The Fractal Design Core 500 is available from most major retailers for around £50. We were able to find it from Overclockers UK for £49.99, While not the cheapest mini-ITX, nor the most expensive, it’s certainly competitive given the range of features and the fact it’s from a trusted brand name.
I really like what Fractal Design have done with their latest chassis. Will I reserve the fact that it’s not their best ever chassis, at just £50 it was never really designed to be. The heavy thick metal construction we often see on Fractal Design products is gone, but this is certainly not a poorly made product by any measure. The main panels are still quite thick and heavy, and while the front panel is plastic, it is very nicely finished and in keeping with the rest of their range. At this price, I am very happy to see one of the award-winning R3 140mm fans installed, as they retail at close to £10 each, 1/5th the value of this chassis.
Airflow is plentiful here, with ventilation on the side panel for the graphics card, as well as more on the top for any additional fans or radiators; both of which have magnetic and washable dust filters. There’s separate airflow for the PSU, with a filtered intake on the bottom of the chassis and the exhaust vent on the right side panel, as well as that lovely 140mm fan in the back. Cramming high-end hardware into a tight box can quickly leave your components overheating, but that’s really not going to be a problem here.
The internal layout can be a little tricky to work with, as there’s not always the most intuitive routes for cable management. However, there are no windows on this chassis, so as long as you cable tie excess wires out of the way of fans and vents, you won’t have any issues there at all. Of course, the more drives you add in, it’ll get a little trickier, but you’ll just need to take your time and a little extra care.
For a compact gaming system, the Core 500 certainly ticks all the right boxes. If you’re short on space, need something that’ll fit under or around your home entertainment setup, or even just a rig that you can pop in the boot of your car and take to LAN gaming events, you’ll find what you need here, and at a very reasonable price.
- Robust build quality
- Room for long graphics card
- Excellent ventilation
- Dust filters
- High-quality 140mm fan pre-installed
- Water cooling support
- Competitive price
- Tricky cable routing/management
- The design is a little bland, but on the plus side, shouldn’t prove distracting if used as HTPC
“The Fractal Design Core 500 is a great option for those looking for a well made, competitively priced and capable mini-ITX chassis. Perfect for HTPC, LAN gaming system, or just a compact system for your home/office.”
Thank you Fractal Design for providing us with this sample.