It’s been several years since I’ve upgraded my computer. The last time I bought a new computer, it was to play the Warhammer MMO. That game was a big bust.
I’ve always known how to build a computer, but I was always too lazy to do it. As a result, I always paid too much for mediocre gaming rigs from Dell. I’m still working on the same machine, but I’m not gaming anymore and it’s starting to fail on me. Plus, this thing heats up a room quickly and is rather noisy. The heat is welcome in the winter, but in the summertime – even the central air conditioning can’t keep up.
So, I put myself in the market for a new computer. Because I’m working on my computer much more often now, and plan on doing voice recordings and video in the future, I need a computer that runs quieter and cooler. Since I also put myself on a quasi-budget for things that aren’t immediate, I can’t just buy all the parts outright. I’ve limited myself to buy one part for this new computer every month. To start, I bought a case – the foundation of every computer build.
Corsair Obsidian 550D
The beauty of building your own computer is that it’s easy to add or switch out parts as necessary. Choosing a good case that fits your needs now, and potentially in the future, serves as a platform to host all the hardware. If you just use the computer to browse the internet, listen to music, or do some light digital photo work, you don’t need very much. A basic case can be bought for very cheap and will serve you well. If you are a hardcore gamer or plan to overclock, you’ll want a well vented case that has many cooling options and space to fit lots of serious hardware.
I’m in between the two right now, but want the option for more serious hardware if the opportunity (time to play games) presents itself. Again, I’m also looking for something quiet, cool, and elegant. After reading a ton of reviews online and shopping around, I decided on the Corsair Obsidian Series Black 550D Mid Tower Computer Case (CC-9011015-WW).
Corsair, most famous for their memory (RAM) products, started diving into other computer hardware products a couple years ago. They make some excellent premium computer cases. I chose the Obsidian 550D because of its specific design. The mid-tower ATX case was engineered with sound-dampening materials that reduce noise. However, if cooling were to ever be an issue, the case has extra removal panels built in so you could add more fans or venting as necessary.
Externally, the case has USB 3.0 connectors and a simple front panel. The removable door also swings in both directions, a feature that could come in handy depending on where you house your computer. Internally, the case has a bunch of tool-less drive bays to house SSD or regular disc hard drives, a bunch of expansion slots, and many fan mount locations. The case also features cable routing cutouts so you can keep the hardware free of clutter, which keeps the insides of the computer cooler. The cooler you can keep your computer, the quieter it will be (since the fans don’t have to run at high levels).
It’s easy to go nuts and buy the best of everything, especially when you’re building a computer. I think purchasing one part at a time will give me more time to think through things and help me make better decisions without putting a huge dent in my pocketbook. I’ll be keeping a running tally over the next several months to keep track of my purchases and to help reign in the monster inside of me. If I don’t get to excited to put the rig together when I have everything, I’m going to try to make a how-to guide while I’m at it.
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