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[OCN LABS] Fractal Design Define 7 - Redefining the Define

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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[OCN LABS] Fractal Design Define 7 - Redefining the Define


So we all know the Define series from Fractal Design, the Define R5, R6, S2, S2 RGB Vision and so on. Well today we have the Define 7, yep the R is dropped, but what has Fractal added to make the Define 7 worthy of your hardware?






Hey what’s up OCNers? I am bluedevil. Today we are going to look at the Fractal Design Define 7, which the model that was sent is the Black White Tempered glass model, which is 1 of 9 different configurations for the Define 7. The other case that Fractal launched is the Define 7 XL, which shares every characteristic of the Define 7, but is much larger.

So why don’t we take a walk around the Define 7? To kick things off, the Define 7 really is not that much different than its predecessor, the Define R6. The R is dropped in the naming convention, probably to be more distinctive of the revisions that were made to the Define 7. Fractal Design, at least with the Define series, has mainly played it safe. Played it safe, meaning, the Define 7s featureset are exactly what consumers are asking for and nothing more. Fractal even just started making RGB fans this year, resisting the unicorn vomit movement for as long as they could. However with cases like the Define S2 RGB Vision, the cat’s out of the bag for that one. The Define 7 still has clean smooth lines, whilst maintaining the Scandinavian minimalist look.






The front panel, which is still a door, which still has the trademark brushed metal finish, but this time with the new embossed Fractal Design logo. Opening the door up, and you will see another staple of Fractal’s Define series, the front fan intake filter. While still supporting 5.25” drives, you’d only really notice by looking for the mounts, which are almost camouflaged by two of three included 140mm Dynamic X2 GP-14 fans that spin at 1000 RPM. On the bottom of the front panel, is another norm for Fractal, the full length PSU filter, cleverly accessible from the front of the case.



Moving to the business side, you are greeted by the side air intake louvers, which from the looks of it, have been spaced wider apart then the R6, which should improve airflow. Looking at the tempered glass panel, IMO a lot of companies can’t figure out a better way to secure other than using thumbscrews, made me thank Fractal for making such a great retention system on the Define 7. To remove the tempered glass side panel, a plastic tab is attached to the upper right corner, pulling the tab will allow the panel to be released from the push pin style retention system, allowing for a tool less entry into the Define 7. Shifting to the rear of the Define 7, is pretty standard stuff, psu bracket, and a clean finished look with all matching PCIe brackets. Two vertical PCIe slots are visible, with about an inch and half of clearance to the tempered glass. Spacing for either a 120 or 140mm fan of which is occupied with the last of the 140mm included fans.










Topside, the Define 7 is where it differs the most from its predecessor. Gone is the Moduvent system with different panels, which Fractal now includes two different top plates. The first one, which is a flat, more silence focused top panel, is pre installed using the same push pin retention system found on the side panels. Once the top panel is removed, giving access to the third fan filter that spans almost the length of the top panel itself. Under the fan filter is a removable access panel that really opens up the Define 7 for installation. Having a removable access panel is great for pre mounting water cooling radiators and or fans. Also the access panel has offset mounting for improved motherboard installation with water cooling in mind. As you can see, I have set up a full water cooling CPU loop in the Define 7. I originally wanted to put my 320mm radiator in using the top access panel, but the Swiftech Maelstrom D5 Res Pump combo that I am using is too big. I mounted the pump res combo on top of the 3.5” drive cage in the basement, which houses 2 3.5”or 3 2.5” drives. Back to the top panel, front IO now is accompanied by a USB Type C Gen 2 port along with 2 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports. Also preset are headphone and mic jacks, as well as a reset button, and a very tactile power button.




