Case Interior and Build Walkthrough
First we need to remove the side panels, which are attached with the standard two thumbscrews on each side.
Removing the side panel reveals a roomy interior.
A bracket the height of the case is removed from the front of the interior with thumbscrews, and this serves as the hard drive mount. While a solution like this allows a wide-open build (and seemingly limitless GPU and PSU length), it can be very inconvenient to change hard drives after the fact, since the bracket (and all connected data and power cables) have to be removed first.
We’ll come back to storage after installing the main components.
System Board and Cooling
The motherboard tray is wide enough to accommodate E-ATX boards if needed, and my narrow Gigabyte ATX board fit with a lot of room to spare.
Due to the width of the case, there is clearance for even the tallest air coolers. Looking over to the rear of the case we also see that 120/140mm all-in-one liquid coolers would easily fit as well:
140mm exhaust fan is included
However, here I chose a 240mm liquid CPU cooler to try out the dual-width radiator mount options.
Corsair H100 mounted on the top fan mounts
There are dual vertical 120/140 mm mounts inside the case front as well, providing additional radiator mounting options (if your cooling system has long enough hoses to reach). By default there is a 140mm intake fan installed to provide positive airflow.
The power supply mounts at the bottom of the case, and there is a foam material in place where the PSU would otherwise touch metal to prevent vibrations. Nice touch.
Installing the power supply is easy, and there are sufficient openings on the motherboard tray to assist with cable routing. These openings are bare metal, with no rubber grommets to protect cables. The openings are not sharp, however, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most applications.
I installed an NVIDIA GTX 770 here, and depending on how drives are mounted to the removable front bracket a much longer card can easily fit in the case.
Given the large interior and directed airflow from the front to back with the included 140mm fans (default configuration as shipped), cooling even a warmer card should be simple. As it is this OEM “TITAN” cooler on the GTX 770 is overkill, to say the least. This card’s temps will stabilize at 80 C (full load) regardless of the enclosure or airflow, and without another card to test I’ll leave temperature results out of this review.
The bracket we removed at the beginning of the build features rubber grommets at each drive mount point to prevent vibration, which is always a welcome feature. It holds three 3.5" drives. The design of the bracket also allows for SSDs to be installed on the opposite side of the bracket, which I have done here:
There are two 5.25” optical bays available as well, so legacy optical storage drives are fully supported. This is still considered a requirement by many, and is a point of contention for some smaller cases where the large optical drive support has been dropped in the interest of space.
I’m sorry but there is
I’m sorry but there is NOTHING exciting about that case. This looks just like any other dull computer case that has no redeeming features except a novel way to mount SSDs.
How about one of these companies design a case that is silent with no moving parts; or one that has fixed water tubing hidden out of site so all you need to do is connect to an outlet at various points on the case.
No that’s innovation!!
A case doesn’t need to be
A case doesn’t need to be exciting. It just needs to hold, protect, and cool your components, which this one seems to do well. If getting a cheaper, boring case allows me to upgrade something else, then I’m all for it.
As for silent cases, temperatures will just continue to climb with no way to eject the heat, so it’s not really practical for a full-power desktop. A completely open-air setup would probably be the only option.
Good review, by the way.
If a case doesn’t need to be
If a case doesn’t need to be exciting then why put a window on it? or even desire a window in the review?
To just hold, protect and cool your components is the very definition of a dull case that has nothing to differentiate it from a box.
The computer case is the part you see the most, this thing hold all your hard earned components; it should be exciting or what’s the point of the whole case mod market? or those cases made from acrylic and shiny metal?
A poorly designed silent case would perform as you describe.
A case is a box, it has the
A case is a box, it has the exact same purpose as a box (plus cooling), so why should it need to differentiate itself from one? It only needs to do its box functions effectively.
Honestly, I don’t know why people want a window on their case. If your focus is on aesthetic, buy a painting. A case, like the computer as a whole, is a functional item. As such, the only part that needs to be exciting to look at is the part that you do look at: the display.
Too many of the flashy, plastic “gaming” cases on the market (perhaps even all of them) are very poorly built, and yet those cases seem to sell quite well, despite (or perhaps because of) the terrible build quality. Exceptional build quality is generally only possible with simple, functional, boring shapes (at least at a reasonable price). If you would sacrifice real quality to get something that looks like it belongs in a Transformers film, well, it’s your money.
With casemodding, at least it’s something that you built yourself, a unique creation that you can be proud of, as opposed to being proud or excited about all the flashing lights you wasted your money on. Still, many casemods (like “gaming” cases) don’t exactly look good or even try to; they are just made to look as ridiculous as possible in a desperate grab for attention.
Maybe Caselabs should throw a disco ball on top of their next case just to shut you ricers up
Agree with the top
Agree with the top poster.
This case is soooooo boring I immediately had no interest in reading the review.
A total step backwards in marketing.
Fractal WAKE UP. Ugly off the shelf box = don’t bother / no sale.
