Fractal Design Define S Case Review 6

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Some case manufacturers have very distinguishable designs in the way that when you first lock eyes on their products, you know exactly which brand has made it.  Lian Li have a very strong sense of identity, but this particular effort is becoming harder and harder as years go by; some companies look to other companies for popular designs thus product identity is becoming a thing of the past.  One company who I don’t feel has bucked into that trend is Fractal Design, a Swedish company who has a vision and mission of creating function, but stylish products.

So what’s new with Fractal Design lately?  We have recently seen their new addition to the R series in the shape of the R5 (review can be found HERE), but what else is on the table?  Enter the Define S which focuses primarily on silence and maximising airflow performance.  Sound deadening has been added to the rear panel and Fractal Design have omitted to use any drive bays within at all.  This is to give a clear path for air flow, but in doing so, creates oodles of space which allow components to breathe, but gives users the chance to flex their water cooling muscles.

Are Fractal Design setting a new trend of clean (literally) looking and functional designs, or is the Define S an ATX case designed to disappoint me?  Let’s take a look at the specifications and take a look at the sleek Define S and find out shall we…

Specifications & Features

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini-ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 7 expansion slots
  • 3 – 3.5″ HDD positions (can also accommodate 2.5″ units); 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD/HDD unit positions
  • 9 – Fan positions (2 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans included); 8 fan positions on window model
  • Filtered fan slots in the front and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 180mm in height
  • ATX PSUs up to 180/170 mm with a bottom 120/140mm fan installed; When not using any bottom fan location longer PSUs up to 300mm can be used
  • Graphics cards up to 425 mm in length with front fans installed, without compromising HDD capacity; Graphics cards up to 450mm in length without front fans installed directly in line with the GPU
  • With a front radiator, maximum graphics card length is reduced by the radiator thickness
  • 20 – 40 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Velcro straps included for easy cable management
  • Both side panels feature smart captive thumbscrews so no thumbscrews are lost
  • Colours available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 233 x 451 x 520mm
  • Case dimensions – with feet/screws/protrusions: 233 x 465 x 533mm
  • Net weight – window version: 8.5 kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 615 x 535mm
  • Package weight – window version: 10.2 kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 3 – 120/140 mm fans (included is 1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140 mm fan (included is 1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 3 – 120/140 mm fan (not included) or 1 – 180 mm fan with 165mm hole spacing (not included)
  • Bottom: 1 – 120/140 mm fan (not included)
  • Dust filters: Bottom and front intakes


Water cooling compatibility – Radiators

  • Front – 360, 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm radiators of all thicknesses
  • Top – 420, 360, 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm radiators. (A thickness limitation of 55mm for both radiator + fan applies on 420, 280 and 140 mm radiators)
  • Bottom – 120 mm radiator (Use of radiators in the bottom position limits the PSU length to 165 mm)
  • Rear – 120 or 140 mm radiator

Water cooling compatibility – Pumps

  • Pre-drilled holes on the bottom panel, supports many DDC and D5 variants

Water cooling compatibility – Reservoirs

  • Adjustable mounting brackets allow for almost any rectangular mounting screw pattern
  • Maximum distance between the mounting bracket screw positions: 350mm height / 80mm width

Front interface

  • 2 USB 3.0
  • Audio in/out
  • Power button with LED (blue)
  • HDD activity LED (blue)
  • Reset button


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