Fractal Design Node 202 mini-ITX Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design are one of the best chassis manufacturers in the world, having created a stunning range of products over the years, as well as branching out into the world of PSUs, CPU coolers and more. Today they look set to dominate the living room, with the release of their Node 202 mini-ITX chassis. What makes this one so special is that it is designed to house a high-end system, but maintains that slim form factor, allowing you to put it under your TV or on your desk with ease; perfect for a gaming system/steambox or a HTPC configuration.

“The Node 202 is the ultimate PC case for those looking for a beautifully designed, compact chassis that can house a capable gaming build. This small footprint is an intelligently built unit where extreme detail was placed into the design phase to get every line and spec in perfect harmony. With both horizontal and vertical orientation possibilities, the Node 202 can be placed anywhere in the house. The sleek design makes it very attractive next to the TV in the living room or on your desk in the office.”

With a small footprint and a volume of just 10.2 liters, it’s hard to belive that this chassis can house a pair of 2.5″ hard drives, motherboard, CPU cooler, PSU and more impressive of all, a pretty large graphics card.

Specifications

  • Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 – 2.5″ SSD unit positions
  • 2 expansion slots
  • 2 – 120mm optional fan positions in graphics card chamber
  • CPU coolers up to 56 mm in height
  • PSU compatibility: SFX PSUs up to 130mm long
  • Graphics card compatibility: Maximum dimension of graphics card is 310x145x47mm (LxHxD)
  • Can be placed both vertical and horizontal position
  • 3 dust filters included (for CPU, GPU and PSU)
  • Case volume: 10.2 litres
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions – Horizontal (WxHxD): 377 x 82 x 330 mm
  • Case dimensions – Horizontal, with feet/protrusions/screws (WxHxD): 377 x 88 x 332 mm
  • Case dimensions – Vertical, with feet/protrusions/screws (WxHxD): 125 x 385 x 332 mm
  • Net weight: 3.5 kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 145 x 463 x 388 mm
  • Package weight: 5.2kg

To make the build even easier, the model we have today comes with that rather fantastic Integra SFX 450W 80 Plus Gold power supply pre-installed, meaning that you can get your system up and running a lot quicker, and that 450W delivery is going to be more than enough for even the most demanding CPU/GPU combinations.

“The Integra SFX 450W PSU that comes inclusive with the enclosure provides stable power to the most demanding systems. It comes with customized connectors and tailored cables perfectly fitted for use within the Node 202, contributing to hassle-free installation and cable management.”

  • 80PLUS® Bronze certification
  • 80mm, temperature controlled fan
  • Maximum operating temperature at full load: 50°C (50°C @ 100%)
  • Fully Intel Haswell C6/C7 compliant
  • 3 years warranty
  • Taiwanese capacitors
  • OPP / OVP / UVP / SCP / OCP Protection
  • Can be placed both vertical and horizontal position
  • 100,000 hours life expectancy (MTBF)
  • SFX 3.3 PSU specification compliance
  • ErP 2013 compliant (<0.5W system power draw)
  • Colors available: Black
  • Unit measurements (WxHxD): 125 x 64 x 100 mm
  • Net weight: 1.0 kg

So specs and things aside, let’s move on to the actual hardware. First up, we can see the packaging is fairly simple, with a big sticker on the front letting us know we’ve got the Integra SFX 450W included in the chassis, as well as a handy 3-year warranty.

Around the back, there is a fantastic technical breakdown of each component, showing you exactly which features you’re going to get from this build.

First things out of the box, a simple user guide, warranty booklet and general product information.

You’ll also find a nice little box of accessories.

This includes a bundle of cable ties, all the usual fitting screws, and some stick-on rubber feet.

One of the most important components is this adaptor for the PCI-E slot, allowing the GPU to lay parallel to the motherboard, allowing for a slimmer chassis design.

Finally, there’s a slot-in vertical mount, giving you another great way to display your system.

It’s very sturdy and comes with four rubber grip feet on the base to prevent it from sliding around.

Now onto the best part, the chassis its self! It’s certainly nice and slim, and should blend easily into your AV setup; if that’s where you wanted it at least. There’s a little bit of ventilation down the left side, giving some extra airflow to the graphic card area.

Down the right side, a lot more ventilation, giving air intake to the motherboard and PSU mounting area, with even more ventilation on the top for heat exhaust from any CPU cooler you’re using.

The finish is sublime, a mostly plastic exterior, but with a soft matte finish that gives it a premium look and feel.

Aside from the subtle Fractal Design logo, you’ll also find all the usual ports and controls down here. One little touch that I very much like is the black USB 3.0 ports, as they’re visually less distracting than the usual blue ones, and that can’t be understated for those wanting a clean-looking HTPC build.

Around the back, we’ve got the motherboard I/O cut out, two expansion slots, and the PSU pass through port.

The PSU actually mounts on the front right corner, but an internal cable means you only have to connect the PSU power at the back, where you can easily hide the cables out of sight.

On the base of the chassis, a lot more ventilation. There’s a small vent on the right, allowing airflow to the PSU, as well as a long vent on the left for the PSU air intake.

Fractal Design Integra M 550W 80Plus Bronze Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


Fractal Design has been making high-end PC components for years, having already made a respectable name for themselves in the chassis market, making good ground in the PSU market and in the last couple of years, they’ve also been doing interesting things with water cooling too. Today, we are of course more interested in their PSU business, as we have their new 550W Integra in for review, a 80Plus Bronze rated semi-modular unit that is targeted at mid-range systems within a reasonably affordable budget range.

