From the onset of the Obsidian series Corsair has had a trend setting chassis with the release of the 800D. This chassis is outright huge and offers room for everything you need and some. Wire management is top notch and the case is loaded with features. Flat out, there hasn't yet been a chassis I have seen that has made me want to give up my 800D. That being said, the Obsidian Series set the bar super high with the introductory chassis, that many pass it by and say the case is too "elitist" for them, or they can't justify the large sum of money that this chassis demands.
So what is Corsair to do? They set the bar so high that it seems they almost shot beyond the needs of most consumers. To answer that, the 700D was released. While it did lose some of the main features of the 800D, it kept the styling both externally and internally, for the most part. What this did was allow the community to have a choice. The real issue for the release of the 700D was that pricing again took them out of many buyers' lists. At that time the 800D, fully loaded, was near $300, and the 700D missing the key features that set the 800D on such a pedestal, and the pricing was only $30 less. While I liked both chassis', I don't think Corsair hit the "heartstring" of the average buyers, at least not yet.
Almost a year to date since I looked at the 700D, the Obsidian series gets a new addition. Keeping with the same exterior simplicity and styling, this new chassis holds a new interior in a new case type as well. Both of the previous chassis designs were based off of a full tower design, where this time the 650D we are going to be taking a look at today is based off of a mid tower design. With the success of another mid tower, the 600T from the Graphite Series, Corsair thought it a great idea to reuse the interior with this design. Not only should it keep pricing down, since there isn't a vast redesign trying to take away from the 800's interior, it offers you the best of both series in my opinion.
Enough about what I think, let me get you through the specifications and to the pricing. That way we can get to if Corsair has pushed a series too far, or if they have finally found the perfect blend that pulls at everyone's "heartstrings"!
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Exterior of this chassis follows right along with the Obsidian chassis line up. The 650D keeps all the square corners and the brushed aluminum face we have come to love. Even down to the front I/O that gets hidden behind a pop-open panel. On a side note, this carries USB 3.0 in said panel this time. However, the square steel shape and front bezel are really where the similarities end. Both side panels are flat steel like those before it, but both doors have taken on the tabs in the 600T chassis to allow for removal of the door. While the 650D does keep the window of the 800D, it is done this time with a rubber surround versus the much cleaner application on the 800D. Since we are dealing with a mid tower chassis this time, the rear of the chassis has changed as well, but still allows for eight expansion slots and a pair of holes for water cooling.
On the inside, the easiest thing to say is that the 650D uses the 600T interior, exactly. Behind the bezel you have four 5.25" bays with tool-free locks on them. Below the optical drives Corsair uses two three drive racks, to support up to six hard drives. Reason behind this separation is because both sections are modular and can either be removed singly, or both of them removed all together. The motherboard tray has a large access hole and the motherboard, whether ATX or m-ATX, there are eleven large holes for wiring and a half dozen tabs to secure wires to. The floor of the chassis has room to accept one of the hard drive assemblies if you want all six drive bays but still want to run a long graphics solution. Like the 600T, the 650D also has the adjustable power supply support.
Cooling inside is handled like in no other of the Obsidian series cases. Since we are going from the 600T, there was an included fan controller there. Along with the hard drive dock on the top of this chassis, there is a tiny switch under the same cover. This switch allows for low, medium, and hi settings for up to four fans. Three of the fans I recommend plugging in are the included chassis fans. In the front of the chassis there is a 200mm fan with a black frame and black blades to blend in with the interior. In the roof there is a matching 200mm fan, while in the rear acting as another exhaust is a 120mm fan. Plugging these three into the controller gives you full control of both the noise level and air flow inside the 650D.
Selection over the internet is limited to fourteen listings and the pricing varies from $190 on the low end and up over $230 on the high end of the spectrum. Considering if you were to buy the 650D direct from Corsair, they have the chassis listed at $199.99, but they are currently out of stock. So I went to our favorite e-tailer and found them to be right on the money. Currently listed, it sits at Newegg.com for $199.99, but there is still the $20 in shipping to incorporate into that. While the pricing isn't unreasonable for the feature set the 650D has to offer, considering the 600T sold for $160 when it released, the 650D offers all of that and a hard drive dock on top, so I think the pricing is well set in their range of cases as well. Let's dive right in and see, instead of reading, what the Obsidian Series 650D chassis is all about.
