Six Low-Noise, Performance-Oriented Cases, Tested

Building With The Fractal Design Define XL

Fractal Design beautifies its steel-and-plastic case with a textured finish and aluminum door insert.

USB 3.0 is made possible on this case via a $10 upgrade part. Fractal Design is the only company in today’s test to use the now-universal internal USB 3.0 interface, and almost qualifies for an “automatic design win” because of that, if not for the fact that this part must be purchased separately. Unfortunately, it's not yet available, though Fractal Design says it'll go on sale in June through Newegg.

The included installation kit contains a wide variety of screws, a fan controller, cable ties, and a 3.5” front-panel adapter plate. The drive adapter itself is factory-installed in one of the 5.25” bays.

Each drive tray comes with rubber dampers, used with shoulder screws in the installation kit. These dampers may be moved to alternative holes, depending on how the drive tray is oriented. No dampers are used for 2.5” drives, since the option is intended to support noiseless SSD drives.

Optical drives screw directly into the Define XL’s 5.25” bays, following the methods discussed in How To Build A PC.

Fractal Design felt that its case didn’t need additional fans in order to do its job, but nonetheless provides additional fan mounts in its design. The company sent along a 120 mm and 140 mm fan to be used as intakes in an alternative test configuration, using the case’s 5.25” bay adapter and side-panel mount.

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  • Tamz_msc
    i7 2600K at 34.5 GHz? o.O
    7
  • Anonymous
    the rv03 is out at less $$$ you guys should do a rv02-E vs rv03 round in the cooling side and thats because the rv03 has more fans
    4
  • dragonsqrrl
    Using a SilverStone Fortress Series FT02B-W here. Basically identical interior design, except in my opinion the exterior is more aesthetically pleasing. Glad to confirm the excellent cooling characteristics.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163161&cm_re=ft02_b-_-11-163-161-_-Product

    Another big plus with the Fortress 2 is the inclusion of sound dampening foam on every panel, but to be entirely honest with you, due to the open nature of the case, I'm really not sure how much sound it's actually dampening.
    0
  • henryvalz
    34.5 Ghz...

    Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!
    6
  • Gamer-girl
    I think there needs to be info on how much space there is for graphics cards.
    2
  • xmaswraith
    34.5 gigahertz? 34.5 gigahertz? Great Scott!

    Marty, I'm sorry. But the only power source capable of generating 34.5 gigahertz of electricity is a bolt of lightning... (begin back to the future theme song!)
    4
  • JOSHSKORN
    henryvalz34.5 Ghz...Hell, yes! About time, pushing those extreme overclocks!

    I bet they were overclocking from Pluto.
    2
  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNI bet they were overclocking from Pluto.


    Didn't you watch the news? Astronomers sent a dwarf in a rocket to remove Pluto so it doesn't exist anymore.
    3
  • Luay
    RV-03 pushes more air and cools better than the 02, but it's also louder.
    0
  • madsbs
    Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals
    0
  • madsbs
    "Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"

    This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage.
    And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.
    2
  • srgess
    35.4ghz with silent operation ! Wondering if it can play crysis !
    0
  • Anonymous
    Sonata - top mounted PSU = no go, especially for semi passive ones.

    Fractal or Raven? This is harder one.
    0
  • VirtualMirage
    The specs on page one for the Fractal Design Define XL are wrong. The intake fan is 140mm, not 120mm. There is room for 2 140mm intake fans plus a 120mm intake fan. The specs list incorrectly shows it as one 120mm fan with an alternative for three 120mm fans.
    1
  • Petey1013
    madsbs"Yet, as a gaming case, the Raven 2 Evolution may not fulfill the aesthetic or storage needs of some computing professionals"This conclusion makes no sense. Why do "computing professional gamers" need storage. And further the case holds 5 HDDs. That's 1 SSD + 4x2TB of storage.



    You mean 5x2TB. It holds 5 HDDs and a SSD.

    Also, the FT02, although more expensive, should have been used due to the extra sound dampening material.
    0
  • randomstar
    Anyone remember the Silio case? is it still in production? Quiet, insulated, cools well.
    0
  • Anonymous
    This is unusual for Tom's...an inconclusive review on poorly chosen hardware.
    -2
  • verbalizer
    I do not particularly care for ANY of these cases, thanks anyways..
    -1
  • chesteracorgi
    I'd rate the Bitfinix, Lian Li and Silverstone for having the best aesthetics. Antec's design placing the PSU at the top is anachronistic: heating the top of the case. Silverstone's idiosyncratic design produces the best cooling at the price of more noise. None of these cases give me a second thought about going with the Corsair 600T.
    0
  • marraco
    I would love an article about how to "make it yourself".

    Do a case with good electromagnetic and noise insulation. With good cooling.

    What materials are better? Is electromagnetic insulation that important? (so, is necessary a conductive -metallic- case?)

    how do you solve the precise location of backward holes (for motherboard, and boards).

    how do you make the holes for different form factors (hint: there are standards)

    etc. there is a lot to talk. You can make a cheap case much better than the trademark garbage sold.
    2