Test – Fractal Design Define S: Review | Specs| Test| Hashrate |Price On Amazon| CPU Performance| Profitability| Config | Advantage (Pros) and Disadvantages (Cons) and other important features that will help you make better decision.
After an excellent Define R5 (tested here) Fractal Design returns to the charge with this time a case with a really atypical layout, the Define S! “Little” brother of the R5, the S version is clearly oriented towards watercooling with, as we will see, a lot of room internally to accommodate a tank, a pump as well as radiators. The Define S is offered in two versions, with and without window at the respective prices of € 99.99 and € 89.99 which puts it at around € 15 less than its big brother the R5, let’s see if the little one has it in the belly!
Specification: Hashrate – Fractal Design Define S
|Fractal Design Define S|
|Motherboard compatibility||Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX|
|Materials||Steel and Plastic|
|Available colors||Black with or without window|
|Number of berries||3 x 3,5″ / 2,5″
2 x 2.5″
|Fan location (s)||3 x 12/14 cm at the front
1 x 12/14 cm at the rear
3 x 12/14 cm above
1 x 12/14 cm at the bottom
1 x 14 cm on the side panel (non-windowed version)
|Watercooling radiator compatibility||Front: 120, 140, 240, 280, 360 mm
Top: 120, 140, 240, 280, 360, 420 mm (55 mm thick for 140, 280 and 420)
Bottom: 120 mm
Rear: 120, 140 mm
|Fan (s) supplied||1 x Fractal Design GP14 at the front (14 cm at 1000 RPM)
1 x Fractal Design GP14 at the rear (14 cm at 1000 RPM)
|Front connectors||2 x USB 3.0
2 x Jack 3,5 mm
graphics card length
|42.5 cm with a front fan installed|
CPU cooling height
|Additional features||Dust filters on the front and below
3 modular covers above for ventilation
1 removable cover on the side panel (windowed version)
Locations for mounting a tank and a water-cooling pump
|Dimensions||53.3 (l) x 46.5 (H) x 23.3 (L) cm|
|Weight||9.1 Kg (without window)
8.5 Kg (with window)
|Price||89.99 € (Windowless version)
99.99 € ( Window version)
Like its big brother, the Define S is a medium tower case, it is however not equipped with 5.25 ″ slots which may annoy some people but make others happy, it will be possible to install 3 3.5 hard drives. ″ (Or 2.5 ″) as well as 2 hard drives / SSD 2.5 ″, it may seem scary but in the end it will be enough for an overwhelming majority of users. The dimensions are almost identical to its big brother the R5 with 53.3 cm in length, 46.5 cm in height and 23.3 cm in width, which makes sense to have enough space to install a large configuration. The graphics card (s) will have all the necessary space with a compatibility of up to 42.5 cm, which should without going too far to accommodate all the graphics cards on the market;
The ventilation is also almost identical to the R5 with 9 slots available (8 for the windowed version), 3 x 12/14 cm at the front (including 1 x 14 cm supplied), 1 x 12/14 cm at the rear ( 1 x 14 cm supplied), 1 x 12/14 cm at the bottom next to the power supply, 1 x 12/14 cm on the side panel (not on the windowed version) as well as 3 x 12/14 cm above. Of the 9 available slots there are 2 fans provided, 1 at the front and 1 at the rear, these are GP14 cm 1000 RPM models of the
same brand, the same ones which are installed in the R5. The silence was not left aside once again with the foam present on the side panels as well as on the 3 top covers (like the R5 again), the minimum vital!
Where the Define S differs from its big brother is in compatibility with water cooling systems, metal bars are provided for the installation of a large tank (just behind the front fans), holes are present on the bottom of the box for the installation of a pump and the compatibility with radiators is very wide (from 120 mm to 360 mm at the front, 120 mm to 420 mm above, 120 and 140 mm at the rear and 120 mm at the bottom). Fractal Design clearly takes a step forward towards fans of “custom” water-cooling who do not really want to modify their box excessively in order to be able to install a large water-cooling system.
For the rest we stay in the classic, 2 USB 3.0 ports and 2 3.5mm jack ports on the front (pity not to have 4 USB ports). The requested price is 89.99 € (without window) and 99.99 € (with window), for a 2-year warranty, let’s see if all this is justified!
A box in the spirit of Fractal Design, sober and very classic. On one side we have an exploded view of the beast with a listing detailing all the features as well as the make and model. Here marketing is reduced to the maximum, and that’s good!
Two handles are present in order to facilitate transport, a listing of technical specifications is present (dimensions, heatsink compatibility, power supply and graphics card as well as a detail of the fans supplied, everything is there!).
The cardboard is quite strong and should therefore survive transport without problems, a good point!
When opening the box we find the Define S packed in its plastic bag and between 2 polystyrene molds, we do not say no to protections and with that it should arrive in one piece!
A quick note on the bundle which, in addition to the necessary screws, offers two metal bars used to fix a tank behind the fans on the front.
