Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

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Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Lawrence Lee » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:25 pm


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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by kuzzia » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:45 am

I really appreciate these reviews of cases. These, and reviews of CPU coolers and harddrives truly make SPCR unique. Keep up the good work. :)

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Enzo_FX » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:31 am

Wow, finally more competition in the m-ATX space. I gotta agree m-ATX should be more common that it is, all while being able to be made at lower costs =). This Define case looks solid, I think I would pick it over a P180 mini for well-roundedness, that is if I were starting a new Desktop build heh.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by sanse » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:42 am

the way the bottom-filter has to be removed from the case should be just the other way around: from the front instead of from the back.
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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by mkk » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:46 am

SPCR case reviews are always a treat.
On this case I would have gotten one already if they had put out a white version of it. :)
The dampening material deserve a bit more description even if many readers are already familiar with it. So many cases apply "checkbox" material that doesn't do much good.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:12 am

Great review, thanks!

22-23dB while gaming puts a smile on my face.

I'd love to see what happens when you pit the Solo II against the Define Mini. They are fairly close in dimensions, weight and volume. Unfortunately, the difference in hardware of the two existing reviews (Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition + HD 4870 vs i5 750 + HD6850) make it difficult to determine which would win out with a gaming card in place.
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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by fyleow » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:29 am

Great review, thanks!

I found the test results regarding the GPU temperatures to be very interesting. Compared to the single 120mm intake of the Mini the Silverstone Temjin has a large 180mm intake fan providing cool air to the GPU and we even see in the Radeon 5450 case that the GPU temperatures are lower for the Temjin. However when the higher powered GPU is used the speed of the GPU fan on the Mini is very much lower.

I wonder what's the cause of this? Maybe there's not enough space between the power supply and the GPU in the Temjin resulting in a lot of trapped hot air? The Temjin was tested without a rear exhaust fan while the Mini had one intake and one exhaust.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by nutball » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:35 am

Something makes me a little sad/rant-at-the-pigeons-about-the-youth-of-today when I see these so-called uATX cases which are the same size my ATX-sized P150 and Solo.

uATX is supposed to be smaller. Where's the up-to-date NSK3480-sized enclosure?

No criticism of the review by the way, the market is what the market is.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:27 am

given how many high-end ATX builds have just a single hard drive and graphics card stuffed into a laughably big case — what a waste of space!
I've been wondering about that too.
Are there any cases that do away with the 6+ 3.5" bays and 2+ 5.25" bays? Would allow for a shorter case. Some large fans could then be put in the front.

It might be nice to test cases with a GPU that puts up more of a challenge, like a R6950.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Abula » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:55 pm

Olaf van der Spek wrote:Are there any cases that do away with the 6+ 3.5" bays and 2+ 5.25" bays? Would allow for a shorter case. Some large fans could then be put in the front.

It might be nice to test cases with a GPU that puts up more of a challenge, like a R6950.
The Silverstone TJ08-E can fit 5x 3.5 hdds + a single 1x 2.5 hdds, using all slots available, has a 2x 5.25 slots, can fit really big video cards, and has a 180mm frontal fan.
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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by nutball » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:26 pm

Abula wrote:The Silverstone TJ08-E can fit 5x 3.5 hdds + a single 1x 2.5 hdds, using all slots available, has a 2x 5.25 slots, can fit really big video cards, and has a 180mm frontal fan.
And it's still ridiculously large, relatively speaking.

If 1x3.5 HDD + 1x2.5 SSD + large GPU is an optimal setup (which in my opinion it is) then there should be smaller cases possible than the TJ08. It's possible to fit that much (and more) in a mini-ITX case, for example. So there's really no excuse for ATX-size cases that can only accept uATX motherboards.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:30 pm

Abula wrote:The Silverstone TJ08-E can fit 5x 3.5 hdds + a single 1x 2.5 hdds, using all slots available, has a 2x 5.25 slots, can fit really big video cards, and has a 180mm frontal fan.
With "doing away" I mean "not supporting".

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Enzo_FX » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:02 pm

Gotta agree on the relatively huge cases for m-ATX. I too have the P150 and would still say this case has only a few things better than it, while supporting full sized ATX boards. Though I don't think I'd mind as much. I consider the extra space as a sacrifice for the other neat features such as the thick dampening, fan mounts, and I do like it when my components have some breathing room heh.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by MikeC » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:12 pm

The Silverstone TJ08E is much smaller than the Fractal Mini -- 30l vs 40l.

But if you are seeking even more minimalist MATX cases, they are there -- but none will have the PSU on the bottom, and few will have any silencing features.

Just check Newegg.

LIAN LI PC-A04A looks much like an aluminum version of the TJ08E, but bigger.
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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:40 pm

MikeC wrote:But if you are seeking even more minimalist MATX cases, they are there -- but none will have the PSU on the bottom, and few will have any silencing features.
Of course we don't want to sacrifice silencing features. Maybwe we should ask Fractal Design.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by mkk » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:56 pm

An ITX case with room for a regular graphics card would be a more logical way to go for achieving a much smaller performance system. I'm sure Fractal Design have beeen measuring the market value of a noise dampened case in that segment. I think it's still a very uncertain bet though. Most people looking for a system around what a Defini Mini is made for are still ok with the size, and much smaller systems are increasingly doing fine with integrated graphics. Maybe something pops up on CES to surprise us.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by MikeC » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:19 pm

imo, the Fractal mini is to big. Might as well go for a mid-ATX tower instead.

