Introduction - Corsair's New Obsidian Series Case, the 650D Mid-Tower

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Computer Case
Corsair's Obsidian Series of computer cases took the world by storm not too long ago. As a new case manufacturer they decided to leave all the glitz and glamour at the door to instead opt for a refined and unified look. With almost unparalleled cable routing, superb design for water coolers, and its utilitarian design, the Corsair Obsidian 800D won Legit Review's Innovation award. Now Corsair has been hard at work developing a new chassis for the Obsidian line of computer cases and the 650D is the brand new Mid-Tower for that lineup. The first images of the much anticipated Corsair Obsidian Series 650D chassis showed up at CES 2011 and the case hit store shelves in April 2011 with a current price of $179.99 with a two year warranty. Images are out and it is obvious that Corsair took large notes from their success with the Graphite Series 600T Mid-Tower when they made the 650D. Today we're going to take a look at the Corsair 650D and see if it has the ability to grab our coveted Editor's Choice award like its brothers, the 600T and 700D.

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Specification

 
 Physical Dimensions 546mm (L) x 229mm (W) x 521mm (H)
 Shipping Weight  27.2 lbs.
 Actual Weight 24.5 lbs.
 Material Construction   Steel Frame, Aluminum Accents
 Warranty 2 Years
5.25" Drive Bays  4 External
 3.5" Drive Bays 6 Internal
Expansion Slots 8
Motherboard Compatibility ATX, mATX, MiniITX
 Included Fans 2 x 200mm (1 front, 1 top) 1 x 120mm
 PSU Compatibility 1 x ATX/PS2 Form factor PSU
Color Black and Anodized Black
 Model Number CC650DW
Front Panel Connections
2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x IE1394 1 x SATA Dock (3.5/2.5"), 4 Channel Fan Controller
 

Packing of the Corsair 650D

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Box Front
Like Corsair's other cases, the Obsidian 650D comes in a basic looking brown box with inked on designs for the product. Personally, I like this look; even though it's basic it almost reflects the nature of the case: utilitarian.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Box Side
Here we have the side of the box which details the case specifications outlined on the last page, and a nice detailed drawing of the inside of the case, along with the front of it.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Box Backside
Here's the back of the box with an expose of each piece of the Obsidian 650D, along with a number-letter label to let you know what each pieces name is.
Corsair Obsidian 650D Packaging
Corsair's had a nice change of pace with the packaging. We keep the Styrofoam end caps, but we have put the case in a black satin bag to protect it from scratches.
 
Now let's move on and get to lookin' at the case itself.

External Impressions of the Obsidian 650D

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
Here we have the front of the Obsidian Series 650D following almost the exact same look as the Corsair 700D & 800D Full Tower cases. The only difference is this time, Corsair chose to use a front to back airflow design like they did in the Graphite Series 600T. This panel is the aluminum part of the case, but the fan grill with the Corsair logo on it is actually steel. The 5.25" Bay covers are plastic inserts with aluminum pieces attached to them to keep the uniform look.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
Not as stylized as the front, the back of the Corsair 650D gives you the handle to pull out the PSU Air filter and some water cooling holes. All of the PCI slot covers are ventilated as well, which is both a pro and a con. It allows for additional airflow, but also dust. Personally, I prefer solid PCI slot covers so I don't have to worry about dust as much.The very top of the case also has a hole to the back left; that is to allow you to route the USB 3 cables out the back of the case.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
Here we can see the back side panel of the Corsair 650D, which uses the same latching mechanism as the Corsair 600T from the Graphite Series. It is a solid matte black finish.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
Opting for a bit of style and flare to the case, Corsair chose to include a windowed side panel. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the window shrunk so the PSU was not shown. That is just me, though. All in all it looks pretty good and will show off the component that most gamers love to flash, their video card.