“Fractal Design Integra M units are equipped with a large temperature-controlled 120mm fan for reduced noise levels and optimum cooling. The Integra M is a great choice for medium-performance gaming computers and workstations.” – Fractal Design

Equipped with a compact 140mm form factor, this ATX power supply is well suited to chassis that has a compact design, and that should allow you more room for cable routing, longer graphics cards, cooling and more, dependant on your chassis configuration. Modular and flat style cables are also a big win, as they’re much easier to route and you can remove any cables you do not require, helping you achieve a much cleaner looking system build.

The Integra M ticks all the usual boxes, as you would expect any modern power supply to; OPP, OVP, UVP and SCP. You’ll also find good quality Taiwanese capacitors, bronze efficiency, a good quality 120mm fan, and a trusty 3-year warranty.

The packaging is nicely designed, as is always the case with Fractal Design products. On the front, we can see prominently displayed, the three years warranty, 80 Plus Bronze rating and the 550W power output.

Around the back, a little technical information on the performance, although we’ll be testing this ourselves shortly, as well as information about the fixed and modular cables.

In the box, there’s a simple user guide, mounting screws, cable ties, a couple of velcro straps and the mains power cable.

Fractal Design Core 500 Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design have a long history of creating high-end, very high-quality products, but in recent years they’ve also turned their attention to a more consumer friendly end of the market, with more affordable, yet still very stylish and well-made products, such as the Core 500 we have in the eTeknix office today.

“The Core 500 is the perfect PC case for those looking for a small, compact chassis that lets you build your computer without compromising on component selection.”

Designed for mini-ITX motherboards, but still offering support for a large GPU, a standard ATX PSU and more, the Core 500 is bound to appeal to those wanting a compact workstation or gaming system. With prices around £50 here in the UK, it’s also going to appeal to those who don’t have a huge amount of money to spend on their chassis, leaving more of the budget to focus on better performing internal components.

Key features

  • Brushed aluminum-look front panel with a sleek, three-dimensional textured finish
  • Very compact case with a volume of only 19.5 liters
  • Extremely good water cooling support for its size, supporting radiators up to 280mm long
  • Smart drive bay placement allows you to fit up to three 3.5″drives, three 2.5″ and one 5.25″ drive simultaneously
  • Supports Mini-ITX motherboards, ATX power supplies and graphics cards up to 310mm in length
  • Supports tall CPU cooler towers, up to 170mm in height
  • Featuring a Fractal Design Silent Series R3 140mm rear exhaust fan for great cooling
  • Big magnetic filters for the side and top air intake together with a PSU filter ensures a dust free interior

There’s certainly enough room for some high-end hardware in this chassis, with ample drive mounts, a 5.25″ bay and more.

Specifications

Mini ITX, Mini DTX motherboard compatibility; NOTE: motherboards with SATA ports that are angled 90 degrees may conflict with installation in the case.
2 expansion slots
3 – 3.5″ HDD positions
3 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD/HDD unit positions
1 – 5.25″ bay (removable)
CPU coolers up to 170mm in height
ATX PSUs, up to 170mm in length (non modular PSUs); ATX PSUs, up to 160mm in length (modular PSUs)
Graphics cards up to 310 mm in length (note: graphics cards longer than 170 mm will not fit with PSUs that exceed 170 mm)
Colours available: Black
Case volume: 19.5 liters
Case dimensions (WxHxD): 250 x 203 x 367 mm
Case dimensions – with feet/screws/protrusions: 250 x 213 x 380 mm
Net weight: 4.4 kg
Package dimensions (WxHxD): 285 x 335 x 450 mm
Package weight: 5.3 kg

What’s interesting is that while the chassis does come fitted with an R3 fan in the back, you can still add more fans to the top, and even a decent size AIO cooler.

  • Rear: 1 – 120/140 mm fan (included is 1 Fractal Design Silent Series R3 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 2 – 120/140 mm fan (not included)
  • Water cooling compatibility (note: not compatible with AIO water cooler units that feature the pump on the radiator):
    • Top – 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm radiators. (Thickness limitation of 100 mm for both radiator + fan) (240 and 280 mm radiators require removal of the ODD bay) (280mm radiator can be maximum 325mm in length)
    • Rear – 120 mm radiator (not compatible with the rear 3.5″ HDD position)
  • Dust filters: Magnetic filters on side and top panel, PSU filter

First impressions of the chassis are positive, as it has a really good weight to it, feels pretty solid and as is always the case for Fractal Design products, it has a flawless black paint job and matching black plastic trim.

There’s a huge strip of ventilation down the left side, perfect for airflow to your graphics card, and there’s a little more ventilation on the right side, which is where your PSU will exhaust, as the PSU is mounted towards the front of the chassis.

The front panel is fairly straight forward, with the 5.25″ drive bay at the top. Not a lot of people use the 5.25″ drive these days, but it’s still nice to have one, especially on a chassis that’s likely to end up under your TV. There’s some ventilation towards the front, with a vertical strip on the left and right edges, which are angled to break up what would otherwise be a bland and boxey design.

The front I/O has all the basics, with two USB ports for you flash pens, controllers or Wi-Fi dongle, as well as easily accessed audio jacks for your headset.

Around the back, you’ll see there are four thumb screws holding the single piece left, top and right side panel component in place. The power cable pass-through is in the bottom left, which leads through to the PSU mount at the front edge of the chassis. There’s a high-quality 140mm fan pre-installed, which is certainly a welcome addition, but there are optional 120mm mounts there if you need them. Finally, we have a pair of expansion slots which come fitted with reusable ventilated metal covers.

On the base, a slide out dust filter for the PSU, as well as four durable feel with anti-vibration/slip rubber washers on the bottom.

