Assembling the Corsair Obsidian 550D

Despite my misgivings with some of Corsair's design decisions (which could easily be argued as tradeoffs), there's one thing that Corsair's engineers have down pat by now: ease of assembly. I've said before that assembling a Corsair enclosure is like a vacation for me, and the 550D was no exception.

Once again Corsair includes standoffs for the motherboard built right into the tray, although our refreshed testbed's new motherboard is Micro-ATX and thus required me to add a couple of standoffs. That said, installing the board was relatively painless, and I appreciated being able to plug the exhaust fan's 3-pin header directly into the motherboard.

Speaking in all honesty, it's nigh impossible to find any real point in the assembly that's worth mentioning as a standout, at least in terms of difficulty. Corsair has, over time, gradually assuaged every remaining issue I've had with building systems in their cases. The drive sleds now allow me to install a 2.5" drive without removing any of the pins, and a 3.5" drive snaps in perfectly neatly. Popping out the 5.25" drive bay cover was a little bit of a struggle, but barely worth mentioning.

Depending on your perspective, you could argue that cabling is a bit easier with the 550D. The recessed area surrounding the motherboard tray proper only further highlights how well Corsair's engineers guide assembly within their enclosures; it's essentially a subtle suggestion that says "cables go here." And while I'm concerned about the long term use of the side panel release mechanism, it must be said that getting that rear panel back on to the 550D doesn't require the same kind of elbow grease some other cases do: there's enough space to fit your cables back here without too much trouble.

The biggest problem I had in assembly was getting the AUX 12V line to connect, but that's not necessarily something you can fault Corsair for so much as a problem that's par for the course when dealing with this kind of ATX enclosure design. The AUX 12V line on our new motherboard is lower than it was on the old one, and as a result the modular cable that was included with our new testbed power supply couldn't make the journey properly. Thankfully SilverStone uses the same connects for all of their modular power supplies (a convenience Corsair should take to heart) and once I found a longer cable, everything was fine.

Thus, as I said, there's very little to report in the way of assembly. Corsair somehow continues to get the placement of the cable routing holes in the motherboard tray just right, and I can continue to recommend cases from the brand as a whole as being excellent choices for consumers just learning how to build their own machines.

In and Around the Corsair Obsidian 550D Testing Methodology
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  • cbgoding - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Why do reviewers throw a ton of voltage at a chip for a weak overclock? 1.38v is what I use to hit 4.9GHz. Just strikes me as weird.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    1. Stability.
    2. Ease of testing. For the case, whether or not the overclock itself is fast is irrelevant, we're just looking to see how it dissipates the heat.
  • compudaze - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Not all chips are created equal. I have had one 2600K that hit 4.8GHz on 1.32V while another took a whopping 1.48v to hit the same 4.8GHz. They call it the "silicon lottery" for a reason.
  • pdjblum - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    There are still some of us who prefer aluminum to steel. What I am saying is that the material is as important to some of us as are the dimensions and other specs, so it would be great if it was also listed in an easy to find location.
  • Rasterman - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    If you use quality fans at low speeds, there is no reason you need an isolation, dampening design to block noise, there simply is no noise. I went with a Lian Li AL case, short ATX, 2 unused 5.25 bays, it is absolutely silent at idle, plus it weighs less than 20# which makes moving it around a hell of a lot easier. Overclocked to 4.9GHz I don't need to ramp the fans for the CPU, I have a similar video card that does ramp though and it is by far the loudest thing at load, probably similar to this review.
  • Iketh - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    You've never had a computer running on hard floors then...
  • jabber - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    So some form of dampening material under the PC is required?

    Cork tiles or suchlike.

    I used to use a Mission Isoplat.
  • ssddaydream - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    I respectfully ask that you don't preach cases being "absolutely silent" when indeed they are not. I have worked with many components that advertise extremely quiet when they actually have very irritating noise characteristics.
    Your computer may be silent to your ears, but other people may have more acute hearing.
    I have a "silent" computer- it uses absolutely no fans and it only uses an SSD (no conventional HDD). It, for all practical purposes, is silent. If you put your ear up to the power supply, you can barely hear the faint switching and other noise, which is measurable by my mic with RTA. In any case, I can't hear it when my ear is 5" or more from the PSU.
    A case with conventional HDDs and fans is never silent- only quiet. How quiet is a matter of the listener unless measurements are taken.
    I don't expect a detailed RTA analysis for case reviews, so I try to find the quietest gear available based on many people's reviews as well as professional reviews. Many sites that review case fans, etc, will post actual recorded noise so you can get an idea of the noise signature.
    Unfortunately, the more powerful the computer, the more noise. I relocated some of my machines into a different building where I use Remote Desktop / VNC to access them.
    Thanks Anandtech for bringing to light cases like this. I am all for acoustic and thermal comparisons and recommendations between any cases you guys have experience in.
  • haelio - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    "In terms of thermal performance, it's tough to make a direct comparison to Corsair's other cases."

    No it's not, you get other cases, put the same hardware in it and then take measurements again.

    I've seen better case reviews by random purchasers on enthusiast forums. This was just a series of subjective opinions on the aesthetics and then a few graphs without any context, mention of the ambient temperatures or fan layout (presumably stock?).

    I expect more from a site like Anandtech. If this review popped up on CNET I wouldn't be complaining.

    For a better comparison of:

    CPU temps:
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with the above poster. Though, I am guessing you guys do not keep review hardware around forever. However, it would make sense to have a pretty standard case review test suite with a standardized hardware setup. Presumebly something you know will get quite hot in a poorly designed case.

    Then just keep that stuff in house and when new cases come for review, you pop the stuff in and run the tests, then you can easily pull up your numbers for other cases and compare and contrast.

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