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Corsair Obsidian 250D Review

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SchizoFrog 21st January 2014, 19:39 Quote
Damn... After reading the review and studying the images I really though that I had found the ideal mITX case for myself. It's a total winner right up until I realised the storage limitations. While I realise that this is not going to be an issue for the vast majority of those even considering this case but I do need rather than merely want more than just the 2x 3.5" drive bays on offer here.
Once again I find myself saying 'So, so, close... but not perfect'. Why oh why is it so hard to get the case I want? Oh well...
Combatus 21st January 2014, 19:45 Quote
Will you be using the 5.25in bay? If not you could use a 5.25in>3.5in adaptor in there.
RichCreedy 21st January 2014, 19:45 Quote
just stick a couple of 4tb drives, that should be ample, lol
Kenny_McCormick 21st January 2014, 20:45 Quote
In my opinion this is the best ITX case for a gaming rig right now. If it was released half a year ago I'll have had this and a ITX right now.
Bloody_Pete 21st January 2014, 21:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
Damn... After reading the review and studying the images I really though that I had found the ideal mITX case for myself. It's a total winner right up until I realised the storage limitations. While I realise that this is not going to be an issue for the vast majority of those even considering this case but I do need rather than merely want more than just the 2x 3.5" drive bays on offer here.
Once again I find myself saying 'So, so, close... but not perfect'. Why oh why is it so hard to get the case I want? Oh well...

Why not just get a NAS or external storage over USB 3, should be still plenty fast enough.
Neogumbercules 21st January 2014, 23:37 Quote
I'm in the market for a new case for my fiance. Might have to pick this up and give her the prodigy.
leslie 21st January 2014, 23:41 Quote
Fantastic design, this is the type of thing I have been waiting for. Good price as well.
It's about time companies realize we don't need 10 drive bays anymore.


SchizoFrog
You could not only use the 5.25 bay for drives, but there is still a bit of dead space to be had inside the case that could be used. Depending on your cooling solution, I can see getting 6 or more drives in there if you get creative, however, if you need that many drives, a micro case is probably not your best bet anyhow. Personally, I use a small, low powered file server, it makes life easy and allows me to offload a lot of little jobs to it.
toolio20 22nd January 2014, 01:03 Quote
OMG sooooooooo close to perfect, why oh why can't they understand what m-ITX is all about???

Room for triple x-fire/SLI? Check.
Fifteen 3.5" HDD bays? Check.
Space for a Silverstone HE02? Check.
Clearance for a 1500W PSU? Check.
240mm Rad mounts? Check.

It's a short list (get it?) but really - we're just aching for an m-ITX enclosure that can house the above hardware and like 20 kickass LED fans, too, so hopefully some manufacturer will be smart enough to come up with something to accommodate this vitally important segment of the market...
dansus 22nd January 2014, 03:41 Quote
Sold.
Luay 22nd January 2014, 07:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolio20
OMG sooooooooo close to perfect, why oh why can't they understand what m-ITX is all about???

Agreed. There are smaller matx cases out there than this mitx behemoth. Buying this case is as silly as buying a two door sedan... Wait a minute! Why would someone design a large sedan with only two doors you ask? Heck I know! Ask the ones who built this case!
SchizoFrog 22nd January 2014, 08:10 Quote
@ Combatus: Thanks for the suggestion but yes, I would also want to have an optical drive.

@ RichCreedy: It is an option but I currently have 7.25TB of storage it would be a massive investment for not much more space.

@ Bloody_Pete: NAS is another option but again a very expensive one. Ideally I'd go with a 4 drive NAS box but even without drives that is still over £300 although that is a direction I want to go down at some point in the future. Maybe I'll have to look more in to the DIY NAS route our try to build a cheap file server.

@ leslie: Thanks for the suggestion, that was something I had thought too. I am a little apprehensive though as I think you need to actually have the case in front of you to be able to decide what you can do and how you are going to go about it.