External Impressions of the 650D (Continued)

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
Here is a necessity on any case with a bottom mounted PSU; Corsair included a nice fine mesh PSU vent to keep the most amount of dust out of your PSU. This is also removable and easily washable.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
One of Corsair's more stylish features of this case is the top mounted SATA dock.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
The 650D has a feature other Obsidian Series cases did not have, and that's the top mounted SATA dock. This dock is also VERY user friendly allowing you to easily slide in a 2.5" SSD (solid state drive) or hard drive without having to worry about guiding it, or being a snug fit for a full 3.5" drive if needed. The little arm you see in the picture is spring loaded and folds down if you put in a 3.5" HDD/SSD. The small little switch to the bottom right is the fan controller. It raises from 40% to 100% fan speed, and easily gives you simple control over the fan itself while keeping the cases a uniform look.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
One of the best design options of the Corsair 650D is the hidden front panel and its number of connections. With a simple push the door flips down and we get access to two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Firewire/IE1394 400, and 3.5mm headphone & microphone jacks.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
A new addition to this case vs. the older 600T based on a similar design is a set of grommets to isolate fan vibrations; this helps reduce the overall case noise as well.

Internal Impressions

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
Moving inside the case we have a shot of the backside of the case, directly behind the mobo tray. Unlike the 700D & 800D, the 650D does not feature a fold down flap over the CPU-Backplate hole. This case also features about 3/4 of an inch of space to route and store cables behind the mobo tray. More than enough, even for thicker cables like the ATX 24pin cable.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
If we move down some, we can see 2 holes. That large one is for larger PSU's to route cables easier, but also so that if you have the HDD cage in one of the optional positions, then you can easily attach the cables after sliding the drives in.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
Starting at the bottom front of the case, we see the PSU Lockdown bracket that uses thumb screws. This was very easy to slide into place and it held the PSU snugly. Some may ask why this is even a feature worth noting, but the importance is lost to some of those who have never shipped a full system. The Power Supply is one of the heaviest components and this gives it an extra 5 points of contact to add its weight to when being tossed around by the truck, plane, or boat carrying the case.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower
For those of you running this case and planning on using more than 4 HDDs with any mid-range to high-end GPU, this is the setup I suggest for the HDD cages. It allows for better airflow to the GPU section. There are also 2 other optional methods for installing the HDD cages, including removing both or having one hanging from the 5.25" rack.

Included Hardware of the 650D & Build

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
As most people have come to expect with cases as of late, they all have 120mm and up fans; one thing that most case manufactures stick to is to reuse fans of the same design across their whole line of cases. Corsair, on the other hand, has changed the name of the game and decided to listen to criticism and upgrade the fans that are included with the 650D.Opposed to the fan of the 600T, this fan now has notched blades like we saw on our Zalman SF3 Case Fan; this design is used to keep airflow high while noise is to a minimum. This is A+ work on Corsair's part. Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case Corsair has also changed out the rear fan for one of my personal favorites; this is a Corsair branded D12SM-12 from Yate Loon. It is a highly regarded fan among enthusiasts for its ability to undervolt, and its performance on radiators of watercooling loops. I wonder if this was a choice made to compliment their H50, H60, and H70 line of All-in-One Water Coolers?
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
Finally, our build in the Corsair 650D. Like its brothers in the Obsidian Series, this case is just absolutely fantastic to build in. As it's easy to see from my build, almost no cables are showing besides where they come out of the PSU and where they connect to the device. Everything is properly routed. Even with a 5 Hard Drive and 1 SSD array in the bottom, you can't see a single cable connecting those disk drives.Corsair, like with all of their other cases, has really taken the design aesthetics, inside and out, to the top. I could write pages about just how easy it was to maneuver parts, place them in, and connect them together. The only complaint I can give to Corsair is that they do not have an internal USB 3.0 header on their USB 3.0 cable yet, while plenty of motherboards have begun to ship with them. AMD and Intel solutions are available with this header so there's no reason for case manufactures not to include an upgrade kit or a revision of their cases to support this standard. Still, a minor flaw in an almost flawless case design. I have been on a small tangent for years about companies like Lian Li getting the design I love down just right on the outside, but not suiting my needs on the inside. In this case, Corsair has proven they're listening to the enthusiasts and have presented one of the best cases on the market yet. Moving on, like I've done in the past, we'll test the included fans of the case to give you a rough idea of airflow and the noise levels of the case.
 

