Introduction and First Impressions
The Define S from Fractal Design is a mid-tower enclosure based on the company’s excellent Define R5, and this version has a new interior for enhanced cooling support with an innovative approach to storage.
I've mentioned before that the PC enclosure market is crowded with options at every price point, but this can actually be a good thing because of the high level of individual preference this permits. Selecting a case is a multi-faceted thing, and while they all (well, mostly) keep components safely housed, once that need has been met there's a lot more to consider. Let's face it, aesthetics are important since the enclosure is the outward-facing representation of your build (and personal style). Support for your preferred type of cooling, storage, and future expandability are high on the list when selecting a finalist as well, and then there's the thermal/noise performance element to consider. It was Fractal Design's own Define R5 (review here) which offered a balanced approach to these needs, and while not looking especially flashy with understated style and a standard ATX layout, the R5 was an exceptionally well-done effort overall. Now, months later, enter the Define S.
With the Define R5 offering a solid combination of silence, expandability, and build quality, why would Fractal Design create another very similar case right on its heels? It’s all about giving people choice, and that’s something I can certainly stand behind - even when it means further segmenting a market that seems almost impossibly crowded now. And when we dive deeper into the Define S we see what is essentially a companion to the Define R5, and not a replacement. At first glance this might appear to be an identical case, but the interior layout clearly separates the two. In summary, the Define S loses 5.25” storage support found in the R5, and while that previous model had no less than 8 hard drive trays the S employs a novel approach to HDD support, but cuts the drive support from 8 standard 3.5" drives to just 3 in the process.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 11, 2015 - 05:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: define r5, fractal design, water cooling
Over at Techgage is an interesting post about installing dual watercooling loops, GPU and CPU, in to a Fractal Design R5. It is more of a work log than a how to but it covers all the basic investigation you should do before installing a watercooling loop as well as the steps involved in putting it together. That they managed to fit a pair of 240mm Nemesis radiators into a mid-sized case is impressive, the overall tidiness of the build even more so. Check out the build log with pictures right here.
"After we posted our look at Fractal Design’s Define R5 a couple of months ago, it didn’t take long before Matt was craving not just a chassis upgrade, but a water cooling one, as well. With the chassis in hand, join him as he takes you through the process of setting up a dual loop setup, and tells you what he thinks of working with the Define R5."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- SilverStone Tundra TD03-E CPU Liquid Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair H100i GTX @ HardwareHeaven
- Noctua L9x65 Low Profile Heatsink Review @ Hardware Asylum
- be quiet! Pure Rock @ techPowerUp
- Raidmax Hyperion @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Raven RV05B-W @ NikKTech
- NCASE M1 @ techPowerUp
- NZXT H440 Razer Special Edition @ HardwareHeaven
- Aerocool Aero 1000 Chassis @ Kitguru
- Zalman Z11 Neo Mid-Tower Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 3, 2015 - 04:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fractal design, edison m series, PSU, 650W, 80 Plus Gold
Fractal Design's 650W EDISON M Series semi-modular PSU has a bit of an interesting mix of features for a 650W PSU which drive the price up somewhat. TechPowerUp puts it's MSRP at $105 which is a bit pricey for a 650W PSU which is not totally modular but with an 80 PLUS Gold rating and a 5 year warranty the price is somewhat justified. The single 12V rail is capable of providing up to 54A to the six 6+2 PCIe power connectors, giving you some ability to power dual GPUs. In the end, it proved to be a solid performer but the decision to sacrifice a second EPS connector for the additional PCIe plugs and the pricing prevented it from winning an award. It is still work checking out if you do not need a second EPS plug.
"Fractal Design has for the first time worked with Seasonic, and the outcome is the Edison Modular series. Today, we will take a detailed look at the Edison M with 650 W capacity, the second-strongest unit of the series. It features Gold-certified efficiency, a semi-modular cabling design, and an FDB fan."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- SilverStone SST-SX600-G 600W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- Antec EDGE 750W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- be quiet! Straight Power 10 psu with 800 Watts @ HardwareOverclock
- FSP Aurum PT 1000W @ Kitguru
Introduction: Defining the Quiet Enclosure
The Define R5 is the direct successor to Fractal Design's R4 enclosure, and it arrives with the promise of a completely improved offering in the silent case market. Fractal Design has unveiled the case today, and we have the day-one review ready for you!
We've looked at a couple of budget cases recently from the Swedish enclosure maker, and though still affordable with an MSRP of $109.99 (a windowed version will also be available for $10 more) the Define R5 from Fractal Design looks like a premium part throughout. In keeping with the company's minimalist design aesthetic it features clean styling, and is a standard mid-tower form factor supporting boards from ATX down to mini-ITX. The R5 also offers considerable cooling flexibility with many mounting options for fans and radiators.
