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 Post subject: [Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C (Micro ATX) Review
PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:19 am 
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Posts: 52
I believe the other Fractal Design Define cases are similar to this one, apart from the size. This review will focus on the noise factor and air flow but I will cover the basics first.

Build quality: Interior has a lot of appreciated little details. FD did not cut any corners.
Aesthetic/design: Minimalist. Classy. Metal body is kind of plain. Vents look great. Front is appealing. Window is a bonus.
Form factor: Compared to a full-sized ATX, somewhat less height but same width/length. Not very compact.
Ease of building: Medium. There is enough room, but sometimes things can get tight.
Water-cooling: Is fully supported though it won't leave you with much else free space.
Cable management: Cables mostly go behind a wall on the right side, with plenty of holes to come out of.
Spaciousness: It will fit most video cards and coolers. It has room for a few PCI(E) expansions.
Screws/mounting: Not too many screws and panels come off fairly easily (with exception to the obscured hard drive cage).
Storage: Has a small panel to protect M2 SSD's. Very small hard drive cage which is not user friendly.


The case excels at both airflow and noise reduction. The large side vents in the front allows much air to come in but the front panel also provides a wall to protect sound from leaking out The bottom, top and front all come with easy-to-remove dust filters. The back does not have a filter. With the proper ventilation, the case can afford to be enclosed by two solid side panels which have sound dampening material. If you get the windowed version, the windowed panel does not have the dampening material (and it may be slightly less quiet) in exchange for good aesthetic.

The top of the case offers the option of having a solid cover with sound dampening, removing the solid cover to have relatively large holes for maximum air flow or the top cover can be removed and replaced with a dust filter. I personally use the solid cover for more noise dampening, but if I were to run extremely heavy loads on the machine, I would consider swapping it for the dust filter. Thankfully, it can be removed with ease.

The hard drive cage (on the bottom, beneath the shroud, next to the power supply) has rubber pads for noise dampening, though if it is in the budget, not having to rely on an internal hard drive is a better idea. Thankfully, the hard drive cage can be removed (and a case fan can be mounted from the bottom instead). The hard drive cage can also be slid to the side to accomodate larger fans or a radiator.

The case comes with two stock fans which neither noisy nor quiet. The top of the case, allows for two 140mm fans if you plan on using the top as an exhaust. The front of the case supports at least 1 140mm fan, but if you want to have 2 140mm fans, you will need to move or remove the hard drive cage. The back of the case, will not support all 140mm fans because the IO ports take up room, so the back will take a smaller fan. The bottom (under the hard drive cage), allows for a 140mm fan. The power supply shroud has ventilation for the power supply fan overall.

The FD Define Mini C case can be found for $65-90 depending on where you buy and what version of it you get. For the money, it's a great value. It does well in almost every category, it has great airflow and it reduces noise very well. Rating: 9/10


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 Post subject: Re: [Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C (Micro ATX) Review
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:05 am
Posts: 83
Location: Canada
Thanks for the review.

I plan on getting the standard Define C model; with that one it looks the drive cage doesn't need removal for 2 x 140mm front fans. Although I wonder if having the drive cage is even necessary if there's only one 3.5" HDD. i.e. would mounting the drive directly to the case floor be better or worse in terms of noise / vibrations?

Regarding the PSU shroud ventilation for the PSU: if the PSU fan faces down for air intake, I think it's better that the vent holes be covered to create a tunnel-like effect for better airflow. On the other hand, it means the HDD will starve for air except for the small intake area on the case floor.


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 Post subject: Re: [Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C (Micro ATX) Review
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:03 am
Posts: 482
Location: Sweden
yakuman wrote:
I plan on getting the standard Define C model; with that one it looks the drive cage doesn't need removal for 2 x 140mm front fans. Although I wonder if having the drive cage is even necessary if there's only one 3.5" HDD. i.e. would mounting the drive directly to the case floor be better or worse in terms of noise / vibrations?

Regarding the PSU shroud ventilation for the PSU: if the PSU fan faces down for air intake, I think it's better that the vent holes be covered to create a tunnel-like effect for better airflow. On the other hand, it means the HDD will starve for air except for the small intake area on the case floor.
I've recently built a computer with the Define C for my son.
* You're correct that neither the cage nor the "tunnel" needs to be removed for having two (12 or 14 cm) front fans.
* The cage is probably better used for mounting the HDD. Both for convenience and to reduce vibrations. (I don't think the rubber fittings work if you mount it to the floor.)
* I don't understand what "vent holes" you're referring to. Most of the floor is a meshed intake area with a dust filter. Most air to the PSU will be drawn from directly below it, but some will come from the rest of the floor. It's also possible to open the tunnel shroud near the HDD to have some air being vented that way and out the upper/rear area.
(I could whip up some review of it, like this one, if desired.)

Derek Semeraro wrote:
Not too many screws and panels come off fairly easily...
I had to read this a few times to understand if you either meant that screws and panels are difficult to remove or that there are few screws, and panels are easy to remove. (The latter seems more appropriate.)


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 Post subject: Re: [Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C (Micro ATX) Review
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:05 am
Posts: 83
Location: Canada
Olle P wrote:
* I don't understand what "vent holes" you're referring to. Most of the floor is a meshed intake area with a dust filter. Most air to the PSU will be drawn from directly below it, but some will come from the rest of the floor. It's also possible to open the tunnel shroud near the HDD to have some air being vented that way and out the upper/rear area.
On top of the shroud at the back, the vent holes are used for fanless PSUs that exhaust hot air upwards. I feel these holes are useless for fanned PSUs, likely worse if the GPU dumps and traps heat below. By blocking them it would enable continuous air to flow from the front to back of the case.


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 Post subject: Re: [Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C (Micro ATX) Review
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:03 am
Posts: 482
Location: Sweden
yakuman wrote:
On top of the shroud at the back, ... I feel these holes are useless for fanned PSUs, likely worse if the GPU dumps and traps heat below.
I think those venting holes are a non issue, at least for (graphics) cooling.
The air heated by the graphics card should be drawn out by the upper exhaust fan(s). If that flow is insufficient to create an under-pressure inside the case then some heated air is better vented out by the PSU.


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 Post subject: Re: [Case] Fractal Design Define Mini C (Micro ATX) Review
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am
Posts: 52
yakuman wrote:
Thanks for the review.
Although I wonder if having the drive cage is even necessary if there's only one 3.5" HDD.

Regarding the PSU shroud ventilation for the PSU: if the PSU fan faces down for air intake, I think it's better that the vent holes be covered to create a tunnel-like effect for better airflow. On the other hand, it means the HDD will starve for air except for the small intake area on the case floor.


1) I removed my drive cage because I value airflow more than having several storage drives. You can probably mount the hard drive somewhere else by yourself, as long as it is fixed into place and still (with moving parts, I would exercise a bit of caution). The solid state drive's placement is less of a concern since they have low failure rates.

2) I've read a few reviews on this from enthusiasts a while back, but I don't believe there is a meaningful increase of benefits in airflow and temperature by placing the power supply upside down. All things equal, upward movement of air is preferrable over downward movement.


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