Corsair Carbide 300R and Obsidian 550D Review

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: We’ve seen in the past that Corsair knows how to make quality chassis that perform, and the Carbide 300R and Obsidian 550D are further proof.

Like the Carbide 400R and 500R, it’s the design details that make the 300R work. On paper, it doesn’t sound like a particularly impressive case; it’s small (read: cramped and full of heat-producing components), there aren’t many drive bays, and there’s nothing particularly flashy about it. However, the extra room afforded by the lack of excess drive cages and the mostly-mesh design of the case, leaves the 300R relatively roomy with optimized for airflow.

Corsair Carbide 300R

We love a well-built chassis, and this one is a fine example; the thing is solid from top to bottom. Even the plastic pieces such as the 5.25-inch drive locks feel strong. The only criticisms we would level at the 300R concern looks and noise. Frankly, the front of the case to us, could use a bit of polish. We don’t know why the hex screws are prominent there, but they don’t serve a function and mar the chassis’ face.

Cosmetics is one thing, but noise is of course a more important issue. Even with just three fans, the 300R is relatively loud, yet the case has seven fan mounts. With seven fans running at full tilt, the noise level will most certainly be amplified to a dull roar.

At $89.99, the 300R isn’t exactly a bargain per se--there are other unadorned gaming cases out there that cost slightly less--but if you want a piece of the Carbide family, this is a terrifically low entry point.

Corsair Obsidian 550D

With the Obsidian 550D, Corsair delivers on its promise of a quiet case. We were impressed by how little noise emanated from the chassis when sealed up in its sound-killing cocoon, but even with the vents open, the case fans didn’t produce much noise.

If you’re interested in a quiet chassis but don’t want to be locked in with a small form factor, the Obsidian 550D is an ideal compromise. On the one hand, you can close it up and hear almost nothing, but on the other, you can open all the vents and let the fans fly if you’re looking for a performance edge.

For as much as we appreciate the flexibility, if a silent case isn’t what you’re after, you may want to look elsewhere. For the $159.99 price tag, you can do better for a straightforward gaming rig or liquid cooling setup. Most of the great design work for the 550D went into dampening sound and reducing vibrations, but we’re a little disappointed with other aspects of the 550D, such as the motherboard tray and the spatial problems it causes. That isn’t to say that there aren’t great aspects of the case, though; for example, we’re big fans of the push-button side panel removal.

We do quite like the simple but sleek and dignified looks of the case, particularly the front panel. The effect of a big, dark gray, brushed-metal panel punctuated by the brighter gray of the front I/O panel is a strong and pleasing to the eye.

Neither of the two cases we looked at here are perfect, but both offer good value for your dollar. They’re well-built and with lots of smart details built in, and they do what they’re designed to do; you’d do well to snag either one for yourself, if you're in the market for something smaller or something quieter than most.

Corsair Carbide 300R
Corsair Obsidian 550D
  • Great ventilation
  • Reasonable price
  • Good layout/design
  • Noisy at times
  • Uninspiring looks
  • Stealthy quiet
  • Sleek, simple looks
  • Flexible installation
  •  Motherboard tray design
  • Pricey

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