Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

The range of Fractal Design Define continues to expand. But this is not a new model Define R, and a new series Define C, which will be produced in a compact housing. Yet, the Swedish manufacturer introduced two models Define C and Define Mini C.

A line of Fractal Design Define is unlikely to present to our readers. Modern housing Define R5 remains in our recommendations, but Fractal Design continues to expand its popular line. Last year the market went case Define S friendly to water cooling. A few months later came the more compact model Define Nano S. this year, the manufacturer introduced two new compact models, namely Define C and Define Mini C.

The range of Fractal Design Define continues to expand. But this is not a new model Define R, and a new series Define C, which will be produced in a compact housing. Yet, the Swedish manufacturer introduced two models Define Define C and Mini C.

A line of Fractal Design Define is unlikely to present to our readers. Modern housing Define R5 remains in our recommendations, but Fractal Design continues to expand its popular line. Last year the market went case Define S friendly to water cooling. A few months later came the more compact model Define Nano S. this year, the manufacturer introduced two new compact models, namely Define C and Define Mini C.

Two new buildings have clear separation. Define C – case format midi-tower which supports ATX motherboards. And in case Define C Mini will only install motherboard format micro-ATX. In both cases, the body is more compact than many competing products. Fractal Design paid attention to the interior, which is completely revised. Compared to the same Define R5 ATX tower case Define C much less. Instead of dimensions 232 x 462 x 531 mm (W x h x d) it has dimensions of only 210 x 440 x 399 mm (W x h x d). Particularly serious was the reduced depth. If you don’t count the more compact dimensions, Define C correspond to the usual appearance of Fractal Design. Case combine simple angular shape, closed plastic front panel and aluminium trim. Housings are available with a closed isolated left pane or window.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

Fractal Design delivers both blocks Define different C user manuals, but with the same box with accessories. In addition to the mounting accessories the manufacturer has applied only to cable tension. You will also receive the dust filter with magnetic holder, which can be installed on the tank cover, if you prefer an open top with fans.

Before we proceed to the tests, let me give you the basic specifications in the table below:

Fractal Design Define C: External view

Two buildings Define C are very similar, so we will consider them together. And in the appropriate places in the review, we explain the difference between Define C and Define Mini C.

Simple plastic front panel is easily removed, it is enough to press the plastic hooks on the inside of the buildings C. Define the View panel allows you to guess about the structure of the interior of the Fractal Design Define C. thought full dust protection. There is a novelty regarding the pre-installed 120-mm fans: Fractal Design first took fans X2 Dynamic GP-12. New universal fans use a new bearing LLS with long service life (time to failure MTBF – 100,000 hours). Thanks to various optimizations we get good cooling performance with reasonable noise level. Preset fans X2 Dynamic GP-12 on 12 To operate at a rotation speed of 1,200 rpm Mounts for two 140mm or three 120mm front fans and ventilation holes on the bottom of the case is protected long dust and pollen filter. The front filter can be easily removed for cleaning after removing the front panel. The filter on the bottom of the case just pulls out without even removing the front panel. Unlike family Define R, there are no front doors and outside bays. So if you need an optical drive, to the compact housing it will have to connect through an external snap-in.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

In appearance, the two buildings differ primarily in height. With the same width and depth of the two housings model ATX Define C was higher Define Mini C 4.1, see the two buildings Define C staff are equipped with closed lid. Solid plastic panel prevents the release of noise to outside the housing through the vents. Solid front panel you can see a large power button and a small reset button. Panel I/o includes two audio interface and two black USB 3.0 port.

Optional opens a good view of the interior. But most of the segment of the motherboard you will not see. Fractal Design deliberately concealed segment of the power supply and drives.

The big advantage of “older” Define C can be called the ability to install not only a larger motherboard, but also a greater number of expansion cards. Instead of five of seven available expansion slots. In the upper portion of the rear panel preinstalled 120mm fan, the height can be adjusted. Installation of the PSU at the bottom is quite time-consuming. You can’t just plug the PSU from the enclosure, first it will have to be screwed to the mounting plate. Then the power supply is pushed into the housing from behind. At least plate can be screwed in by thumb screws. The same applies to the side panels. Conveniently, the thumb screws completely out, so they are not lost.

