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November 14, 2016

Fractal Design Define C ATX Chassis Review


Fractal Design has recently announced the new addition of the Define C and Define Mini C to its Define series chassis lineup, a new design that is optimized for the balance of capacity and efficiency by removing the unused mounts and excessive bays that is seen in most of the current chassis you can find in the market. 

Special thanks to Fractal Design and Sun Cycle Distribution for the provision of the Fractal Design Define C - Window for today's review. Let's see what kind of quality and feature we can expect from this chassis!

(The Fractal Design Define C retails at RM399)

Specifications

Unboxing

The Define C ships in the usual environmental friendly cardboard box like any other Fractal Design chassis you'll find in the market, with brief details and specifications of the chassis printed on the side and the back of the box.


The included accessories are pretty basic we'd say, you'll find the user's guide for reference, screws and stand-offs for the installation of the components i.e motherboard, power supply unit, hard drive, SSD; and  the zip ties for cable management purpose.


The Define C is sandwiched in between 2 hard foam for protection from impact during shipping and the plastic cover to prevent scratches. 


Like all the previous Define series chassis from Fractal Design, the Define C too, focuses on delivering the perfect balance between silent and minimalist Scandinavian design, which makes it a popular choice for the group of silent freak enthusiasts.


The front I/O panel consists of 2 audio jacks ( microphone and headphone ), reset button, power button and 2 x USB 3.0 port.


The front panel of the Define C aren't exactly metal, but plastic that is given the brushed metal texture for the aesthetics. 


The back of the front panel has a large piece of sound dampening sheet attached to it for the noise dampening feature, and the side of the front panel has these ventilation holes to compensate for the air intake at the front of the chassis.


The front of the Define C comes with a removable dust filter to reduce dust intake and ease of cleaning. With the dust filter removed, we can see that the Define C is able to support radiator for water cooling setup, up to 360mm or 280mm. Do note that a 360mm radiator requires the removal of the top cover of the PSU cover, which its screws has to be removed from the front of the chassis.


The top cover of the chassis are heavily padded with noise dampening material as well for the noise dampening feature, but can be removed in case if you need some extra fresh air for you components - magnetic dust filter included, or an additional radiator for water cooling up to 240mm. 


The radiator mounting slot has been slightly moved away from the motherboard for extra clearance of up to 40mm for components such as performance memory kit that comes with a taller heat spreader.


The bottom of the chassis comes with the usual padded metal ring case feet for both aesthetics and vibration dampening and a large piece of removable dust filter to reduce dust intake. The dust filter can be removed to access the modular hard drive cage inf you need to re-position it for additional clearance for the 360mm radiator.


The Define C comes with a large windowed panel for hardware showcase, as well as another heavily padded side panel for noise dampening purpose. Both the side panels doesn't flex much as it is extremely solid and heavy - which is a good sign!


The interior of the Define C are made according to the current trend of spacious design for maximum compatibility for components and other elements that supports better aesthetics, especially the current trend of having power supply cover.


The large cable routing cutout here is something worth noting, as most chassis we've seen comes with cutout that has a weird angle that doesn't goes really well with most custom sleeved cables.  


Another feature that is worth mentioning is that the Define C comes with a PSU bracket that allows easier installation and removal of PSU compared to the traditional mounting design. 


The back of the Define C has a simple and clean design, and plenty of space for cable routing.


Pre-installed Velcro ties isn't really something common, even on most of the high end chassis from renown manufacturers, but it has always been our favorite for cable management. We'd say that Fractal Design has done a good job in taking seriously on delivering the ease of cable routing to the end users.


As for options for hard drive and SSDs, Fractal Design has included a removable 2.5" HDD/SSD mount to cater for users who requires more than 2 storage devices for their system.


We've build the test system with some of the components we have in our arsenal, and the result is stunningly impressive. 

Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H100i
CPU
I7 4770K @4.6GH
Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX 770 Superclocked w/ EVGA ACX Cooler
Motherboard
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene
Memory
G.Skill TridentX DDR3 8GB
Primary Hard Drive
Plextor M7V 512GB, WD Black 6TB
Power Supply
be quiet! Straight Power 10 600W PSU
Chassis
Fractal Design Define C
Display Monitor
Dell U2312HM

Moving on to the performance test, we ran a few stress test with the setup that we've prepared as above. These involves the CPU stress test utility Prime95 with the option 'In-place large FFTs' while GPU stress test utility FurMark with its Furry Donut stress test for maximum heat output from both the CPU and GPU. 


Verdict
Other than the minor issue with the removable 2.5" SSD/HDD mount that is a little flimsy to the touch, the Fractal Design Define C is still one solidly build chassis that offers not only the usual minimalist design and silent feature of the Define series, but also a chassis that has been optimized to make use of the available space for the best. Hardware compatibility, cooling solutions, cable management, noise dampening feature, large window panel for hardware showcase, etc, the Define C has pretty much all the features that most enthusiasts will need. 

At a pretty decent price of RM399, the Fractal Design Define C is considered as a good value chassis that is truly worthwhile to recommended, especially for those who are really into minimalist, silent build. 

Pros
  • Good aesthetics and solid build quality
  • Good hardware compatibility
  • Good noise dampening feature
  • Excellent cable management design 
  • Comes with lots of dust filters that are removable and easy to clean
  • Water cooling friendly design
Cons
  • Removable 2.5" HDD/SSD mount is a little flimsy to the touch

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