The installed system is my test system which consists of an 8700K overclocked to 5Ghz in a Asus Z370 Maximus X Code, 32GB of Team Group’s T Force Delta R RGB DDR4 at 3000mhz, for storage is a Intel 760P M.2 NVME 256GB SSD and Team Group’s Vulcan Z 500GB 2.5” SSD, providing graphics is a Nvidia RTX 2080 Super FE, and rounding out power is BeQuiet’s platinum rated Straight Power 11 at 650 watts.

Running this system idle temps were about 33C idle with load temps dipping in the high 80s while running Aida64 Extreme’s stress test. I had moved the two 140mm Dynamic X2 GP-14 fans from the front to the roof because of radiator and reservoir placement, replacing them with three Cooler Master Masterfan Pro 120AP fans on my 360mm radiator. Given the placement of fans, I have no questionable doubt that had I been able to mount the 320mm rad in the roof, temps would have been better having the two X2 GP-14 fans in the front pulling in cooler air for the rest of the system to breath better. Or at the very least, get better 120mm fans.

Functionality, the Define 7 does just about everything right. I found it extremely easy to build in, especially with the Define 7’s excellent water cooling support. The two tone black and white model, is a love it or hate it kinda thing. Personally, I don’t mind it. So OCNers have mentioned to me, that the white PSU shroud is a bit off putting, but I can see the reasoning Fractal had with continuing the color palette from the motherboard tray as well as the modular back wall.






Aesthetically, the Define 7 doesn’t really change a lot of what made the Define series unique. Instead, small changes are what we are receiving as case revisions are made. The most impactful improvements I see are actually in the cable management department. Very clean cable runs are possible and are easy to pull off thanks to that cable management system that Fractal seems to have borrowed from NZXT. Now cable management channels in a sense have been created to manage the spaghetti monster of cabling almost every build has. Also Fractal has included a shroud for the backside of the PSU compartment, making it even easier to hide additional cables from the PSU. Also complementing cable management is the perfectly placed 9 fan hub in the very top center of the back of the motherboard tray, another thing water coolers are going to like.






So in conclusion, the Define 7 from Fractal Design is in my opinion, damn near perfect. However some things I would have liked to see would have a rubber grommet in the upper left corner of the PSU shroud, as well as front ventilation being a bit more open. Maybe where the bottom filter is located, possibly shorting that up and making an opening from the bottom to allow more air to be let in to the front.

That being said, the Define 7 from Fractal Design gets the “HOT” award.




Okay guys, thanks for tuning in to talk about the Define 7, if you could be so kind as to like and subscribe, that would be great.

bluedevil out.





Product page
https://www.fractal-design.com/produ...s/black-white/




Last edited by bluedevil; 02-27-2020 at 11:32 AM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 09:10 AM
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You touched on all the important bits I was curious about. Looks mighty good and I do believe I will be ordering one of these in the near future. Probably the XL variant for a server build.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 12:41 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by speed_demon View Post
You touched on all the important bits I was curious about. Looks mighty good and I do believe I will be ordering one of these in the near future.

Same here, this design would suit my current usage.

BIG space for hard drives which most cases seem to ignore these days which leads to extremely POOR design, when the user can't install more than one or two 3.5 inch hard drives.

Still believe in those ancient drives because they're far cheaper than anything else that's available, when comparing massive storage size.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 01:24 AM
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no drive bays? ease of hdd install for me in a case is more important than cooling, r5 seems to remain their best case

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 03:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by chrcoluk View Post
no drive bays? ease of hdd install for me in a case is more important than cooling, r5 seems to remain their best case
Yes there is drive bays, thought it was a given since it had a modular wall that you could install up to 14 HDD and 4 SSDs. As it as in the R6.



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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 05:28 AM
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Was about to post yesterday in the old FD thread, quite liked the 7 and 7XL in reviews so far. I do commend the continuous creation of a white case even if it would be only for reviews, it makes it so much easier on photos and videos to actually see that case compared to a black one where everything gets hidden due to how dark it is without a lot of lighting.