The Silent Treatment
One of two included 1000 RPM hydraulic-bearing GP-14 silent fans
There are always different needs to consider when picking an enclosure, from price to application. And with silent cases there is an obvious need to for superior sound-dampening properties, though airflow must be maintained to prevent cooking components as well. With today's review we'll examine the case inside and out and see how a complete build performs with temperature and noise testing.
Introduction: The Core Series Shrinks Down
Image credit: Fractal Design
The Core 1100 from Fractal Design is a small micro-ATX case, essentially a miniature version of the previously reviewed Core 3300. With its small dimensions the Core 1100 targets micro-ATX and mini-ITX builders, and provides another option not only in Fractal Design's budget lineup, but in the crowded budget enclosure market.
The price level for the Core 1100 has fluctuated a bit on Amazon since I began this review, with prices ranging from a high of $50 down to a low of just $39. It is currently $39.99 at Newegg, so the price should soon stabilize at Amazon and other retailers. At the ~$40 level this could easily be a compelling option for a smaller build, though admittedly the design of these Core series cases is purely functional. Ultimately any enclosure recommendation will depend on ease of use and thermal performance/noise, which is exactly what we will look at in this review.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 4, 2014 - 03:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: PSU, modular psu, fractal design, Integra M, 650W
Fractal Design is releasing a new series of PSUs, the Integra M series, to compliment the already available Integra R2 series. They have kept to the slightly smaller sizing of 150mm x 86 mm x 140 mm with a 120mm fan that Kitguru found to operate quietly, only hitting 37.2dBA at full load with temperatures not exceeding 60C. The efficiency ranged between 81-85% and ripple stayed within specification, it was perhaps not as solid as some units but decent for the price point of this PSU. With 648W at 54A it is capable of handling multiple mid-range GPUs and has the PCIe plugs to handle the cards, though the cabling choice is a little odd. Two of the 6+2 PCIe connectors are modular but there are two more connectors which are hard wired into the PSU along with the ATX power. For those hoping to build a system on a budget with an eye for possible upgrades you should read the full Kitguru review and keep your eye out for the release of the Integra M series.
"Today we take a look at the latest power supply from Fractal Design, the Integra M 650W – released to target the budget enthusiast audience. This semi modular design has achieved 80 Plus Bronze Certification and will hit retail for around £55 inc vat. Is it worth shortlisting if you are working with a restrictive budget?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Enermax Revolution XT 530W Semi-Modular @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Toughpower DPS 750W Modular @ eTeknix
- be quiet! Straight Power 10 CM 800 W @ techPowerUp
- Deepcool DQ1000 Quanta Semi-Modular @ eTeknix
- Corsair HX1000i Modular @ eTeknix
- Seasonic Platinum Series 1050 W @ techPowerUp
- Cooler Master V1200 Platinum 1200W Modular @ eTeknix
Introduction: A Crowded Market
The case market is not only saturated at every conceivable price point, but there is enough of a builder’s DNA in their enclosure selection that making recommendations in this area can be a galvanizing undertaking. The enclosure with less usefulness can have perceived deficiencies mitigated by style, and vice versa. For some, style is the most important attribute. But functionality alone, when unnecessary elements are stripped away, can be attractive as well. Here we have a bit of both.
Fractal Design is a Swedish company specializing in computer enclosures, though much like Corsair (which started life as a memory company) they have diversified their product offerings with a line power supplies and all-in-one liquid CPU coolers, as well as case fans and accessories. The company cites Scandinavian design as the influence behind their aesthetic, with the minimalist approach of 'less is more'. With the “Core” series Fractal Design has just what that nomenclature indicates. An entry-level offering that still provides the essentials for a solid build.
With the Core 3300 ATX case the basics are all represented, and it seems that nothing has been included for artistic reasons alone. The Core 3300 does not have a side window, and inside you won't see convenience features like toolless drive bays. Ultimately it’s a rather nondescript matte black case that’s mostly steel, but there are touches that help it stand out in this particular segment of a crowded market.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 5, 2013 - 07:47 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: XL-ATX, fractal design, computex 2013, computex, case, arc xl, arc mini r2
Fractal Design is using Computex 2013 to launch two new cases, called the ARC XL and ARC Mini R2. As their names suggest, the ARC XL is a massive brushed aluminum case capable of supporting motherboards up to XL-ATX in size while the ARC Mini R2 is a Micro ATX case that is compatible with Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboards.
Fractal Design ARC XL
The ARC XL chassis measures 232 x 572 x 552mm and weighs 13.8kg. The full tower case features a texturized aluminum exterior with a clear side window and top-mounted IO panel. The front of the case holds a large mesh grill with white Fractal Design logo. Above the front intake are four 5.25" drive bays. The front IO panel is mounted on the top of the case and includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, audio in/out jacks, and power/reset buttons.
