The Swedish manufacturer Fractal Design has long been famous for its buildings with a severe Scandinavian design. But Fractal Design Focus G line has undergone a period of time: for the first time Fractal Design has installed fans with LED-backlights in the case.The case entered our test lab, so it will be interesting to check the work of the illumination in practice, and also to assess the internal qualities of the case.
Fractal Design cases are very popular among enthusiasts in Russia. In addition to special measures for soundproofing, the enclosures can offer the sophisticated buyer a strict but stylish design that differs from the colorful game casings. However, with the line Fractal Design Focus G still aimed at users who would like to get more variety. We still do not get game design, but both Fractal Design Focus G models are equipped with LED-backlit fans.
But the task of the Fractal Design Focus G line is somewhat different – it came to replace the Core cases, so it is oriented to the lower segment of the market. So far, in the series, two models are planned, except for the tested Midi-Tower Fractal Design Focus G case, the Fractal Design Focus G Mini is announced in a more compact Mini-Tower format, which holds only Micro-ATX motherboards. The recommended price is $ 59. Two fans Fractal Design Silent Series LL 120mm with white LED-illumination are supplied with both cases. A larger Focus G can be ordered in different colors, namely black, white, blue, red and gray.
The scope of delivery includes a user’s manual, mounting accessories and four cable tighteners.
The exterior of the Fractal Design Focus G casing in the Midi-Tower format can be called unremarkable. Some variety is made by the mesh front panel and a large side window, which gamers should like. The dimensions of the case are 205 x 444 x 464 mm (W x H x D), so the Fractal Design Focus G is one of the most compact ATX cases. The weight of the case is also relatively small, only 4.5 kg.
The mesh front panel is framed by a glossy frame. In the original packaging, the frame is protected from scratches by the film, the same applies to the side window. It is interesting to note two 5.25 “trays in the upper part of the front panel – they are encountered less often in new cases.
At the bottom of the glossy frame you can see the manufacturer’s logo. After switching on the system, the white LEDs of the two front fans start to glow through. In front of them is installed a textile filter, which protects against the penetration of dust inside the case. The filter completely covers the front panel, it is installed between the metal and plastic mesh, so it is not easy to get it. But the front panel can be easily removed, and then cleaned with a filter.
A large window of plexiglass on the left panel opens a view of the interior of the case and installed accessories.
On the opposite side, you can see the bulge to facilitate the laying of cables. Both side panels are screwed to the body with knurled screws. And the screws remain attached to the panels even after unscrewing, so they will not be lost. Both complete fans are installed behind the front panel, so there is no rear fan. It’s a shame, as his absence can negatively affect the test results, but we will return to this issue a little later.
Fractal Design, on the other hand, did not save on the dust filter, which is installed over the two fan mounts under the lid. Note that the mounts are biased towards the left side of the chassis. Such asymmetry may not be pleasant to someone, but it is necessary at the right time, if it is required to install a heat exchanger under the lid. Officially, a 240 mm heat exchanger can be installed in the enclosure. But since only 3 cm is left between the lid and the top edge of the motherboard, conflicts can occur with high memory slots or high components of the motherboard. So we recommend checking the available space before buying / installing the radiator under the lid. Of course, it is possible to install the heat exchanger behind the front panel of the case, here it is compatible with 280 mm models.
The power and reset buttons are located in the front of the cover, as are the interfaces. The case is inexpensive, so we were not surprised by the presence of just one USB 3.0 port. The second USB port supports only USB 2.0. Two 3.5-mm audio jacks are also available.
The discharge vent of the power supply unit and the optional 120 mm fan on the bottom of the housing are protected from dust by a removable plastic grill. Of course, more expensive cases often use more effective and convenient dust protection solutions, but still Fractal Design Focus G boasts anti-dust filters in front of all the blowing vent holes, as well as under the lid. Savings are visible on the legs, which consist of a simple hard plastic.
Fractal Design Focus G is a relatively compact ATX model, but the interior seems very spacious. However, there are not so many components inside the case. At the bottom is a small HDD rack, in which you can install two hard drives or SSD. Under the cover you can see a 5.25 “rack for two drive slots.
In the case you can install up to seven expansion cards – they are attached with knurled screws. The ATX power supply is mounted on rubber feet and screwed to the rear panel.
5.25 “drives are also screwed in. But, as in the case of expansion cards, Fractal Design provided knurled screws, so a screwdriver is not needed. The stand is fixed to the body with rivets.
With HDD / SSD, the situation is better. It is screwed with screws, so the rack can be removed if necessary. For example, to mount a front heat exchanger. However, with most radiators, this is not required, since the distance between the front air vents and the rack is 5 cm. 3.5 “hard drives are mounted in trays without the aid of a screwdriver, after which they are simply inserted into the rack. 2,5 “drives have to be screwed to the trays with a screwdriver.
The Fractal Design Focus G cable management system is the simplest. Unfortunately, in the motherboard’s hole the holes are not protected with rubber caps, the tray itself extends hardly beyond the ATX motherboards. Therefore, the cables can not be completely hidden. But, at least, they can be laid behind the motherboard’s tray, so that they do not interfere with the airflow.
Even with the HDD / SSD stand removed, the user will be able to install a 2.5 “drive – behind the motherboard tray there is a corresponding 2.5” mount. The drive is simply screwed to the tray. It is located at the level of the power supply, so if you later want to replace the drive, you have to shoot the PSU.
