Overclock.net › Components › Computer Cases & Accessories › Computer Cases › Fractal Design Define Mini C - Black - Windowed

Fractal Design Define Mini C - Black - Windowed

Posted

Pros: classy, neutral colors, cable management, tool less design, cable grommets, watercooling support (On rads and pump), large for matx

Cons: Lack of 3.5" drive mount with pump, no good res mount, not tempered glass, large for matx

Copy and pasted from newegg where I originally wrote this review, but added a little information.

Pros: -mATX: Great form factor with perfect balance between size and expand ability
-Classy: Has plastic panels, but the fake brushed aluminum looks really good while not looking overdone like many computer cases (Lack of 5.25 helps this)
-Neutral color scheme which should go great for any build, excluding the blue power led
-Cable grommets are quality and a plenty
-Plenty of space in the rear for cable management (Due to bulge after motherboard)
-Can fit two 240mm radiators with pretty easy mounting due to sliding mounts (Longer, not just individual holes) - 30mm for both with 25mm fans, though I would not go any bigger
-GREAT price for what your getting, this case looks much nicer than its price suggests
-Fans seem to be good quality (Though I did not use them) and they had black cables
-Anti noise foam on back, not sure how much this helps but it's there.
-AMAZING cable tie down points and the included velcro straps make cable management a breeze
-Able to slide psu in and out with thumbscrews - VASTLY HELPS WHEN WORKING ON especially with a pump and watercooling
-Removable PSU cover part, allows pump runs without loosing all the cover for covering cables

Cons: -The power button is huge, my cat steps on it and turns the computer off (Though this is a rather situational issue)
-No way to just purchase a solid side panel, I want one when I go to college to make my computer less flashy and more discrete for security purposes
-No 3.5" mount with water pump installed, though I don't have an easy solution to this
2.5" mounts make it hard to push cables into, but this was not a major issue
-Radiator/Fan mounts not removable like some higher end cases, meaning it is kind of a pain to hold the radiator inside the case and screw it at the same time.
-Blue power led, should be white to be more neutral
-Not the smallest mATX case, but it does have better radiator space than most (Clearance above mobo - closer to window, not centered to prevent contact with heatsinks)

-BIGGEST CON: No good way to mount a tube reservoir (No pump mount either, but can easily use 120mm mount in basement, could not put res on pump due to interference with gpu, maybe a small res would work). I ended up custom cutting, with a laser cutter, .25" wood to make a makeshift floor to go above the basement cover and allow me to mount the res to that. I ended up making two pieces, with one notched differently to not interfere with the front rad, to give me more wood to screw into.

Other Thoughts: I built a watercooled system in this case and was able to fit two Hardware Labs white GTS radiators in (30mm thick). I went with a d5 pump and mounted it in the basement with a 120mm mount (Bought some thick rubber washers as vibration isolation, but was not really necessary). I would recommend a ddc pump for this case.

I found tubing runs to be a little tight, though if you actually get some 90 degree rotary fittings (Which I did not), it should not be an issue.

I mounted my reservoir on top of the psu cover on my custom cut wood pieces, though you could get a similar result with a band saw. I simply set this on top of the psu cover because I did not want to damage the case or psu.

I ended up putting a drain port in the basement next to the pump inlet, which works, but is not ideal since it is hard to make this the low point of the loop. I recommend getting a radiator with extra ports.

IT IS WORTH NOTING that I had to put my case fans on the outside of the frame on the front radiator because it was so tight with the gpu that it would have been almost to make a clean tubing run. This meant I lost the front dust fliter, but I simply made this flow out while pulling in air through the top (Which can be done due to dust filter).

A rear 120mm radiator would not be possible with two 240mm radiators and I could not see a 280mm fitting with any other radiator in this case.


Overall, I was very happy with the case considering that I was filling it to the brim. My custom cover would not have been necessary if I had gone with a smaller res (i went with 250, 150 or smaller might be better) and a ddc pump, though I already had the parts since I was planning to use a custom made case, which did not work out. It is a great price and is classy, but not boring. It fit my rather expensive build well, and does not bring it down, and it is priced such that cheaper air cooled vents can be used.

I did not have any issues with flimsy fan mounts, not to say it is not an issue, but I did not notice it.

Posted

Pros: Shroud, cable management, clean and compact case

Cons: flimsy front fan mounts

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Hey fine people of OCN! Launching today is the Fractal Design Define C series. I have the opportunity to show off the Mini version of the case! The full size can be seen with @bluedevil's review! Now, it's been a while since we've seen a new Define Mini, but from what I gathered the community (myself included) was waiting for a new mATX Define case. Let's explore this case and see if Fractal Design nailed it.


