dugn's Corsair Obsidian Build

dugn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
398
Here is the build log for my new system.

My P4 3.2GHz AGP-based Intel D865PERL was getting long in the tooth, so it was time for something new. Although I'd built computers for years, they were always closed case - just wires connected and crammed in and the case door slammed shut. I was also stuck in the past (2003), so didn't know the best parts to buy. Even though I was an Intel motherboard convert of many years due to their rock-solid stability, it seemed their X48/X58 offerings were lacking. Same with the ASUS brand. Turns out some were favoring EVGA for motherboards and graphics cards. And Corsair was making a good name for themselves with a host of new parts - more than just their RAM. Without realizing it, practically every major part ended up being EVGA or Corsair.

But this time I wanted to make something that wasn't just functional, but actually looked good too.

Although I'm not mechanically or electrically inclined, I leaned on experts here on [H]ardforum who gave me lots of help and tons of useful advice.

In fact, the Corsair Obsidian 800D case (BTW - IT'S HUGE!) was nearing release and the reviews and features were exactly what I was looking for. In fact, if any case was going to make for an easier wiring/routing experience and save me having to convert it to black, this was it.

VbhVqnrl.jpg


I was initially going to do an all black build. But while trying to figure out the best way to remove the white Corsair logos from the H50 CPU cooler and the front of the case, I decided instead to embrace the black and white color scheme. I figured would be more visually interesting than plain black anyway.

So - after years of building computers - I finally embarked on my first stab at making a good-looking, windowed, nicely wired case with showcase accent lighting.

While waiting for the Corsair case to arrive at NewEgg, I got the Corsair H50 and mounted the bracket. Then I got the 2 EVGA GTX 275 cards and ripped them apart to mod the red flair to white. I settled on the 275's because of the reduced failure rate I was seeing compared to the 285's and the fact that the 295's were just blowing hot air around the inside of the case instead of blowing it out like the 260, 270, 280 series cards. Since I was going to air cool, this was a big deal for my case innards.

First I mounted the H50 CPU bracket. Then I took the PCI brackets off everything (graphics cards, X-Fi, USB bracket, I/O shield) and powder coated them black to match the case.

wBoWT06l.jpg


EVGA GTX 275 disassembly and preserving thermal pad configuration
oNg4B4ll.jpg


Powder coated PCI brackets
Z7cCindl.jpg


Powder coated I/O shield
cCeHFqCl.jpg


Same coating for X-fi card (installed)
lV2q178l.jpg


Now I had to rid the graphics cards of their blood-red innards and convert them to white. Unluckily for me the three screws that are usually enough to separate the flairs from the heatpipes weren't enough. They were soldered. So I took a torch to them. No dice. Turns out they were either soldered using Super Solder or were welded onto the heatpipes. Oh well - more masking.

The final result
lkF7gMOl.jpg


4bFyRKal.jpg


Finished product was nice. So I applied some good MX-2, replaced the thermal pads and mounted the new black backplate.

jSiEDdgl.jpg


Still unsure about which EVGA SLI connector I'll use, but here's the look of the cards mounted without power and SLI.
NQODd7xl.jpg


Now one of the really tough parts: Wiring a single switch to power 6x CCFLs (each of the 3x fans had 2 CCFLs - an inner and an outer ring), another switch to drive 2 CCFL tubes and third for later use. Combining the multiple switches into a single switch wasn't too bad. But trying to find 3V to run the pretty white LEDs on the Vandal Latching switches, that meant doing math and more electronics smarts than I had. I repair stand up arcade games - where all the voltages are already available.

But thanks to the brilliant and helpful Elledan and Thaltek on my CCFL Fan and Baybus plea (er...thread), the Electronics FAQ Thread, and Thaltek's very helpful addition to it, I was able to do the math to buy the right resistors and rig them inline to light the LEDs when they were pressed. Thank you Elledan and Thaltek.

oi8dvnPl.jpg


'Sleeved' resistors
Qmn9iJUl.jpg


3x Baybus assembly with Lian Li bracket bay cover used to reinforce the punch out Corsair bay cover.
v799BqKl.jpg


Finally putting more into the case, I did a few things probably no one would ever notice, but were important to me:

