Fractal Design Define C 29

Fractal Design Define C Review

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Value & Conclusion

  • The Fractal Design Define C features an MSRP of $74.99 US dollars (excl. taxes) and 79.99 euros (incl. taxes).
  • Compact size for a full ATX chassis
  • Excellent construction quality
  • Excellent engineering quality
  • Removable dust filters everywhere
  • Both solid and metal-mesh top covers included
  • Two retail grade 120mm fans included
  • Can hold up to a 240mm radiator in the ceiling
  • Can hold a 360mm or 280mm radiator in front
  • Velcro for easy cable management
  • Excellent cable-routing possibilities
  • Easy PSU-installation procedure
  • Space for up to five hard drives
  • Metal hard-drive trays
  • Black USB 3.0 ports
  • Windowed or solid side panel available
  • 140mm fan in front would have been great
  • 175mm PSU may not be enough for high-end units
  • Using a 360mm radiator alongside the HDD cage in front will reduce PSU space considerably
  • I/O a bit basic
  • 2.5" drive tray covers CPU cooler opening
  • Lacks mounting possibilities for reservoir or pumps
9.6
The Fractal Design Define C manages to deliver the same excellent construction quality we have come to expect from the company's Define line-up. Sturdy materials coupled with excellent engineering and a functional approach mean the Define C is worthy of being a part of the family.

Thanks to the lack of drive bays in front, Fractal Design has shortened the chassis considerably, which is probably the first thing you will notice when comparing the Define C to the Define S, for example. This has been achieved by simplifying the interior a bit and removing various mounting possibilities for a reservoir or pumps, which are present in the Define S. It is clear that the C version is intended for users with AIO liquid cooling units first and foremost, but it should also allow those comfortable enough to do a bit of tinkering to use traditional liquid-cooling loops instead.

Even though the Define C is rather compact, you may still install up to five storage drives, a long GPU, and a potent and large air cooler. Only the PSU bay is a bit restrictive, but only in extreme scenarios where users want to install a 360mm radiator into the front, all while using the dual tray hard-drive cage - especially if you are looking to use a modular PSU. However, most traditional users won't ever come across this issue as there is also the possibility to install a 240mm radiator in the ceiling. That is the exact size of most high-end AIO units, leaving the front clear and untouched for traditional fans to be employed instead.

Talking about fans, while other brands sometimes offer three or more cooling units, Fractal Design has chosen to only include two, having opted for quality over quantity. Considering the price of the Define C, two is exactly how many cooling units we were expecting.

The Fractal Design Define C is not simply a more compact version of the Define S, but an evolution of it that enables its smaller size, so that one could even go as far as to say that each of the two has its own target audience and purpose. In all honesty, if you are pondering which of the two to get, grab this Define C variant as it will most certainly fit your build scenario, is smaller, and comes with the now-so-hip shroud to hide your boring components.
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