We've explored many unique PC cases over the years, most recently having reviewed the Silverstone Raven RVZ01, In Win tou, and Xigmatek Nebula so far in 2014, yet one model has continued to elude us. First unveiled at Computex 2013, Corsair's Carbide Air 540 employs an interesting dual-chamber design.
The Carbide Air 540 was first released in black but white and silver versions have been available for a few months now and we are finally going to check both of them out. Along for the ride is Corsair's Obsidian 450D, another mid-tower case that the company announced on March 25 of this year.
Unlike the Carbide Air 540, the Obsidian 450D features a more traditional tower case design. In fact, it looks a lot like a smaller version of the 650D, which is in turn a smaller version of the legendary 800D. Despite having different designs, the Carbide Air 540 and Obsidian 450D are closely priced at $110 and $120.
Obsidian Series 450D
Corsair claims that performance has been the key focus of the Obsidian 450D stating that the case provides high airflow and plenty of cooling flexibility. Apart from being a high performance mid-tower the Obsidian 450D is also designed to be roomy enough for impressing gaming gear.
As expected Corsair has gone with the iconic Obsidian Series brushed aluminum design for the 450D. Although the design does reflect what we saw from the 800D, 700D and 650D, the 450D actually gets its styling from the 350D. In fact, both cases are virtually identical with the exception of the front panel, which has been modified for a more aggressive look on the 450D.
Measuring 497mm long, 210mm wide and 494mm tall the 450D tips the scales at just 7kgs. Although both the 450D and 650D are classified as mid-towers, the 650D is larger measuring 546mm long, 229mm wide and 521mm tall while weighing considerably more at 14kgs. While the 650D has a 65L capacity, the 450D is 21% smaller with its 51.5L capacity.
Surprisingly, despite weighing very little, most of the case has been constructed from steel. Only the fašade features aluminum, though much of it is also plastic. The key to the lightweight design is the compact size, and once we get inside the 450D you'll see there aren't many steel accessories to be found.
The Obsidian 450D is available exclusively in black with a case window. Although the design appears very simple, it's far from boring. The dark matte paint job gives it a stealthy look that will appeal to those after a more subtle design, while the case window could be outfitted with aftermarket lighting for a bolder style.
The front bezel looks aggressive and while there are visible I/O connectors, they do not spoil the design. At the top, you will find a pair of audio jacks, two USB 3.0 ports along with a small reset button. The power button is located right at the top and it features blue LED lights on either side. The effect is pretty cool.
The top of the case dons a large removable dust filter which is held in place using high quality magnetic strips so the dust cover won't fall off when transporting the case. Under the filter is a large grill that can support three optional 120mm or two 140mm fans. There is also room to install a large triple-fan radiator if you want water cooling.
Both case doors are secured with thumbscrews while the left one features a window so you can display your hardware.
Turning the 450D on its side reveals a filter that is designed to stop the power supply from collecting dust from the floor, while also preventing debris from slipping into the case. Corsair has also included four large feet that raise the 450D an inch from the ground, allowing for plenty of airflow under the case.
Around back the 450D looks much like any other mid-sized tower case, though we should point out that the matte black paint job is also continued around to the rear. Up top is the motherboard I/O panel and opposite that is a preinstalled 120mm fan behind yet another honeycomb grill.
The 450D sports seven expansion slots and three one-inch holes for water-cooling hoses, while the power supply bracket is at the bottom of the case -- the norm these days.