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 Post subject: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 6:49 pm 
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/Fractal_Design_Define_S


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Nice review, thanks. I was a little surprised to see SPCR choosing the windowed version instead of the nicely damped solid side panel though. I wonder if that was part of the problem with the hard drive vibration issue? That window looks like a great design for a case vibration amplifier, especially since you mentioned it was mounted a bit loosely. Has anyone done a direct comparison between say an R5 with and without the window? I wonder how much difference it really makes. Another reason to go all-SSD. I'm so tired of all the various hard drive noise hassles over the years, and so happy to finally be able to stuff them all in a NAS or server in another room. Begone.

The good but unexciting air cooling performance doesn't surprise me in the stock configuration. I know you need to review the case as it comes, but the stock setup is kind of weak for air cooling. The case, and esp. the front are so open that it's basically just hanging that front fan in mid air a ways away from the mobo and kind of hoping some of the air feels like going towards the CPU/GPU. There's no air flow control or direction at all, and I'd expect a lot of what the front fan pulls in just oozes back out above and below it, or out the unused bottom vent, without doing any good. The rear fan probably ends up doing almost all the cooling.

Despite all the emphasis on flexible water cooling, I think this could be a killer air cooling case too with a few adjustments. I'd fill the front with 3 fans at very low RPMs, to give a uniform right to left flow without just losing it back out the front again, and tape off the unused vent and holes in the bottom to avoid pointless losses there. Probably weather strip the power supply too, for the same reason. Then all the air from the front fans would end up going out the back, directed right where it needs to be in a nice wind tunnel effect. The slot covers are slotted to vent the GPU area heat, but I'd take one or two of them off to send more flow past the card. I think it'd be great. That huge surface area front filter and free flowing intake should give nice low restriction filtered positive pressure, and good flow even with the fans slow enough to be totally inaudible.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:38 pm 
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Timely review Lawrence, thanks for keeping up the good job (but too bad Mike didn't lend you the january EK loop...).

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:07 am 
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It is the lack of any 5.25" optical drive bays that nixes this case for me. Otherwise, I would use it in my next system.

I also would be concerned (a bit) for the temperatures of the 3.5" hard drives.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 11:48 am 
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Personally, I prefer this to the R5. My only use for a case this size these days is as a gaming ring, so 3 fans in front at min speed + only SSDs would be the way to go. Or only exhaust fans at min, no fans in front. If needed, a single big hdd on rubber on the bottom panel rigged up DIY style would be the way to go. Optical? What's that? lol! External optical dives are a dime a dozen.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 12:12 pm 
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Nice to see no 5.25" bays, as they are obsolete...

I think cases could be made shorter this way. Maybe compensate in other ways something like the PC-O8 - http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-o8/

http://www.techpowerup.com/210610/lian- ... it-15.html


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 12:41 pm 
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Tzeb wrote:
Maybe compensate in other ways something like the PC-O8 - http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-o8/

Maybe something smaller than the "fridge-like" O8: it's two midtowers placed side by side. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 1:28 pm 
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A shorter mATX variant would be interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 11:15 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Personally, I prefer this to the R5. My only use for a case this size these days is as a gaming ring, so 3 fans in front at min speed + only SSDs would be the way to go. Or only exhaust fans at min, no fans in front. If needed, a single big hdd on rubber on the bottom panel rigged up DIY style would be the way to go. Optical? What's that? lol! External optical dives are a dime a dozen.
100% agree. Everybody seems to be removing the drive-cages from the R-Series anyway. Now they just need to shorten the case, add another 2 cm in width for HDD mounting behind the Mobo-tray.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 12:42 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Personally, I prefer this to the R5.

Personally I'd rather the Node 804 to both (though I never used it, so I don't know how it "sounds").


Cistron wrote:
Now they just need to shorten the case, add another 2 cm in width for HDD mounting behind the Mobo-tray.

Retooling... that's not what Fractal will ever do...

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 4:36 am 
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I still have to have an optical drive - they are not obsolete, just yet. I think it is a bit of a kludge to have a large case - only to need an external optical drive.

I suppose an SSD that is big enough to run ALL your programs, and a spinning drive for bulk storage; that only spins up once in a while, is probably fine. I have lots of photos and sound files that require a lot of space, that there is no way to afford enough SSD space to store. A stock vibration dampened 3.5" bay on the bottom of the case would be greatly appreciated.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 6:14 am 
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I would loved to have seen a direct A-B comparison of this case vs the R5 Gaming build to find out if/how much the changes benefitted thermal/noise performance. I still rip CDs, and my Windows install is still on a disc, so there's the occasional need for an ODD. If there's not a big thermal benefit to the ODD removal, I'd rather store the ODD inside the case than need an external drive to occasionally plug in.

An S version of the Define Mini could be interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 8:51 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
I would loved to have seen a direct A-B comparison of this case vs the R5 Gaming build to find out if/how much the changes benefitted thermal/noise performance.

It will be risible, if any.

The purpose of the S is to improve radiators support in the most economical way they find, just to jump on the AIOs bandwagon with their most successful product, and the ODD bay has little or nothing to do with that: as a matter of fact, the Define is clearly not optimally suited at supporting WC, their Node 804 seems much more versed, supporting four big radiators despite its Slot-In ODD bay.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 8:21 am 
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Thanks for a nice and thorough review!

I´m totally with rhuebner here: With all those fan mounts, and no HDD bays, there must be a way to get a really optimized airflow through this case. rhuebners idea is good. And then some stripes of anti-vibration asphalt mats here and there, and it could be close to silent.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 10:37 am 
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rhuebner wrote:
I was a little surprised to see SPCR choosing the windowed version instead of the nicely damped solid side panel though. I wonder if that was part of the problem with the hard drive vibration issue? That window looks like a great design for a case vibration amplifier, especially since you mentioned it was mounted a bit loosely.


I would totally prefer the non-window version, but that's what Fractal sent us. That being said, I pressed down on the window and various other points around the case during testing to see if there was anything structural that could be done but it was constant.


CA_Steve wrote:
I would loved to have seen a direct A-B comparison of this case vs the R5 Gaming build to find out if/how much the changes benefitted thermal/noise performance. I still rip CDs, and my Windows install is still on a disc, so there's the occasional need for an ODD. If there's not a big thermal benefit to the ODD removal, I'd rather store the ODD inside the case than need an external drive to occasionally plug in.


I can't imagine there is much a difference at all as the cases are so similar. The test results for the Define S should be identical to an R5 with its main drive cage removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define S Tower Case
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 2:09 pm 
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Lawrence Lee wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:
I would loved to have seen a direct A-B comparison of this case vs the R5 Gaming build to find out if/how much the changes benefitted thermal/noise performance. I still rip CDs, and my Windows install is still on a disc, so there's the occasional need for an ODD. If there's not a big thermal benefit to the ODD removal, I'd rather store the ODD inside the case than need an external drive to occasionally plug in.


I can't imagine there is much a difference at all as the cases are so similar. The test results for the Define S should be identical to an R5 with its main drive cage removed.

I think the question is if the Define S was to have all 3 front fans populated as intakes, how much would it benefit over the SPCR R5 gaming build with 2 intake fans?


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