Shipped in a plain brown box with everything printed in black on top of it, Corsair gives you the 650D. The front contains a drawing of the chassis and a brief statement about what you ill get with the purchases of this case.
Here Corsair adds three specifications charts in three of the six languages the mission statement was repeated in. At the bottom you find a rendering of the interior along with a front shot of the 650D.
The back contains a drawing of the 650D in an exploded view with notifications from A to K. At the bottom you can find what each feature is, and again this is covered in many languages.
This is a match of the opposing side of the packaging aside from one thing. The three languages of the charts that couldn't fit before are shown on this side.
Inside the cardboard there is a very thick and beefy set of Styrofoam end caps surrounding the top and bottom of the 650D. If that wasn't enough, the 650D also ships inside of a black cloth bag to keep any abrasion at bay.
Corsair wasn't taking any chances. Both the access door to the hard drive dock and the front grille are taped in place. On top of the face and both sides of the window, a layer of plastic is placed, just in case.
The Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid Tower Case
At first glance the front looks much like the panel of the 700D, but this setup only accounts for four optical bays, while below, this time the mesh is removable like on the 600T.
At the top to the right of the power and HDD activity LED, there is a pop-open panel that allows access to the front I/O. You get a pair of USB 3.0 connections, a pair of USB 2.0 connections, along with both audio and MIC jacks, FireWire port and the reset button.
The top of the chassis sets the 650D apart from the other Obsidians. Gone is the three fan area in the back; this time it gets a dual bay variation. The open panel in the front is the hard drive dock and it has a little lever to align 2.5" drives that retracts for 3.5" drives. In the bottom right corner of this opening you can see the tiny fan control switch too.
The squared off look continues to the side, but the rear release on the others is replaced with the latches found at the top of the panel. The bulk of this panel is then taken up with the large window.
In the back you find the hole for the rear I/O next to the 120mm exhaust fan. Below these you have eight ventilated expansion slots and a pair of holes with grommets to allow for water cooling.
The right side of the 650D is pretty plain, but keeps the same easy to use latches of the opposing panel.
Under the 650D it gets supported by only two bars versus the three of the full tower design. There is a removable dust filter that slides out the back for the power supply.
Inside the Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid Tower Case
This has to be the cleanest case I have ever opened out of the box. Both all of the hardware and paperwork are tucked in a bag in the optical bays. All of the wiring is also in here and wrapped super tight, not allowing them to move much at all during transit.
There are actually five 5.25" bays, but the wiring and the front I/O take up the top one. The following four bays all have removable covers and a tool-free latch on this side. Below is the pair of three drive trays for the hard drives.
Removing four screws, the whole rack is removable, and you can configure the case to suit your specific needs. Now you can see the 200mm intake fan as well.
The motherboard tray is clearly labeled for both ATX or m-ATX motherboards and offers quite a few wire management holes with rubber grommets to give it the same clean and finished look of other Obsidians.
The rear of the chassis will allow for a 140mm fan but the 120mm you see here is what comes shipped in the chassis. The expansion cards get held in with thumbscrews, and of course any standard PS2 power supply mounts on the floor.
On the left there is the adjustable power supply support. Install the PSU, then slide this under the front and replace the thumb screws. To the right are three holes to allow a place to set one of the hard drive racks as an option.
Behind the tray there is plenty of room for thick wiring. Since the door panels load from the bottom first, it makes tucking wires in while you shut the door much easier too.
I love that you get an all black chassis and every wire in the chassis matches. This to me makes the finished build that much nicer to look at without a rainbow of colors like we see in a lot of others.
Accessories and Documentation
With most of the chassis being tool-free, there isn't a lot of included hardware to cover. Corsair ships some wire ties, small screws for 2.5" drives, motherboard and power supply screws, special fan screws, and some isolating rubber washers.
The paper work included isn't very involved. There is enough information to get by on, but I attribute the lack of direction to the simplicity of the layout and how intuitive the case is to work with. Of course, there is the big red "STOP" notice that I am used to seeing, letting you know to deal with Corsair directly and don't return the product to the reseller. The little fold-out pamphlet in the right bottom corner is Corsair's product catalog. Just in case you forgot something, they take the time to offer to show you what they have to fit the need.