@ Toolio20: I assume that remark was directed at my comment. First of all they are not the hardware specs I am thinking of. Secondly I made no comment about manufacturers making bad decisions or not being smart enough to fill my requirements. I quite clearly stated that this case, like certain others are very nearly perfect as my solution, but just not quite. The Prodigy is also perfect except for the fact that I hate the look of the feet and the handles. The other BitFenix alternative also fail FOR ME as the Phenom which looks awesome doesn't have optical drive support and the Colossus Mini has a door and external lights which I am also not interested in. So yes, close but not quite the winner I am looking for.

As for 'why oh why can't they understand what m-ITX is all about?'
I can not disagree with this line of thinking more. ATX, mATX, mITX or any other form of PCs are not 'about' anything and have no specific design that any of them have to follow. PCs are about choice. Buying the components that you choose so you can build the perfect PC that suits you. Just because someone wants to build a PC that doesn't match your line of thinking about a certain form factor doesn't mean that they 'don't get it', it just means that they want to do their own thing. I absolutely do not understand people on a PC modding website who wish to categorise and pigeon hole everything and everyone.
Luay 22nd January 2014, 09:16 Quote
For those who want to use an optical drive and add a 3.5" drive in mitx, this piece is slick.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA14J1079488

With the imminent Steam assault on living rooms, 4K gaming, wireless 4k video streaming among other things being the future focus, people want a powerful build with massive storage in a small package. Right?

Well, for the size of the 250D, I'll choose matx. I can still install a mitx motherboard but at least I have a choice to do that with massive radiators or build a GTX 790 quad SLI matx rig.

Lian Li PC-Q28 can handle 280mm video cards and 160mm PSUs and cools acceptably (with the cage removed) for almost %85 the size of the Obsidian 250D. I guess that's as small as it gets for the hardware available.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/avadirect-mini-cube-gaming-pc-review,3665-15.html

The real problem with this high end living room concept is the lack of smaller power supplies that can deliver 650W or more at high efficiency with low ripple and noise, and shorter video cards that match GTX 780 and R9 290 performance and cools adequately and quietly. The Silverstone SFX 450W Gold & MSI GTX 760 Gamin ITX are the highest end parts available today for the tiniy tiny builds.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007657%20600014011%20600014000%20600014003%20600037998&IsNodeId=1&name=80%20PLUS%20GOLD%20Certified

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127772

If this is good enough for you, or if you're waiting for something epic to come along in these sizes, then you can have excellent choices for true mitx cases from the likes of Silverstone, Jonsbo (rebranded by Cooltek & Rosewill) and Lian Li.
Combatus 22nd January 2014, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luay
For those who want to use an optical drive and add a 3.5" drive in mitx, this piece is slick.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA14J1079488

With the imminent Steam assault on living rooms, 4K gaming, wireless 4k video streaming among other things being the future focus, people want a powerful build with massive storage in a small package. Right?

Well, for the size of the 250D, I'll choose matx. I can still install a mitx motherboard but at least I have a choice to do that with massive radiators or build a GTX 790 quad SLI matx rig.

Lian Li PC-Q28 can handle 280mm video cards and 160mm PSUs and cools acceptably (with the cage removed) for almost %85 the size of the Obsidian 250D. I guess that's as small as it gets for the hardware available.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/avadirect-mini-cube-gaming-pc-review,3665-15.html

The real problem with this high end living room concept is the lack of smaller power supplies that can deliver 650W or more at high efficiency with low ripple and noise, and shorter video cards that match GTX 780 and R9 290 performance and cools adequately and quietly. The Silverstone SFX 450W Gold & MSI GTX 760 Gamin ITX are the highest end parts available today for the tiniy tiny builds.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007657%20600014011%20600014000%20600014003%20600037998&IsNodeId=1&name=80%20PLUS%20GOLD%20Certified

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127772

If this is good enough for you, or if you're waiting for something epic to come along in these sizes, then you can have excellent choices for true mitx cases from the likes of Silverstone, Jonsbo (rebranded by Cooltek & Rosewill) and Lian Li.