Internally, the ARC XL chassis supports motherboards up to XL-ATX in size, up to eight 3.5" hard drives, and space for two 2.5" solid state drives behind the motherboard tray. In total, the case supports seven 140mm fan positions. Fractal design includes three Silent Series R2 case fans with the chassis. Dust filters in the front, top, and bottom fan vents. Water cooling enthusiasts will be pleased to know that they can install 360mm radiators on top and 240mm radiators in the front of the case (with the hard drive cages removed). Other features include 9 PCI expansion slots, space for a bottom mounted PSU, integrated 3-fan 3-speed fan controller, and space for cable routing behind the motherboard tray.
Fractal Design's ARC XL case will be available in July or early August with an MSRP of $129.95 USD (119.95 EURO).
Fractal Design ARC Mini R2
The ARC Mini R2 is a miniature version of the ARC XL suitable for smaller systems using Micro ATX or Mini ITX motherboards and either water or air cooling.
The Mini R2 has a large mesh grill on the front panel as well as two optical drive bays. The front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports, audio in/out, power and reset buttons, and the fan controller switch. The case measures 210 x 405 x 484mm and weighs 9kg.
Internally, the ARC Mini R2 supports Micro ATX or Mini ITX motherboards, up to six 3.5" hard drives, two 2.5" SSDs (behind motherboard tray), and 4 PCI expansion slots. Graphics cards up to 260mm are supported with the hard drive cage installed, or 400mm with it removed. There is space for cable routing behind the motherboard and water cooling grommets on the back of the case to support external radiators.
Cooling is handled by three bundled Silent Series R2 fans controlled by an included fan controller. The case can support a total of seven fans, including:
- Front: 2 x 120mm (1 included)
- Rear: 1 x 120mm (1 included)
- Top: 1 x 120mm plus 2 x 140mm (1 included)
- Bottom: 1 x 120mm
Watercooling support includes the ability to mount a thin 360mm radiator on top as well as a 240mm radiator over the front intake (with the optical drive and hard drive bays removed respectively). Fractal Design includes removable dust filters over the front, top, and bottom vents.
The Micro ATX ARC Mini R2 will be available for $89.95 (79.95 EURO) in August or early September.
In all, they look like decent cases, though I would have loved to see some additional color options on the ARC Mini R2! (heh).
Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2013 - 06:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: fractal design, mini-itx, case, Node 304
Fractal Design is launching a new version of its existing Node 304 computer chassis. The new Node 304 White comes in white and supports Mini-ITX motherboards. The case measures 250 x 210 x 374mm and weighs 4.9kg.
The Node 304 is constructed of aluminum and has a white painted exterior. There are two mesh air vents on either side of the case as well as two 92mm Silent Series R2 fans working as front intakes behind filters to keep dust out of the case. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. The rear of the case features two expansion slots, a space for an ATX power supply, and a single 140mm Silent Series R2 exhaust fan.
Internally, the Node 304 White can fit standard ATX power supplies, a Mini-ITX motherboard, and up to six 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives. Alternatively, with two of the hard drive mounts removed, the case can accommodate graphics cards up to 310mm in length.
It is a minimalist design,but one that works well. Airflow should not be a problem even for high-end components, and the inclusion of the three fans, filters, and a fan controller is nice to see. The case will be available in July with an MSRP of $89.90 in the US and 69.90 EURO in Europe.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 5, 2013 - 07:57 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, mid tower, fractal design, core 1000 usb 3.0, atx case
Fractal Design has announced an updated Core 1000 USB 3.0 Micro ATX case that adds USB 3.0 support to the front panel. The new Core 1000 USB 3.0 chassis measures 175mm x 355mm x 420mm and weighs approximately 9 lbs (4.1 kg).
The micro ATX case supports motherboards of the Mini-ITX, DTX, and Micro ATX flavors. Further, it can support graphics cards up to 350mm in length and CPU coolers up to 148mm in height. Two optical disk drives, either three vertically mounted 2.5” SSDs or two 3.5” HDDs, and four PCI expansion slots round out the storage and expansion options.The hard drives feature anti-vibration grommets, and the fan spots include dust filters.
On the outside, the Core 1000 USB 3.0 case is flat black with a large mesh front panel and side panel vent. The right side of the case holds the front IO panel, which consists of:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB 2.0
- 2 x Audio jacks
- 1 x HDD activity indicator light
- 1 x Power button
- 1 x Reset button
The inside of the case is rather spartan. There are no cable routing holes, water cooling grommets, CPU cutouts, or other fancy features. It has an ATX power supply spot at the top of the case, motherboard standoffs, and drive cages. Just enough to get the job done, in other words.
Fractal Design includes a single Silent Series R2 120mm intake fan, but the case can actually support a total of three fans. There are spots for:
- 1 x 120mm (front intake)
- 1 x 92mm (rear exhaust)
- 1 x 120mm (side panel)
There is no word on pricing or availability yet, but expect it to run around $40-50. More photos and specifications are available on the Fractal Design website.