Fractal Design Unveil Define Nano S ITX Chassis

Fractal Design is one of the most respected case manufacturers throughout the industry and specializes in creating products with excellent noise suppression. Today, the company announced the Define Nano S which adopts the portable, ITX form factor while maintaining compatibility with full size components. For example, you can install a 240mm radiator and graphics cards measuring up to 315mm in length. Also, the chassis is bundled with two Dynamic Series fans which provides great airflow at a low acoustical noise output. As you might expect, the case is equipped with Fractal’s signature ModuVent technology to reduce noise and create a virtually silent system. There’s also a great selection of dust filters to make the cleaning process easier and prolong the life of your cooling hardware.

Specification:

  • ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 expansion slots
  • 2 – 3.5″ HDD/2.5″ SSD positions; 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD unit positions (fits SSDs up to 13mm thick)
  • 6 – Fan positions (1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fan + 1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP-12 120mm fan included)
  • Filtered fan slots in the front and bottom (ejects from the front of the case)
  • CPU coolers up to 160mm in height
  • ATX PSUs up to 160mm deep
  • Graphics cards up to 315mm in length with front fans mounted (Cards wider than the dual slot bracket are not recommended)
  • 17 – 35mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Velcro straps included for easy cable management
  • Both side panels and rear HDD/SSD brakcets feature smart captive thumbscrews
  • Dense sound dampening material on front and right side panels; left side panel includes a transparent window
  • ModuVent on top of case for further silent computing or additional ventilation
  • Colours available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 203 x 330 x 400mm
  • Case dimensions – wtih feet/protrusions/screws: 203 x 344 x 412mm
  • Net weight: 4.6 kg
  • Case volume: 26.80 litres
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 275 x 485 x 420mm
  • Package weight: 5.8 kg

Key Features:

  • A Define Series ITX case designed for silent computing with sound dampening and ModuVent technology
  • User-friendly construction with superior cable management and compatibility for full-size components
  • Flexible storage options with room for up to 4 drives
  • Accommodates a variety of radiator sizes and includes brackets for reservoir and pump mounting
  • Features two Dynamic Series fans — 1 GP-12 and 1 GP-14 — with an adapter included for motherboards with limited fan headers
  • Featuring an open interior allowing an unobstructed airflow path from the front of the case to the rear exhaust
  • Easy-to-clean filters on the top and bottom, spanning the PSU position, with the bottom filter ejecting from the front for easy-access.

The chassis will be available in two models, a standard edition and another unit featuring a side panel window. In terms of pricing, the non-windowed case has a recommended retail price of $64.99/£49.99/€69.99 while the windowed version costs $69.99/£54.99/€74.99. According to the press release, Fractal plans to bring the case to market in March this year.

Fractal Design Kelvin T12 Expandable Pre-Filled CPU Water Cooler Review

Introduction


Fractal Design has won virtually countless awards over the years, many of them from us here at eTeknix. Their chassis products are some of the best made, best looking and best performing in the industry, and they continued that success with their power supplies, and more recently, their coolers. Their latest cooler, the Kelvin T12 looks set to take the AIO market by storm, not only is it perfectly suitable for AIO plug-and-play deployment, but it’s also expandable, much like a custom loop cooler.

The Kelvin T12 is certainly well equipped, with a thick-style 120mm radiator, high-quality Fractal Design branded fans, extensive socket support, a high-quality pump and much more.

General Specifications

  • Block/pump assembly measurements: 69*69*40 mm
  • Tubing Measurements: 320mm long, 11mm outer and 8mm inner diameter
  • Fitted with anti-kink coils for worry-free installation
  • Kelvin T12 Radiator Measurements: 46*132*163 mm
  • Thread class for fill port and all tube fittings: G 1/4″
  • Supported sockets: Intel: 775,1150,1155,1156,1366,2011,2011-v3; AMD: AM2,AM2+,AM3,AM3+,FM1,FM2,FM2+
  • Fans included: 2 pcs
  • Fractal Design Zero Thermal Paste ; 1 g syringe, sufficient for multiple mountings
  • Colors Available: Black
  • Net weight – Base unit only, not including mounting or fans: 1.1 kg
  • Net weight – Dynamic GP-12 PWM fan, per fan: 159 g
  • Net weight – Total excluding packaging and manual. Includes fans, mounting kit for all platforms, cooling paste (including packaging for the cooling paste) and adapter cable: 1.7 kg
  • Package dimensions – W x H x D: 350*250*151 mm
  • Package weight: 2.4 kg

Fan Specification

  • Fractal Design Dynamic GP-12 PWM fan
  • 500 – 2000 RPM
  • PWM control
  • Max air flow: 87.6 CFM
  • Max pressure: 2.30 mm H2O
  • Acoustical noise: 32.2 dB(A)
  • DC 12V, 0.20A

Pump Specification

  • Ceramic bearing
  • 2400 RPM
  • Voltage control
  • Maximum water flow: 72 l/h
  • Maximum pressure: 1.0 m H2O
  • Acoustical noise: 25.0 dB(A)
  • DC 12V, 0.27A

The packaging is the usual theme for Fractal and has a nice image of the cooler on the front of the box.

Around the back and the sides of the box, there are plenty of details on the main specifications and features, which we’ll take a closer look at in a moment.

In the box, you’ll find the user guide, a fan adaptor cable and Y-splitter, some high-quality thermal paste, as well as the Intel and AMD mounting brackets.

The fans are both Fractal Design’s own Dynamic GP-12 PWM fans; a very high-quality set of fans that should provide us with great airflow and low noise.