That drive bay adaptor looks great - good spot!

While the PC-Q28 is certainly smaller, something I like so much about the Prodigy is the fact that it's so easy to work with. Admittedly mine's more often than not in bits because of my line of work but building a PC into it is so much easier than the PC-Q28 which we reviewed here. I also hate having the PSU sit on top of the motherboard as it means you have to remove it every time you need to get at any of your core hardware. The 250D is probably as small as I'd like to go and it suits mini-ITX very well. It's easy to forget than many of the smaller micro-ATX cases such as the SG09 and smaller mini-ITX too can be a nightmare to work with as they're so cramped and you can usually kiss any chance of all-in-one liquid coolers or full-on water cooling goodbye too.

With PSU's, unless you're going for a setup with two high-end graphics cards then you really don't need a PSU with more than 450W on tap. Even the power-hungry R9 290X drew 426W gaming at 2,560 x 1,600 - admittedly this is quite close for comfort but the £500/$700 780 Ti's total system draw of 402W still leaves you with over 11 per cent headroom.
SchizoFrog 22nd January 2014, 10:12 Quote
I too like the idea of that drive. Can you it over here in the UK? Or maybe more interestingly maybe the actual drive bay can acquired to be used with any slim optical drive?
Gareth Halfacree 22nd January 2014, 10:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
With PSU's, unless you're going for a setup with two high-end graphics cards then you really don't need a PSU with more than 450W on tap. Even the power-hungry R9 290X drew 426W gaming at 2,560 x 1,600 - admittedly this is quite close for comfort but the £500/$700 780 Ti's total system draw of 402W still leaves you with over 11 per cent headroom.
Remember, though, that a given PSU is at its most efficient when running at 50 per cent load; running closer to 90 per cent will mean it's less efficient. The 80 PLUS Titanium rating, for example, requires 96 per cent efficiency at 50 per cent load but drops to 91 per cent efficiency at 100 per cent load. Sure, 5% of a 450W PSU is 22.5W - but that's still 197.1KWh a year that you could be not burning, a saving of £30 at the Energy Saving Trust's stated average electricity tariff, assuming 24/7 use.
SchizoFrog 22nd January 2014, 10:31 Quote
I had to laugh at the idea of worrying about a saving of £30 over a year when running 24/7. So the real world usage savings are more than likely to be sucked up by the initial cost of the more powerful PSU in the first place.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd January 2014, 10:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
I had to laugh at the idea of worrying about a saving of £30 over a year when running 24/7. So the real world usage savings are more than likely to be sucked up by the initial cost of the more powerful PSU in the first place.
You reckon? Half-decent Corsair 450W PSU on Ebuyer, £74. An 850W version, £118. That's break-even in less than 18 months, assuming your electricity bills don't go up in the meantime - and then there's the environmental benefit to consider. (Although, in winter, there's the argument that the 22.5W isn't 'lost' as heat but instead used to make your room warmer and reduce your heating bills accordingly.)

I'm not saying everyone should buy a PSU twice as powerful as their system needs, but I am saying that there are benefits to consider in doing so.
SchizoFrog 22nd January 2014, 10:47 Quote
But aren't you still factoring in usage level of full load, 24/7 over a full year? Who's systems run at that level? A fairly addicted gamer may run their system at full load for what 4-6 hours per day? Someone working with their machine may need it to run full load so let's say what, 8-10 hours? So surely that time frame to recover the costs doubles at minimum and could easily quadruple.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd January 2014, 10:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
But aren't you still factoring in usage level of full load, 24/7 over a full year? Who's systems run at that level?
Anyone who posts in the Folding forum for a start. Those who mine Litecoins and other scrypt cryptocurrencies. Renderfarms.