Testing the Included Fans

Fan Test Equipment
Today we'll be testing 3 Aspects of the included fans: The Testing Equipment that I will be using was purchased by myself. It includes: For the testing, I will be using one fan at a time, then I will test both fans together. I will be using my Tenma sound meter sitting inside the case then convert the measurement to a 1 meter distance. For the 200mm fan I will use a duct to help measure airflow as my normal setup is designed for 80, 120, & 140mm fans. Temperature used for testing is an artificially created one, designed to simulate a system at load, which would increase the internal case temp beyond that of the ambient room temp. Let's see how these fans do now:
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
First off, I would like to say that I'm impressed, even before I get to the sound pressure readings; these fans were seriously pushing some air on full blast. With larger fans it's hard to tell sometimes as you've got a much more distributed area, but these fans were seriously kicking out some air.This was probably one of the best examples of just how Corsair is paying attention to what enthusiasts want and need. They know these fans need to cycle air through the case quickly and effectively so they spared no expense getting some massive airflow moving through it.
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
Moving on, our Sound Pressure testing was another great shocker to me. With the 200mm fans hitting almost a 3:1 Airflow to Noise ratio on full blast it is astonishing to say the least. While I have no indication of bearing used in these fans, it is still a mighty impressive feat, none the less.I can say that the Medium setting of the Case's fan controller is most likely where everyone is going to want to leave this case as it is roughly what my 7v readings came out to be. This setting has massive airflow and minimum noise. With all of that being said, I'm still pretty impressed by these offerings. Previously, the fans of the Rosewill Thor impressed me, and the Antec 600 v2's fans were also rather impressive, but Corsair has shown some of the best results I have seen yet with 200mm fans. Let's wrap this review up and get to the conclusion.

Conclusion & Final Thoughs of the Obsidian Series 650D

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case
Style, Performance, Ease of Use, Construction... these are probably the four biggest factors which most of us look at when choosing a case. Normally I find myself making some sacrifices in one of those categories, even when looking at more expensive cases like the Corsair 650D which clocks in at $179.99 with Free Shipping. Almost regularly I find myself having to look at cases with more unattractive styles to suit the other three categories, but today I've found a case that easily fills out all four categories for me.Corsair's Obsidian Series has been a case line about unprecedented potential and unrivaled performance; today they've done well to hold themselves to such expectations. Between amazing build quality, excellent airflow, and one of the best build qualities on the market, Corsair has presented a product that impresses and leaves you with this satisfaction and feeling of self accomplishment that most cases lack, in my opinion. Just starting out, the build quality of this case is, simply put, great. The side panels have a durable paint job and excellent rigidity. Fan grills do not flex when installing a fan, drive bay covers are equally as well built and even feature aluminum plates installed over plastic covers to completely match the case's aesthetic design on the front with its brushed aluminum finish. When you move on to the airflow aspect of this case, you can easily get stunned. Just placing your hand in front or on top of a fan grill, you can feel plenty of air being sucked in or pushed out of the case. Yet when you listen with your ear, you need to bring your ear right up to the case to actually hear it in operating. I'm not normally one to worry about noise as I always have rigs running Folding @ Home and thus GPU fans cranked up to keep the temps down, but I can still appreciate the effort Corsair put into this case in keeping the performance to an optimum level while the noise is as low as possible. If I were to just choose a case based on looks, Corsair would win against almost any other case on the market right now. Grommets on almost all of the cable management holes, all back interior, black internal wiring, and even fully modular PSU's with all black cables, Corsair knows what elegance looks like. It's uniform, taught, and sleek. With just small bits of flare added with the sharp corner; the 650D is arguably the best looking case to come out in a long while. Legit Bottom Line: Corsair's Obsidian Line of Cases has proven itself to be almost the go to line for computer enthusiasts and today is no exception; the Obsidian Series 650D is the one of the best cases I have worked with yet.
Legit Reviews Editor's Choice Award
 
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case