This may be an expandable unit, but it comes pre-built and pre-filled as an AIO unit. I wouldn’t normally look at a solution like this if I wanted a custom loop, but it’s certainly nice to have the option to expand it should you feel the need. The thick radiator looks great and its chunky design looks and feels durable. There’s a large copper base to the pump, which will provide excellent coverage to your CPU of choice.

The radiator is nice and thick, which will help it handle higher cooling loads. Along the base of the built-in reservoir, there’s a small stopper cap that can be removed to top up the coolant levels.

On the other end, we’ve got two G 1/4″ fittings, which are widely compatible with other cooling products, pipes, radiators, etc. The pipes themselves are very flexible and come with a coil that looks great, but also helps with overall durability and prevents kinks.

The pump is nice and compact and quite minimalist in terms of design; the gloss finish on the top is going to look great in any system.

The pump also features the same G 1/4″ fittings, meaning you’ve got more points you can expand the loop from and to.

You don’t have to look hard here to see that the build quality and finish on this cooler are exceptional, it looks stunning and everything looks premium-grade for every angle.

The GIGABYTE Charity Raffle at I55 Raised £2417 for Zoё’s Place

Gigabyte’s charity raffle for Zoë’s Place, held during Insomnia 55, was a big success and made it possible to hand over a check worth £2417. This isn’t the first time Gigabyte is holding a raffle at the Insomnia event and last time they made £1700, so €2417 is a good step up and a great sign that gamers want to give something back. All the proceeds of the raffle go to Zoë’s Place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

That is all great news and there were also some great prizes up for grab as part of the raffle. The ones entering the raffle had the chance to win AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE themselves sponsored a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets for the raffle. All in all, prizes worth over £5000.

Gigabyte will be back with another Raffle in the future and I hope that even more people will support the cause then. We can do better, we can do more.

Fractal Design R5 Chassis Tested in The World’s Quietest Room

Fractal Design’s unbridled commitment to constructing silent, high-quality cases with a focus on good airflow has earned a great deal of respect throughout the technology sector. The Define R5 applied a number of subtle tweaks from the previous model and progressively enhanced the chassis’ sound-deadening materials. Fractal Design constantly strives for perfection and conducted a wide array of interesting noise tests in the world’s quietest room.

From the graphs, we can see the Fractal Design R5 is virtually silent at idle and reported a 14 dB figure. The majority of people would struggle to distinguish audible noise between 1-10 dB, so 14 is remarkably quiet. Even under full load, the case only ramps up to 21.2 dB and well within an acceptable range. To put this into perspective, the case when benchmarking is even quieter than a library or normal conversation.

The R5 competes exceedingly well against an open test bench and provides a much better PC experience. Under idle, the R5 and R5 windowed edition only recorded a 1.3 and 1.4 dBA acoustical noise level while the test bench hit a maximum of 16.1 dBA. The figures under 50% load remain fairly constant with an increase of approximately 1 dBA. However, notice how the gap slightly increases between the solid and windowed side panel version. When 100% load was applied, the standard R5 reached 21.2 dBA and the side-panel case only increased this figure by 0.7 dBA. Honestly, I expected there to be a much larger gap between these models. Finally, the Test Bench wasn’t ridiculously loud but enough of an increase to exemplify the R5’s excellent build quality.

This was a rather intriguing experiment and illustrates how quiet a modern, custom-PC can be. Perhaps the research conducted will allow Fractal to improve their silent ratings even further in future products.

GIGABYTE and Partners Hold Biggest Ever Charity Raffle at I55

UK’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia, is just around the corner and it will open its doors tomorrow for Multiplay Insomnia 55, UK’s biggest gaming festival at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Following up on the last successful charity raffle, GIGABYTE again partnered with others to create the biggest ever charity raffle at Insomnia. There will be around £5000 worth of hardware prizes to win spread out over the two days.

The prizes that you can win include AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE is sponsoring a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets themselves. All this can be won and best of all, everything goes to charity.

There will be two raffles, one held on Friday, the 28th of August and the second the day after, on Saturday, the 29th of August.

Like last time, all the proceeds will be donated to the local charity Zoë’s place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. This is truly a worthy cause and I hope a lot of the gamers attending the Insomnia event will be very generous. The added bonus of  having a chance to win amazing hardware and this really is a no-brainer. Participate!

Fractal Design Product Launch Party @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015: With all the chaos of the main event halls at Computex, Fractal Design decided to do things a little differently and reveal their new products in a far more relaxed and entertaining environment at their own private party. Many of the top industry people were invited along to come and check out what they had been working on, as well as enjoy the great atmosphere, for which we’re greatful to be invited to

One of the coolest products on show was the Node 202, which comes with the Integra SFX 450W PSU. This marks Fractal Designs entry into the slim form factor market, offering competition from the growing popularity of “SteamMachines” and other SFF gaming systems.

Also on display, a range of high-end AIO water cooling units, the biggest of which is the Kelvin S36; if it performs half as good as it looks, this should be a great cooler.

Fractal Design has been working hard on redesigning their fan range and while it’s often hard to tell the difference between many models, their latest promise to be cooler, quieter and simply better all round; which I think you’ll agree is no bad thing.

The new Core 500 is a great looking cube-style chassis, perfect for those who want a tidy and compact system for their gaming system, office or HTPC system in their living room.

It comes with all the features you would expect and has room for a mini-ITX motherboard and a 300mm graphics card; perfect for a gaming system.

We’re really looking forward to checking out these products over the coming weeks and months. We’ll bring you more information as soon as we have it and of course, keep an eye out for in-depth reviews as soon as we have the products.

Fractal Design Define S Full-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design is one of the biggest names in the chassis industry. Time and time again they’ve delivered premium quality products for the enthusiast market and today they’re promising us a repeat performance. The Define S is their latest and hopefully one of their greatest chassis’, bringing all the support for high-end hardware you could hope for.

