Fractal Design Define C Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

Both side panels are easily removable on the Fractal Design Define C. With the thumbscrews, you can open it up without needing any tools. These thumbscrews are fixed to the side panels, which makes them harder to lose. Once the thumbscrews are loosened, you can slide the panel out of its position to get inside. The left panel, specifically for this version, has a nice plastic window to allow users to view their components inside. However, a non-windowed version is also available for the Define C. If you get this variant, the left panel will also be layered with noise insulation material. I think I would have at least liked to see the rim around the plastic window padded down, but it is not a huge deal.

The internal layout on the Define C is pretty straightforward, and is similar to the Fractal Design Define S, with the removal of some front elements for a slimmed down design. Compact is the name of the game; optical drive bays and drive cages are a no-show in this area. Unlike the Define S, the Fractal Design Define C uses a dual chamber design, with majority all of the components sitting in the area you can see above, including the motherboard and graphics card. Underneath the dividing shroud is where the power supply and storage drives reside. As you should know by now, the Define C is an ATX case, but smaller form factor motherboards such as micro ATX and mini ITX can fit inside. As such, mounting risers are not pre-installed.

Starting at the back, we have a pretty standard setup. At the very back, we have the Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm fan. This is actually updated from the Define Nano S and Define S. This voltage-controlled fan has similar specifications, with a maximum rotational speed of 1200 RPM, maximum airflow of 52.3 CFM, and maximum pressure of 0.88mm H2O. However, the difference comes from a mean time before failure of 100,000 hours, which is approximately eleven and a half years. This is more than double of the original Dynamic GP-12 fan. Once again, you can see the seven white expansion slot brackets here, held in with a thumbscrew per slot. Finally, you can see the power supply shroud. This cover is not completely solid, with the slits revealed in the image above, allowing the air to move between the two regions.

At the front, we have another 120mm Dynamic X2 GP-12. As mentioned previously, up to a maximum of three 140mm fans or a single 360mm radiator can be placed here. However, this is with a caveat. In order to install such a long radiator, the front area has to be removed. As you can see, there is a cutout at the front, which allows a radiator or fans to slide through. However, underneath this area is also a storage bracket, which is also the only area you can install 3.5" drives. This means if you want to have such a large radiator here, you cannot have a 3.5" drive in this system. However, for radiators 280mm and smaller, they should just fit without needing to remove anything else, other than the included fan. This tradeoff is completely understandable, though it should be considered for people with 360mm radiators.

From this photo, you can see the opening for the back of the motherboard here, which has definitely enough room for access in order to mount any third party CPU cooler. The top of the case is also revealed here. There is a large ventilation area, which allows you to attach up to two 140mm fans, or a radiator with a maximum size of 240mm at the top. One of the main reasons the larger 280mm radiator cannot fit here is the fact there is not a whole lot of room between the ceiling and the motherboard, which means there is not necessarily a lot of room for radiator clearance. Finally, there are two routing holes located near the front side of the case, with rubber grommets flanking them for a neater cabling appearance. As you will see, all of the major routing holes have rubber grommets, which is great to see.

Looking at the back of the Fractal Design Define Nano S, and we have a pretty standard picture here, though on a shallower scale. Much like the rest of the case, the back is a similar layout to the Define S, but once again with some changes. In the valley near the front, you can route your cables through this area. Approximately 35mm of space between the frame and sliding panel exists here. There are three Velcro straps that go in the standard routing areas used to keep all the loose cables tidy. The full black I/O cables routed here include the USB 3.0 header, LED and power button connections, and the HD audio header. These are pretty standard, and while they may not be shielded the way Fractal Design does with some of their other cases, these wires are good enough. In the middle are all the cabling holes with rubber grommets. Finally, to the right of the divide, we have two things to note. One is the fact this area is shallower for cabling, as the gap between the motherboard backing and the right side panel reduces to 15mm. The other is the 2.5" drive tray, capable of holding up to three drives, located at the back of the motherboard tray opening. Again, it is held on with a thumbscrew, which stays attached to the sled. As I have mentioned before, the right side panel has Fractal Design's excellent sound dampening material, which makes it a bit heavier, but not by too much.

At the bottom of the case under the shroud, we have a spot for the power supply. ATX PSUs can fit here, with a maximum given length of 175mm. This being said, a smaller unit will allow for more room to use for cable management. The bottom has four metal risers topped with foam to hold the power supply, while reducing any vibrations. Closer to the front is a hard drive bracket with sliding trays. The bracket and the trays are both made with metal, though the screw holes are lined with rubber pads to reduce vibration between your installed storage options and the bay. Two 3.5" or 2.5" drives can be installed here.


Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion