With the Obsidian 550D Corsair brings an appealing and compelling product to the market to the ones that seek a nice clean looking chassis yet don't want to forfeit on noise levels.
Everything with this chassis is wrapped around noise levels, rubber feet, rubber inserts, sound dampening materials and a closed design. So noise levels wise we do not have to complain a single bit. But whenever you try and dampen noise there always is a compromise to be made as you are not only catching sound waves, heat gets trapped as well. Admittedly, there is enough airflow in this chassis for a decent setup, and should you need to build a somewhat more aggressive system with hot components, well you can always remove the inserts and create a little more airflow, but at the cost of noise.
Overall the chassis certainly does as advertised, it is silent and thus offers decent enough airflow if you keep thing a bit normal components wise. Perhaps a bit of a missed opportunity here could be the lacking fan controller. Some other models from Corsair have had a little switch that allowed for three fan RPM modes. Though would have been a nice addition to this chassis as well, during an hefty gaming spree you could for example then maximize the fans rotation speed. For a chassis with so much noise control (for a mid-tower) it is just proper chassis though.. Each and every centimeter was thought through at some level.
Style and design taste of course are always personal and subjective, and if you like the clean not screamy looks of the Obsidian series then you'll very likely like this design as well. The 550D is subtle in many ways up-to the front panel IO. The chassis overall is all black and comes with a very sturdy design and the tool free design works like a charm, even the subtleties of opening a side panel is managed by handy latches.
Installing a 3.5" device is as simple as inserting it into a plastic rubber mounted bracket and sliding it into the drive bay. Optical or other 5.25" devices you simply slide in and secure and lock it into place. Cooling wise you'll get two silent 200mm fans and a 120mm fan, which can all be adjusted (one setting for all) by the fan controller.
Cable management with the 550D is quite decent, don't expect huge amounts of room to work in on the backside but cable routing should not be a big issue as there are grommet holes inside the chassis allowing you to lead cables anywhere.
As stated in the review there's plenty of space to have your PC hold even three lengthy graphics cards as the 550D has 8 expansion slots, but it's there where I'd say go look for the 650 or 800D as the noise control impact overall cooling and with multiple graphics card you might be pushing it a little.
The current price level of the Corsair Obsidian 550D is roughly 115 EUR / 139 USD and for the money you certainly receive chassis that is worth that money. It is an attractive, minimal, matte black chassis that looks and feels first-rate. And for a chassis with such a strong focus on noise dampening, the airflow isn't bad at all, no Sir. Definitely recommended.
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