In a world where most cases with nice build materials also come with aggressive lines, lots of RGB, and huge slabs of tempered glass, it's refreshing to see Fractal Design's new case. The Swedes put their best foot forward when designing the new Era ITX chassis that takes a step in a totally different direction. The Era ITX is slim, sleek, and elegant, and while it can be specced with tempered glass, it's a relatively small piece and there as a sleek top cover that doesn't draw too much attention to itself, like a cherry on top of a cake.
Fractal Design Era ITX: Small, But Accomodates Plenty
Fractal Design is proud of the collaboration it had with Intel when it designed the chassis. "We were very excited about partnering with Intel in developing this case," said Hannes Wallin, Fractal Design's founder. "It inspired us to take on a project that challenges the convention that elegant design can't be combined with flexible functionality, and we're very happy with the result."
This shows in the case's interior layout, which can house a vast array of different hardware configurations. With just an SFX power supply, there will be space for two hard drives or up to four 2.5" drives, but you'll be able to make do with one hard drive or two 2.5" SSDs if you opt for a full-size ATX power supply. Naturally, motherboard sizes are limited to Mini-ITX, but the Era ITX will accommodate GPUs up to 295mm long with a maximum width of 125mm and CPU coolers up to 120mm tall.
Cooling is provided by a single included 80mm fan that operates as the rear exhaust. Of course, the case's design begs for an AIO loop at the top for added airflow, which can be up to 240mm long. If you want to go for two separate loops, you can do that too with dual-120mm radiators at the top of the Era ITX.
Fractal includes dust filters for the bottom intake, side intakes, and top exhaust in case you choose to reverse the airflow. Front I/O is handled by a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, and a Headphone/Mic combo jack.
Of course, when configuring a system in this chassis, do keep a close eye on the support sheet and make sure you plan your build. Unlike in bigger cases, ITX cases often require some planning to make sure everything fits, as is the case here too. For example, with some power supplies, the radiator at the top of the chassis will be limited in width and thickness, and using tall CPU coolers will further limit the storage options.
A Color Option for Everyone
Fractal Design opted not to introduce just multiple color options, but also different top inserts to match the color of the chosen case. If you're going for a bolder look, the black chassis with its tempered glass panel at the top certainly makes a statement. The blue and rose-gold options both also come with the dark tempered glass pane, but if you want a more natural look, there is also a grey option with a walnut top insert and a white silver choice with a white oak top.
For those that don't mind a more rustic look and want more airflow, Fractal Design includes a steel mesh top with every Era ITX it ships.
Altogether, the chassis measures 325mm deep, 166mm wide, and 310mm tall, giving it a displacement of just 16 liters. There are certainly smaller Mini-ITX cases out there, but anything below this size makes assembly quite the challenge.
Pricing is set at $160 for all five versions, and all color options should be available as of today.