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Corsair's Obsidian Series 750D case reviewed


The 650D's successor has arrived—or has it?
— 8:00 AM on September 24, 2013

We're big fans of Corsair's Obsidian Series 650D. The case has earned choice spots in many of our system guides, and we've used it for a number of other projects, including our build guide and the personal PC build of our own Geoff Gasior.

Our affection for the 650D isn't misplaced. The case is roomy, elegant, very comfortable to work in, and packed with nice little extras. It's got a top-mounted drive dock, a built-in fan controller, and latched side panels that slide in vertically and click into place without so much as a thumb screw. There's hardly anything about the 650D that we don't like.

Except, that is, for its price. At $189.99 before a $20 mail-in rebate at Newegg, the 650D lies out of the reach of many budget-conscious builders. The steep asking price was the main reason I ended my review of the 650D on a lukewarm note back in May 2011. There may be much pricier cases on the market, but there are also far more affordable ones.

Now, over two years later, Corsair has introduced what it calls a successor to the 650D. Dubbed the Obsidian Series 750D, the new enclosure is bigger and roomier than its predecessor, yet it's also more affordable, with a suggested retail price of only $159.99. What has Corsair improved, and what has it taken away in order to hit the lower price point?

Let's find out.

Hmm. Interesting. The 750D looks familiar, but not in the way you'd expect.

At first glance, this enclosure seems like less of a re-styled 650D and more of king-sized version of the microATX Obsidian Series 350D, which we reviewed last month. The 750D has the same kind of bezel design as the 350D. The front ventilation is hidden behind a solid, removable panel, and the front-panel ports are fully exposed rather than hidden behind a door. Other design peculiarities, like the centered power button and the 5/8" gap lining the front panel, are the same on both enclosures. It's a newer, cleaner look, and I quite like it. The huge side window doesn't hurt, either.

 

Sadly, the 750D mirrors its microATX sibling in other ways, such as its omission of several upscale features from the 650D. Instead of latches, the 750D's side panels are held in place by old-fashioned thumb screws. The top-mounted drive dock is gone—now, external storage can only be connected via the front-panel USB ports. And if we look around the back, we see that the holes for liquid-cooling pipes have to be punched in by the user. They're no longer lined with rubber grommets, either.

Comparing the 650D's spec sheet to that of the new 750D reveals other notable differences between the two products:

  Corsair Obsidian Series 750D
Dimensions (H x W x D) 22.1" x 9.3" x 21.5"
Supported motherboards microATX, ATX, EATX, XL-ATX
3.5" drive bays 6
2.5" drive bays 4
5.25" drive bays 3
Fan mounts 8
Included Fans 2x 140-mm front intake
1x 140-mm rear exhaust
Front panel I/O 2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
Headphone
Microphone
Max. graphics card length 18.1" or 13.4", depending on drive bay config
Max. CPU cooler height 7.1"
Gap behind motherboard 1.1"

The 750D is taller and slightly wider than the 650D. The added internal headroom enables support for larger motherboards—EATX and XL-ATX—as well as one additional expansion slot, for a total of nine slots. Corsair has lopped off one 5.25" drive bay, but it's kept the number of 3.5" bays unchanged, and it's added four dedicated 2.5" bays. I suspect those 2.5" bays will be much more useful in a modern build than a fourth optical drive bay.

On the cooling front, the 750D replaces its predecessor's 200-mm front intake fan with two 140-mm spinners, and it switches out the 120-mm rear exhaust for a larger, 140-mm fan. However, there's no replacement for the 650D's 200-mm top exhaust fan. The 750D just has an empty vent in that spot. Users are free to stick any number of cooling devices up there, of course, but they'll have to bring their own.

Oh, and FireWire is absent from the front port cluster. I doubt that omission will cause much grief, though.

Sorry for throwing all those specs at you all at once, but I hope it's becoming clear that the 650D and 750D are two very different products. In fact, given their differences, I'd say they should be viewed not as two iterations of the same product, but as two separate offerings aimed at different users. That's the reality—and a look at store shelves will likely tell you as much. Corsair tells us the 750D isn't a "straight out replacement" for the 650D. Both cases should co-exist in the market, at least in the short term.