Come on, you have zero sense
Come on, you have zero sense of subtlety in taste. Even despite featuring a very cut-down and minimal style, I think it’s a seamless addition to the rest of their product line. And no other PCs come close to the specific design philosophy and signature look and feel of every Fractal Design case enough to classify them as generic. Whether it’s the striking minimalism, aesthetic dimensions, 60 degree breaks, conservative use of mesh, wintery brushed black exterior, a lot goes into it on a level requiring attention to minute detail to achieve that signature look and feel. Just like how NZXT or Corsair have their own vibe or “soul of a brand” that deviates a case from a generic SilverStones or Antecs. It may not have flashy LEDs or mean and in-your-face craziness that catches the eye of most adrenaline-addicted teenagers who do not care about a concise and tidied look, so I can see where it can fall subjectively as boring or undifferentiated.
About that innovation, here’s one you mentioned http://uk.hardware.info/news/35476/computex-cube-shaped-chassis-for-a-passively-cooled-system
This case screams “boring
This case screams “boring loser”.
You guys are missing the
You guys are missing the point of this case and its potential. For $70 (or less) you get a well built case that is easy to assemble in and is compatible with the largest heatsinks or even multiple radiators.
As for it’s looks: I think the case is understated with clean lines. If you want to add windows or any other type of mod, the large blank panels will permit you to do almost anything you like. And it’s only $70.
Another great review Sebastian, of an often overlooked portion of the market.
Qrash you make some valid
Qrash you make some valid points however, the fact that this case sits at $70 puts it squarely in the sites of literally HUNDREDS of cases at this price point.
Do a cursory check in Newegg and you will find over two hundred cases at this price point/form factor from some very well proven manufacturers such as Corsair, NXZT, Antec, Thermaltake, CoolerMaster with every single same bullet point the fractal does but also has a very pleasing aesthetic.
I have to agree with the others above. This case is uninspired (dare I say even ugly) and compared to other cases with same features, overpriced.
So why would anyone pay more and get less?
Unless you’re a Fractal fanboy, you’d be silly to waste your money on this case when so many others can give you the same (or better) for less.
Chalk this one up as a major fail for Fractal.
I love it, I love the details
I love it, I love the details and that company is very careful building stuff. I think the one with windows look too messy. That looks classic and I am sure wife will not want to throw it out of the windows like some of the cases I see with more light than a train in a dark tunnel.
I agree. I love it, and would
I agree. I love it, and would consider purchasing it for family members or clients.
At $70 it is a bit overpriced, but it’s been on sale at Amazon and other places for as little as $45. At that price it’s amazing.
Flashy or windowed cases aren’t for everyone. People should get over it. I would like to see PCPer continuing to cover things that aren’t interesting to every PC enthusiast, because nothing is interesting to every single one of us.
Wow this case is hideous.
Wow this case is hideous.
It looks like a case you’d get at the clearance aisle of a Goodwill store.
Wins my vote for ugliest case of the year.
$70? Hell no!
Boring? Sure. But not
Boring? Sure. But not hideous. It’s just a black rectangle; if you find something so simple and ubiquitous hideous, it must be difficult for you to live.
If it were in beige, I’d
If it were in beige, I’d agree.
My first thought was that
My first thought was that this looked like the cheap case I bought to build a system for my brother with, but the one I bought was only $20 which makes this one feel overpriced. By comparison, I only paid $69 for a Raidmax Seiran which has 9x 5.25″ drives and includes far more features.
I understand why people are
I understand why people are bagging on this case. It is simple without and LED’s, windows and such, but it seems very thoughtfully designed. With it being found for as little as $50, that is not a bad price at all.
I prefer a case that is well designed and not gaudy. I want my machine to look simple and powerful. That is why I often gravitated to Lian Li cases, but their prices are pretty steep. Fractal just recently has caught my eye and I like their aesthetics and price points.
Yes you can find something cheaper, but in my experience you will have to trade off something. Usually it is in the materials or something might not fit perfectly.
For instance, you can love or hate Apple, but take the side off an ancient G5 case in 2003 (same case used, with slight modifications, for 10yrs later) and feel the quality of that metal and you will have a better appreciation for a sturdy case.
So I think this is a great review, the case isn’t exciting, but it is well made. And that is what is most important in my opinion.
PCPer has always been evenhanded in their reviews. That is why I stay. If they say it is a silver, then I know I will likely enjoy this case if I purchase it.
Wow, can someone look into
Wow, can someone look into all these rediculous posts above? Seems like the same person with a grudge against Fractal or a shill
Why would someone “have a
Why would someone “have a grudge” against Fractal?
They are too small for anyone to take notice of one way or another.
I think someone needs to take off their tinfoil hat.
The case itself is ok but just ok. It seems a little expensive for what you get.
I’m not a fan of the 90’s econobox look but it’s your money so if you like it then buy it.
I’m not getting all the hate
I’m not getting all the hate for the case. Its a basic box, nothing fancy. I think my only concerns are the HD mounting system (though its growing on me for better airflow), the front intakes (I would prefer mesh over the two intake fans) and the price. I would say it should be about $50.
This case is pimp. IT has 2
This case is pimp. IT has 2 140mm fan option on the front. Dust filter front panel. Rad support for front and top. High airflow storage option. Comes with 2 quality silent fans. has a nice clean look.
I bought this case to go into an arm-war so it doesnt need a window. But go down to your local glass auto repair and grab a peace of plexy for 15 bux the size of the side panel and make your own.
I just bought this case because I think its perfect for how cheap it is. If I wanted to spend 3 times as much on a case I would get the corsair 450d. But this one comes pretty close.