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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 5, 2013 - 09:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, mid tower, fractal design, core 3000 usb 3.0, Core 3000, atx case
Fractal Design has taken its budget-friendly mid-tower Core 3000 case, and updated it with USB 3.0 support on the front IO panel. The new SKU is aptly named the Fractal Design Core 3000 USB 3.0.
The new case is essentially an upgrade to the Core 3000. It is a black case with white accents on the drive carriages and PCI expansion slots. The front panel of the case features two optical disc drive bays and a dust filter covered by a mess grill. The top of the case holds an exhaust port and a new front IO panel. The IO panel includes two audio jacks, power and reset buttons, power and hard drive activity LEDs, two USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports.
The Core 3000 USB 3.0 case has room for two 5.25” drives and up to six 3.5” or 2.5” drives (with the top drive cage being removable). Seven PCI expansion slots, a CPU cutout, and cable management/routing holes are all standard features of the Core 3000 USB 3.0 case.
On the cooling front, the mid tower chassis comes equipped with three Silent Series R2 fans out of the box along with a total of seven fan cutouts. By default, there is one 140mm 1,000 RPM intake fan in the front, one 120mm 1,200 RPM exhaust fan in the back, and one 140mm 1,000 RPM fan attached to the top of the case.
The available fan positions are as follows:
Front of the case:
- 1 x 120mm fan
- 1 x 140mm fan
Top of the case:
- 2 x 120mm or 140mm fans
Rear of the case:
- 1 x 120mm fan
Side of the case:
- 1 x 120mm fan
Bottom of the case:
- 1 x 120mm fan
The Core 3000 USB 3.0 case has a MSRP of $74.95 in the US. All in all, it looks to be a decent case for the price. You can find more information on the product page.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 19, 2012 - 10:58 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pc case, fractal design, chassis, atx case
Fractal Design recently introduced a new model to its Define XL series with the Define XL R2 that comes in either Black Pearl or Titanium Grey. The new case supports motherboards as large as XL-ATX and is packed with features for a relatively cheap $130 price.
See more photos and specifications after the break.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 22, 2012 - 01:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fractal design, Node 304, mini-itx, dtx, SFF
Fractal Design's Node 304 SFF case is 250 x 210 x 374 mm (9.8" x 8.2" x 14.7") and thanks to the removable HDDs you can actually fit larger sized GPUs in the case, though the biggest will be blocked by the PSU. Cooling comes from a pair of front mounted 92mm fans and a 140mm in the rear, all attached to a fan controller to help you manage the noise levels. HiTech Legion puts the MSRP of this case at $89 which is very impressive for a SFF case with this many features, especially the six HDD bays, but wish that the case was properly compatible with Micro-ITX PSUs to give even more space for a high end GPU.
"The Fractal Design Node 304 computer case brings style and functionality to the small computing market. The Node 304 features a modular design that allows easy configurability. Motherboard support includes mini-ITX and DTX compatibility. There are two expansion slots available. A total of six drives, either 2.5” or 3.5” can be installed. There is room for a full ATX PSU, up to 160mm in length. CPU coolers can be installed up to 165mm in height and GPUs up to 310mm in length (with adaptation). Fractal has included a cooling system with two front mounted 92mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans and one rear 140mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fan. There is also a fan controller included with low, medium, and high settings. The front interface includes two USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm mic, and 3.5mm headphone connection."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Fractal Design Node 304 Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Corsair Carbide 200R @ Guru of 3D
- Corsair Carbide 300R Mid-Tower @ eTeckniz
- Cooler Master Storm Stryker Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Antec Take-4 Rackmount Chassis @ Tweaktown
- Thermaltake Armor Revo Snow Edition Chassis @ Bjorn3D
- Enermax Hoplite ST Mid-Tower @ Tweaktown
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Midi Tower Review @ NikKTech
- BitFenix Recon and BitFenix Hydra Pro Fan Controller Roundup @ OCC
- NZXT Hue LED Controller @ Rbmods
- Spire TME III (TherMax Eclipse III) @ eTeknix
- Noctua NH-L12 L-Type Low Profile CPU Cooler @ eTeknix