Having steadily released a stream of well-built and designed PC cases in a few short years, it can be difficult to remember that Corsair started out as a memory manufacturer before expanding into other areas. Price might have been a minor stumbling block for the Carbide 400R and Graphite 600T, but we were impressed with the water-cooling friendly features of the Carbide 500R.
Previous Corsair cases have prioritised cooling performance, but the Obsidian 550D is the company’s first to focus on silence. The Obsidian series is reserved for premium design and materials, as well as a premium price – it retails for around £110, roughly the same as Antec’s P280 but almost £40 more than our current quiet champion, the Fractal Design Define R3. With such a significant gulf in price, we were keen to see if the 550D could impress in other areas.
Click to enlarge - large sections of the case's exterior can be removed to improve ventilation
First impressions were positive – the minimalist black design and brushed aluminium front fascia looks stunning, standing out from the other cases in our lab. Build quality is up to Corsair’s usual rigorous standards, with no signs of flex or bend in the case itself or the side panels. Each one is released using a push-button mechanism and is lined with sound isolating foam to help keep the noise of any internal components leaking outside the case. The left panel has two mounts for either 120 or 140mm fans, as well as a removable cover and dust filter. You can also opt for a single 200mm fan if you prefer.
Click to enlarge - The front fascia swing open to pops off to reveal the drive bays beneath
Unlike the Define R3, the aluminium front fascia isn’t a fixed door – C-clasps on both sides let you swing it out in either direction, or pop if off completely to access the 5.25in bays it covers. Sensibly there’s a cut-out around the front panel for the minimum amount of faff when using the two USB3 ports or the headphone and microphone mini-jacks. The USB3 ports connect via a motherboard header, so you’ll need to use the bundled adaptor to connect them up in an older system.
Below the front panel and external drive bays are two 120mm front intake fans that are covered by a removable dust filter, which is also lined with the same sound isolating foam used in the external panels. They pull air from the sides and underneath the case rather than the front, which keeps noise levels to a minimum but limits airflow. The nifty magnets holding the dust filter in place are a welcome touch, making it easy to refit once you’ve cleaned it.
Dimensions (mm) 220 x 530 x 495mm (W x D x H)
Material Steel, brushed aluminium and plastic
Available colours Black
Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone,
Drive bays 5 x external 5.25in drive bays, 4 x internal 3.5in drive bays.
Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling 2 x 120mm front mounts (fans supplied), 2 x 120/140mm side mount (fans not included), 1 x rear 120/140mm fan mount (120mm fan included), 2 x 120/140mm roof fan mounts (fans not included), 1 x 120/140mm base fan mount (fan not included)
CPU cooler clearance 180mm
Maximum graphics card length 318mm with hard disk caddy, 452mm without