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 Post subject: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:24 pm 
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Hi. I'm thinking of building a new computer around the Define Mini C, and was wondering if there'd be any acoustic/vibration problems (and if so any mitigation possible) putting a 2.5" HD into one of the three SSD slots. The HD in question would be a WD Red 1TB. The three slots are on a sheet metal panel that screws on behind the motherboard:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:58 pm 
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Location: UK
The best place to mount a hard drive on a Fractal Design Mini C is in one of the trays in the cage under the PSU shroud. These trays are fitted with anti-vibration mountings. Alternatively the whole cage can be removed and a hard drive can be fitted directly to the floor of the case using the mounting holes provided. Either is likely to cause less issues with hard drive temperature and/or vibration issues than using one of the dedicated SSD mounting positions.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:49 am 
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lodestar wrote:
The best place to mount a hard drive on a Fractal Design Mini C is in one of the trays in the cage under the PSU shroud. These trays are fitted with anti-vibration mountings. Alternatively the whole cage can be removed and a hard drive can be fitted directly to the floor of the case using the mounting holes provided. Either is likely to cause less issues with hard drive temperature and/or vibration issues than using one of the dedicated SSD mounting positions.

I was intending to use the two trays for my 2 3.5" SMR drives. The 2.5" drive is for things that are too big to fit on an SSD, but sufficiently temporary that I don't want to put them on the SMRs (which I use for longer-term storage). If need be, I can always ditch the internal 2.5", and replace it with an external -- but I thought I'd check if I can fit it in without causing too much noise.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:10 am 
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The big questions are:
- how much will the 2.5" drive vibrate, and;
- how likely is the motherboard panel mounting bracket and panel to audibly resonate with this vibration?

I've used a lower capacity of the WD Blue 2.5" in the small external enclosure and it was pretty darn quiet from 1m away. Didn't notice any vibration. I'd expect you'd be ok without any vibration dampening for the bare drive. Give it a shot and let us know. It's for science :)

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:34 pm 
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I think I'll play it by ear -- wait and see how much clearance there is with the side-panel, and if space permits, insert some small silicone washers/grommets between the bracket and the drive as a precautionary measure.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:00 am 
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I have the regular sized version of this case: the mounting plate is thin. Even being metal and sturdy, I wouldn't be surprised that there'd vibrations. As to how much would depending on position of case, your hearing sensitivity, and so forth.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:41 am 
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Alternatively, I could take out the 'PSU shroud plate' exposing the top of the Drive Cage, and attach something like this (silicone cover) to the top of the cage:
ImageImage
Given 2.5" drives are fairly light, some double-sided sticky pads would probably suffice.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:24 am 
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What's going in the two drive cages under the shroud? (just wondering why you aren't using these).

The Si cover could work (velcro tape would allow removal/reapply at will). It might even fit behind the motherboard. Or, on top of the PSU shroud. Or, experiment with a piece of rubber. Velcro the rubber to the case and velcro the drive to the rubber.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:38 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
What's going in the two drive cages under the shroud? (just wondering why you aren't using these).


Hrafn wrote:
I was intending to use the two trays for my 2 3.5" SMR drives.


Quote:
The Si cover could work (velcro tape would allow removal/reapply at will). It might even fit behind the motherboard. Or, on top of the PSU shroud. Or, experiment with a piece of rubber. Velcro the rubber to the case and velcro the drive to the rubber.

Velcro would probably be a good idea. The PSU shroud is mostly the PSU vent and the removable plate that exposes the cage. I thought the top of the cage would make a more solid and convenient base than the plate. Back of the MB (below the SSD mounting plate) is always an option, but it's tighter clearance than a front option.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:03 pm 
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Hrafn wrote:
I was intending to use the two trays for my 2 3.5" SMR drives.


yep - missed that bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:50 am 
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My build uses the Mini C. I took the drive cage out and I keep the drives on the right side mounted to the wall. This is just personal preference.

The Mini C is a very good case overall. Two small criticisms. 1) It's fairly large for a case that's marketed as mini. 2) The power supply shroud worsens noise by giving the fan a hard surface to blow against.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:01 am 
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Derek Semeraro wrote:
The power supply shroud worsens noise by giving the fan a hard surface to blow against.
I've not noticed any detriment noise-wise due to the shroud. The only drawback for me was drive and PSU cable management - a pain in tight space. The advantage is that it can act as a wind tunnel for air flow in expelling hot air from the GPU to the back of case.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Derek Semeraro wrote:
The power supply shroud worsens noise by giving the fan a hard surface to blow against.

