Corsair Obsidian 550D Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on March 15, 2012


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The 550D is the latest mid-tower case within Corsair’s Obsidian series, with an aluminum front door, eight expansion slots, noise dampening foams, and several other interesting features. Let’s check it out.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 1: Corsair Obsidian 550D case

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 2: Corsair Obsidian 550D case

Both the left and top panels of the Corsair Obsidian 550D have a lid that covers the mesh available for optional fans. These lids are easily removed by simply pushing them. This lid has a noise dampening foam, and the mesh features a magnetic air filter. The left panel supports the installation of two 120 mm or 140 mm fans or one 200 mm fan. The case comes with rubber rings for the installation of these fans, in order to absorb vibration and, thus, reduce the noise level produced by them.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 3: Left panel

The Front Panel

The Corsair Obsidian 550D comes with an aluminum front door. Front doors can be troublesome, depending on how they are implemented. For example, some manufacturers put the case on/off button and the USB ports behind the door, which is very annoying, as you need to open the door whenever you want to turn on your computer or install a USB device. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with the Corsair Obsidian 550D. Another common problem with doors is the direction they open, which may not match the location where the case is installed on your workplace. For example, if your case is installed against a wall or a desk to its right, you want the door to be opened from the left side of the case, not from the right. Most cases that come with a door don’t allow you to change the direction the door is opened. Another highlight of the 550D is that its door can be opened either from the left or from the right, without any additional configuration, and you can also simply remove the door if you don’t like it, by pulling it off the case. The door comes with a dampening foam sheet on its inner side.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 4: Front door

The front panel of the case has four external 5.25” bays.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 5: Front panel

The case comes with two 120 mm fans on its front panel. They are protected with a lid that has a dampening foam sheet on it, just like the lids located on the left and top panels, and they also have a magnetic air filter. The fans pull air from the sides and bottom part of their compartment, as the front lid is solid. These fans use standard three-pin fan power connectors, but no technical specifications for these fans are provided.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 6: Front fans

The case comes with two USB 3.0 ports and the traditional audio jacks on the top part of the front panel. As already mentioned, the door doesn’t cover them. The USB 3.0 ports use an internal USB 3.0 connector, and the case comes with an adapter for you to install them on a USB 2.0 header on the motherboard in case your motherboard doesn’t have a USB 3.0 header.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 7: Buttons and connectors

The Top, Bottom, and Rear Panels

The top panel comes with a lid similar to the one used on the left and front panels, which you can push to open the meshes for the optional fans. This lid also comes with a dampening foam. You can install two 120 mm or 140 mm fans on the top panel, and it comes with a magnetic air filter. The case comes with rubber rings for the installation of these fans, in order to absorb vibration and, thus, reduce the noise level produced by them. You can also install a 240 mm radiator for liquid cooling solutions on the top panel of this case.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 8: Top panel

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 9: Top panel

The bottom panel has an air filter for the power supply fan and for the optional bottom fan. This filter is removed from the rear panel.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 10: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Corsair Obsidian 550D are painted black.

On the Corsair Obsidian 550D, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case.

The case comes with a 120 mm fan installed on its rear panel, with a standard three-pin fan power connector. Again, the manufacturer doesn’t publish technical specifications for this fan. You can replace this fan with a 140 mm model or install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan/radiator from a maintenance-free liquid cooling solution.

This case has eight expansion slots with vented covers.

There are four holes for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, protected with rubber covers. These holes measure 0.8” (21 mm) in diameter.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 11: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Corsair Obsidian 550D.

Inside the Corsair Obsidian 550D

Both panels are attached to the chassis using tool-less mechanisms. To release them, you need to push a button located on the rear panel.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 12: Button for releasing the left-side panel

The side panels have a dampening foam installed on them.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 13: Noise dampening foam on the side panel

The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU coolers without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes protected with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and several clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 14: Overall look

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 15: A view behind the motherboard tray

Inside the Corsair Obsidian 550D (Cont’d)

In Figure 16, we get another overall look inside the case. As already mentioned, it supports the installation of 240 mm radiators for liquid cooling solutions on its top panel. Expansion cards are fastened using black thumbscrews. The Corsair Obsidian 550D supports video cards up to 12.2” (310 mm) long on its default configuration, but if you remove the top hard drive cage, this clearance is increased to 17.8” (452 mm).

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 16: Overall look

You can install two 120 mm fans on the disk drive cages to cool down the interior of the computer.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 17: Place for installing two optional 120 mm fans

The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. It can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. As you can see in Figure 18, the case comes with a rubber frame that stays between the power supply and the rear panel in order to reduce noise.

There is space for installing an optional 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel. If a 140 mm fan is installed, you can only install power supplies that are up to 6.3” (160 mm) deep. With a 120 mm fan installed, you are able to install a power supply up to 7.1” (180 mm) deep. If you have a power supply deeper than that, you won’t be able to install a fan on the bottom panel.

As already discussed, the case comes with an air filter for the power supply fan and the optional bottom fan.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 18: Power supply compartment

The Disk Drive Bays

The Corsair Obsidian 550D has four external 5.25” bays and six internal 3.5”/2.5” bays in two cages, featuring tool-less installation mechanisms, except for 2.5” devices that must be installed using regular screws.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 19: Disk drive bays

The two disk drive cages are removable. The top one can be removed if you want to install longer video cards, as previously discussed. The bottom cage can be removed if you want to install components for a liquid cooling solution. The case comes with four thumbscrews on its bottom panel for this installation.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 20: Case with the top cage removed

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 21: Case with both cages removed

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 22: One of the cages

Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a small drawer. See Figure 23. The pegs that hold 3.5” hard drives in place have rubber rings to absorb vibration and, thus, reduce noise.

Corsair Obsidian 550D case
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Figure 23: One of the 3.5”/2.5” bays

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Corsair Obsidian 550D include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Corsair Obsidian 550D provides the best of both worlds. In its default configuration, it is a case targeted to silence, with only three fans and several features to reduce noise. However, if you want to improve cooling performance, you can, as this case supports up to 10 fans. We simply couldn’t find any flaw with this case, and we think the price is right for the number of features it brings. The Obsidian 550D will please users paranoid about noise as well as users looking for a case full of features to build a high-end system.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Corsair-Obsidian-550D-Case-Review/1508


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