the Obsidian Series 250D is only S$14 more than the BitFenix Prodigy and actually costs less than the S$149 Silverstone Sugo SG09. In light of what it offers and what it costs, we would highly recommend anyone looking for a small form factor Mini-ITX casing to check out the Obsidian Series 250D.
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