Like I say, it's not necessarily a problem for everyone - but it's still something to consider if you're a heavy user. Hell, a pro-gamer (i.e. one who makes a living gaming) might play for, what, an average of eight hours a day every day? That £30 a year becomes £10, and you get your break-even in four and a half years - which is still comfortably within the five year warranty (and thus expected worst-case lifespan) of the PSU. And, remember, you've saved the environment the consequences of 22.5Wh per gaming hour of wasted energy generation over that four-and-a-half-year period.

EDIT: Yeah, here you go: an interview with a pro-StarCraft II player. "Before, I was training for about eight hours a day and learned how to play the other races. In order to take a prize in a tournament you need to prepare well for it, see what strategies your opponents are using, and prepare for surprises."
Meanmotion 22nd January 2014, 11:13 Quote
You do seem to be conflating two issues though, Gareth. Do you need the headroom or the efficiency? Buying a 450W 80Plus Titanium running at 100W will get you almost the same efficiency (92% compared to 91%) as a 900W 80 Plus Gold supply running at 50%.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd January 2014, 11:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meanmotion
You do seem to be conflating two issues though, Gareth. Do you need the headroom or the efficiency? Buying a 450W 80Plus Titanium running at 100W will get you almost the same efficiency (92% compared to 91%) as a 900W 80 Plus Gold supply running at 50%.
Bit confused at what you're saying, there: You're saying that a 900W PSU running at 50% load is around the same efficiency as a 450W PSU running at 22% load - with the 450W rated at 80 PLUS Titanium and the 900W rated at the lower 80 PLUS Gold. Is that right?

I'm not sure how that relates to my argument, which is that any given PSU running at 50% load is demonstrably more efficient than the same PSU running at 90% load?
Meanmotion 22nd January 2014, 11:33 Quote
Typo - 100%, not 100W.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd January 2014, 11:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meanmotion
Typo - 100%, not 100W.
Ah, I understand. Well, yes, buying a more efficient PSU will mean an increase in efficiency that may equal or exceed the increase you would get from buying a higher-rated PSU and running it at 50% load - but you can get even higher efficiency gains by getting a higher-rated PSU that's as-efficient or more efficient than the 100%-load PSU. Case in point: rather than, as you suggested, comparing a 91%-efficient-at-50%-load 900W PSU and a 92%-efficient-at-100%-load 450W PSU, compare the 92%-efficient-at-100%-load 450W PSU with a 96%-efficient-at-50%-load 900W PSU.

So, to answer your question, both are important: there's no point buying a higher-rated PSU if its overall efficiency is lower. But, then, I never suggested that: the two PSUs I quickly chose for my price comparison were, very deliberately, identical in terms of design efficiency which removed that variable from the equation.
Shirty 22nd January 2014, 11:56 Quote
I bought my CX500M new for £40 (on sale) running my sig rig for maybe two hours a day on average. It isn't the most efficient thing in the world, but it is actually more efficient at 80% load than 20%. At 60% load - 300W - which we'll assume is the average rig draws when it's being caned, I am looking at a a shade under 87% efficiency. In my non-technical mind, that means I'll be pulling around 345W from the wall, which correlates with the odd glance I've had at my in-line power monitor when gaming.

Now I could have spent the best part of £100 more on a 500W Platimax, and notwithstanding the extra 2 years warranty, design and quality improvements the efficiency at the same output would be around 92%, pulling 326W as opposed to 345W.

How long would that it take me to break even based on 730 hours use a year? Answers on a postcard please.


In other news: nice case, but it won't be replacing the Prodigy any time soon for me.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd January 2014, 12:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirty
[snip] How long would that it take me to break even based on 730 hours use a year? Answers on a postcard please.
Just over 46 years. Assuming the PSU lived that long, of course.

Like I say, the efficiency concerns really only affect people running the rig heavily-loaded for most of the year - 8,760 hours, for example, to your 730 hours. (Two hours a day? Wish I only spent that long in front of a screen!)
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