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Fractal Design's Define S Chassis Built For Water Cooling

If you're a fan of Fractal Design's simple and elegant designs, you may be happy to hear that the Swedish vendor is announcing a new chassis, the Define S. 

The Define S takes a bit of a turn away from what Fractal Design has done with most of its cases in the past and is aimed at making water cooling builds much easier and friendlier. For this reason, it has a different internal layout from what you'd normally see. The ATX motherboard and power supply are still located where they usually are, and so are the fans and radiators, but where you'd normally mount the hard drives and optical drives, there is just empty space.

The empty area is where you can easily mount a cylindrical reservoir. The case comes with the brackets that you need to mount a reservoir, which is interesting because it enables you to install a cylindrical reservoir without having to drill any holes in the chassis.

Behind the tray where you mount the cylindrical reservoir, there is space to mount up to three 3.5" hard drives, and behind the motherboard tray there is room for another two 2.5" SSDs. The case doesn't have any optical drive bays.

As far as cooling goes, you'll be able to mount up to a 360 mm (3 x 120 mm) radiator up front and up to a 420 mm radiator up top. The rear exhaust is taken care of by a 140 mm fan, and you can opt to mount an additional 140 mm fan at the bottom intake in front of the PSU.

The Define S also comes with Fractal Design's Moduvent system, which allows you to seal off the top of the case if you want to prevent noise from your components from leaking out the top of the case. You can also opt to leave the Moduvent covers off to open up the airflow.

The case has plenty of room for long graphics cards; Fractal Design quoted a maximum length of 450 mm. Of course, installing fans up front, a radiator, and a cylindrical reservoir will reduce the supported length, but most cards will still fit anyway. Just make sure you calculate or measure out how much space all your components will take to see if they fit. The same goes for the radiators -- some combinations may not work, as with any water cooling build.

The Define S measures 233 x 451 x 520 mm, and weighs 8.5 kg when empty.

Pricing for the standard version is $79.99, and a variant with a side window will go for $10 more. Both versions will be available in June.

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  • Au_equus
    Fractal is really taking it to NZXT and putting the H440 to shame. The biggest issue with the H440 is the lack of space and the very limited possibilities for a reservoir mount, as they took out the 5.25" drive bays, eliminating the possibility of a bay res. I have an H440 and mounted Al bars on the HDD bays to mount the res: an XSPC 170 mm photon. If FD could build a Full tower and an ITX version of the Define S, they really could become a poor man's CaseLabs.
    Reply
  • Shankovich
    I could be wrong, sorry if I am, but I don't understand why you would want a sub $100 case when you're going to do a custom cooling setup. Yea this case looks nice, but <$100 sends up flags in my mind with respect to build quality and materials. A custom loop will set you back a good $300 right? So you might as well get a really good case to go along with it. Never done a custom loop before though, just my thoughts really.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    15717994 said:
    I could be wrong, sorry if I am, but I don't understand why you would want a sub $100 case when you're going to do a custom cooling setup. Yea this case looks nice, but <$100 sends up flags in my mind with respect to build quality and materials. A custom loop will set you back a good $300 right? So you might as well get a really good case to go along with it. Never done a custom loop before though, just my thoughts really.
    You can lower those flags. Fractal Design makes some fantastic cases. Just because you can spend the extra money doesn't mean you necessarily need to or that you'll get extra benefit out of it.
    Reply
  • Somasonic
    So where are you meant to put your fan controller or aquaero or the like? No 5.25" bays seems like a major fail....
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    15718708 said:
    So where are you meant to put your fan controller or aquaero or the like? No 5.25" bays seems like a major fail....
    Shhh, that's heresy! External bays are baaad! We have to have perfectly clean exterior lines! ;) /sarc

    I know there's a very vocal minority saying we all need to ditch optical drives and external case bays. However, external bays are good for more than just a DVD or BD burner. If you're getting a case that is especially well suited for custom water cooling, it seems to reason you're going to build a pretty hefty system inside it. So, why wouldn't you also want a custom fan controller for the loop?

    I made the same points when the H440 came out. No bays means no fan controllers, no system monitor displays, no media card readers, no hot swap bays, and a host of other things. If you want a bay-less case, more power to you. However, I think sometimes case manufacturers don't fully consider what it means. If you're going to remove all external bays, why not make the overall case smaller instead of wasting the internal volume? If you're going to make a bay-less case specialized for water cooling, you best include a good fan controller with it.
    Reply
  • Turb0Yoda
    I could be wrong, sorry if I am, but I don't understand why you would want a sub $100 case when you're going to do a custom cooling setup. Yea this case looks nice, but <$100 sends up flags in my mind with respect to build quality and materials. A custom loop will set you back a good $300 right? So you might as well get a really good case to go along with it. Never done a custom loop before though, just my thoughts really.
    Also, the profit margins could be small for FD. Honestly, If I had the money, I wouldn't pass this up as it is silent already. A loop inside this thing would be quiet AND powerful
    Reply
  • endeavour37a
    I could be wrong, sorry if I am, but I don't understand why you would want a sub $100 case when you're going to do a custom cooling setup. Yea this case looks nice, but <$100 sends up flags in my mind with respect to build quality and materials. A custom loop will set you back a good $300 right? So you might as well get a really good case to go along with it. Never done a custom loop before though, just my thoughts really.

    Don't be sorry but I do think you are wrong in your views here. Just because it does not cost over $100 does not make it cheaply built, it smartly built. Think about this, without any drive bays to machine and fit into it the cost of producing comes way down. NZXT did not go this route, they still have 3.5" bays and optional mounting for the 2.5" drives, FD brilliantly (IMHO) used existing space and material to mount 5 drives. This cut way back on cost making it. Perhaps they are able to pass that innovative design savings on to us and did, good for them.

    All of FD cases are top notch quality, have never read a review of any of them that said the quality of build was lacking in any way, just read 3 reviews of this case and they all said it was excellent quality and also not one single "Con". Looking inside of this case, well there is just not much in it, very little material went into the interior construction, yet it can accommodate everything needed in a high performance rig with a ton of WCing capability, I think they have a winner here :)

    The H440 is a much nicer looking case I think, if you want something really pretty then the H440 it it for sure. Without the 5.25" bays I think it's the best looking case on the market for any price, just my taste of course. But for a simpler case than can do even more than the H440 can this Define S is going to be hard to beat.

    Reply
  • ianj14
    this video shows that there is a double 5.25 inch drive cage somewhere in the bits and pieces:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hQgE2ei-rI
    Reply
  • ianj14
    **** scratch that. I've just realised I clicked on the wrong link (the video with the 5.25 cage is for the R5, not Define S ****
    Reply
  • atheus
    This case is beautiful. I haven't even given an ATX case two glances in the past 5 years or so, as I'm all about micro ATX and mini ITX, but I could make an exception for this case.
    Reply