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Thread: Corsair Obsidian 550D...hope they sent it to JG for review

  1. #11
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    Yeah, aluminum in cases is really great for a few things:

    1) Reducing weight (of arguable importance - once you've filled up your system is there really a difference between a 28lb system and a 32lb system for moving it around - much more important for portability and small form factor.)

    2) Looking cool (especially brushed aluminum exteriors)

    3) Adding cost (this is the biggie - aluminum is much more expensive than steel, and scratches easily. This is why a lot of 100% aluminum cases don't have the anodized black interior - yield on builds drops quite a bit, so the only all black all aluminum cases are usually very expensive).

    I love the look of aluminum, but it's a myth, in my opinion, that it makes a better case.

    Personally, I'm a fan of using the right material for the right part. If the structure/skeleton can be made better and cheaper with steel at the cost of a little weight, I'd rather use steel. If the exterior looks better in aluminum and the cost of the case can bear it - I'll use aluminum there.

    No sense in picking sides - some people like one, some people like another. I like both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HOOfan_1 View Post
    Funny how in the handgun world, aluminum alloy frames are used to reduce manufacturing costs and are universally considered inferior to steel frames, which cost much more. While it is the opposite in the computer case world. Of course guns require either a lot of machining, or fine detail casting, whereas I am sure computer cases are mostly stamped out.
    Aluminum is less strong than steel, which is why it is inferior for certain purposes, such as guns. On the other hand, it is also much lighter, and is almost entirely corrosion-resistant, which is what makes it a good material for computer cases. Steel cases need to be painted or coated with a protective coating, while aluminum can be anodized or left bare, which produces a nice aesthetic. However, it is also a more expensive material than steel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Redbeard View Post
    Yeah, aluminum in cases is really great for a few things:

    1) Reducing weight (of arguable importance - once you've filled up your system is there really a difference between a 28lb system and a 32lb system for moving it around - much more important for portability and small form factor.)

    2) Looking cool (especially brushed aluminum exteriors)

    3) Adding cost (this is the biggie - aluminum is much more expensive than steel, and scratches easily. This is why a lot of 100% aluminum cases don't have the anodized black interior - yield on builds drops quite a bit, so the only all black all aluminum cases are usually very expensive).

    I love the look of aluminum, but it's a myth, in my opinion, that it makes a better case.

    Personally, I'm a fan of using the right material for the right part. If the structure/skeleton can be made better and cheaper with steel at the cost of a little weight, I'd rather use steel. If the exterior looks better in aluminum and the cost of the case can bear it - I'll use aluminum there.

    No sense in picking sides - some people like one, some people like another. I like both.
    1) It's hardly of arguable importance. Aluminum has about a third the density of steel. For small cases, it's not a huge difference, but when you get into large cases, it is quite significant. I have a Coolermaster ATCS 840, which is made entirely of aluminum. It is a very heavy case even when empty. If it were made from steel, it would be three times as heavy, which would make it significantly more difficult to handle.

    3) That's not the only reason case interiors aren't anodized. It's not just an aesthetic process; it reduces the dimensions of the material and completely changes the surface finish. Personally, I also think bare aluminum looks better on the inside than anodized aluminum would.

    Your cost argument would be valid if Corsair's steel-framed cases were actually cheaper than competing cases made entirely of aluminum, which is not the case. If the 800D were $150 or lower, I might consider it, but as it stands, I would never pay that much money for a case constructed mostly from steel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero82z View Post

    Your cost argument would be valid if Corsair's steel-framed cases were actually cheaper than competing cases made entirely of aluminum, which is not the case. If the 800D were $150 or lower, I might consider it, but as it stands, I would never pay that much money for a case constructed mostly from steel.
    I don't want to start an argument here, but I can say categorically that you're well off base. The 800D made out of aluminum would cost nearly twice as much for similar build quality. You can stand on top of the 800D. It was designed for people who put tons of heavy watercooling stuff in their case and to be a quiet chassis at the same time.

    Look at the TJ11 for similar size/build quality with 100% aluminum.

    I've heard these arguments before, and while I understand them, if you actually worked on our end of it, I think you'd be surprised how much cost is in there and where it comes from.

