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This review is from: Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Pros: * Tool-less design
* Nearly every opening is covered by a magnetic dust filter.
* Quieter than average
* Keeps things cool inside despite being insulated
* Beautifully understated exterior, beautifully clean interior.
Cons: * "Quiet", not "silent"
* Except for beautiful brushed-aluminum front, the exterior of the case is a rough-textured plastic. If you set something dusty on top, the dust gets into the "pores" and leaves lighter spots in the otherwise black exterior. While the spots can't be simply wiped away, a damp cloth makes short work of them.
Other Thoughts: This is the second machine I've built with this case. The first was a server for a construction company without a server room. The server was to be placed in an office connected to a dusty warehouse. The quiet operation was appreciated by the office staff, and the magnetic dust filters keep the expensive parts clean while being easy enough for any of the staff to clean regularly. In this environment, the case was completely inaudible.
The second build was for my home work/gaming PC. In this environment, the case fans are audible. However, all it takes is the white noise of the furnace blower to completely drown out any sound from the case. This is a giant step up from my previous case.
The tool-less design is great. Even the optical drive simply snaps in when it is aligned properly. My only complaint was the method of securing a 2.5" drive (like an SSD). This will require 4 small screws to attach the drive to the 3.5" plastic shelf. Not exactly 'tool-less" at that point... but the tray does slide in and out without any additional tools.
There are plenty of places to route cables, and with a bit of effort the inside of your case can look so clean that it almost looks like the components aren't connected at all. This does wonders for airflow, which is especially important in an insulated case.
If you're going to use this as a gaming case, the most important recommendation I would make is to use a GPU with a blower-style fan, and not an axial fan. I know, axial fans are supposed to be quieter, and this is a "quiet" case. The problem is that axial fans blow a lot of heat inside the case, which means they end up spinning faster... as does your CPU fan, and any other fans controlled by your motherboard. All those fans running at high speed are going to be a lot louder than one GPU blower spinning at a moderate speed. If you absolutely must use a GPU with an axial flan, I'd recommend adding a quiet PCI slot case fan to help get that heat out back where it belongs.
Overall, great case!
Pros: Great value. Getting 60 FPS in AA3 on highest settings @ 1680x1050 except when looking long distances through fog, where it's more like 50 FPS.
The Folding@Home GPU client is capable of about 8k PPD on this card. Currently I'm being held up by their server being too busy to accept completed work units.
Venting to the outside is pretty standard on high-end cards, but still a pro.
Cons: A little long -- some cases you'll have to move a hard drive cage.
Other Thoughts: I know Nvidia says their chips are made to run at 90 or 100 degrees C, but I still don't like to see the chip go over 70 when under full load -- mainly because the card radiates heat throughout the rest of the case when it's running this hot. I, like many others, manually set the fan to a higher speed, but I only went to 50%. This keeps everything at acceptable temperatures.READ FULL REVIEW
Cons: I had to set the timings & voltage manually in BIOS... not much of a con really, put some people may not think to do this, and cheat themselves out of great performance.
Other Thoughts: This RAM has worked flawlessly @ 1.8V and 6-6-6-20 timings, as per the specifications. I only wish I could find the sub timings somewhere on Crucial's website.READ FULL REVIEW