From below the two buildings are absolutely identical. With this perspective you can see a long dust filter and silver legs in the style of Hi-Fi with rubber pads.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

Fractal Design Define C: Interior

On the interior we get quite a lot of similarities. The design is quite modern, many newer buildings manufacturers use a similar approach. Solid strut drives in the past. As a result the upper part of the body turned into a segment of the motherboard. That improves air flow inside the case, also without any problems, you can install the longest video cards.

Expansion card is conveniently attached with thumb screws.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

One 120mm fan is almost lost in case – Fractal Design left considerable free space in the front. Therefore, nothing will interfere if the user wants to install a larger front heat exchanger. If you make some effort, it is possible to remove part of a partition between the segments of the motherboard and power supply. As a result, the height of the heat exchanger with fan can be up to 14 cm in theory, but in practice, the dimensions will limit the graphics card and motherboard. Under the cover Fractal Design left only 3 cm of space to the top end of the motherboard. About 280 mm radiators can be forgotten, but a thin 240mm heat exchangers can be installed, although there will need to be sure that the fans do not conflict with the components of the motherboard.Between the motherboard tray and the side panel of the place left a bit. However, the problem is unlikely to occur because Fractal Design have provided a special gutter for wiring on the side of the motherboard, there is more room. In it, the cables can be conveniently secured.

ATX PSU inserted into the case back, it is mounted on rubber feet. There is a small rack for two 3.5″ drives. Drives case enclosure Fractal Design will have to be screwed to a sturdy metal trays, rubber rings provide vibration isolation. The trays can be screwed and 2.5″ drives, but without vibration isolation. The stand itself is modular. It can be moved closer to the power supply (only for cropped PD) or even removed from the housing.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

To mount the motherboard tray can be screwed three 2,5″ drives. Here, too, using classic screws. Mount, in turn, is screwed to the motherboard tray with one thumb screw. It can be easily removed, for example, to screw the drives or install the backplate of the CPU cooler without removing the motherboard.

Two buildings Define C well thought out, problems with installing hardware, we have not encountered. In the hulls you can build a very neat system.

Fractal Design Define C: Test system, ventilation and air tests

Of course, the housing must be not only functional and easy to assemble. It should also provide effective cooling.

Test configuration:

We used the following test configuration:

  • The main components of the test system
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2400S
  • Cooler CPU: Scythe Yasya
  • Motherboard: Biostar H77MU3
  • Operative memory: 4096 MB 1333 MHz Crucial
  • Storage: OCZ Arc 100 240 GB SSD
  • Video card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 Ultimate
  • Operating system: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium

Temperature measurement:

To measure the maximum CPU temperature, we used the free test utility Prime95, which load the system by 30 minutes. We chose the Small FFT load, which ensures maximum heat dissipation, then recorded the maximum core temperature by using the system utility Lavalys Everest. We put the temperature for the individual cores, then divided them by the number of cores. At the same time we loaded the card demanding test Furmark.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

The evaluation mode of the temperatures in idle mode (idle system) is not nearly as interesting as manufacturers of processors and graphics cards have long implemented very good mechanisms for energy saving. For example, processor core reduce the operating voltage and frequency in case of inactivity. Therefore, the heat dissipation of components is greatly reduced.

Temperature rating:

Fractal Design has installed in the housing Define C two 120-mm fan, which thanks to modern interior design work very effectively. Temperature we got quite tolerable. Between buildings Define C and Define Mini C significant temperature difference can not be traced.

Assessment of noise level:

For noise measurements we used a sound level meter Voltcraft SL-400, which is located at a distance of 20 cm from the front of the case.

At full speed of 1,200 rpm fans X2 Dynamic GP-12 is clearly audible. Despite the sealed front panel and insulating strip, the case does not apply to the quiet models. 7 the fans were still audible. Low noise can be called only when the power to the fans from 5 V. At this speed the noise is noticeable only in very quiet surroundings. The reason lies in the relatively high minimum fan speed of 500 rpm.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

Other measurements in the overview:

We measured the maximum height of the CPU and the maximum length of the graphics card using a ruler and the distance between the motherboard tray and the side panel. To measure the thickness of the walls we used a micrometer. We also took into account data published by the manufacturer. Of course, we made some measurement errors. For this reason, we recommend that you consider the following values only for the comparative assessment, and not take them as ultimate truth.

