David Murphy Aug 07, 2013

Corsair 900D Review

At A Glance

Pacific Rim

Durable; lots of space; screwless; separate partition for up to two PSUs; three hot-swap bays; ample connectivity.

Power Rangers

Flimsy drive trays; odd angle for tightening expansion slot thumbscrews; lame magnetic filters; bay covers require interior access; no lighting.

Corsair 900D Review: Cue Also sprach Zarathustra for this monolith

There’s much to like about the Corsair 900D , given that this cast-aluminum-and-steel chassis weighs as much as a tank and casts an authoritative presence underneath one’s desk—if you can even fit the full-tower case under there.

The sequel to the famed 800D is even more imposing in appearance, but less impressive in execution.

Our problem? The case’s adornments aren’t as good as its overall construction. You could probably pull an Indiana Jones and survive a nuke if you wedged yourself into the approximately 26x10x27-inch case, but you’re still going to have to fuss with its drive bays, magnetic filters, panels, and other upgrade-critical parts.

We love the aesthetic created by the case’s simple, flat façade. A giant cover on the bottom half of the case’s front pops off to offer easy, push-snap access to its three front 12cm fans (and corresponding fan filter). Locking the filter back into place can feel a wee bit flimsy, but we’d almost rather have that than the far more secure covers over the case’s four 5.25-inch drive bays. You have to shove your hand into the case and do some blind-nudging of tabs to pop off the panels; we wish they were more accessible from just the front alone.

Also hidden behind a panel is the case’s ample connectivity: two USB 3.0 ports (with an internal header) and four USB 2.0 ports. The stealth is a bit of a moot point, however, given that you won’t be hiding much of anything when you’re using said ports, and it’s slightly annoying to have to flip open a panel just to access them—pretty as it might look.

We give Corsair all the credit in the world for making its case even more screw-free than what we’d otherwise expect to find when describing a case as “screwless.” Removing the case’s main side panels—on both sides—is as easy as pressing a button on the case’s rear and gently pulling the panel away. While we’re on the subject, we love the quasi-polarized, reflected look of the 900D’s left-side panel: By eschewing the typical clear Plexiglas, Corsair adds to the mystique of the case’s no-nonsense design.

The case’s 5.25-inch bays all use easy-to-manipulate locking mechanisms to keep one’s parts and pieces in place. The hard drive trays that fill the case’s nine free bays—including three hotswap-friendly bays with SATA power and data backplane—are a bit fussier. The better word might be “flimsier,” as they don’t feel all that sturdy when you pull them out, push them in, or lock them into place. It’s a minor quibble, but still a technical flaw for a case that breaks the bank at $350.

The case’s 10 expansion slots require you to spin thumbscrews to lock your components into place. Get ready for some finger fun, because the case’s design makes it difficult to use a standard-length shank screwdriver on these little guys.

We’ve long credited Corsair with setting the standard in cable management with the 800D, and the 900D doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of cable management built into the case’s motherboard tray (standoffs, too), with eight large, rubberized holes and six smaller holes for routing cables every which way. And we love how you can stuff one or two power supplies into the case’s bottom portion, which is accessible via its own flip-down side panel (with lame magnetic filter covering).

Although the 900D comes with five distinct locations for mounting liquid-cooling radiators (yay), the case’s top is firmly screwed into the chassis itself—you’re going to have to do work to install a radiator anyway, we realize, but we’d prefer to be able pop off the case’s top sans instruments.

Finally, Corsair’s case lacks any and all pizazz. You’re paying 100 percent for construction: no flashy lights, no strips of LEDs, no ultra-quiet fans (just normal fans), no fan controller. And while we absolutely enjoy some of the clever (and durable) construction work Corsair’s put into its chassis, we can’t help but think that a few more tweaks could have taken this case from “very good” to “absolutely great”—especially when the case itself eats up such a large chunk of your building budget.

$350, www.corsair.com


Corsair 900D

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