Thanks to the very spacious interior and the unassembled assembly of most components, we easily installed the system in the housing of the Fractal Design Focus G. As you can see from the photo, you can not completely hide the cables.
Through the large window you can enjoy the look of the components. In the dark, the white illumination of the front fans is clearly visible. Even more beautiful it looks in front.
Of course, the enclosure should not only be functional and easy to assemble. It must also provide efficient cooling.
To measure the maximum temperature of the processor, we used a free test utility Prime95, which loaded the system for 30 minutes. We chose the Small FFT load, which provides maximum heat dissipation, and then fixed the maximum core temperature with the Lavalys Everest system utility. We stacked the temperatures for individual nuclei, and then divided them by the number of cores. At the same time, we loaded the graphics card with a demanding Furmark test.
The mode of temperature estimation in idle mode (idle operation of the system) is not so interesting, since processors and video card manufacturers have implemented very good energy saving mechanisms for a long time. For example, the processor cores reduce the operating voltage and frequency in case of inactivity. Therefore, the heat emission of components is significantly reduced.
Our measurements are shown in the following diagram:
Two LED-fans beautifully shine behind the front panel, but the cooling performance is not optimal. In this configuration, only with the front fans the CPU temperature is noticeably higher. But to improve the cooling is quite simple: it is enough to transfer one of the two front fans back, after which the CPU temperature will drop significantly.
To measure the noise level, we used a Voltcraft SL-400 noise meter, which was located 20 cm from the housing.
In terms of noise, the case is below average. The reason lies in the fact that the sound of two front fans directly went to our sound level meter. Yet the front panel here is mesh, not solid, as in the cases of the Define line. Subjectively, the operation of the fans is well audible (at 12 V they work at 1,200 rpm), but the noise level can not be called annoying.
We measured the maximum height of the CPU cooler and the maximum length of the video card using a tape measure, as well as the distance between the tray for the motherboard and the side panel. To measure the thickness of the walls, we used a micrometer. We also took into account the data published by the manufacturer. Of course, in doing so, we made certain errors in the measurement. For this reason, we recommend that the following values be considered only for comparative evaluation, and not take them as the ultimate truth.
In the case of Fractal Design Focus G you can install coolers up to 16.5 cm high, which is why many tower models on the market are suitable.
In many cases, the maximum length of the video card is reachable only in the upper slots or after removing the HDD rack. But in the case of Fractal Design Focus G, the HDD rack is located below the motherboard, so a long video card up to 38 cm can be installed in any expansion slot.
Many manufacturers buckle the motherboard tray so that there is more space for the cables. And Fractal Design was no exception. Immediately behind the motherboard tray for the cables left 1.7 cm, but next to the channel for cable laying, we get already 2.5 cm.
Since Fractal Design Focus G belongs to inexpensive cases, the manufacturer had to save on materials. Sometimes the thickness of the steel side panels is only 0.5 mm. Fortunately, with Fractal Design we got a little more – 0.65 mm.
If you thought that all Fractal Design cases look the same, the Fractal Design Focus G line makes a difference. Of course, the Swedish manufacturer continues to focus on pure forms and lines, but now the front panel is mesh, through which two fans with LED are shining through. Gamers like this body will certainly like more than the modest model Define. The regular configuration of the fans was not the most efficient for cooling, since both fans are moved forward. The combination of one front and one rear fan provided the best cooling results in our test system.
The noise level, too, can not be called optimal. Due to the mesh front panel, the noise of the front fans goes out without hindrance. If you like quiet systems, then the fan speed is desirable to reduce. However, still remember the price of Fractal Design Focus G. Of course, Fractal Design produces enclosures with richer equipment and better configuration flexibility, but they cost significantly more than $ 100, not $ 59 in this case. Fractal Design had to go for some saving measures to reduce the price. But the Fractal Design Focus G remains a very practical Midi Tower, which is perfect for assembling a high-performance gaming PC. It provides enough space for the components, and also offers good additional features to strengthen the cooling system. Inside it is possible to install a water cooling system with a double heat exchanger. And if you have a DVD or Blu-ray collection at home, then two slots for 5.25 “drives will come in handy.The assembly of the components is very user friendly.Many components can be installed without the help of a screwdriver.In front of the blowing ventilation holes (front and bottom) Filters are also protected and optional fan mounts under the cover.The manufacturer has also provided the simplest cabling behind the motherboard tray, but at least they will not interfere with the airflow inside the casing.
In our test lab came another comparable case Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-04. This Midi Tower has a slightly more aggressive design, it comes with one front fan, also with a backlight. Corsair has abandoned the 5.25 “rack, but offers five hard drive and SSD mounts, but the HDD / SSD is closer to the front panel, it needs to be removed to install a 240-mm front heat exchanger, and the Corsair case is slightly more modest. Compared to the Fractal Design Focus G, the case does not have a dust filter under the cover, vibration isolation of 3.5 “hard drives, a second front fan and knurled screws for mounting expansion cards. In addition, Fractal Design put on the body of Fractal Design Focus G slightly lower price.
Of course, with some shortcomings will have to accept, but the case Fractal Design with LED-fans quite convinced us in the tests. You will get a basic Midi Tower model at a reasonable price. Therefore, we award the Fractal Design Focus G with our “Price / Quality” award.