The Define S is equipped with all the usual high-end features that you would expect from a Fractal Design product. We’ve got sound-dampening materials, an innovative internal layout, extreme air and water cooling support, ModuVent fan vent covers and high-quality Dynamic Series fans.

Everything you need to get you started is included in the box, such as this nice collection of high-quality screws and fittings.

The first impression of the Define S is very good indeed. It clearly borrows heavily from the Define series in terms of external design, although that uniform look has become quite the norm for most Fractal Design products. As you can see, we’ve got the side panel window edition, although there is a solid panel edition with extra sound dampening material on the interior for those who favor silence over appearance.

The right side panel is a solid panel and both side panels are held in place with a pair of fixed thumbs screws at the rear; this allows quick and easy access to the chassis interior.

The front panel is very similar to other Define series chassis’, however, the front panel is no longer a hinge door design, as the optical bays have been completely removed to allow more room for cooling components.

Around the back, you’ll find a 120/140mm fan mount at the top, with a Dynamic Series 140mm fan pre-installed. There are seven expansion slots, each fitted with a high-quality reusable cover.

The top panel has a nice clean look thanks to the ModuVent fan vent covers. These are removable for those who want to install top mounted fans or radiators;  those who want to leave them in place can benefit from improved sound dampening.

The main I/O is neat and tidy, with all the basics in place and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. Interestingly, the port connectors are black, not the usual USB 3.0 blue, which helps keep the front panel looking nice and uniform.

The underside has four small feet, which have rubber grip pads on them to help reduce vibration, whilst also providing ground clearance for any bottom mounted cooling.

The bottom filter is magnetic fitting and washable, which should make maintenance nice and easy.

Latest Fractal Design Fans on Display at CeBIT 2015

CeBIT 2015 has been full of cool technology, but sometimes it’s nice to take a closer look at the bits of technology we don’t always give much attention to day-to-day, our system fans. From water cooling radiators to chassis airflow, fans are a vital component to our computers and the new ranges from Fractal Design are looking very promising. The fans have high-quality motors, specially designed fins on each type, making them suitable for chassis, radiators and more.

The new fans have rubber fittings for reduced vibration, come in sizes as small as 40mm and are of a very high quality overall. We look forward to testing them out later in the year and I’m very eager to see how they perform on water cooling radiators, as the black and white theme would no doubt look great in a water cooled system.

Fractal Design Launched Venturi Series High Pressure and High Flow Fans

Fractal Design launched their newest line of fans with the Venturi Series. The new fans come with built-in rubber vibration dampening corners and are ideal for high pressure or high airflow usage with low noise output.

The HF-12 and HF-14 Venturi High Flow Series fans are optimized for low-restriction airflow environments and for uses such as case fans and other low-restriction usage scenarios. The fans are designed with a variety of performance increasing and noise-reducing features.

The HF-14 also comes with two sets of solid vibration-dampening rubber corners: one for standard 140mm fan hole spacing (125mm) and one compatible with the standard 120mm hole spacing (105 mm).

Venturi High Flow Key Features

  • Featuring true FDB-bearings, providing silent operation coupled with a long lifespan
  • Equipped with a counter-balancing magnet in the hub that reduces the axial tension on the bearing, further protecting the longevity of the bearing
  • Dense, sturdy construction, made from high-grade glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic polymer with fan geometry that is optimized for a good balance between static pressure and maximum airflow, resulting in good performance in all usage scenarios
  • Aerodynamically shaped thin stator struts (including wire strut), mimicking the design commonly found on airplane wings, delivering correct angles allowing for air to easily pass through reducing noise and unwanted turbulence.
  • Stator struts are angled perpendicular to the blades, helping to reduce noise commonly emitted when the blades pass the struts. In effect, minimal noise that may be emitted will be constant and therefore almost inaudible to the ear.
  • Strategically placed notches near the fan hub on the trailing edge of the blades, further reducing and diffusing humming noise produced when the blades pass the stator struts
  • Includes a “trip wire” on the rear side of the blades, near the leading edge. The trip wire technology, also commonly found in airplane wing designs, introduces a microturbulent layer that helps to combat the elements that negatively affect performance. The presence of the trip wire overall provides a more efficient and quiet fan environment.
  • Delivers high precision due to high-grade materials used, permitting the distance between the blades and frame to be as small as 1.2mm, contributing to a higher performance fan
  • Featuring a powerful motor to maintain a reliable speed
  • Comes with a low-speed adapter, for reducing the speed without the use of a fan controller
  • Includes vibration-dampening corners, from solid high-quality synthetic rubber on the fans
  • 140mm fans come with an additional set of vibration-dampening corners are included that lends compatibility with 120mm fan mounts (105mm screw spacing). This enables the use of 140mm fans on many CPU coolers.
  • Screws pass through the rubber only, not through plastic, therefore eliminating the chance of noise derived from rattling when in use
  • Available in 120mm and 140mm fan sizes

The HP-12 and HP-14 Venturi High-Pressure Series PWM fans are optimized for high-restriction airflow scenarios, making them an excellent choice for usage on large heatsinks, on radiators, or in other highly restrictive scenarios. The HP series otherwise has the same great features as the HF series apart from the different usage scenario, including the adjustable corners.

