Fractal Design Define Nano S Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

Both side panels are easily removable on the Fractal Design Define Nano S. With the thumbscrews, you can open it up without needing any tools. Also, these thumbscrews are fixed to the side panels, which make it 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 Nano S. 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 Nano S is pretty straightforward, and is similar to the NZXT Manta, with the removal of the front bay area to get better airflow. Thus we do not have any slots specified for drives at the front of the case, although there are mounting options should you want to place a drive here. Optical drive bays or 5.25" drive bays are a no-show as well, but barely anyone even uses them nowadays, so this omission is almost expected. Unlike the Manta, the Fractal Design Define Nano S uses a single chamber design, with almost all of the components sitting in the area you can see above, including the motherboard, power supply, and graphics card. Storage drives again can be placed here, but there are also options to mount at the back. As you should know by now, the Define Nano S is a mini-ITX case, and so only a mITX form factor motherboard can fit inside. Mounting risers are pre-installed for you already.

Starting at the back, we have a pretty standard setup. At the very back, we have the Fractal Design Dynamic GP-12 120mm fan. This voltage-controlled fan has a maximum rotational speed of 1200 RPM, maximum airflow of 52.3 CFM, and maximum pressure of 0.88mm H2O. It also has a mean time before failure of 40000 hours, which is approximately four and a half years. You can see the opening for the back of the motherboard, which has definitely enough room for access, in order to mount any third party CPU cooler. You may notice a backplate on the flip side of the motherboard hole, which is a dual 2.5" drive sled.

The top of the case is hidden in the shadows, mainly because the ModuVent is attached in the photo. However, there is a large ventilation area, which allows you to attach up to two 140mm fans, but a radiator with a maximum size of 240mm at the top. One of the main reasons for the discrepancy 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. Another thing to note is the lack of mesh filtering here. With the ModuVent attached, there is no concern for dust settling in from this area. However, if users end up using this for ventilation, they will have to remove the top cover, and having a dust filter here would have been a nice inclusion. Finally, there are two routing holes located near the top, and these have rubber grommets around each to make for a neater cabling appearance. As you will see, all of the major routing holes have rubber grommets, which is great to see.

At the bottom of the case, we have a spot for the power supply. ATX PSUs can fit here, with a maximum given length of 160mm. This being said, a smaller unit will allow for more room to use for cable management. You can see a cabling hole is here near the bottom to route your power cables through. The bottom has four metal risers topped with foam to hold the power supply, while reducing any vibrations. The back also has a foam liner between the metal case and where the power supply would be affixed, which helps in reducing vibrations. Finally, you can see the full black I/O cables routed here. This includes the USB 3.0 header, LED and power button connections, and audio header. These cables 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.

The entire bottom is ventilated, again helping with airflow out of the power supply and the rest of the case. The bottom of the case could hold a 120mm fan, but it is limited by the power supply length and removable bracket. The bracket is intended to let users mount a water cooler pump and reservoir at the bottom. This being said, most users using liquid cooling will probably find the pump and reservoir mounting option more useful than a fan.

At the front, we have a single 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic GP-14. This fan is rated at 1000 RPM, airflow of 68.4 CFM, and maximum air pressure of 0.71mm H2O. As mentioned previously, up to a maximum of two 140mm fans or a single 280mm radiator can be placed here. However, this is with a caveat. The front area only has rows of large slits in the front, and this is to possibly place storage drives or other water cooling components using the bottom mounting sled. However, with the fan mounted on the inside of the case, 3.5" drives will interfere with either the front fans, the top fans, or the routing holes, depending on the mounting location. Thus you can see there are some compromises to get everything fitted into such a small chassis, but the physical limitations are understandable. In addition, there is still a sense of modularity, even if at the expense of other components. Once again, it is good to see the routing holes having their proper rubber grommets.

Looking at the back of the Fractal Design Define Nano S, and we have a pretty standard picture here. Much like the rest of the case, the back is a similar layout to the Define S. We have two sections separated by the cabling holes in the center. To the left of these holes we have another bracket, used for mounting 3.5" and 2.5" storage drives and accessories. Your drive would screw into a plate, and the whole plate will be mounted onto this area, attached with a fixed thumbscrew. This area is also used to put most of your excess cabling, as we have approximately 35mm in room between the frame and sliding panel. In the middle are all the cabling holes with rubber grommets. There are also three Velcro straps that go in the standard routing areas, used to keep all the loose cables tidy and stopping them from flying around. Finally, to the right of the divide, we have two things to note. One is the fact this area is shallower for cabling, as only 17mm of gap is provided. Secondly, we have the dual 2.5" drive trays, 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.

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