Corsair Obsidian 650D Reviewairman - June 8, 2011
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The inside of the Obsidian 650D is a nice thing to look at. I counted nine wire management passages, with eight having the rubber grommets for disguise. That's quite a few more than my favorite case, so I really appreciated that. Six side-facing hard drive caddies are well-nested in the front of the case right behind the 200mm intake fan, while the above section contains the four toolless 5.25" bays. The interior of the Obsidian 650d is painted with the same finish as the rest of the case and really brings the entire thing together nicely. The back side of the motherboard tray gives a look at the two 3-pin headers that hang down from the top and rear exhaust fans. These both have plenty of length to their cables, so finding the source of power shouldn't be a problem. There are several punches in the tray that allow the looping of zip-ties to tidy up the wires behind the case, which I find useful in my wire management endeavors. Getting a look at the back of the hard drive caddies makes me think that the hard drives may be reversible, allowing me to completely hide the I/O area of the drives and route them straight through the back — I'll keep my fingers crossed for that. There is about 0.75" (19mm) of clearance between the rear of the motherboard tray and the edge of the case, which should be plenty of room to route even a 24-pin ATX connector.
Checking out the upper rear of the case shows plenty of room between the top of the motherboard tray and the top of the case, looking to make mounting a 2x120 or 2x140mm radiator for water cooling right in the top very easy — no external loop required. That's another thing Corsair managed to fit into a mid-tower case. However, seeing as how this is the little brother of the larger D series cases, which are feature-rich full towers, I don't take it as much of a surprise. The top of the case, toward the front, holds the 5.25" bays, currently occupied by the wiring harness for the front I/O panel and hard drive dock. There's a good bit of wiring there, seeing as how it operates with two USB3.0 ports and two USB2.0 ports, along with Firewire, sound, interface buttons, and the hard drive dock. Luckily, I've got plenty of room for wire management to tame them.
The lower rear of the inside shows the eight expansion slots and the adjustable power supply stabilizer. Having eight expansion slots allows for the possibility of a quad GPU setup, if desired. As for the power supply stabilizer, some users may feel the need to support the end of it to prevent deflection in the rear panel and PSU structure. It can also assist in installation of the power supply, as it helps prop it up flush with the rear of the case. Revisiting the hard drive mounting area, I learn that the center hard drive housing is removable to make room for larger video cards that may not fit while it's in place. The housing can be taken out simply by removing the two thumbscrews that secure it to the rest of the case. Doing this can also clean up the inside of the case, but I'll most likely leave it there if I'm not using it. This is because it's a good place to stash unused wires and disguise them well.
The quick release side panels are a feature that I like. Back in early 2000, when my interest in high performance computing arose, I found one of my favorite cases at the time was the old Chieftec cases, which has quick release panels. Though the quick release system on the Obsidian 650D is quite different in appearance, the function is the same and I get a lot of use out of it. Instead of pivoting at the front bezel, these panels pivot on the bottom. The side panels themselves are plain on the inside, other than the window on one of them — there are no vents or fan holes on either. I don't find this worrying, as there are quite a few large fans already installed in this case. With two exhausts and only one intake, we'll find that this case operates with a slightly negative internal pressure.
The hard drive caddies are simple trays of plastic that house 3.5" and smaller drives. Each of the two housings contain three caddies each, making room for up to six hard drives. Each of the small shafts that lock each drive in place is secured by a rubber dampener, helping to alleviate noise and vibrations from the hard drive that may be passed to the chassis. The expansion slot covers are each held in by thumbscrews that weren't too tight to initially remove by hand. Some cases have had the thumbscrews in so tight that a screwdriver is needed to remove them. Luckily, I only have to crack each of them loose once, but it's nice to not have to in the first place with the Obsidian 650D.
The hard drive caddies themselves easily clamp onto a hard drive and slide right into each bay. I did find, as I always research, that mounting the hard drives with their I/O ports facing the right side of the case is possible. I like to do this because it really cleans up the look of the case and completely removes a set of wires from view. However, without 90° connectors for the power and signal plugs, caution should be made as there could be some clearance issues. If not checked, closing and locking the right side panel may result in damage to the hard drive's PCB. The 5.25" toolless system works by opening and closing a lever, which retracts or secures the locking pins into the device in use. I'm used to seeing some that slide, twist, or swing, and this design is unique. They're all equally effective, but it's cool to see something different.
With as many features as the front end of this case offers, including the four channel fan controller, I have quite a lot of wires to work with. After I unwound each set, I found that there is a HUGE amount of length to these wires. At the shortest, these wires hang out past the 5.25" cages by over two feet, while some of the longer ones are over two and a half feet in length. Sure, it's a little harder to conceal when they're this long, but it allows the user to take them through areas where an average length wouldn't be able to make it. I count it as a plus, though it took longer to get looking good. The list of connections is as follows: 4x 3-pin connectors for the fan controller and a Molex to power it all, power LED and switch connectors, reset button and HDD activity light, 2x external USB3.0 connectors, 2x internal USB2.0 connectors, HD audio, Firewire, and SATA power and signal for the upper hard drive dock. All with 2+ feet in length makes for a bird's nest!
My wire management skills required only a little amount of exercising with what's already in place with the Obsidian 650D. First of all, the entire wiring harness is black, the same color as the interior, and the massive amount of wiring pass-through grommets makes it a very simple task. Even though it can be the most time consuming part of a build for me, taking the time to make the internals of the case look as clean as possible is my favorite part of the task. The zip tie loops on the back make it easy to secure wires and keep them snug up to the motherboard tray, and there are plenty in place to take advantage of.
The part about the Obsidian 650D that stands out the most to me once everything is installed, is the all-back wiring that blends very neatly with the black interior of the case. Everything comes together nicely and there's plenty of room around the video card too. I couldn't imagine even needing to remove that hard drive cage for any video card currently on the market, as the 6970 is already among the biggest and there is easily 3" of clearance between the edge of the cooler and the hard drive cage. I was able to completely hide the 8-pin auxiliary power connector by running it behind the motherboard tray, along with the majority of the 24-pin ATX connector by routing it through the integrated passages on the motherboard tray. So, I'm definitely pleased with the interior of the case and it's now time to get the tests fired up and gather some data. First, I will provide a complete listing of the Corsair Obsidian 650D's specifications and features.