Fractal Design Define S2 Vision
Fractal’s latest case offers four glass panels and RGB
The Define S2 Vision from Fractal Design is a new take on the company's existing Define S2 case, adding additional style courtesy of four tempered glass panels and RGB lighting. Launching today with an MSRP of $239 this RGB version is priced higher than we are used to seeing from Fractal Design, so does it have premium quality to justify the price?
"The Define S2 Vision was designed with the goal of bringing together beauty and function, starting with a modified rendition of the advanced open-layout S2 chassis, encasing it in a full tempered glass exterior, and offering a choice in powerful PWM cooling with Dynamic X2 or Prisma ARGB pre-installed. The Define S2 Vision RGB comes packed with four 140mm Prisma AL-14 PWM ARGB fans, Prisma ARGB LED Strip, and the Adjust R1 RGB Controller. Those seeking a more understated look may opt instead for the Blackout version with Dynamic X2 PWM fans, offering equally impressive airflow and the same polished aesthetic without RGB LEDs or accessories.
Both versions feature an improved front panel design with concealed fan rails for a clean, unobstructed view of the front fans. A fully interchangeable top panel allows users to switch between the pre-installed tempered glass panel or the included top cooling bracket for additional fan and radiator support. Define S2 Vision also introduces Fractal Design’s new Nexus 9P PWM hub alongside numerous enhancements to the PSU shroud, such as additional pump/reservoir mounts, three alternative SSD locations, and pass-through holes for radiators installed in the base. Details make all the difference in a system that’s built to show, and Define S2 Vision aims to satisfy detail-oriented builders who take pride in showing their work."
Features of this RGB version include:
- Tinted TG left, right, top, and front panels
- Top converts between TG cover and filtered ventilation
- New recessed exterior front fan mount design; concealed
- fan rails
- Four Dynamic X2 PWM or Prisma ARGB PWM fans
- Tubing pass-through holes and mounting locations for
- up to 3 SSDs or a reservoir on the PSU shroud
- Nexus 9P fan hub with nine PWM connectors
- 360/280 front, 360/280 top, and 240/140 bottom
- radiator support
- Available RGB version with Prisma ARGB PWM fans, ARGB LED strip, and Adjust R1 RGB Controller
- Case Material: Steel, Tempered Glass
- Motherboard Compatibility: E-ATX (up to 285 mm wide), ATX, mATX, Mini-ITX
- Drive Bays: 3x Universal 3.5"/2.5" drive mounts, 2x dedicated 2.5" drive mounts (5 total 2.5-inch drive positions)
- Expansion Slots: 7 + 2 Vertical
- Front Ports: 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Audio I/O
- Total Fan Mounts: 9 (with top bracket installed)
- Front Fan: 3x 120/140 mm (3x 140 mm fans included)
- Top Fan (via bracket): 3x 120/140 mm
- Rear Fan: 1x 120/140 mm (1x 140 mm fan included)
- Bottom Fan: 2x 120/140 mm
- Dust Filters: Bottom fan + PSU, Front fans, Top panel (with optional panel)
- Radiator Support:
- Front: 120/240/360 mm, 140/280 mm
- Top (via bracket): 120/240/360 mm, 140/280 mm (max 35 mm MB component height)
- Rear: 120 mm
- Bottom: 120/240 mm, 140 mm
- Component Clearance:
- PSU Max Length: 300 mm
- GPU Max Length: 440 mm
- CPU Cooler Max Height: 185 mm
- Cable Routing Space: 23 mm
- Additional Lighting (RGB version): RGB: 400 mm AR-4020 ARGB strip with 20 LEDs
- Dimensions: 543 x 233 x 465 mm
- Weight: 14.8 kg
There are no fewer than four glass panels, with the front, both sides, and the top covered in a darkly-tinted glass.
Case I/O includes both USB 2.0 and 3.0 as well as a 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port.
The top panel is glass – out of the box anyhow (more on this in a moment).
And around back we have a standard mid-tower layout with the option of a vertical GPU mount.
One of the interesting aspects of this case is the alternative top panel, which goes beyond the choice of additional ventilation as the optional top bracket provides top fan mounts as well. The optional panel and bracket ship in their own padded box along with the case hardware pack.
The default top bracket holds only the tempered glass panel in place, so for mounting fans and radiators you will want to swap this out. The panels are easy to change with just four screws securing either of them, and both brackets allow full clearance for the push-button mechanism that releases the top panel.
With the brackets switched the top panel can be swapped for this ventilated one to give any top mounted fans the airflow they need.
Moving on to the interior, on the component side this is a complelely wide-open enclosure:
Fractal's excellent manual demonstrates all of the possible radiator locations in an open design like this, and with the optional top fan bracket installed the support is extensive:
Moving around inside the case we see the pre-install fans on the front and rear:
A 140 mm fan (one of the four included Prisma RGB variety) is pre-mounted to the rear for exhaust, and you can also see the vertical expansion slots for an optional GPU mount.
The front of the case holds triple 140 mm intake fans from the factory, and there seems to be adequate space up front to promote airflow (with the screen lining the front intake slots a nice touch).
The bottom of the case is vented and provides an optional install point for an SSD, and up top we can see the pre-mounted lighting strip for this RGB version.
Moving to the other side we see the same design as the previous Define S2, with 3.5-inch storage support from a trio of box-like trays along the left side and a pair of 2.5-inch trays under the motherboard tray cutout.
There is also a PWM fan hub back here that connects to an available PWM header on your motherboard for fan speed control.
Installing hard drives involves an extra step as the rubber rings that ship in the accessory kit need to be placed on the bracket. Once installed the hard drive cages re-attach with a single screw, though the added wiring from this RGB version did makes things more crowded around this side than they would otherwide have been.
I was happy to note that given the placement of each drive in its cage there were zero clearance issues with the SATA connections on the installed drive.
SSDs are as simple as possible to install, with a pair of included brackets that attach with one thumbscrew.
The power supply installation is also easy, aided by the removable bracket on the back panel. The attached PSU simply slides into place and is secured by thumbscrews.
The completed build requires a little extra care around the hard drive cages (with the RGB version and its extra cables anyhow) but once its all together the result is very clean – a good thing considering even the rear side panel is glass.
This is quite a simple build, and the Define S2 Vision is capable of housing a much more complex effort, but regardless of your component choices this is a very nice looking home for a build.
|PC Perspective Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8700K|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Memory||CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-2800|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 2070 SC2|
|Storage||CORSAIR Neutron XTi 480GB SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit|
Cooling with the fan hub connected to a system fan header on the motherboard (default fan profile) was very good, though it did result in noticable sound levels under load as the fans spooled up to keep things cool.
Noise levels were still pretty good, particularly at idle, though for the best performance there will be a tradeoff as the fans need to spin faster to keep everything cool with all tempered glass panels in place. I did not test temps and noise with the top panel swapped out, and the highly-vented optional panel will make a difference here.
The Define Vision S2 is more than just another tempered glass and RGB case, and as you work with it you will find the design details and overall quality that are a signature of every Fractal Design case. The price is definitely on the premium side at $239.99 for this RGB version, and the less RGB-inclined will be pleased to note that a "blackout" version is available for $189.99. It's hard to argue with the sophisticated looks and very high build quality, and Fractal touches like the push-button top panel release and the interesting modular top bracket design give this an even more premium feel.
Case airflow is also a little better than expected, and at the expense of some added noise a system can be kept quite cool even with the solid top panel in place. In short, this is a very well designed and realized case, and while this RGB version won't be for everyone the blackout version provides a compelling alternative at a lower price.