Key features
  • Define Series sound dampening with ModuVentâ„¢ technology for silent operation in a compact micro ATX form factor.
  • Optimized for high airflow and silent computing.
  • Side and front panels are lined with industrial-grade sound dampening material.
  • Flexible storage options with room for up to 5 drives.
  • Comes with two preinstalled Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm fans optimized to deliver maximum airflow while still maintaining a low noise level.
  • Equipped with 5 PCI expansion slots for powerful dual GPU setups.
  • Open air designed interior creates an unobstructed airflow path from the front intake to the rear exhaust.
  • Easy-to-clean high airflow nylon filters on the front and base with full PSU coverage and front access for convenience.
  • Includes optional top filter to prevent dust buildup when ModuVent is removed for additional fan slots.
  • Power supply shroud conceals drive cage and excess cabling for an even quieter and cleaner looking interior free of airflow obstructions



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The box exterior is clear and shows well what the inside should have. My pictures of the interior packaging didn't come out great, but we've all seen the foam cases come in. Two big blocks, one on each side of the case with the case being itself in a plastic bag preventing any dust entering the case. I really think that nowadays, this should be a minimum for any case manufacturer.


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As with the Define series, I was expecting a really clean exterior. The case did not fail to meet my expectations for how clean it looks. The front panel has a brushed aluminium texture, but is made of plastic. Even though it's made of plastic, it doesn't mean it's unpleasant, it's very well executed.

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As we can see in the back, the case is set up in the now standard bottom PSU layout. Five expansion slots enable users to build any dual GPU setup they'd want with basically any board that supports it.. Water cooled or not. We also see that the PSU has a removable mounting plate, this means the PSU comes out the back. When I compare to the Phanteks P400, I much prefer this method over having to insert it by the side. We can also see one of Fractal Designs Dynamic X2 GP-12 fan oriented in exhaust.


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Diving in. With the side panel removed, we can clearly see where Fractal Design aimed to get a clean build. The shroud is a first for Fractal Design. With a lot of manufacturer's having a line of cases sporting this, it's nice to see them join the party. A bump out can be seen where the edge of full width mATX motherboards would sit enabling users to build very clean builds. All main cable holes have grommets to help clean things up.


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The bottom fan filter blends right into the bottom of the front bezel. It pulls out from the front which is something ALL case manufacturers should do. I guess having it pull from the side is OK too if it's well executed. Medium-fine density filters will help keep the big stuff out and some of the smaller stuff also, but poses a bit of restriction.


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The top Moduvent has now become a sort of trademark for Fractal. Line with dampening material it helps to lower sound if the extra airflow isn't needed. When removed the Moduvent, we can see that fractal opted to offset the top fan mounts, every, case, manufacturer, should, do, this. Looking at your Phanteks with the P400. Included is also a magnetic filter with medium density filter if used as intake.


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Removing the rear side panel we feel how heavy and thick the sound dampening material is, much like other cases front the Define series.


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Behind the motherboard tray, Fractal made a bracket to hold three 2.5" drives. One thumb screw holds the whole thing to the rear, which facilitates putting or removing drives.


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The rear has a good amount of room for cable management behind the bump out and an OK amount behind the motherboard itself. About 30mm for the bump out and 15mm for the rest. For the bump out, Fractal includes three hook and loop ties to keep things in order.



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The front I/O includes the basics, headphone and mic port, two USB 3.0, power button and power LED. The LED is placed faithfully to the Define series, something I really like (since I own a Define R4, it's familiar and nice to see).


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The front filter is removable one you remove the front bezel (which isn't connected to the I/O). You need a good tug as it's really well held in place. As with the bottom filter, we have a medium-fine density filter, but this one with the Fractal Logo.


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Just a picture of both included fans.



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To enable the use of three front 120mm fans, you need to remove the shroud plate covering the HDD cage. The cage is relocatable, so doesn't need removal.



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The bottom hard drive cage can be move about two inches closer to the power supply. This is great because if using a front radiator that would need the length to go in the shroud, it can do so by moving the cages. Now, the cages are ONLY removable through the top of the shroud, this I find odd, but I guess it helps keep the case compact.



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The box of accessories is clearly identified and contains all screws needed for a simple build.



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This is the build I made in the Define Mini C. It's a simple air cooled build, with two huge PWM 140mm fans up front. The build is very clean even without a modular PSU. The case is easy to build in and the only thing I'd like improved is the sturdiness of the front fan mounts, I feel they're a bit filmsy.


Conclusion

This case, true to the Define series, is clean and has great sound dampening properties. I really don't have much to say. This case meets all of my expectations and even more. The best part? It's under $100. With an MSRP of $84.99 I'm sure we'll be seeing this case in quite a few builds!


Aesthetics - 9/10
Features - 9/10
Costs - 9.5/10
Quality - 9/10

For a total of 91.25%! A great case that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend for mATX builds!







Also, check out @bluedevils review of the Define C (non-Mini!) http://www.overclock.net/products/define-c/reviews/7455
Fractal Design Define Mini C - Black - Windowed
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Define Mini C - Black - Windowed

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