Venturi High-Pressure PWM Key Features

  • Featuring true FDB-bearings, providing silent operation coupled with a long lifespan
  • Equipped with a counter pull magnet, that reduces the axial tension on the bearing
  • Optimized fan geometry as a high-pressure fan, delivering high-performance results in high restriction usage scenarios, such as in use with large heatsinks or water cooling radiators.
  • Dense, sturdy construction, made from high-grade glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic polymer
  • Featuring PWM control with a very wide speed range, starting at only 400RPM (400 +/- 100 RPM), ideal for CPU heatsinks or radiators, where the motherboard can control the fan speed based on the CPU temperature.
  • Aerodynamically shaped thin stator struts (including wire strut), mimicking the design commonly found on airplane wings, delivering correct angles allowing for air to easily pass through reducing noise and unwanted turbulence.
  • Stator struts are angled perpendicular to the blades, helping to reduce noise commonly emitted when the blades pass the struts. In effect, minimal noise that may be emitted will be constant and therefore almost inaudible to the ear.
  • Strategically placed notches near the fan hub on the trailing edge of the blades, further reducing and diffusing humming noise produced when the blades pass the stator struts
  • Includes a “trip wire” on the rear side of the blades, near the leading edge. The trip wire technology, also commonly found in airplane wing designs, introduces a micro-turbulent layer that helps to combat the elements that negatively affect performance. The presence of the trip wire overall provides a more efficient and quiet fan environment.
  • Delivers high precision due to high grade materials used, permitting the distance between the blades and frame to be as small as 1.2mm, contributing to a higher performance fan
  • Featuring a powerful motor to maintain a reliable speed
  • Comes with a 1->2 PWM signal splitter wire, for connecting additional fans to a single PWM header on your motherboard or PWM fan controller
  • Including vibration-dampening corners, from solid high-quality synthetic rubber on the fans
  • 140mm fans come with an additional set of vibration-dampening corners are included that lends compatibility with 120mm fan mounts (105mm screw spacing). This enables the use of 140mm fans on many CPU coolers.
  • Screws pass through the rubber only, not through plastic, therefore eliminating the chance of noise derived from rattling when in use
  • Available in 120mm and 140mm fan sizes

Thanks to Fractal Design for providing us with this information

Fractal Design Kelvin S24 Expandable AIO CPU Cooler

Introduction


Fractal Design is one of those companies that always make me a little excited. Instantly I think of clean edges, simplistic looks, sleek style and quality. Fractal Design is a Swedish company which look to their Scandinavian roots to create not just quality products, but products that people actually want to look at. Cases such as the Define R5 White are a perfect example of what I mean, it looks great, yet it is also functional. As well as cases, Fractal Design also manufacture power supplies and now AIO water cooling products. The new Kelvin Series has a single, dual and triple fan coolers which all look stunning, but let’s see how they do on our test bench.

The Fractal Design KELVIN S24 box is quite a simplistic in design, yet it does look stylish, this is something that I expect that we will see throughout this review as we look at this product. The box has a nice picture of the product on a black background with a bright blue trim. There is information regarding the radiator and pump on the sides of the box as well as a bit of text from Fractal Design letting us know that the KELVIN S24 is expandable, cools well and is quiet.

Other information that can be found on the box includes the specification. As you can see it supports many of the Intel and AMD sockets that we’re used to, so it will fit most modern motherboards and we can also see that we have a dual radiator and dual 120mm 800-1700 RPM PWM fans.

Inside the box we get a nice bunch of fittings to allow us to mount the CPU block and the radiators, there are fittings for both AMD and Intel, plenty of thermal paste, hex top screws and a hex key so you have everything you need to get started. You also get a fan adapter so that you can split your fan headers, this will allow you to run both fans from your motherboard as well as the pump.

Following the simple, yet stylish design again are the fans; they are a nice simple black and white design that look fantastic when they’re attached to the 240mm radiator. The blade design is simple and there is no branding on the front which means everything is clean and tidy. On the back there’s a little bit of branding and the Fractal Design logo as well as a bit of information about the fan.

Again, keeping it simple, Fractal Design has been able to make a pump and CPU block combo which looks stunning. This is something that I was really impressed with and my pictures just don’t do it justice at all. The Kelvin S24 is powered by an Alphacool DC-LT pump which is slightly worrying, they are renowned for being a little louder, yet they are cheap, powerful and of good quality overall. Using a pump such as this has allowed Fractal Design to make this AIO expandable. They have used standard G1/4 threads on both the radiator and the CPU block/pump, this is the most common thread you will find when doing custom water cooling loops, which means you can add more to the loop, such as a GPU, with ease.

The underside is made of 100% copper as is the radiator, which ensures excellent performance, as well as a little more eye candy.

The tubing on the Kelvin S24 is very soft and bendy so it’s no surprise that they have used an anti-kink coil to ensure that there are no blockages caused by any kinks. I do prefer softer tubing as it allows you to fit the cooler easier and with the addition of the anti-kink coil you shouldn’t run into any major problems when fitting it to cases that don’t allow you a shed load of space.

Installation is very easy, it’s just a case of using the correct bracket, connecting it to the pump using a nice nifty quick connect system and then just screwing it to the back plate that is provided. The fans are easily attached to the radiator with the hex key that is provided, with the screws having a hex top they are lower profile than most radiator screws and again this keeps everything looking very sleek and tidy. It’s nice to see that fractal design have thought about these little details as it does make the difference.

There is plenty of space between the CPU block and the RAM, even if we fit the Kelvin S24 with the fittings next to the RAM you still have enough clearance to use RAM with large heat sinks, so you’re certainly not limited to low profile RAM.

Fractal Design Announces Kelvin AIO CPU Coolers

We saw the Kelvin AIO CPU coolers from Fractal Design revealed a while ago, and now they are done with the last tweaks and have the Kelvin series has been officially announced. It will be available in three sizes called the T12, S24 and S36 with 120mm, 240mm and 360mm radiators respectively.