  • Slot covers over the RAM and free PCIe slots for a clean look
  • Used Y splitters on the fan headers so the motherboard could control fan speeds based on heat. As much as I like fan controllers, I didn't want to kill the look of the front panel and add more stuff that could break (plus, I hate thermal probes)
  • "Sleeved" my resistors to step 12V down to 3V for the push button LEDs - looked nice and isolated the leads from shorts
  • Built a supportive back panel behind the 5.25 bay cover switches to add greater strength and resilience for button presses
  • Added rubber insulators and rubber screws to all fans to insulate them from vibration and noise - and to keep everything black)
  • 2 SSDs are mounted using Icy Dock MB882SP-1S-1B 2.5" to 3.5 HDD converters because I didn't like the way SSDs mounted in the Corsair's hot-swap bays

For lighting, I avoided the typical blue/green/red options and went again with white to keep with the black/white look - which matched the Power and HDD activity LEDs on the front of the Corsair case as well.

Throughout the project, I still had a huge dilemma I hadn't tackled: sleeving the cables for that final all-important clean-looking part of the build. I'd read sleeving guides for weeks, tried it myself and it just made me want to either whimper in frustration or kill things.

While searching [H] for ideas, I came across someone asking about painting the cables/wires instead of sleeving. Clearly a bad idea since paint would crack over time. But in that post, someone responded with a brilliant alternative: Black Vinyl Dye. Turns out this was the never-before-imagined option that would save me from sleeving. I ordered the stuff, tried it out and now everyone's asking me how to do it. This new discovery saved me hours of mind wrecking sleeving, saved me from the normally unavoidable rainbow PSU colors and made the wires look much nicer than I had imagined.

Before the final unveiling, here's the Corsair Obsidian next to my P180 for comparison:

W3uF2Fjl.jpg


With all of that covered, I was able to realize my vision of a super-simple, ultra-clean build. Nothing industrial, nothing too flashy, and certainly nothing that looked like a LED/CCFL-ridden Transformer of twisted Korean aluminum and plastic. As much as this was a white/black build, some red accents crept in on the GPU backplanes and motherboard heatsink (thanks EVGA) - which actually helped to make the black and white stand out even better.

But other than that, here's my nicely cabled, black white beast (specs in signature):

The inside
jW0fSg5l.jpg


Close up on the white-modded EVGA GTX 275's and black dyed cables
y8jS9Zll.jpg


Close up on both the EVGA motherboard, modded cards with blackplate, RAM and black cables
LpagOH1l.jpg


The cheap, but surprisingly quiet Logisys White CCFL fans blowing out. Wires are all routed behind in a track barely large enough. If you look closely, you'll see one of the blue inverters behind the left and center fans. Tip: Typical CCFL extensions are made of such low-grade wire that you lose luminance. Either route your inverter close enough to reach (what I did), or make your own higher-grade CCFL extensions.
9pPMcOfl.jpg


The bottom chamber - which shows the multiple fan and USB headers, tightly pulled PSU cables and two metal deflectors powder coated black to hide the top and bottom CCFL tubes. I had a local metal shop make 2x 12-1/2" L-shaped deflectors, powder coated them and Scotch 4010 Clear Mounting taped them above and below the PSU chamber to illuminate the innards from below and the PSU from above. The CCFL cables exit right, go down, route between the 140mm and the chamber on the right and exit to the back.
g3FuJrzl.jpg


And the backside
T9ebX1nl.jpg


All lit up with window
kYVrtcMl.jpg


And contrary to naysayers, I do have a DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-Drive attached. I used a 90 degree angled SATA power/data cable to keep it from sticking out (see last pic again). This is a finished, complete, running machine. No tricks or hidden wires. Well...actually lots of hidden wires.

Questions, comments? Fire away.
 
Last edited:

CaliGirl

Gawd
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
803
I really like what you did with the video cards....the end result looks very clean and simple. Nice job!
 

dugn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
398
Thanks for the kind words, CaliGirl! It was fun and tough all at the same time. Cheers!
 

ODNT

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
109
Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! The Corsair will definitely be my next case.
 

CaliGirl

Gawd
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
803
The backplates really make such a huge difference in regards to the aesthetics...this case is way too huge for my needs but every time I see it in a build [especially as nice as this one] it makes me want one :(
 

caw2007

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,896
Very clean build. I get my 800D Monday, so I'll be busy switching my rig over to that..
 