The Antec nsk3480 and Silverstone tj08e make more sense sizewise -- the latter especially if you need more high performance features. It is about as small as you can make it and still fit a big tower CPU HS and video card.
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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Luke M » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:30 pm

With a tower case, the footprint is independent of the number of expansion slots. MicroATX is not mainly about saving space. It's a cost reduction...which is why there are not many deluxe microATX cases.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by fyleow » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:52 pm

MikeC wrote:imo, the Fractal mini is to big. Might as well go for a mid-ATX tower instead.

The Antec nsk3480 and Silverstone tj08e make more sense sizewise -- the latter especially if you need more high performance features. It is about as small as you can make it and still fit a big tower CPU HS and video card.
The problem with the Silverstone is that it's not as flexible. You basically have a single 180mm fan for intake and not much room to configure or experiment. If you got a bad fan or you're not happy with it then you're stuck because there aren't many replacement options. With the Fractal mini you can play around with fan placements and easily replace the 120mm with different brands.

Silverstone is coming out with a new model call the PS07. It has the internals of the TJ08-E but the 180mm Penetrator fan in the front is replaced with 2 120mm fans. There is also a case door now which will help muffle some of the noise. Price point will be ~$85 so it will be cheaper too. I'm not sure what to expect because I am sure the door will impede airflow so it may perform worse than the TJ08-E.

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=314

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Cynical » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:02 pm

I built a system in a Define Mini about a month ago. I used an ASUS motherboard - Maximus IV Gene Z. The main video slot is in the right place, and it has a USB3 socket. This motherboard in this case works well.

It's really easy to organise cabling in this case - plenty of room behind the motherboard plate to route cables, even the heavy 24-wire cable.

I wasn't able to get the power supply I wanted - I had to settle for a Seasonic X560 when I wanted an X460 - it's quiet, but not fanless.

The comment about this being big for a micro-ATX case are valid, but I like it nonetheless.

However, I used a Define R3 for my latest build (I haven't seen an X79 motherboard in uATX yet :) ).

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Enzo_FX » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:43 pm

That new Silverstone looks interesting =). Aside from size, I think the usual question for me is whether a case has enough silencing features, usually more silencing features means larger case, i.e. this Fractal or something simpler like the Silverstone, though it does have a fantastic design. Give me the TJ08-E with dampening =P. The only last thing I would want from a new case is a alternative purpose of the DVD drive bays. I don't use discs, and don't plan to. Sure I can stick something in there, but I don't want to have to look for something I don't need. There should be a built-in feature/purpose/benefit to not having Optical drives.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Mats » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:53 am

Cynical wrote:(I haven't seen an X79 motherboard in uATX yet :) ).
There are two models available, from ASRock and MSI.

Edit: And Asus.
Last edited by Mats on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Das_Saunamies » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:35 am

Finally, the review I've been waiting for all year!

Very nice work, comprehensive as ever with actual quality measurements instead of rough estimates (or no data at all, as may be the case). Special thanks for obviously having kept an ear to the ground and verifying, among other things, the ModuVent clearance.

Since the case was announced, I've been wanting to buy it to replace my P180B, but the size put me off until I could verify the silence claims via SPCR. What a shame the silence aspect held up but the basics didn't. I have the same heatsink and motherboard, so I don't think I'll be buying the case after all, as one thing I require is access to the backplate - there's just no reason not to have it now. The bottom air filter is also much too fragile, as I would mount the case in a holder. Wish they had made the cutout fit more models of motherboard and moved the bottom filter inside the case to have a sturdy and uniform exterior surface - otherwise this is such a nice, modern case.

Maybe I can wait another 4 years for Antec to come through for mATX... or pay the extortionate 130 EUR for a Solo II (SPCR review) to at least shed 13+ litres and some 6 kg, cable management be damned. At least the cutout looks big enough and the bottom is solid. :P
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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Belmonte » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:35 am

So this case is comparably quieter than the Solo II?

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by thegrommit » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:51 am

The Mini is only available in black with no white, silver, or grey option at the moment.
Come on Fractal Design - give us something other than dust-magnet black.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by whispercat » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:01 pm

Does the Define Mini front USB 3.0 port have an internal mobo header?

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by mkk » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:27 pm

whispercat wrote:Does the Define Mini front USB 3.0 port have an internal mobo header?
Yes. Fractal Design has only ever employed the proper USB 3.0 connector.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by DAve_M » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:45 pm

The TJ08-E looses to the Fractal Design Define Mini on HDD temperatures because HDD reliability will be reduced at 25*C compared to 32*C.

I forget what the optimum temperature is but it's probably around 35-40*C.

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by bendit » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:55 am

I frankly don't even know why these companies bother, given their target customers are some of the most finicky hard to please consumers on the planet. :roll:

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Re: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Post by Das_Saunamies » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:44 pm

bendit wrote:I frankly don't even know why these companies bother, given their target customers are some of the most finicky hard to please consumers on the planet. :roll:
Well if they get it right, there are people willing to invest a pretty penny towards getting what they want. I mean why else would I have paid for a P180 (over a 100 new, no PSU - could buy a regular case for 50 and maybe even get a PSU)? :wink:

And seriously: why wouldn't you try to make the perfect or near-perfect product?
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