Having recently parted with my previous gaming desktop, I was on the lookout for another mid-tower gaming case. I enjoyed my time with my Antec Nine-Hundred, but I had discovered a few nuances with the case that I was anxious to resolve with my next case. For example, the small tray atop the case and the deep, recessed design atop the bezel were both magnets for dust and difficult to clean. Thumb screws to remove the side panel? I’m so over those. Firewire is practically dead, so an unused port on the front was useless and unsightly. And I think I’ve outgrown the LED-lit case with a window revealing the interior. I wanted something more sleek; more elegant; more sexy. As for seeking a new case, I was anxious to see what improvements had been made as far as computer cases go. My requirements for a new case were simple: quiet, easy to maintain, and stylish.
Now, I’m not so much a quiet PC enthusiast as I am a gaming enthusiast, but I have made a conscious effort on each of my last three builds to keep the noise levels down. Quiet arguably being the most rare of my three requirements, I started there. Hence, I navigated to notable sites silentpcreview.com, endpcnoise.com, and quietpc.com where I quickly came across moderate, yet positive reviews of the Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Mid-Tower ATX Case. Each review acknowledged Corsair’s noise reduction features such as rubber feet and grommets, ball-bearing fans, and noise dampening liners, despite a few minor complaints about aesthetics and design. However, I’ll take any aesthetic and design complaints with a large grain of salt because those are primarily subjective anyhow.
I make a point of regularly cleaning the computer from dust to ensure longevity and a quieter, more efficient computer, so a case that is easy to clean is a case for me. The Corsair Obsidian Series 550D hits a home run here. Each of the unit’s three air intakes has a magnetic wire screen that catches the large majority of dust particles and hair that is easily pulled away, wiped down and re-inserted in a matter of seconds. No opening the side panel, no window to clean of smudges, and because the dust and hair isn’t making it into the computer, the GPU, CPU and rear exhaust fans remain cleaner longer.
In addition to its magnetic filters, Corsair’s 550D features tool-free 5.25″, SSD, and HDD bays and one-button side panel removal. These features alone speed up the build process significantly and make for a fantastic build experience. I can’t tell you how many times I remove the side panels during a build, and to just have to touch one button and the panel falls away – priceless! And to think thumb-screws were a godsend just five years ago…
Cable routing has never been cleaner. Granted, I’ve not yet built a system using a cable management system behind the motherboard the way the 500D does, but I will never go back. Air flow is amazing when you remove all your cables and your GPU and CPU can breathe so much easier, leading to happier, more efficient components, and thus, better longevity of your system.
Sleek. Stylish. Sexy.
One’s style can be so different from another’s, so I’ll define my style as sleek and elegant. I have liked like the look of many Lian Li cases of yeasteryear – clean lines, subtle accents – but I don’t like that they’re made out of aluminum and their lineup today is just not what it was a mere three years ago. Many new case manufactures have arrived on the scene (such as Corsair) and are now offering stylish and elegant cases in addition to their gaming enthusiast cases. At first sight, I was convinced of the 550D’s style, but it wasn’t until Newegg TV’s Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Overview video that I was sold. Have a look for yourself:
For complete details and specifications head on over to Corsair’s 550D product page. I’ll list a few of the common specifications below:
Corsiar Obsidian Series 550D Technical Specifications
- Four 5.25” drive bays
- Six 3.5” hard drive bays with 2.5” compatibility
- Eight expansion slots
- Supports most 240mm dual radiators (15mm spacing)
- Two-year warranty
- Front I/O panel contains:
- Two USB 3.0 connectors
- 3.5mm headphone and microphone connector
- Power and reset switches
- Dimensions: 20.9” x 8.7” x 19.5” (D x W x H)
- Ten available fan mount locations
- Six 120mm/140mm fan mount locations
- Four 120mm fan mount locations
- One 200MM side panel fan mount location
- Three 120mm fans included
- Compatible with ATX and Micro ATX motherboards
Overall, my build experience with Corsair’s 550D was far superior than any previous build of mine. It’s noise reduction features, while they could be improved, complement nicely all other noise-friendly components and make for a very quiet PC. Maintenance should be a breeze compared to past cases I’ve owned and, although I have yet to clean it, I anxiously await to seeing how well the magnetic filters actually perform. Combined with the Corsair TX750M Power Supply, I had all the cables I needed and was able to route all of them behind the motherboard and hide any unused cables with ease. The tool-free features such as the 5.25″ and HDD trays along with one-button side panel removal helped make this a system builder’s dream.
Now, I’m not a system builder who builds hundreds of machines each year, but I can confidently endorse Corsair’s Obsidian Series claim as being “Designed by builders, for builders”, as this has handily been the most rapid, clean, and orderly build I’ve ever completed. If you’re planning a new build, considering a case upgrade, or just want to experience the way a custom computer build should be, please take my recommendation and build using the Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Mid-Tower ATX case.