    That being said, the 800D was our first case, and we learned a lot of good things from it. We did a lot right, but there are a couple of things I'd tweak on a successor to add some features and fix some small issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbeard View Post
    I don't want to start an argument here, but I can say categorically that you're well off base. The 800D made out of aluminum would cost nearly twice as much for similar build quality. You can stand on top of the 800D. It was designed for people who put tons of heavy watercooling stuff in their case and to be a quiet chassis at the same time.
    I can stand on top of my ATCS 840 as well, and it only cost me $150. However, to take another example, the 650D is currently $180 after rebate at Newegg. It has a steel frame with aluminum panels. The Lian-Li PC-K7B is currently $80. It has a steel frame with aluminum panels. The interior isn't painted black, but that's still a difference of more than $100 for a case with comparable build quality, and for the most part, features as well (although the specific aspects of the design are not the same). So where exactly did that $100 go? Either you guys are making money hand over fist or you need to find a different manufacturer with lower costs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero82z View Post
    Either you guys are making money hand over fist or you need to find a different manufacturer with lower costs.
    There's a lot of cost in the 800D that you aren't accounting for - the hot swap bay itself adds a huge chunk because it's way overbuilt. Because it was our first case, we bought an off-the-shelf design from a server/workstation company for it. Very expensive. Now, we'd design it in-house and it'd be a lot cheaper (and probably work the same).

    The size of the case makes it very inefficient to ship, even in containers, and even the aluminum front panel costs a lot more to manufacture due to the design and thickness of the extrusion.

    If and when we release a successor to the 800D, we'll definitely make improvements to just about all of those things and more. But when it came out, there were very few cases that could compete with its size, build quality, watercooling expansion capabilities, and feature set. In the past 2.5 years, it's been ripped off quite a bit (which I take as a compliment) so we must have done something right.

    As for the ATCS 840, it costs $200 now, and when it started shipping 3 years ago, it was closer to $250. If you got it for $150, congrats, that's a hell of a deal. There's a reason CM can't sell it at $150 every day, though.

    Like I said - for a case with similar size and build quality and features built out of 100% aluminum, look at the TJ11. It's about 10% bigger than the 800D, but doesn't have the same feature set so it's probably close to what it would have cost to make the 800D out of quality anodized aluminum parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbeard View Post
    There's a lot of cost in the 800D that you aren't accounting for - the hot swap bay itself adds a huge chunk because it's way overbuilt. Because it was our first case, we bought an off-the-shelf design from a server/workstation company for it. Very expensive. Now, we'd design it in-house and it'd be a lot cheaper (and probably work the same).
    I was specifically talking about the 650D in that example, which does not have the hot swap bay.
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    Although one might consider the Corsair 650D and the LanCool PC-K7B to be competing cases. I personally don't feel their even in the same category... Taking the time just to look at the low quality images supplied by NewEgg you can see that the Corsair has the stronger frame of the two. It also weighs almost 10lbs more which would imply that it uses a heavier gauge steel for the frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MI-Tazz View Post
    Although one might consider the Corsair 650D and the LanCool PC-K7B to be competing cases. I personally don't feel their even in the same category... Taking the time just to look at the low quality images supplied by NewEgg you can see that the Corsair has the stronger frame of the two. It also weighs almost 10lbs more which would imply that it uses a heavier gauge steel for the frame.
    Even so, that wouldn't account for a price difference of $100 or more, which is the point I'm trying to make. The 650D is a good case, no doubt. However, it is not even close to being worth the money in my opinion.
    Main: i5 2500K@4.6GHz w/Zalman CNPS10X Performa, Intel DZ68BC, 8GB G.Skill DDR3-1600, PNY GTX 470 + EVGA GTX 470, ASUS Xonar DX, ADATA S510 120GB, Samsung 1TB F3+1TB F1+2TB F4, Kingwin LZG 1kW, Lian-Li PC-9F, Dell U2212HM+S2209W, Win7 Professional.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI-Tazz View Post
    Although one might consider the Corsair 650D and the LanCool PC-K7B to be competing cases. I personally don't feel their even in the same category... Taking the time just to look at the low quality images supplied by NewEgg you can see that the Corsair has the stronger frame of the two. It also weighs almost 10lbs more which would imply that it uses a heavier gauge steel for the frame.
    And the case is significantly larger, which is something that people don't really believe makes a price difference, but it does. The size of a case adds so much to its cost in so many ways - shipping logistics, container loading, as well as raw material costs and storage costs. These things all add up.

    I can tell you honestly that the margin percentage on the 650D is about the same as all our other cases. We have our target and we build to try and hit that point. It's not like we build the thing for $30, and sell it for $200 or something.

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    To each his own. I'm sure if we could get a full breakdown of the individual components and their costs to build each of the cases. One might be surprised at what we see. I honestly would go the stouter route and spend the extra $ to get it. I've always been that way, maybe because I rarely have to spend the $ in the first place, who knows.

    I won't knock the massive SilverStone cases that I have played with in the past. Simply because they are capable of holding up their own fight ... I've yet to see any other aluminum case manufacture match what they have done.

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