Corsair’s Obsidian 550D comes packed with sound-dampening acoustical foam (nearly half an inch on its side panel), but it’s not just Corsair’s dedication to quiet that has us wowed. It’s the 550D’s interactivity: Gaining access to most of the steel case’s fan mounts (two 12cm mounts on the top, two preinstalled 12cm fans on the front, and two 12cm fan mounts on the case’s side) only requires you to push on a panel. Out it pops and in you go. The case’s side panels receive a similar treatment: Just hit a button on the rear of the case and bam—you can take them right off.
Corsair continues this “touch” motif on the case’s inside, where there’s room for you to install four 5.25-inch devices (that automatically lock into place) and up to six 3.5-inch hard drives (using drive trays). PCI components require you to deal with thumbscrews. Not the best way to go about it, but one that’s better than normal screws at least.
We have to call out the Obsidian’s excellent cable-management techniques. Four rubberized holes and two normal holes give you easy means for stringing and concealing cables —like the big one for the 550D’s two front-panel USB 3.0 ports. Since the actual space for an ATX or microATX motherboard is recessed on the tray, the flip-side delivers plenty of recessed space for aligning your cables. We love this bit, since mashing a ton of cables between the flat back of a motherboard tray and the case’s side panel is never a fun task.
This system covers the inside of each panel in acoustic foam, but you’ll pay a price for the lessened noise.
While we like that this foam-filled case cuts down on noise, the 550D will get hotter than most cases on the inside, and it’s a bit heavier than you might expect. Perhaps Corsair could have alleviated its cooling issue by using larger fans.
Corsair Obsidian 550D
Quiet; great concealment of adjustable areas; recessed motherboard tray.
Heavier and warmer than your average case.
Antec Eleven Hundred
Corsair Vengeance C70
Corsair Obsidian 550D
NZXT Phantom 410
Thermaltake Level 10 GTS
All temperatures measured in degrees Celsius. All systems tested with a stock-clocked AMD Phenom II X6 1055T on an Asus Sabertooth 990FX mobo with a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ cooler, a GTX 480 GPU, 4GB DDR3/1600, and an 800W PSU in a room with an ambient temperature of 22 C.