Here is the beast! Like its big brother the R5, sobriety is required, all in black with a large window (for the test version). The difference with the R5 lies here in the absence of a door on the front, which allows to place larger ventilation holes on the sides. Let’s take a closer look at all of this.
Not much to say here on the facade, sobriety is omnipresent! A very well made brushed aluminum style finish with a drive power / activity LED at the top, again like the R5!
No door here as I said but the front is very easily removed leaving room for a large removable and magnetic filter hiding the 3 locations for the fans. As you can see behind the filter there is really nothing that could disturb the airflow, which is really a great thing! There is a rather large margin of maneuver as regards the positioning of the fans, we can raise or lower them as we wish. On the right we can see honeycomb-shaped holes, they are there to evacuate a little hot air from the hard drives that will be behind, even if I doubt the real effect of such a maneuver.
The resemblance to the R5 is once again striking here, 3 removable covers are present allowing the ventilation and the opening of fans on the top of the case, a very good idea for those looking for more performance. It will be very logically possible to install 3 fans of 12 or 14 cm (or even a water-cooling radiator).
1, 2 or 3 fans, the choice is yours!
Each cover has noise-canceling foam underneath.
A big power button in the middle, the connections on both sides of the latter, sobriety is still in the spotlight here with USB 3.0 ports which are not blue for once so as not to distort the whole.
Below is the dust filter, it is smaller on the Define S than on the R5 and covers the power supply and the location for the additional fan. The reason for this narrowing is quite simply the change of the location of a fan for holes used for the installation of a water cooling pump.
The feet are made entirely of rubber, which will prevent vibrations of the case from reaching the surface on which the Define S is placed.
Sobriety is once again essential on the sides, apart from the large window present in order to show all the guts of the beast!
Only the panel on the motherboard side is equipped with very condensed noise-canceling materials (on the windowed version), a bit like the materials present on the Antec P280 or Cooler Master Silencio 652S. The panels are very easy to remove and put back on, the build quality is very good here.
At the rear nothing exceptional to report, the 14cm fan is behind a honeycomb grille. The white squares are perforated to prevent air stagnation at this level. Note that the side panels have hand screws which remain attached to the panels, so impossible to lose them! The main difference here with the R5 is that the Define S doesn’t have a honeycomb-shaped vent glued to the brackets.
Ok, we can say that Fractal Design completely changes everything that we have seen until now! Goodbye hard drive cages and 5.25 ″ slots to make room for… emptiness! The least we can say is that the interior of the Define S is really very bare! In addition to the rubber grommets and the eternal opening at the back of the motherboard for the installation of a cooler without having to remove the latter, we can see vertical openings behind the slots of the fans on the front used to y install a water-cooling tank.
Behind the part used for installing a tank are the fixing plates for the 3.5 ″ / 2.5 ″ hard drives, hence the height above the location of the motherboard.
Holes are available at the bottom and just behind the front to install a water-cooling pump.
The front fan, a Fractal Design GP14 rotating at a maximum speed of 1000 RPM, identical to those of the Define R5.
The power supply is installed on 4 rubber pads and rests on the case against an anti-vibration foam, which means that there is no risk of transmitting vibrations to the case.
The 7 white brackets are fixed by hand screws very practical, the quality is at the rendezvous with a white glossy paint of the most beautiful effect, they are all equipped with ventilation allowing the possible flow of air. escape.
The top locations, covered by the caches.
The grommets are well made, the rubber is not identical to that of the Define R5, on the Define S they are more flexible and therefore more pleasant to use, a good point.
At the rear once again the change is radical! The 2 slots for the SSDs are in the same places as on the R5 behind the motherboard but the big change is in the 3.5 ″ hard drives. Velcro straps are installed as standard to help tidy up the cables, the space available is really very good with about 2 cm at the back of the motherboard and 4 cm at the 3.5 ″ slots.
Each hard drive is installed in its removable rack that can be installed using a hand screw and equipped with silentblocs to reduce vibrations as much as possible.
The eternal wires for the LEDs on the front, as well as the 3.5mm and USB 3.0 jacks.
La configuration utilisée lors des tests est la suivante :
Une configuration plutôt volumineuse donc de part son énorme ventirad et les 3 slots pris par la carte graphique. Le Fractal Design Define S sera testé une fois avec les ventilateurs en 5V et une fois en 12V avec uniquement le SSD de branché. Un autre test aura lieu en 5V avec le disque dur Raptor branché, celui-ci étant littéralement un enfer au niveau de ses vibrations cela permettra de voir l’efficacité des silentblocs.
Le montage de la configuration de test s’est trés bien déroulé, il faut cependant bien faire attention à installer les entretoises avant d’installer la carte mère sous peine de griller le matériel, ce qui n’est pas vraiment le but!
Comme on peut le voir le montage dans le Fractal Design Define S est vraiment très propre! La place disponible est très appréciable et le montage se fait vraiment de manière agréable. Il sera possible d’y installer de gros composants (comme le ventirad Noctua NH-D15 qui est un monstre) sans le moindre soucis.
