Fractal Design Define S Tower Case

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Fractal Design Define S Tower Case

May 18, 2015 by Lawrence Lee

Fractal Design Define S
ATX Tower Case
US$90 with window

When people ask SPCR to recommend an ATX tower, we think immediately of Fractal Design's Define series. It hits all almost all the important case assets (for SPCR): no-nonsense aesthetics, modest size, reasonably good build quality, well-ventilated front panel, noise damping material, and built-in fan controller. The last two iterations, the Define R4 and R5, made 140 mm fan mounts standard on every side, and incorporated removable hard drive cages to improve graphics card compatibility. These two improvements increased its appeal to the lucrative gaming market but did so without tarnishing the underlying design.

The Define S.

The newest model, the Define S, hopes to gain traction with both budget users and watercooling enthusiasts. Physically, it looks just like the Define R5 with its recognizable ModuVent covers on the top of the case hiding each ceiling fan placement and numerous ventilation slits running down the sides of the front bezel. The physical dimensions are practically identical, as are the build materials. The Define S is a lower cost variant that lacks a fan controller and implements an interesting design twist. On the inside, all the drive cages and 5.25 inch bays have been taken out, so the front panel no longer functions as a door.

More importantly, this frees up the entire front portion of the case, allowing air to flow from up to three 140 mm fans, mostly unimpeded. 3.5 inch drives are mounted vertically on the right side of the case and there's only space for three drives rather than eight on the R5. In the space vacated by the drive cages, Fractal has included mounting points so the area can repurposed for installing a pump and reservoir. At launch, they are only offering the Define S in black for a MSRP of US$80 for the standard model and US$90 for the windowed version, $30 cheaper than the R5.



Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the retail box as it was too tightly hugged by the shipping box and extracting it wasn't worth the effort. In any event, there's nothing notable about the packaging. The side window is lined with a protective plastic covering on both sides, and it ships with a small accessory box and assembly guide. Fractal Design provides all the necessary and screws (save those for additional fans), a nut-driver for the brass standoffs, a handful of zip-ties, and reservoir mounting brackets.

Relevant Specifications: Fractal Design Define S
(from the product web page)
Motherboard Compatibility ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
Expansion Slots 7
Drive Bays 3 x 2.5/3.5" SSD/HDD
2 x 2.5" SSD/HDD
Front Interface 2 USB 3.0
Audio in/out
Power button with LED (blue)
HDD activity LED (blue)
Reset button
Cooling Features 9 x fan positions (2 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans included); 8 fan positions on window model
Filtered fan slots in the front and bottom
Fan Positions Front: 3 x 120/140 mm fans (1 x 1000 RPM fan included)
Rear: 1 x 120/140 mm fan s (1 x 1000 RPM fan included)
Top: 3 x 120/140 mm fan (not included) or 1 - 180 mm fan with 165mm hole spacing (not included)
Bottom: 1 x120/140 mm fan (not included)
Side: 1 x120/140 mm fan (non-window version only, not included)
CPU Cooler Compatibility Up to 180 mm in height
PSU Compatibility ATX models up to 300 mm in length, 180/170 mm with a bottom 120/140mm fan installed
Graphics Card Compatibility Up to 450 mm in length, 425 mm with front fans installed directly in line with the GPU
With a front radiator, maximum graphics card length is reduced by the radiator thickness
Radiator Compatibility Front: 360, 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm, all thicknesses
Top: 420, 360, 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm (thickness limitation of 55 mm for both radiator + fan applies on 420, 280 and 140 mm models)
Bottom: 120 mm (use limits PSU length to 165 mm)
Rear: 120 or 140 mm
Pump Compatibility Pre-drilled holes on the bottom panel, supports many DDC and D5 variants
Reservoir Compatibility Adjustable mounting brackets allow for almost any rectangular mounting screw pattern
Maximum distance between the mounting bracket screw positions: 350mm height / 80mm width
Cable Management 20 - 40 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
Velcro straps included for easy cable management
Colors Available Black
Package Contents Define S computer case
User manual
Accessory box
Case Dimensions
(W x H x D)
233 x 451 x 520 mm
233 x 465 x 533 mm with feet/screws/protrusions
Package Dimensions
(W x H x D)
322 x 615 x 535 mm
Net Weight 9.1 kg
Package Weight 10.8 kg

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