When Corsair announced its arrival in the PC chassis arena, it did so with a bang. Who remembers the epic Obsidian Series 800D? The beautiful Graphite Series 600T? Or the super-sleek Obsidian Series 550D? They were all attractive cases in their own unique ways, but you could argue that Corsair has since struggled to maintain such lofty expectations.
The awkward optical drive positioning on the Obsidian Series 750D and the plasticky nature of the Graphite Series 780T are still fresh in the memory, and even Corsair's most eye-catching chassis to date, the Crystal Series 570X, wasn't without fault. It's time for a another epic, so we've high hopes for the new Obsidian Series 500D.
Priced at £140 and described as a "state-of-the-art mid-tower enthusiast PC case," the 500D enters a fiercely-contested space and will compete with the likes of the be quiet! Dark Base 700 (£165), Cooler Master MasterCase H500P (£135) and Fractal Design Define R6 (£135).
Stiff competition indeed, yet Corsair gets off to a positive start as the 500D gives all the right impressions when removed from the box. Dimensions of 508mm (H) x 233mm (W) x 502mm (D) are just about perfect for a mid-tower solution, and the overall finish feels luxurious thanks to aluminium trim and tempered-glass panels.
Better yet, if you have no interest in the industry-wide focus on RGB, you'll appreciate the 500D's sleek and robust-looking exterior. Aside from the backlit power button, there aren't any other lights or gaudy accents, and Corsair has limited its own branding to just a stylish sails logo near the bottom of the aluminium front plate. The only caveat is the paintwork. 500D's matte black finish looks lovely, but it scuffs with real ease so has to be handled with care - simply touching it appears to leave a mark so keep a cloth nearby.
Instead of attempting to be flashy, the latest Obsidian Series enclosure focuses on features that matter. To that end, the top I/O panel has been bolstered with the inclusion of USB 3.1 Type-C alongside a couple of USB 3.0 and audio jacks. Thankfully the reset button, which was bizarrely absent on the Crystal Series 570X, has also been restored. Even the side panels attempt to balance form and function. The tinted tempered glass looks lush and provides a hint at what lies beneath, and Corsair's use of rear hinges offers quick access to the PC's innards - simply tug the front edges to release the magnets and the door swings wide open. Should you require long-term access, the doors can be lifted off completely.
It is a likeable exterior and there's a sense of familiarity on the inside as Corsair has, for the most part, repurposed the layout and tooling of the Crystal Series 570X. That's no bad thing, mind. The arrangement is logical, the PSU shroud has a removable end plate should you wish to assist airflow or cable management, and the 500D has extra space in the roof, making it easier to fit a thick radiator with fans. Curiously, the top and front aluminium plates are designed to stay in place; instead a removable bracket hangs on the inside of either panel using thumbscrews - remove these for simplified radiator installation outside of the case.
Speaking of radiators, the Obsidian Series 500D can accommodate up to a 240/280 in the roof, a 280/360 in the front and a 120 in back. Plenty to go on, and there are mounting points alongside the PSU bay for, say, a reservoir or pump. Lots of potential, though at this price point it's a shame the 500D is shipped without a fan controller and only two three-pin SP120 blowers as standard; one as a front intake, another as a rear exhaust.