Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
The installation process was extremely straightforward with the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout. For the most part, it was very easy to work with as far as a standard mid-tower is concerned. Out of preference, I installed my Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K motherboard first, followed by the rest of my components. It does not matter what you install first, since they will all work out just as well in the end. I was a bit worried my SilverStone Tundra TD02-LITE radiator could not be mounted anywhere other than the top, which would require me to get rid of the glass panel, but thankfully, the tubes were just long enough for the front. Making it side ventilated like the NZXT H700i, while keeping the mounting brackets optional by a removable panel like the current design, would allow users with kits that do not have long enough tubes to install a radiator here and keep the glass top panel at the same time.
Executing a good cabling job was also very easy on the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout. There are two large openings adjacent to the motherboard on the right, so choose your half. They are all appropriately placed for routing cables through, whether they are from your power supply or your hard drive, with proper rubber grommets for both looks and vibration dampening. The rubber grommets are clipped onto place, but they stay reasonably secure unless you use excessive force. Unless you count thumbscrews as tool-free, installation of most components will require you to keep your screwdriver handy. I do not have much beef against this though, since it is usually much more secure, and it is not like I will take my computer apart occasionally anyway. The Define S2 Vision Blackout will give you no surprises.
The rest of the installation process came and went just as smoothly as I continued to install the rest of my components like the Seasonic Platinum 1000W via the removable PSU bracket. I connected all the fans to the Nexus 9P fan hub, which was connected to my motherboard. Meanwhile, SSD installation was extremely simple as well; I simply aligned my Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB with the proper holes at the bottom of the drive tray and attached four screws. After all the necessary screws are attached, clip it to the back of the motherboard tray, make the proper connections and you are good to go, as shown in our photo above.
Thanks to the cable management section behind the motherboard tray, organizing the modular cables from my Seasonic power supply was a breeze. Pushing all the case I/O cables through the large bottom opening adjacent to the motherboard on the PSU shroud delivered excellent accessibility to anything that requires a connection to my Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K. The large motherboard tray cutout also made the installation of my SilverStone Tundra TD02-LITE's water block as smooth as possible.
After plugging in everything, our system configured inside the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout was ready to roll. I hit the large power button at the top and my computer came to life. No RGB LEDs are included; you will have to buy the actual Fractal Design Define S2 Vision RGB for RGB LED fans and lighting strip.
On a scale from 0.0 to 10.0 where 0.0 is silent and 10.0 is the loudest, the stock Dynamic X2 GP-14 fans would come in at 2.0 subjective sound rating at full blast. That is very impressive. Slowing them down will keep it at around 1.0 in my personal opinion. I am quite sensitive to perceived sound volume, and as a quiet PC enthusiast, the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout is extremely impressive by any metric. The hydraulic bearing fans have a smooth-running motor with no annoying noise during operation. There is no sound insulation material to further dampen the sound, but everything was already very quiet out of the box, and the thick tempered glass kept everything else in check.
Given the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout is an all-glass version of the Define S2 we reviewed earlier this year, you can make an educated guess on what we are going to talk about in the conclusion of this review: The Define S2 Vision Blackout continues the company's excellent tradition of clean and inoffensive design, relentless attention to detail, high emphasis on performance, and an uncompromising attitude towards quality. There are fan filters everywhere, comes with a front panel USB Type-C port, and even has a small internal improvement over the regular Define S2 with its all-PWM Dynamic X2 GP-14 stock fans powered by a built-in Nexus 9P fan hub. The fact every panel is made out of 33% tinted glass is stunning, and every glass panel has excellent optical clarity with no observable distortion. Sure, it makes the case heavy and fragile -- seriously, do not bump it on anything -- but it is a price to pay when you use a material that has captured the imagination of people for thousands of years. There is simply nothing like glass. Of course, with this case in the near-perfection realm, I have a few recommendations for improvement. First, make the top side-ventilated so users do not have to choose between having a glass top or cooling fans. Secondly, the ball and socket panel attachment mechanism is easy to use, but a latch is more secure. Thirdly, include more 2.5" SSD trays. Lastly, a more advanced fan controller with integrated RGB control like NZXT's HUE will really up the game for Fractal Design. Of course, most of these things are on the periphery. For $190 at press time, the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout is simply one of the best cases money can buy, now equipped with more glass panels than you could ever ask for.
Fractal Design provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Recommended Award | APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that are not likely going to matter to the end user.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 8.0/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Fractal Design Define S2 Vision Blackout is a stunning virtually all-glass chassis that does not compromise on quality or performance.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion