Thursday, March 19th 2020

Fractal Design Announces the Era ITX Case

Taking aim at Creators, Gamers and other DIY-ers, Fractal Design today launched an innovative, small form factor chassis through close collaboration with Intel. "We were very excited about partnering with Intel in developing this case," says Fractal Design founder Hannes Wallin. "It inspired us to take on a project that challenges the convention that elegant design can't be combined with flexible functionality, and we're very happy with the result."

Available today, the Era ITX is the next generation of Mini-ITX case design. This compact chassis is free from the configuration limitations traditionally associated with small form factor systems. This unique product brings the perfect combination of elegant design and technical engineering to PC hardware innovation. Era's design presents a surfaced, aluminium exterior that is paired with top inserts ranging from wood to tempered glass. This combination of materials along with a variety of colorways presents a spectrum of choices to the user.

We've just posted our Fractal Design Era case review.
Fractal Design Era ITX cobalt blue Fractal Design Era ITX
"This chassis breaks new ground for DIY-ers - with its sleek look and small footprint - for the powerful PCs they build", says Chris Silva, General Manager, Desktop Product Group at Intel. "Together with Fractal we share a commitment on design philosophy and user experience and this product is a result of that joint collaboration."

The Era ITX readily accommodates Intel's most powerful processors, such as the 9th Gen Intel Core processors, and holds dual-slot GPUs, AIO water cooling units (max. 240 mm), and up to four storage devices, all thanks to an innovative, flexible PSU mounting system in a 16 liter footprint. Optimal airflow and component cooling are achieved through an efficient chimney design.
Compact, sophisticated and stylish, Fractal's Era ITX redefines small form factor with a design that embraces the power and functionality of professional grade hardware.
Fractal Design Era ITX specifications
Key Features
  • Compact, uniquely designed aluminium exterior available in five colors
  • Versatile interior supporting professional grade hardware
  • Stylish top panel designed to match the color of your case.
  • Additional steel mesh top panel included for higher airflow
  • Small, flexible, and space efficient with volume just over 16 liters
  • Supports Dual Slot graphics cards up to 295 mm in length
  • Excellent water cooling support via removable radiator bracket allowing 240 mm or dual 120 mm radiators
  • Two storage brackets, each capable of mounting a single 3.5" HDD or two 2.5" SSDs
  • Efficient chimney design optimizes airflow across five total fan positions
  • Pre-installed 80 mm Fractal Design SSR3 fan exhausts heat silently and effectively
Fractal Design Era ITX price
For more information, visit the product page.
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21 Comments on Fractal Design Announces the Era ITX Case

#1
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Hello my next case.
Posted on Reply
#2
Flanker
I was hoping for something like a Node 304 refresh...
Posted on Reply
#3
Ferrum Master
They could have used an angled AC socket.

But that's a CG render anyways... who knows how it will end up.
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#4
ZoneDymo
I mean it looks really pretty...but it also looks like it just has no airflow at all
Posted on Reply
#5
notb
Ferrum Master
But that's a CG render anyways... who knows how it will end up.
IMO all pictures provided are photos. The case is already available and has been tested by multiple sites.
Posted on Reply
#7
notb
Honestly, I'm a little disappointed.:/

The fact that a 2-slot GPU rules out bottom fans means massive negative pressure most of the time. Only GPUs under full load (high rpm) will provide enough push.
In other words:
Great for PCs used only for gaming or machines with no GPU.
Not so great for PCs in mixed use.

And it's not exactly small at almost 17l. They could have made it slightly taller and make space for bottom fans...
Node 304 is 19.5l and - maybe apart from easy watercooling setup - offers quite a bit more.

It's also fairly expensive - a lot more than mainstream ITX cases and somehow closing on the posh, minimalist stuff (NCASE, Loque, Slinger).
Then again, this is mass produced by a company known for good quality. And it's easy to buy. No waiting list nonsense.

Pros?
Well, I love that it takes a 3.5" drive.
And the bottom-up cooling would be great in setups without a graphics card, although there are better (cheaper, smaller) cases for that.


As for the looks - I guess it's what sells today. Quasi-minimalism for people who wanted to be minimalists (because it's fancy nowadays), but actually don't like rectangular objects.
It's a perfect match for IKEA AD 2020.

But I'm looking forward to future models in the Era lineup. Fractal Design surely can do better.
Ferrum Master
All?

www.techpowerup.com/img/VCa3Bwo4zRMokl4u.jpg
Judging by shadows this is not a single exposure, but stacked from multiple exposures (photos or renders). And actually you'd be surprised what can be done with fishing line and Photoshop. :)
Honestly, these could be either processed studio photos or CGI. Rendering is so good nowadays.
Posted on Reply
#8
Ferrum Master
notb
Judging by shadows this is not a single exposure, but stacked from multiple exposures (photos or renders). And actually you'd be surprised what can be done with fishing line and Photoshop. :)
Honestly, these could be either processed studio photos or CGI. Rendering is so good nowadays.
Look at the HDD and the other bits, like wires, straps... those are all CG models.