The new web page... not a big fan so far, looks like it was made for small size 4k screens, everything and especially the spacing is gigantic, endless scroll to see anything, with dynamic loading of page content popping in from white nowhere, eh. Cool looks but not very functional. Loading images of different color variants is slooow.

With the cases I like the finally added modularity of parts, being able to remove parts easily, no more need to drill rivets out.
3x140mm front is a must.
No idea why front I/O is with USB2+3 and not USB3 only in type A and C. USB3 works fine with lower USB version devices, so why bother having USB2. Maybe modern motherboards still don't have enough internal connections for 4x USB3?
6-14 drive mounts is good.

The PSU shroud, glass, RGB, don't care. Happily remove all of it.

Fan controller, I would expect 4+ PWM splitter. 6 non PWM connections on the fan hub, don't really see the use for that. The cheapo from Asia splitters/hubs with 5 ports that are small and fit anywhere are darn cheap and they make up to about 7-9 ports ones too, molex and SATA powered, all PWM.

The front panel plastic side grill, mine is more open on R4. Would dremel some slots out on the Define 7. Same goes for the pretty metal grills all around and endless plastic on dust filters, would dremel minimize or remove entirely those grills.
As probably others have mentioned here or elsewhere already, would be interesting to see a plastic/acrylic top+side in one panel. Though I think many of such show off builds tend to get liquid cooled and would then want the top for a radiator anyway.
2 vertical slots, not sure how much use there is for those as an extra mount for what? A USB addin card that mounts not into PCIe? But into what then? Some obscure hard to reach in the back fan knob controller? I cut that stuff out to let the R4 case breathe.
5.25" bays as optional, OK, otherwise I'm drilling them out. Anyone still using optical drives etc. get an external enclosure that connects to USB, works with any device then as needed, not only with your PC stuck somewhere out of reach under the desk behind a door in a case.

Panda case option, sure why not, pure white, sure some like that, gunmetal/titanium yep fine have one of those myself.

Hopefully the XL fits all those less common over ATX sized motherboards, seems it should.

The pricing, not a big fan, Define series was definitely more affordable in the past. Witch each refresh it seems to be going up and up and up. It's hard to justify spending so much on a case when one is building a cheaper machine. Good cases don't need to be expensive, it doesn't need to have so many parts either. I think all other cheaper Fractal options are with an open front.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 04:30 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by JackCY View Post
The pricing, not a big fan, Define series was definitely more affordable in the past. Witch each refresh it seems to be going up and up and up. It's hard to justify spending so much on a case when one is building a cheaper machine. Good cases don't need to be expensive, it doesn't need to have so many parts either.
Suspect at this point in time with the current regime in Washington, all goods coming out of Asia (aka China) will have been hit with more tariffs so we, the end customer have to pay it.

It's just the cost of keeping the American Empire afloat beyond 2020 .

Still would buy the Define 7 regardless of the Screaming Carrot Demon. We can't let them win under any circumstance and China supply's the world with what we need and want and I don't see that changing this year or the next several decades ahead.


Quote: Originally Posted by JackCY View Post
I think all other cheaper Fractal options are with an open front.
You can remove the Define 7 front door which I've done on their R6 series.

Simple and effective, it's just the way Fractal introduces their co-called silence by installing a door, bloody useless because the sound of high performance fans is always nice to hear and praise on a daily basis. Besides I'm old so I don't hear any Deltas working full bore .

Last edited by Elrick; 02-28-2020 at 04:37 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2020, 08:10 AM
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These days I just avoid cases that don't have built-in handles.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2020, 02:40 PM
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I just got this! The 7 XL - Actually ordered the 7 regular as the XL is too large for the living room so I will re-use it as a NAS.


Will post the rest in the build log - all I can say is the quality is INSANE.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2020, 02:44 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by kan3 View Post
These days I just avoid cases that don't have built-in handles.

ah, yes, the weekly LAN party would be marginally less convenient if my extended ATX full tower didn't have handles, that is true. knew it was missing something.


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