Fractal Design Define Nano S Mini-ITX Case Review

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atheus

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Or perhaps a smaller Define S? Like.. a nano S?

To the author: regarding what you forgot to install — you forgot to install the water cooling components this case is designed for.
 

CaedenV

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So cute! I am still a few years out from my next build, but it will certainly be something similar to this. Just need enough space for a mobo, short tower cooler, psu, and a gaming gpu. ODD sits on the desk under the monitor, and the m.2 SSD will be bolted to the mobo, so there is no real need for a case with drive space any more.
 

SirGCal

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I love the Fractal cases. But for a non-optical case (not for me) and no large storage array inside, this case is huge.
 
G

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Wow. When does it come out? Where will I be able to get one?
 
G

Guest

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Wow. When does it come out? Where will I be able to get one?
Nevermind. Comes out March this year. Can't wait! This will be the perfect case for my mini itx build.
 

atheus

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So many comments on the large size of it. The large empty space in the front of the case is where one would put the pump, reservoir, and a large radiator for a full-blown custom loop. That's the entire raison d'etre for this case, and what makes it very awesome. For a no-compromise water-cooled single GPU gaming rig, this is the one.
 

Flying-Q

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Notwithstanding the proprietary PSU, I still think the EVGA Hadron Air is better than this. Even taking that tiny EVGA PSU into account I prefer the Hadron.
 

nucasnucas

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Is Tom's out of hardware? :) Seriously, where is a water-cooling setup so we can see the options available? And more storage besides the SSD? Please do better next time.
 

sylentz199

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Anyone have any advice on how I could cram 5 drives (2.5" or 3.5") into this case. That looks like alot of room between the front of the case and the mobo.
I want to setup a mITX Plex Server. I've got everything pretty much spec'd out but can't find a good tiny case to use. Most of the cases that can handle 5 drives are really mATX not mITX.
 

Moneyd623

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Anyone have any advice on how I could cram 5 drives (2.5" or 3.5") into this case. That looks like alot of room between the front of the case and the mobo.
I want to setup a mITX Plex Server. I've got everything pretty much spec'd out but can't find a good tiny case to use. Most of the cases that can handle 5 drives are really mATX not mITX.
Node 304 Supports 6 drives I believe, and they can be either 3.5 or 2.5
http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/node-series/node-304-black
 

cmiconi

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Is Tom's out of hardware? :) Seriously, where is a water-cooling setup so we can see the options available? And more storage besides the SSD? Please do better next time.
It's called a control variable. We try not to change any of the hardware between case reviews so that we have a consistent baseline to judge all of the cases against.

However, I will look into the possibility of getting some additional equipment so that we can more effectively demonstrate the features of some of the cases in the future.
 

Adhmuz

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Well, the SG10 is smaller and fits a mATX motherboard, two 3.5" drives, four 2.5" drives and slim optical, and again that's all while being in a case that has only 23 Liters of space. Not to mention it supports full size heatsinks, dual GPUs and looks much better IMO... This is, well a nice try, but too big, I don't see why you would want to put yourself through such misery trying to cram a custom loop in a box so small when a full sized heatsink can do the job just as well for the current generation of efficient CPUs. Also your limited to a select few good ITX mobos...
 

atheus

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For starters, the SG10 can't fit all that stuff plus a custom loop, which you are evidently aware of since the second part of your post is an amusing claim that big air performs just as well as a custom loop. If this were true, then you would have a point. Needless to say, there's a reason for water cooling to exist, though, beyond looking cool. If you don't get that, then this case is not for you.

Fractal Design makes other cases for people trying to go tiny with air. This is for something else.
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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Atheus,

Adhmuz' main point is that the SG10 fits a ton more in it while being a lot less in volume. Not sure why you're pursuing the "can't fit in a custom loop" tangent. Busting on water vs air cooling is also a red herring.

I agree - for a case that has the word "nano" in it, it sure isn't as small as expected from the name.
 

atheus

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...because the whole point of this case is custom loop water cooling - as is the Define S that it's based on. If that were not part of the design, then the whole front 40% of the case wouldn't be there, or it would be filled with drive bays or something useful, not just empty space. You think they put that big empty front section of the case just because they couldn't figure out another way to fit a long graphics card? This is why I took issue with the article stopping at demonstrating its performance on air. While it's nice to know, if you're just doing air and also go out of your way to build itx, this case would be a very strange choice, because yes, if you're not actually planning to use that space for a reservoir, pump, and a big fat radiator, then it certainly isn't all that compact.

It's like looking at a pick-up truck and saying "well it's not all that compact". People buy pick-up trucks because they need the big empty bed in the back to put things in. If you don't need it, then obviously you shouldn't be looking at pick-up trucks.
 

Adhmuz

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And exactly, this review was not of a water cooling setup, great the case supports it, but the review was not about that specifically. The case was tested with air cooling thus I compared it to a superior chassis that does as good if not better while being able to fit more hardware, not including a custom loop, heck if you knew the case I was mentioning you'd know it's not a case for water cooling. Had I wanted to refer to a comparable case that does water cooling with a similar volume I would look at the Corsair 250D, again a better solution than this IMO.

You used a great example, it's like reviewing a pickup truck with a fifth wheel by pulling a small hitch mount trailer, not exactly using it to it's full potential. Your gripe should be with the guy who wrote the article and didn't bother testing the case in the proper scenario. I was just pointing out a better solution for said scenario...
 
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