The Build and Finished Product
On the left is the body of the 650D. You can see the front is cut only for a 200mm fan with a mesh grill covering it. On the right is the inside of the bezel with the four removable bay covers and the large removable vent at the bottom with a dust filter in it. I like that there are no wires connecting here as well!
I slid in the DVD drive and locked it into place with the tool-free mechanism, removed the corresponding bay cover and then snapped the bezel back into place. As long as the components added are black, they should blend well with the front exterior of brushed aluminum.
I know it's only an m-ATX board, but I tried to cover everything with it. It fits a large air cooler just fine and still has room for ones like the D-14. Plenty of room for my graphics card, and with the removable drive bays there isn't an issue for even the longest cards. Even with this small build the finished result is very professional looking.
Once hardware is inside to see, you can appreciate the placement of the window. Shifting it left gives you a really good view of all of your components and doesn't show the drive bays; something I really don't want to see anyways.
As you can see, the pair of USB 3.0 wires are plenty long enough to reach the rear I/O. I would also like to mention that this is one of the only cases that add routing for said cables with its own hole out the back of the case. Otherwise I would have had to route it across the motherboard and out a water cooling hole.
Just to emphasize the depth of the distance between the door and the tray, I routed all the wires in one large grouping. Not only did this make the front very clean, but is honestly the only place the cables want to naturally "fall".
Powering up the 650D, just like those before it, the only lighting you are going to get is the white glow of the power button and the random flashing of the HDD activity light below it.
Of course, I loaded a drive in the dock to make sure it works and I had no issues getting it up and running. At this time I fiddled around with the fan controller to make sure it all works.
Just having finished looking at a couple of mid tower chassis', one from Cooler Master and one from IN WIN, I don't think the timing could have been better for me to look at the 650D. Each of the three have a very individual look, but the 650 has the sleek aluminum face, putting the 650D at an advantage in aesthetics. Functionality inside is a mix of thumbscrews for the expansion slots, while the front of the chassis can be used tool-free if you choose to. While all three offered some form of wire management, the Corsair is the only one to add grommets to these holes. Even here, Corsair is still in the lead. While the IN WIN offered better air flow of the two, the 650D's combination of an easy to wire fan controller and the included fans, the 650D again tops the other two.
I had it pointed out to me by a friend of mine that it seems that the original fan controller may have had some issues. I didn't read too much on it, but the gist of it is that the controller would cause the fans to make odd noises at certain settings. Corsair has taken a two pronged attack to address this. There is a switch available on Corsair's site to fix the one you may have, and there is also a case revision ending with a "1" designation; that means the part has been fixed. In my instance I didn't have that issue, which surprises me. With the luck I have burning I/Os and things not usually working out the best for me, my fan controller caused me no issues at all. I guess my luck must be changing.
Speaking of the cooling, while there isn't the glow of LEDs that some people have just got to have, the air flow inside is what is tops on my list. With the pair of 200mm fans and the 120mm in the rear, the interior of the chassis stayed very cool with the controller on the high setting. Noise from these fans at the high setting is a low hum, and as you adjust it to near its lowest point, you hear the CPU fan or VGA over the case. There are the holes in the back to allow for water cooling and there is room to hang a double 120mm radiator on the roof.
While this chassis is packed with features, the two chassis' I mentioned beat this in the pricing category, hands down. To combat this, I have to look at what the pricing is on the rest of the Corsair lineup. In the realm of what Corsair has put out up to now, the pricing is on point. Basic math says we get an Obsidian exterior on a 600T interior, which is priced at $160, and then add the price of a hard drive dock and you would come out right around $200. Following that line of rationalization, the $199.99 pricing at Newegg.com doesn't sound so bad. In actuality, this is one of the more expensive mid towers to hit my desk. As much as I love what this case offers, how sleek and sexy it is, and the beautiful looking results, I think even I might pass at this pricing. Don't get me wrong; I really, really like this chassis. The only issue is how I recommend it over the previous two we have just seen at double the price.
For those who always wanted an 800D but couldn't afford it, or it was just too big, by all means, hop on the 650D. For those on a budget, I really don't think this is the case for you.
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