One of the awesome things about this new series is that it uses standard two-part brass fittings and is expandable, a feature we see more companies approaching lately, and one that I welcome. It is still as easy to install and the silent high-performance ceramic pump should be strong enough to support considerable expansion. The specifications rate the Kelvin T12 able to cool 1 CPU and 1 GPU, the Kelvin S24 can do 1-2 CPUs and 1-2 GPUs while the Kelvin S36 is said to be able to cool 1-4 CPUs and 1-4 GPUs.

The Kelvin series use a full-copper CPU Water block design just as the radiators are made from pure copper. The use of a single material throughout the entire unit ensures that we don’t get any unwanted galvanic corrosion.

While these units all require zero maintenance, they do come with a fill port to top off the fluid should it ever run low, another good feature. The Fractal Design Kelvin series supports all modern CPU sockets by the versatile and easy-to-use mounting kit.

General Specifications:

  • Block/pump assembly measurements: 69*69*40 mm
  • Tubing Measurements: 320mm long, 11mm outer and 8mm inner diameter
  • Fitted with anti-kink coils for worry-free installation
  • Kelvin T12 Radiator Measurements: 46*132*163 mm
    Kelvin S24 Radiator Measurements: 30*124*275mm
    Kelvin S36 Radiator Measurements: 30*124*397mm
  • Thread class for fill port and all tube fittings: G 1/4″
  • Supported sockets: Intel: 775,1150,1155,1156,1366,2011; AMD: AM2,AM2+,AM3,AM3+,FM1,FM2,FM2+
  • Fans included: 2 pcs (3 pcs for the S36)
  • Fractal Design Zero Thermal Paste; 1 g syringe, sufficient for multiple mountings
  • Colors Available: Black
  • Net weight – Base unit only, not including mounting or fans: 1.2 kg
  • Net weight – SS-HP fan, per fan: 165 g
  • Net weight – Total excluding packaging and manual. Includes fans, mounting kit for all platforms, cooling paste (including packaging for the cooling paste) and adapter cable: 1.8 kg
  • Package dimensions – W x H x D: 350*250*151 mm
  • Package weight: 2.5 kg

 

Fan Specification:

  • Fractal Design Silent Series HP 120 mm
  • 800 – 1700 RPM
  • PWM control
  • Max air flow: 62.4 CFM
  • Max pressure: 2.33 mm H2O
  • Acoustical noise: 26.9 dB(A)
  • DC 12V, 0.18A

The three units should start selling this month and the MSRP is set to $99.99, $119.99, and $139.99 respectively.

Thanks to Fractal Design for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Fractal Design

Fractal Design Define R5 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


The Fractal Design Define series has been one of the corner stones of the chassis industry for years now. Fractal Design have always been known for the exceptional build quality, silent performance and bold looks; although this much is true of almost all the chassis’ that Fractal Design produce. With that in mind, I’m very excited to have their latest iteration at my disposal today, the Fractal Design Define R5; the latest flag-ship chassis from the legendary Swedish manufacturer.

The Define R5 has been a long time coming, it was just over two years ago that I reviewed the Define R4. As much as I love the Define R4, two years is a long time and PC hardware has already changed a lot in that time; it will be interesting to see how Fractal Design have tweaked and improves the design to reflect that.

The Define R5 comes equipped with two 5.25″ drive bays, eight 2.5″/3.5″ bays and two 2.5″ drive mounts behind the motherboard; there’s no doubt that this chassis can handle a lot of storage. You’ll find room for mini-ITX, Micro ATX and most importantly, ATX motherboards. Combine this with room for graphics card of up to 310mm with the hard drive cages installed, or 440mm with them removed, up to 35mm of cable routing space, PSUs of up to 300mm and a whole lot more; the Fractal Design Define R5 is certainly capable of housing an ultra high-end system.

The chassis keeps the bold design that Fractal Design are known for. There are a few vents on the left side of the front panel to allow air into the chassis. The case is sealed up pretty tight to help keep any unwanted noises as muted as possible, but there’s a removable side panel cover, behind which you’ll find an optional side panel fan mount.

The right side panel is a blank panel, but you’ll notice even more ventilation on the right edge of the front panel. Both the left and right side panels are held in place by a pair of thumb screws.

The I/O panel is really nicely designed, you’ve got a pair of HD audio jacks and four USB ports; so connectivity shouldn’t be a problem. There’s a small reset button recessed into the top, a nicely designed power button and the top of the front panel is cut away for a recessed power LED.

The front panel features a thick layer of high-quality sound dampening material. The front door panel has been designed with a dual hinge, allowing you to open it from either the left or the right; it’s up to you.

Tucked away in the top left corner you’ll find a three speed fan control switch; you can connect up to three fans to this. The 5.25″ drive bay covers are removable from the front for easy access.

There is large high-quality dust filter in the front that can be easily removed. Behind this you’ll find a high quality 140mm fan with room for an additional 140mm fan below it.

There is another 140mm installed in the back of the chassis, although you could swap this out for a 120mm fan if you wanted to. There are elongated screw holes to allow height adjustment of your fan or radiator; this is great for preventing conflicts with other components or the chassis itself. There are seven expansion slots, each fitted with a reusable and ventilated metal cover.

This is one of my favourite features of the Define R5. The bottom dust filter covers all the way from the back of the PSU to the front of the chassis. The thing I like most is that the filter can be slid out from the front of the chassis, meaning you don’t have to pull the chassis out from under your desk to get to the filter! It’s amazing how many chassis manufacturers do this the other way around.

New Fractal Design Product Coming Soon!

