Corsair 550D Case Review

BluePanda - 2012-03-20 17:59:06 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: May 17, 2012
Price: $139.99

Introduction:

I’m back with yet another case review; it seems like I have my own store to sell cases here anymore. We just took a look at the 300R from Corsair, a not-so-impressive lower-end case with a high price tag. Today we are moving up in ranks in the same form factor as we take a look at the 550D from the Corsair Obsidian family. The 650D from this series just recently replaced my 600T from the carbide series as my day-to-day review rig. So when it’s not being swapped case to case, it does have a home.

Corsair has grown on me a bit over time with each new case. The 600T first won me over with the easy-to-close side panels. The 650D to replace it won again with the same panels and better cooling. The 550D we are looking at today looks to be another winner as well. Although it doesn’t have the same handles to mount the side panels, it does have a neat little hidden back button to hold them in place. There’s no need for thumb screws and getting the panel back on after making changes isn’t a pain in the arse. Before I give away too many lovely features of this case, let's go ahead and start getting a closer look of it ourselves…

Closer Look:

As usual, I’ll start with the box pictures as it showed up on my doorstep. If you are familiar at all with the Corsair cases then you know the packaging style; brown box, black text, and drawings of the case with specifications and features outlined. If you don’t know the style all too well, just take a glance at any Corsair review in the last couple years – it’s a standard that I’ve come to know as the “Corsair” box and still remains as one of my favorite box printing styles.

The front of the box insures you are receiving the chassis you ordered, in big bold lettering it reads “Corsair Obsidian 550D”. Once you are sure the delivery guy didn’t bring you the wrong package and that your order has been filled correctly you can happily bring it inside knowing what you have. The back side of the box shows a blown-out view of the case showing key features including: revolutionary combination of noise and cooling, superior airflow, the silent treatment, and the concepts of being built by builders for builders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sides of the box are, well, the sides of the box. You get a couple sketches of the case from the front and a side panel removed. It honestly depicts the case rather well just in an inverted color manner. The specifications and features are listed in rather fine print in order to include multiple languages. Corsair's products have always seemed to be a friendly offering of understanding worldwide.

 

 

Cutting open the box like I’ve told you a million times is the best moment. The product is finally being released to my hands – either a good thing, or a bad thing depending on what it is and how good it is. I’m pretty happy with the packing, as most things coming here come across the entire United States, so getting here in one piece is always impressive. Two foam caps, a plastic bag, and extra cardboard scraps protect the case all the way here.

 

Closer Look:

Pulling away all the packing and protective plastic stickers and the case is finally in full view; it is a beauty! The front panel is a nice chunk of aluminum, flat with no annoying breaks for all those unused bays, however I suppose that would be a downfall if you do use an optical drive still or have a reservoir that needs to be monitored. The front panel does pull off for access; it just may be a little annoying if you need access on a daily basis. For me, that is not a problem and I love not seeing the stupid cuts for “possible” drives.

The back of the case is pretty simple; your usual 120/140mm reverse-fan mounts come with a pre-mounted 120mm fan. Four holes for water cooling needs, and 8 PCIe slots are included for your heart’s content. Two buttons at the top edge are for simple release of the side panels – we’ll take a closer look at these ahead; it is so nice to not deal with clumsy thumbscrews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the sides it is a very basic case. It was designed this way and really pulls it off well without looking cheap and low end. The inset panel is flush with the rest of the case leaving only a small edge to see where it is in the side panel. Pushing in the edges a spring release is activated and allows the panel to be removed. Exposed are holes for mounting two 120/140mm fans of your choice. Otherwise the panel clicks back on with the same simple press to re-engage the clips.

The other side of the case shows what it would look like without the removable panel. It really isn’t that much different. Nothing much to say other than it is a very smooth finish and looks great. The front of the case has a nice bevel edge to get your fingers on to remove it when you need to as well as break up the sides of the case into more than just a black rectangle.

 

 

The top of the case is similar to the side panel with a removable panel for either sound dampening or more airflow, it becomes your choice. It again fits nice and flush with the rest of the case so that it doesn’t look like a foreign item – it looks just as if it is another part of the case. The panel clicks in and out just as the side panel insert and supports either two 120mm fans or two 140mm fans of your liking.

 

 

This back shot of the case to show the two “PUSH” buttons for the side panels really shows off how well the top removable panel is done as well. It is just so flush with the case, I have a hard time getting over how well it was done. The “PUSH” buttons are really what I want to show off here though; they really revolutionize the concept of thumb screws. Most cases I’ve dealt with have thumb screws and require awkward placement to hold the panel and hurry to insert the screw. Corsair has fixed this, no more thumbscrews, just push the button on the respective side to release the panel. When you are done connecting cables and working just slide the panel back on and DONE! I love it.

 

 

The front of the case up close is elegantly simple. Two USB ports, a mic jack, headphone jack, small reset button and a nicely centered power button. It is well balanced and just humble in appearance. I can’t get over how much I really like the simplicity of the case. It is going to be a great case for anyone looking for a home theater case, or just something remarkably quiet and bare.