Define C case can not be called a wide. But they provide enough space for the installation of tower coolers – 16.8 cm for options with a solid side panel and 17 cm for variants without a window.

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

Fractal Design Define C: Conclusion

The housing Define R5 can be called a perfect universal model of Fractal Design. The case rests on a classic interior design with rack storage, multiple mounts for SSD/HDD, there is even the possibility you connect the drive outside. But a body takes a lot. Just new buildings and Define C and Define Mini C intended to reduce the occupied space. With them, the manufacturer refused to stand drives installing HDD/SSD is provided in a small rack in the segment of the PSU or behind the motherboard tray.

The advantages are obvious: body depth is no longer calculated, based on the length of the video card and rack drives, the second parameter is left the past. In the segment of motherboards without stand drives improves air flow and looks more neat. The buildings Define C power supply and drives are hidden in its segment. Unlike the Define R5, for a cooling answer only two 120-mm fan. In combination with the free segment of the motherboard, they provide decent cooling at full speed. But to the quiet category, the case no longer applies. To reduce the noise level to barely audible threshold the fans will be very hard to slow down. In addition, the back panel has no place to install a 140 mm fan. But like the fans, if necessary, you can use the front panel or under the hood. The possibility of ITS installation in the housing Define C not as extensive as in Define S, but the front can still be installed the heat exchanger format to 360 mm (max 280 mm at the Define Mini C).

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures

In some places the compact dimensions of the case lead to its limits. The first we have already mentioned: on the rear panel can be installed only 120 mm fan. Between the motherboard tray and the side panel space is very limited. The most convenient place for installation of the heat exchanger, FITTING the front panel, but it restricts the space for the graphics card. With the cabling really is not a problem because the manufacturer has provided a separate trench from the side of the motherboard. And the height of the cooler there are no special restrictions – will fit most tower models on the market. Overall, restriction is quite justified, given the dimensions of the body.

The most obvious alternative to the housings Define C to be the line of the Define. The Define R5 is an alternative for users who need more bays or just a more classic design. The advantages include the presence of a fan controller. Define S case from Fractal Design, on the other hand, is more convenient in cases when you have to install ITS. As for housings from other manufacturers on the market, we can note some patterns similar to Fractal Design Define C. This applies, for example, Aerocool P7-C1-Tempered Glass Edition interior which can be seen through the window of real glass. The body has and RGB-backlight. Define C but brings modern design in very compact dimensions. Housing is much less than other ATX models such as Thermaltake Core G3, although compromises here anymore. As far as alternatives Micro-ATX with a structure similar to Define Mini C, here you can mention the same MasterCase Cooler Master Pro 3. This model is in some ways more innovative, and thanks to the FreeForm technology, the housing can be modified in the future. But the case is even larger ATX models Define C.

The advantages of the line Define C well noticeable when compared to alternative models with similar design. Fractal Design make use of the possibilities of modern design, offering a compact yet functional case. We also get the usual advantages of Fractal Design, namely the simple design and measures to reduce noise. Finally, the price is also exhibited correctly: Define C is not only smaller, but also cheaper than the Define R5. All this allows us to award our awards “Great iron”.

Advantages Fractal Design Define C/Mini C:

  • Modern design, compact and convincing
  • Neat interior with two segments combined well with (optional) window
  • Regular cooling performance is quite good, with a reduced rotation speed, we obtained low noise levels (including through additional measures for reduction of noise)
  • Mounts for 140 mm fans under the hood and behind the front panel
  • Enough space for cables
  • Modular rack HDD
  • Removable dust filter on the bottom of the case and the front panel

Disadvantages Fractal Design Define C/Mini C:

  • Due to the compact design, a number of small restrictions
  • To install the drives requires a screwdriver
  • Staff housing is not equipped with a fan controller

Source: fractal-design

Fractal Design Define C and Define Mini C test and review: a new family of compact enclosures was last modified: November 5th, 2016 by Casey Rembrandt