Serpico

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 8, 2000
Messages
8,425
I'd never have thought that black power cables would be an aesthetic necessity but man, PSU companies should be building and marketing those things, I'd buy one! Nice work with the vinyl dye, the whole thing looks so clean.
 

Cursed

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
115
Holy crap, I knew that the Osidian was a big case, but that thing is huge, your motherboard and GTX 275's look miniscule. Very clean though, wish the inside of my case looked like that :D
 

dugn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
398
How exactly did you paint the top of the cards like that?

The white on the side of the card was a result of disassembly, surface sanding and carefully and lightly applied white gloss paint.

The back of the cards were much easier: I ordered the 275 backplate from EVGA directly. It included black screws to replace the original silver screws as well as a thermal pad / electrical insulator for the solders on the back of the GPU.
 

SuperTroye

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
177
After reading this thread I attempted to take apart my EVGA GTX 260 to paint the red as well but I couldn't remove the heat sink from the plastic. There are some little itty-bitty screws that I couldn't remove. So I got pwned. Was is a PITA for you too?
 

dugn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
398
After reading this thread I attempted to take apart my EVGA GTX 260 to paint the red as well but I couldn't remove the heat sink from the plastic. There are some little itty-bitty screws that I couldn't remove. So I got pwned. Was is a PITA for you too?

Oh yeah.

Key was a set of jeweler's screwdrivers, which I'm sure you have too. The largest Phillips of the bunch is what I used. And even then, there were a couple of screws that I twisted with all my might and pushed down into the screw (to avoid stripping the screw head). Yeah - a few of them really had me for awhile. But eventually, I was victorious over the evil tiny screw demons.

I didn't take pictures of me cursing and fighting these buggers. But here's a pic I took to help me with reassembly. The 3 on the left were the toughest. They were the ones tied to the flair and the Super Solder/Welding that prevented removal of the flair - which forced me to mask around the fins before painting.

dsc00957pn.jpg
 

jamesman32

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
422
Very nice setup, but may I ask what made you use the Corsair H50? With a case that large, an internal loop, or even 2 of them, shouldn't be hard. For the price, I would have gone with a TRUE or a MegaShadow. The MegaShadow would really compliment the black, and cool just as well.

I dunno, just a thought...
 

SirKronan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
4,699
Very nice setup, but may I ask what made you use the Corsair H50? With a case that large, an internal loop, or even 2 of them, shouldn't be hard. For the price, I would have gone with a TRUE or a MegaShadow. The MegaShadow would really compliment the black, and cool just as well.

I dunno, just a thought...

The H50 will be quieter, and remember he went black and white, anyways. Not to answer for him or anything, but I think he mentioned that above ... ;)
 

dugn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
398
Very nice setup, but may I ask what made you use the Corsair H50? With a case that large, an internal loop, or even 2 of them, shouldn't be hard. For the price, I would have gone with a TRUE or a MegaShadow. The MegaShadow would really compliment the black, and cool just as well.

Thanks for pitching in. Both the MegaShadow and the Black True were contenders.

But after years of using forced air to clean fan blades and copper cooling fins on multiple GPU/CPU coolers (even though I love my Zalmans), I wanted not just a cleaner look, but a lower maintenance option. The no-maintenance sealed loop of the H50 combined with the black/white look (like SirKronan mentioned) and the excellent CPU cooling in a mostly air cooled system won my vote.

Also - some people have asked why I mounted the H50 radiator with the tubes above instead of below. I thought the 'above' look made the machine look like it was working harder more than the 'droppy' look of the 'under' option. Yeah - I'm a little picky about those little things. Call me a freak.
 
Last edited:

jamesman32

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
422
Oh ok. I hadn't thought about it like that, with the fans and all. It does certainly look clean with the H50 though. Props to you.
 

lollerskater69

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Messages
1,231
I'm a watercooling enthusiast and the H50 is great. I'm actually considering picking up one just becuase of money restraints.
 

nightfawn

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
69
Real slick, nice job. If you didn't have any lights in there, I'd think there was nothing in the case b/c everything is all black.
 