I agree with the critique... it a very limited design... only 240mm + no bottom fans...
Posted on Reply
#9
Turmania
I like the case, not for high end systems though especially for thermals. Price seems to be on high side. I was secretly hoping for meshify c in mini itx version to be honest.
Posted on Reply
#10
notb
Ferrum Master
Look at the HDD and the other bits, like wires, straps... those are all CG models.
Well, as I said: this could be a heavily processed photo. Product photography is also very advanced nowadays (with 100 MPx cameras and so on).
$20k in camera/lighting + a little photoshop, and I can make you a product photo that looks like a high quality render. :P

But back to the case...
I agree with the critique... it a very limited design... only 240mm + no bottom fans...
Honestly, I hoped that by 2020 companies like FD and Corsair will take on the niche ITX makers with their cramped, well thought-out designs.
Clearly, they could have offered similar cases for maybe half the price...

I'm also a little sad because of modern FD esthetics (Era, Vector). And Focus just looks like a random case from a decade ago.
Seriously, why not this:


Actually I'm thinking about a no-GPU, air-cooled setup next time and I guess Era ITX would work nicely for that (with Noctua D9L and 2 bottom 140mm fans).
But putting looks aside, it's hard to find a reason to buy this over the white TT Core V1 (which is 1/4th of the price...).

And if looks matter, there's still the Node 304.
Of course unless they EOL Node lineup and replace it with swirly-whirlies...
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#11
Vayra86
Looks neat. Also looks like it really needs water if you want some power inside.
Posted on Reply
#12
Ferrum Master
Vayra86
Looks neat. Also looks like it really needs water if you want some power inside.
The bottom has no holes, it is closed, front panel like... This thing really is not for serious gaming machine.

It really looks like IKEA design item for lounge or an office...
Posted on Reply
#13
Vayra86
Ferrum Master
The bottom has no holes, it is closed. This thing really is not for serious gaming machine.

It really looks likd IKEA design item for lounge or an office...
The faux wood really does give it that IKEA touch, I admit.

Still really waiting on the perfect air coolable ITX to be honest... and then one that isn't practically an ATX box after all. The only reason I ended up at the fractal Define C this time is because ITX wasn't feasible. But I still want smaller... That bottom half of the board is just wasted space.
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#15
bonehead123
color/trim choices are always good, but otherwise....

yet anutha giant, over-hyped *** y/A/w/N***
Posted on Reply
#16
notb
Vayra86
The faux wood really does give it that IKEA touch, I admit.
Well, I quite like IKEA, just not every item.
And I like the combination of white and wood. It would look all right on my desk.

But I'm not convinced by the twisty looks. It's just overdesigned.
They really wanted it to stand out from their lineup, but they forgot that they don't have a small, simple (sleek) mITX case. It's Era or two Node models that are getting a bit long in the tooth.
Still really waiting on the perfect air coolable ITX to be honest...
If you're OK with 2012-ish features, Node 304 is really capable and fits some pretty big coolers.
In most small mITX cases you're limited to ~70 or ~130 mm.
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#17
MDWiley
Bummer that cooling is so poor, but I’m glad Fractal is FINALLY trying something new and exploring ITX. If there was better bottom ventilation and a TG side panel option, it would be pretty competitive.
Posted on Reply
#18
deu
ZoneDymo
I mean it looks really pretty...but it also looks like it just has no airflow at all
Agreed! The problem is not the CPU but the GPU intake which is from the side and possibly 300W. They should really rethink the side-panels (at least in GPU side.)

OT I really like the way they are going with this in general; lets get som new non-metalbox cases!
Posted on Reply
#19
notb
deu
Agreed! The problem is not the CPU but the GPU intake which is from the side and possibly 300W. They should really rethink the side-panels (at least in GPU side.)
GPU is placed horizontally... there's a chance you're not looking at the same case we do...
Technically GPU intake (the lowest one) is also from the bottom.

The general remark is that 2 good 140mm fans on the bottom is really all this case needs. Instead they gave us the 2-slot GPU issue and really unnecessary passive side vents.
Posted on Reply
#20
aktpu
MDWiley
Bummer that cooling is so poor, but I’m glad Fractal is FINALLY trying something new and exploring ITX. If there was better bottom ventilation and a TG side panel option, it would be pretty competitive.
TG side panel would kill even more of the ventilation :| and considering the design language, it would have to be curved -> really expensive
Posted on Reply
#21
DeathtoGnomes
When I first looked at the image with all the different colored cases, I thought it was a promotion for paper shredder baskets. Further examination does look like bottom fans might be sorely needed, nothing a case modder cant fix.
Posted on Reply
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