 

Closer Look:

Getting closer with the case I pulled off the first side panel to find a great surprise, awesome soundproofing foam. You could definitely tear it up if you tried, but it seems like it is there to stay as long as you don’t pick at it. I can see why this deadens the case so much already. The inside of the case itself is much like any Corsair case on the market today: easy to remove drive bays, a few pre-mounted standoffs with the extra lip to hold your motherboard in place, and nice pre-routed cables. It just looks nice right out of the package. A small white box holds all the screws and needed parts in the bottom HDD bay – always my favorite way of including the screws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back side of the case comes apart to reveal the same soundproofing foam covering. I really like the squishy feel of it. It is a foam I can’t quite explain, but when you feel it you know the foam (I know that’s not descriptive, but you will understand once you’ve touched it). The pre-routed cables are nicely run through with some zip ties to help you fix things up nicely. A large hole in the motherboard tray is cut for about any odd CPU mount you can find. Nice and simple even on the inside.

 

 

The external drive slots have tool-less clips that allow you to easily mount or remove things as you please. They aren’t hard to work, and if you have touched any “new” case in the last two or three years you can figure it out. The HDD cages allow you to remove one set of three to add extra room for a super long video card or just extra air flow. Both cages can be removed if you want to mount your drives elsewhere as well. It’s just nice to be able to customize the guts how you want.

The HDD trays themselves are also very flexible and allow for center-mounting SSDs – a big favorite of mine (hate removing the pins to do a side mount). If you own any recent Corsair case or have had your hands on one, you will know exactly how this looks and works on the inside. Corsair has seemed to make this their standard layout over the last run of cases. I’m okay with that.

 

 

Inside the case you can see the rubber feet to help keep your PSU mounted tight and quiet. There’s room for another fan here on the bottom to boost your airflow without having to take off any of the added panels and help you keep things quiet. The pre-wired cables came nicely wrapped in foam packing to protect them as they bounced about in the open case. I’m happy to see thinking was involved – this doesn’t happen too often in packing up items.

A shot from the inside lets you get a closer look at the standoffs mounted and the raised sections that require no standoffs at all. The rear fan has a long enough connector that you can pass it through the back if you have a Molex adapter just to keep your onboard connectors available. It is a case that looks easy enough to work with; I’m excited to get hardware in to see if that is so.

 

 

The general shot of screws and instructions included can’t be left out, so here you go. Enough screws are included to cover all your bases and then some when you lose a couple. A USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 connector is provided for those of you, like me, who don’t have the onboard USB 3.0 hookups and would still like front I/O panel support without awkwardly wiring cables out the back of the case. Plenty of cable management zip ties and fasteners are included for a nice clean build.

 

Hardware in and I couldn’t say I’ve had an easier build. This was pretty simple to get everything in and it was probably one of my faster builds going case to case. It just goes together as it should. Everything fit right in and wasn’t much of a hassle at all. Panel on and running, like I said before, I just had to keep checking to see if it was on. The little power button lights up white so at least it wasn’t too difficult to glance at. It is definitely a quiet case and a simple one worth getting your hands on.

 

Specifications:

 

Warranty:
Two Years
Dimensions:
20.9” x 8.7” x 19.5”
Mobo Support:
ATX, mATX
Expansion Slots:
8
Form Factor:
Mid-tower
Material:
Steel structure with black brushed aluminum faceplate
Front I/O:
USB 3.0 x 2, headphone jack, mic jack
Power Supply:
ATX (not included)
5.25” Drive Bays:
4
3.5”/2.5” Bays:
6
Fans:
120mm x3 included

 

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

Information provided by: http://www.corsair.com/us/pc-cases/obsidian-series-pc-case/obsidian-series-550d-mid-tower-quiet-case.html

Testing:

Testing the Corsair 550D required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases. I’ve mentioned this before, but as it is still a recent change, OCC has upgraded to the Force Series GT 240 GB SSD from Corsair and removed the HDD temps from case reviews. HDTune is no longer a part of the case benchmarking process (as it had been in the past).

Otherwise, load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So like the other cases in comparison the Corsair 550D doesn’t do too shabby temperature-wise considering the true lack of holes for airflow. The case was tested with all the panels in place as delivered – didn’t remove any of them (the ultimate silent case). The idle temperatures seemed to be the only temperatures to stand out from the crowd. The idles were the highest in every measurement by a degree or two (which really isn’t that much of a difference).

In all honesty the 550D performed just as well under load as any other midrange mid-tower chassis that has come through my hands. It truly is one of the quietest cases I’ve ever had. I’d use it for a home theater case if my setup allowed me to have an upright tower…it was so quiet I had to literally check to see if it was on, it just didn’t make enough noise. With all the sound-proofing and closed up holes, you would think it would be really hot, but somehow Corsair really won this one out. It’s relatively cool and sure as heck quiet; great performance overall.

Conclusion:

Overall I’m pretty happy with the case. Not only did it surprise me with temperatures it was even quieter than I could have expected. It is simply a great case. It doesn’t scream, "look at my fancy case and my expensive or cheap hardware" – it’s subtle and sits as literally a little black box to record all your life moments in gaming, in picture taking, music making, or whatever it is you do. This case has no single “type” to be associated with…no branding of who you are whatsoever. You get to pick who you are – and the contents of your drives will express who that is.

It is truly a great case no matter what your needs. The 550D is great case for you, for a family member, or even a build for a friend. It is subtle, so don’t let this one go past a good look of your own. The design is simple, classy, and above all, it's extremely quiet. Major props to this case from me…another gold-worthy member in my family of reviews.

 

 

Pros:

 

 

Cons: