Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

Consistent with its exterior, the interior of the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout is also well finished with all surfaces painted matte black. To further accentuate its Blackout color scheme, the back expansion slot covers and hard drive trays are painted black as well, as shown in our photo above. The conventional layout has the power supply mounted at the bottom behind a shroud with the rest of the room allocated for the motherboard for maximum airflow. Generally speaking, everything is quite traditional as far as ATX computer cases are concerned. It is a lot like the Fractal Design Define R6, which is a very good thing.

The Define S2 Vision Blackout is able to accommodate mITX, mATX, ATX, and eATX motherboards up to 285mm wide. The riser mounting holes are labeled for users who are not familiar with building their own computers. One 140mm pre-installed rear exhaust fan is situated around the CPU socket area of a standard ATX motherboard. The stock fan is a 1000 rpm Dynamic X2 GP-14 from Fractal Design and features a 4-pin PWM motherboard header. Three 120mm or 140mm fans or a radiator of equivalent size can be installed at the top of the case with the cooling bracket installed. As mentioned on the previous page, the upper vent is sealed off by default by a tempered glass panel.

As shown in our photo above, we can also spot a large rectangular opening on the motherboard tray for easy aftermarket heatsink backplate installation without removing the motherboard itself from the chassis. The opening is actually large enough to accommodate pretty much anything. I mean, with something this big, unless you have some wacko motherboard, it is hard not to get it right. The perimeter of the opening is not lined with rubber, but the edges are well rounded off, so you do not need to worry about your cables being stripped accidentally.

Because the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout features a bottom mounted power supply bay, the chassis platform is raised about 1.5cm off the ground to accommodate units with fans at the bottom. Inside the Define S2 Vision Blackout, metal bumps with rubber toppings at the top elevates the power supply up a further half centimeter just to ensure enough air is made available to your PSU. A plastic bracket is designed to be attached to your power supply, and is held on by two captive thumbscrews. The honeycomb grille has an externally removable dust filter pre-installed, so you will not need to worry about nasty stuff clogging your fans down the road.

There is only one thermal zone inside the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout, since the shroud separating the main chamber and the power supply chamber is fully ventilated. Cables can be routed through the large opening on the shroud adjacent to your power supply. Other cables can go through the two large openings on the right side of the motherboard tray. As always, rubber grommets are present on all openings to keep everything looking neat and tidy. For unused cables, it can stay underneath the shroud. Two SSDs can go on top of the shroud should you choose to relocate the two trays from the back of your motherboard here. The shroud extension plate can also accommodate one SSD tray. I think Fractal Design should have included at least two more SSD trays out of the box, since there are five dedicated SSD locations that are not mutually exclusive to each other.

The open layout Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout allows unobstructed airflow with its three included 4-pin PWM Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 140mm fans. These fans draw cool air into the system from the front, and can be swapped for three 120mm fans or a radiator of equivalent size. The longest video card you can fit in the Define S2 Vision Blackout is 440mm in the open layout. Obviously, no graphics card is that long, so I consider it virtually unlimited.

Here is a look at other side of the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout. The back of the motherboard tray is quite fundamental to good cabling. This is especially held true with the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout, since it is normal practice to cables through this section. With this model, the company kept gap wide; the amount of room between the side panel and motherboard tray is a decent 23mm. Users will generally not experience problems if you own a power supply with thick cables. There is room here for two SSD installations. You can also install three 2.5" or 3.5" drives in the trays on the rack. There is an integrated cabling guide; two Velcro straps allow for easy organization in this area. Other than that, lots of openings can be found so you can fish your cables through, and they are large and wide to carry everything you need. Rubber grommets are found at all openings, which is a very nice touch. I have actually had cases in the past where cables started rattling against the metal frame, and trust me -- that could be annoying. The rubber grommets are clipped on pretty well, but if you rip your cables through these holes during your build, they may become loose, although it is not a significant problem.

The built-in Nexus 9P fan hub can control up to nine PWM fans via your motherboard. It is not as advanced as the one found in the NZXT H700i, but this also means additional software is not required. Two bottom 120mm or 140mm fans or a radiator of equivalent size can be installed into the Define S2 Vision Blackout. Depending on the number of bottom fans installed, Fractal Design claims the Define S2 Vision Blackout can take power supplies up to 300mm long. Of course, at this point, we can also consider it virtually unlimited, because I do not believe something of such a size exists in the world.

Before we close off this section, there are just two more things I want to talk about. Firstly, the Define S2 Vision Blackout's I/O connector cables are top notch, as I have always expected from the company. While most chassis manufacturers provide a bunch of colorful wires that looks like it came straight from an electronics lab, Fractal Design took the effort to bundle them up into nice black cables. Secondly, it is interesting to see a Fractal Design Define series case with no sound insulation. I guess times have changed. The company used to make cases with only solid steel panels with sound absorbing materials; now everything is replaced by tempered glass. With all this in mind, it is clear why the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout tips the scales at almost 27 lbs. Dust filters in every opening. Pretty much every panel is made out of darkly tinted glass. No corners cut anywhere. There is so much that went into the build of this chassis, it is no doubt Fractal Design is still the king of unbelievably refined cases.

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