Afin de tester le boitier, je vais procéder a un test OCCT Power Supply pendant 30mins et ensuite relever les températures des principaux composants comme le processeur (moyenne des 4 cores), la carte mère, la carte graphique ainsi que le disque dur.
En ce qui concerne les nuisances sonores, je vais procéder comme dans le dossier sur les pc silencieux à savoir 1 relevé devant, à droite, à gauche, à l’arrière et au dessus.
Le Fractal Design Define S sera face au boitier utilisé pour le dossier des pc silencieux, le Corsair Carbide 300R modifié pour les besoins du même dossier ainsi que les Cooler Master Silencio 652S, Antec P100, be quiet! Silent base 800 ainsi que le Fractal Design Core 3300 et bien entendu son grand frère le Fractal Design Define R5. Le choix des boitiers n’est pas aléatoire, tous ces boitiers sont plutôt silencieux donc le Fractal Design Define S aura fort à faire!
As we can see the components inside the Fractal Design Define S are a little better cooled than on the R5 (around 2-3 °), it goes without saying that the ablation of the disc cages and having an unobstructed air flow plays a very important role here. The only component that is not as well cooled is the hard disk, in fact since it is not subjected to a direct air flow it heats up so that on the other boxes, nothing that is not surprising, the Raptor with its 10,000 rpm, however, heats more than a “normal” hard drive in 7200 rpm.
To sum up, it’s all good for the Define S here, the change in internal layout is bearing fruit with very good temperatures.
Ambient sound level: 31dB
In terms of noise level at rest once again the Define S is really very close to the Define R5, being perhaps a little noisier in 12V but this remains anecdotal. The addition of the Raptor however increases the general sound level, like its big brother because of the vibrations of the little devil which are not very well damped, this is however the case for many boxes.
The fans are very good for fans delivered as standard, although perhaps a little rowdy at 12V, it will be good to set them a little lower to have a very appreciable silence.
Nothing to report here, as the vast majority of cases in the test, the fans remain at their base RPM, ie 600 RPM for the processor and 500 RPM for the graphics card.
Again the Define S is very good and even exceeds the Define R5 when the fans are running low, again thanks to the unobstructed airflow! We arrive at a maximum of 61 ° in 12V and 63 ° in 5V for the processor, for 66 ° and 70 ° at the level of the graphics card as well as 40 ° and 43 ° for the motherboard, everything is really very well cooled despite the presence of only 2 fans. Like all silent-oriented boxes it goes without saying that this could be better, but there is absolutely nothing to fear for the life of the components.
Ambient sound level: 31dB
Here again the similarities with the R5 are obvious, the noise pollution is almost identical, whether at minimum or at maximum! The maximum sound level is of course at the rear with 39 dB in 5V and 41 dB in 12V, for the rest we remain under the bar of 38 dB which is in the end very contained even if at this stage the machine is done. hear. Under load the Raptor does not really affect noise pollution, the vibrations do not exceed the overall noise level of the machine.
The fans in the Define S generally turn a bit slower than in the R5, even if this remains anecdotal with 870 RPM maximum for the processor fans in 12V (against 906 RPM in 5V) and 640 RPM for the graphics card ( 700 RPM in 5V). To summarize nothing that can not really explode the noise pollution.
Here we are at the end of this test, what about Fractal Design Define S?
Fractal Design is betting on offering a box with an atypical layout and particularly suitable for water-cooling fans with holes dedicated to the installation of a pump and rails for a tank. The base of the chassis is taken from the excellent R5 but by completely redoing the interior, exit the hard drive cages and 5.25 ″ to leave room for an unhindered air flow. Since the disks are installed on the side panel side at the back of the motherboard, they unfortunately do not benefit from a direct air flow so you will have to pay attention to their temperature.
The original ventilation is sufficient for a gamer config but it will be possible to install a large number of fans (9 for the non-windowed version, 8 for the windowed version) just as it will be possible to install a large water-cooling system. custom. Watercooling aficionados will certainly be delighted to see that a box is available for them without having to modify the box by hand to install all the paraphernalia!
The build quality as well as the level of finish are really excellent, there is really nothing to say, everything fits perfectly, the side doors are really very well designed for easy assembly and disassembly.
The only negative point besides the vibrations of the hard disks and the theoretically higher temperature than in the other cases is the absence of the very practical rheobus present in the R5, indeed it will be necessary here to manage them by the motherboard, given that a 5.25 ″ rheobus cannot be installed!
To summarize Fractal Design offers here a case that does not lack assets, an assembly that will be very clean, an internal space that allows the installation of a large cooling system as well as very good fans. The Define S is clearly a box that stands out and is sure to attract modding fans!
- Finishing the set
- Build quality
- Internal space
- Innovative layout
- Disc vibration
if a disc that vibrates a lot is installed
- No rheobus
A big thank you to Fractal Design who allowed me to do this test.