Obsidian Architecture: Corsair 700D/800D Reviewed
First things first—here are the various bits and pieces Corsair includes with both the 700D and 800D. There's a basic quick-start guide, a variety of provided screws, standoffs, zip ties, and a single four-pin / eight-pin ATX12V cable extender. This is the sort of cable that could definitely come in handy during component installation, but Corsair should've gone the extra mile and included a 20/24-pin extension as well. Based on our experience, it's the 24-pin primary power cable that's more likely to need a few more inches.
Without further ado, on to the cases themselves.
The 700D is on the left, the 800D is on the right. Since the only difference between the two is the presence / absence of hot-swappable drive bays on the front, which case you choose will probably be determined by how badly you want this particular feature.
On the left you can see the 800D's drive trays. The trays themselves are screwless; hard drives can be quickly swapped and installed without the need to go hunting for a screw driver. On the right is the front panel port array common to both cases. The power button is to the far left (the LED is a nifty pearlescent), followed by two USB2 ports, a brace of audio jacks, another set of USB2's, one FireWire 400, and the reset button. The front panel has all the right jacks, but we're less-than-thrilled about their (admittedly common) location. This is one point we think Cooler Master nailed when it put the Cosmos front panel at the top-front of the case. Devices plugged into panels like the 800D's are all-too-likely to be hit by knees, chairs, small children, etc.
If you don't have any problems with the above or you keep your tower in a location that doesn't put it in the line of fire, than this is a non-issue.
The two thumbnails above are two different illustrations of the 800D's airflow patterns. The left shows the general flow of intakes and exhaust through the case (note that cold air is drawn from the floor while hot hair is exclusively exhausted throughout the various top grates. The power supply is an exception, but it draws cold air from the bottom of the case to cool itself before shoving the now-heated air out the back. Cold air flows into the upper case partition courtesy of a 120mm horizontally mounted fan.
On the right we have the 700D/800D's "cooling zones." According to Corsair, each zone is designed to cool the components within it independently, without allowing excess heat from the power supply to bleed into component space. Cooling zones 1 and 3 are self-explanatory, particularly with the help of the airflow diagram.
Cooling Zone 2 is a bit odd. According to the diagram, this zone "exhausts out the rear, via a chamber routed behind the motherboard tray." In reality, air blown in by the front fans hits the back wall of the case and meanders towards the rear in what is, at best, a leisurely sort of way.
Let's have a look inside, shall we?