I take it you mean the front fan(s), that would be blowing parallel to the shroud? If the shroud is producing noise problems, but the side panel (also parallel, and in close proximity to the path of air from the front fans) isn't, does that mean the problem can be solved by covering the shroud in similar sound-dampening to the side panels?


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 4:28 am 
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Posts: 144
Rather than start a new thread....

With the PS/drive shroud removed completely, is there enough room to mount a 3rd drive to the top of the drive cage, or does the motherboard panel interfere? What if it were a 2.5" drive?


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 9:05 am 
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The PSU shroud isn't designed to be removed completely because it's riveted to the frame. If you mean just the shroud lid above the drive cage area, then it's possible to place the drive on top of the cage, but there are no mounting holes. If your mobo is ATX size in the Define C (not the Mini), then it looks like the drive cables will block protruding mobo components on the bottom right corner. According to internet images of the Mini version, it looks like this will partially block the bottom part of the cable routing hole. A workaround is changing the orientation so that the drive cables come out in the direction of the case's rear rather than towards the case side panel, but it would look ugly. I'll be able to confirm once I return home.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 10:15 am 
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Aren't a number of 'micro-ATX' MBs, particularly those with only two DIMM slots, narrower than standard (essentially being Flex-ATX, even if they aren't listed as such)? (I can remember running into some when I was comparing for my last build.) Might that reduce the degree to which a third drive 'on top' would obstruct the MB?


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 11:09 am 
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Looking at the pictures I would have thought that the inset cable management "channel" at the front might be show stopper but yakuman can tell us more later maybe? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 1:27 pm 
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Back at home....I was a wrong. For a 2.5" drive that's around 4" long, there's about 1.5" clearance between my mobo components to the drive if it's placed right up to the very edge towards the side panel. Whether your cables coming out from the drive will allow sufficient room is another matter, but I'm sure being flexible they can easily bend upwards a bit if necessary into the cable routing hole. This is on my Define C regular size one. For the Mini, I'm sure the drive cables can easily extend right into the hole.

For a 3.5" drive that's 5.8" long, forget about it. I highly doubt it'll fit. It'll barely graze the motherboard tray at best. Unless if you take the ugly workaround by orientating it 90 degrees.


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 2:28 pm 
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Thanks very very much for checking that! Sounds like either one will do. I currently have one 2.5" SSD and one 3.5" drive but I'd like to at least have the contingency for one more (without resorting to burring 2.5" drives of any kind to the back of the mainboard plate).


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 Post subject: Re: Fractal Design Define Mini C question
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 3:20 pm 
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You're very welcome. I thought about the drive cage a lot and found it technically can hold one 3.5" HDD and two SSDs because of the lowest "slot", but the tiny curved up edges would hinder the cables slightly. Not sure if may be possible. He's a poor quality photo I took:
Attachment:
Drive Cage.png


The SSD mounting plate isn't as bad as we thought. I dislike the idea of SSDs heating up being behind the motherboard, so I removed it. I also removed the drive cage due to an epic battle with my 3.5" HDD here. As a result, I had two options for my SSD placement:
1) put it on the PSU shroud lid - this a double-edge sword because while my SSD would gain cool air directly next to my front case fans, it would also receive hot air expelled by my GPU on load. In retrospect, it's probably not a terrible place because I have positive air pressure where the air would flow from front to back (I removed all unused PCIe covers as well). It would be annoying if I ever have to lift the case or do maintenance, though, because it'll drag around if it's not stuck to the shroud with something like tape or adhesive.
2) tuck it behind and below my mobo next to my PSU (thankfully it's compact to allow room). I chose this option for a while, but then I became a bit unsettled with it being next to all the electrical components and the PSU would also generate its own heat (can you tell I'm OCD about these little things not when it comes to aesthetics?)

Later, I thought of a clever idea of utilizing the plate and avoiding the heat issue as much as possible by meeting halfway and mounting my SSD diagonally:
Attachment:
Behind Motherboard.jpg
. I don't care that it looks ugly there. It's the best given the space and SATA cable length constraints.


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