Pros: Extremely versatile, 240mm AIO, full size power supply and coolers
Cons: Drab looking, a bit of shoddy quality.
The current crop of ITX cases have a problem : They are either hardly SFF or they are really difficult to build into (Yes the UMX1 is actually hard to build into)
That said which category does the Core 500 fall into? Let's find out shall we.
Starting from the exterior, it is almost as drab it can be. Functionality is really way ahead of form here since unlike the UMX1 this is not as appealing as that is. Not even close.
That panel of holes you see there is the exhaust for the power supply and where it is beggars belief to allow the case to support very tall coolers.
You get 1 5.25 bay. For what? Fan controllers?
Power switch, reset switch, audio IO and 2 USB 3 ports.
Yes this case doesn't have a front power supply or a rear power supply above the CPU cooler. This actually has a rear fan! GPU temperatures will be way better than almost any other similar form factor ITX case and you can use a big cooler in this case. Lastly the rear fan is a 140mm affair not a half arsed 120mm fan
There's no "style for style" here like jonsbo often uses. Truth to be told, Jonsbo cases are incredibly stylish!
What you see here is the panel for the GPU. I wished they had made a bit of space to fit at least a thin fan for the GPU as GPUs don't exactly breathe a lot by themselves.
Oh, note the magnetic filter for the side. The top has a magnetic filter as well! It is pretty coarse unfortunately.
These are full cover filters. No fooling around over here.
The rear 140mm fan. There's ONLY one fan here so you may probably want to at least install a 120mm intake fan above the 5.25" bay.
Yes ... a Power supply extension runs through the side of the case to get to the front right for the power supply. Innovative design ! (Oh and the bottom has a filter for the PSU intake)
The holes above it allow you to install 2 2.5" (Honestly everytime I've built a PC I leave the SSDs elsewhere) AND another two 3.5" drives inside (I think you could do so perhaps with a 3.5 to 2.5 drive mount to install 2.5" if you want to)
Also you can install a 2.5" drive in the front.
HOW COOL IS THAT? Oh I used the wrong screws but I was in a rush.
The top 240mm/280mm rad/fan mount. It's a very good idea and to facilitate easy cooler installation you can remove the top panel momentarily.
You can mount a extra 3.5" drive here but I didn't bother so I removed this cage as well.
Now for installation,
ZOTAC GTX970 Dual Fan for demonstration. It is a wicked tiny thing Unfortunately even though Fractal says you can install a 170mm long power supply here it depends on how long your graphics card is as this superflower leadex silver is 165mm long and damn nearly bumps into the graphics card. It's VERY easy to build in this case on the other hand
There are plenty of tie points in this case (The same can be hardly said for most ITX chassis) but I used the unused holes to tie my cables.
For your info I mounted a Deepcool 120mm fan from the Captain/Maelstrom AIO series. The motherboard is a Gigabyte H87N-Wifi which is very flawed. The CPU is so far down that I have to install the CM Hyper T4 in a unusual orientation and the is right up against the GPU.
Thankfully this is for demonstration and it shows any similar board designs really only work with the stock cooler. Shame.
Still, the case leaves a lot of height from the cpu cooler to the fan mount.
Here's a look at the back.
From the side.
From the top. I like how the deepcool fan looks like evil lurking inside it.
Here I'll wrap up the photo shots.
What do I think of this chassis? It is easy to build in and it's very versatile. While it may be twice the size of the CM Elite 110 it is still small and more versatile than the Ncase M1! The upside are you don't have to sacrifice a full size power supply or proper ventilation for the graphics card with this case.
Is it good value? At 65$ it sure is. It really is considering the size of it and the sheer versatility. 10/10
Is it ... well made? Well, I think Fractal needs some improvements in this area. The entire top, side cover doesn't fit very well and the thumbscrews go in at a angle due to the poorly aligned screw holes or the not well fitting cover. Other than that the metal does flex a bit which is a shame but nothing too bad really. 7/10
Is it good looking? Drab it is but at least it's not ugly. 7/10
What about performance? Apart from GPU intake the rear exhaust does the job and having the ability of top fans or a radiator I say it does well here 9/10
Is it big? Well not really! It's only twice the size of a CM Elite 110 and it allows you to install 2 3.5" drives, 3 2.5" drives and a 5.25" drive. 9/10
How about noise. It's not built for silence but it doesn't have every single panel full of holes but it's still rather tightly packed so if you want a quiet case look elsewhere
Overall score : 8.4/10
It is the best, most versatile ITX case in the market. Amazing stuff really for a company that has never tried to make a SFF case that isn't expensive. Apart from the obvious cost saving methods this case doesn't show you where they cut the costs but instead it wows you with what you get for your 65$.