Fractal Design Define C Review (Page 1 of 4)

By: Aaron Lai
February 10, 2017

As someone who is in their first year of being in the working world, I think it is important to set a reputation around the office for who you are. Personally, I aim for positive traits such as being helpful, knowledgeable, and a hard worker. On the other hand, there are more neutral traits, and recently I have been labelled as the bad punner. A few weeks back, several of my co-workers went out for a lunch. While we were waiting for our lunch to arrive, one of my co-workers picked up the pepper shaker bottle and pretended to throw it at someone else. Being quick with my tongue, I immediately said, "You better not throw the other one, or that would be classified as... a-salt". I was met with silence for a split-second, followed by snorts and laughter. One guy congratulated me on telling such a bad joke it was good. While I am quite content with being seen as the one with dad jokes at the office, I think it is still important to develop a positive reputation, because this is how people will remember you by. Today, we have a Fractal Design case with an eerily similar design. Fractal Design has built up its reputation for its unassuming appearances combined with solid quality. When they announced the Define C, I thought I was seeing double or even triple, as it looked like another version of the Define S, and slightly larger than the Define Nano S. With the C-version, which is short for compact, I have to wonder if this Fractal Design case follows in the same Scandinavian reputation. Let us "C", as we take a closer look at the Fractal Design Define C!

Today's review unit of the Fractal Design Define C arrived from the manufacturer's USA headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA. Shipping with UPS Standard, this package arrived to our APH Networks offices here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As you can see from the packaging, it arrived in relatively good condition, with no noticeable dents or scratches. The retail container itself is a standard state of affairs, using the same brown corrugated cardboard box we have seen from Fractal Design in the past.

Out of the box, we have the Define C wrapped in a plastic bag, and held between two large foam brackets. The bag itself is good in preventing any surface scratches during shipping. The foam brackets also help in preventing any damage should anything happen during movement. Furthermore, the window on the side is covered in plastic on both sides to ensure there are no scratches on the plastic window. Just to note, there are actually two versions of the Define C; one with a window, and one without. There is also the Fractal Define Design Mini C, with its window and non-window variants as well. The Mini C however is targeted at micro ATX-sized motherboards. Otherwise, we have a small installation manual explaining how to install your parts into the case. Fractal Design is one of the better manufacturers in providing clear and concise instructions, but of course, you readers are probably more interested in the case, so we will throw aside all these other things, and take a closer look at the Fractal Design Define C.

Before doing so, you can peruse the features and specifications of the product, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

- Define Series sound dampening with ModuVent™ technology for silent operation in a compact micro ATX form factor
- Optimized for high airflow and silent computing
- Side and front panels are lined with industrial-grade sound dampening material
- Flexible storage options with room for up to 5 drives
- Comes with two preinstalled Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm fans optimized to deliver maximum airflow while still maintaining a low noise level
- Open air designed interior creates an unobstructed airflow path from the front intake to the rear exhaust
- Easy-to-clean high airflow nylon filters on the front and base with full PSU coverage and front access for convenience.
- Includes optional top filter to prevent dust buildup when ModuVent is removed for additional fan slots.
- Power supply shroud conceals drive cage and excess cabling for an even quieter and cleaner looking interior free of airflow obstructions 

- ATX, Micro ATX and ITX motherboard compatibility
- 7 expansion slots
- 2 - 3.5" HDD positions; 3 - 2.5" dedicated SSD unit positions
- 7 - Fan positions (2 Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP12 120mm fans included)
- Filtered fan slots in the front, top and bottom (ejects from the front of the case)
- CPU coolers up to 168mm in height
- ATX PSUs up to 175mm deep
- Graphics cards up to 315mm in length with front fans mounted
- 15 - 35mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
- Velcro straps included for easy cable management
- Both side panels and rear HDD/SSD brackets feature smart captive thumbscrews
- Dense sound dampening material on front, left and right side panels
- ModuVent™ on top of case for further silent computing or additional ventilation
- Colours available: Black
- Case dimensions (LxWxH): 399 x 210 x 440mm
- Case dimensions - with feet/protrusions/screws: 413 x 210 x 453mm
- Net weight: 6.8 kg
- Package dimensions (LxWxH): 543 x 290 x 484mm
- Package weight: 8.4 kg

A small white cardboard accessory box is found inside the case, and you can see all the different screws and other mounting accessories here. There are five bags of screws used for mounting the motherboard, power supply, and storage drives. The box these parts are contained in also displays where each screw or standoff is supposed to be used. There are also several small black zip-ties to help with cable management.

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