Mr_Armageddon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
Messages
252
Nice. I really like how clean your build is. That Vinyl Dye sure was a great find. Makes those PSU cables look great. I admit sleeving looks good too, but its such a pain in the @$$. Vinyl Dye FTW!
 
Last edited:

hellRAIZ

n00b
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
20
Hey there! I'm basing my newest build (will have all parts in about 3 weeks) on this design right here I hope you don't mind! It's really inspired me. It looks -AWESOME- and doesn't seem like it takes TOO much work for someone who's still fairly new to this. I love the GTX 275's, problem is I have a BFG 265 that I want to model like yours, but it doesn't seem like it has a different top like EVGA offers.

I hope I can speak with you more personally so you can help me out some... stay in touch!
 
Last edited:

SirKronan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
4,699
Hey there! I'm basing my newest build (will have all parts in about 3 weeks) on this design right here I hope you don't mind! It's really inspired me. It looks -AWESOME- and doesn't seem like it takes much work. I love the GTX 275's, problem is I have a BFG 265 that I want to model like yours, but it doesn't seem like it has a different top like EVGA offers.

I hope I can speak with you more personally so you can help me out some... stay in touch!

Is it a 260 or a 285? Just checking.
 

SirKronan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
4,699
BFG GTX 260 Superclocked edition 896mb

Hmm ... I think that is quite different than the 275s. I wonder how hard it would be to take apart. I know BFG doesn't "officially" support removing the stock cooling. Maybe you could just cover the parts you don't want to paint and do the best you can? If you were careful you'd probably be ok though.
 

Core2-D2

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Messages
443
Are you running a front intake fan as well, or just the back intake and top exhaust... great rig BTW.

I have an H50 coming tomorrow and I'm trying to figure out how to best configure my TJ09... some reviews suggested reversing the rad fan but I have two top fans that I imagine will suck the warm air out pretty well, and I can even exhaust out the front if I want to.

Cheers
 

dugn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Messages
398
Are you running a front intake fan as well, or just the back intake and top exhaust... great rig BTW.

I have an H50 coming tomorrow and I'm trying to figure out how to best configure my TJ09... some reviews suggested reversing the rad fan but I have two top fans that I imagine will suck the warm air out pretty well, and I can even exhaust out the front if I want to.

Cheers

I posted this elsewhere in the context of someone who was convinced the case wasn't made well enough to support air cooling, so some of this is unneeded. But I describe my cooling approach with an H50 and how well it works:

This case does not pose a problem for air cooling. The only people who have said this were hypothesizing before the case was publicly available. No one who has gotten this case has had a problem with air cooling temps (although one guy didn't like the sound from air rushing through the metal grating on the back with the 120mm and H50).

I am a freak for cooling and silence. I spent tons of $ on my Antec P180B over many iterations to make and keep it quiet. This included many iterations of overpriced-but-silent 120mm fans, controllers, resistors, insulating material and all kinds of creative solutions.

Expecting the worse because I was going to fill the Obsidian with much higher end gear, I researched the stink out of air cooling solutions with money as no object. Once I installed my components, I realized I had absolutely no need for all of my high-end cooling purchases which I unloaded on my overbuy thread. I sold off my Noiseblockers, my fan controller - everything - because they simply weren't needed.

I'm running the stock Corsair 140mm on the bottom and the 120mm H50 fan/rad on the back at 50% speed for intake, 3x 120mm Logisys (cheap, crappy little suckers) for exhaust out of the top (see Build Log). When gaming - or when any motherboard sensor says anything is over 50 degrees - everything (5x fans + 2x GPU coolers) spin up to 100%. Even at this speed, the machine is quieter than most people's rigs.

When at 50%, this case is silent. I'm talking wife silent. I mean, she can't even hear a fan running until she's 8" away from the thing.

Please listen to people who own this case and are running air. WC will always be better (even though I've never heard a WC rig that's quieter than mine AC rig at 50% fan speeds). But this case rocks for this AC owner.

I'm not as familiar with the TJ09, but the H50 instructions and reviews suggest that you turn the H50 fan to an intake - which is what I did. It sounds like your setup is similar to mine from an intake/outflow perspective, so you might be good. I hope others can pitch in more. I hope that helps...
 

hellRAIZ

n00b
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
20
That case doesn't really need a front intake fan if you think about it. The HDDs have their own fan blowing from the side.
 
Top