Fractal Design are playing a fun game with us all today. They’ve begun teasing a new product that is soon to hit the market, but they won’t tell us what it is! Of course, we here at eTeknix are in a great position to take a few educated guesses and there are already clues staring us right in the face. Just take a look at the banners on our site which Fractal Design launched today!

The new advertisements read “Silence Redefined November 24 2014”. Which doesn’t really reveal much, but we know the kind of products Fractal Design produce, as well as which products they’ve shown at trade shows this year.

We stopped by the Fractal Design suite at Computex earlier this year where they had their new Core series of chassis. Given the Core is their newer budget range, I don’t think that will be the answer, perhaps something from their high-end range of chassis such as the Define, Arc or Node series? A Silenced chassis would certainly be an obvious choice in my opinion.

They also revealed their new AIO water cooling units, such as the 360mm radiator. We all know that AIO water cooling can offer ultra quiet performance compared to many air coolers, so perhaps that is what we can expect?

We’ve reached out to Fractal Design to see if we can squeeze some more information from them. Either way, we’ve only got a few days wait until the big reveal.

What do you think it will be?

Fractal Design Kelvin AIO Water Coolers Revealed

Have you been eager to get your hands on a new CPU water cooler? Then you may want to check out these lovely new models from Fractal Design. The new Kelvin series features an expandable all-in-one water cooling loop design. There are three sizes available to suit your build, with 120mm, 240mm and 360mm radiators making up the range.

The Kelvin coolers feature “silent operation”, and a high performance ceramic pump which is said to be strong enough to support “considerable expansion” and that’s very good news indeed. You can start out with the CPU cooler component, but when you’re feeling the need for more, you could easily add GPU blocks or extra radiators into the loop.

All models are constructed from enthusiast class components. The CPU block and the radiator are made from pure copper and the whole unit requires zero maintenance, making them a friendly option for water cooling first-timers.

  • The strong pump and the full-copper construction places the Kelvin Series water cooling system ahead of the pack in cooling performance.
  • Easily Expandable system. Just open it up to get the full benefits of custom water cooling, with the ability to add any parts you want to the loop.
  • High pressure pump provides impressive water flow rates even when an additional CPU or GPU water block or an additional radiator has been added to the loop.
  • All parts have fully standard G 1/4″ thread fittings for compatibility with the vast majority of enthusiast water cooling products.
  • The tubes are fastened with two-part brass compression fittings, providing a secure seal while being easy to open and re-seal with a standard wrench.
  • Easy refilling with dedicated fill port
  • Made with enthusiast-grade components in cooperation with Alphacool
  • Available with a triple fan radiator, a 30mm thick 360, providing a much larger area than nearly all other pre-filled water cooling units
  • Also available in the two most common formats: thin 240mm and thick 120mm
  • Long lifetime.
  • To avoid Galvanic corrosion of the water cooling loop, the Kelvin Series water cooling system is constructed with pure copper in both the radiator and the water block, along with brass fittings.
  • The strong pump and the full-copper construction places the Kelvin Series water cooling system ahead of the pack in cooling performance.
  • Easily Expandable system. Just open it up to get the full benefits of custom water cooling, with the ability to add any parts you want to the loop.
  • High pressure pump provides impressive water flow rates even when an additional CPU or GPU water block or an additional radiator has been added to the loop.
  • All parts have fully standard G 1/4″ thread fittings for compatibility with the vast majority of enthusiast water cooling products.
  • The tubes are fastened with two-part brass compression fittings, providing a secure seal while being easy to open and re-seal with a standard wrench.
  • Easy refilling with dedicated fill port
  • Made with enthusiast-grade components in cooperation with Alphacool
  • Available with a triple fan radiator, a 30mm thick 360, providing a much larger area than nearly all other pre-filled water cooling units
  • Also available in the two most common formats: thin 240mm and thick 120mm
  • Long lifetime.
    • To avoid Galvanic corrosion of the water cooling loop, the Kelvin Series water cooling system is constructed with pure copper in both the radiator and the water block, along with brass fittings.
    • To avoid the common issue of most pre-filled water cooling units (that tend to lose, over time, performance due to water loss in the tubes), Fractal Design equipped the Kelvin series with a fill dedicated port

The 120mm T12, S24 and S36 have an MSRP of USD $99.99, $119.99 and $139.99 respectively.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Guru3D.

Fractal Design Node 804 Micro-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


Cube chassis’ have been booming in popularity in recent years. Not only because they make stylish HTPC style cases for your living room, given that they look similar to your common subwoofer, but they also make great cases for the LAN gaming market. I’m sure many of you love using full tower chassis’ for the space they provide. However, there has been a shift to creating compact cases that can still pack some serious hardware and the new Fractal Design Node 804 promises to do just that.

The Node 804 isn’t exactly tiny, but it looks like Fractal Design is trying to balance a relatively compact design, without making any compromises on the kind of hardware you can install. It features a dual compartment design that allows for your motherboard, graphics cards, water cooling and more to be up front. While extra storage, your power supply, cable management and more are tucked out of sight in the back compartment.

Key features

  • Highly effective dual chamber case layout for best possible cooling.
  • Minimalistic design with an elegant brushed aluminum front panel
  • Unique hard drive mounting system, fitting up to 8 x 3.5″, 4 x 2.5” or up to 10 x 3.5”, 2 x 2.5″ drives HDD/SSD
  • Three Fractal Design Silent Series R2 fans included with the case and space for an additional 7 fans.
  • Excellent water cooling support with space for up to 4 radiators simultaneously.
  • All intakes feature removable dust filters providing a dust-free interior.
  • Featuring a window side panel to show off your set up in style.
  • Additional space in the front to mount a slim slot-in ODD, optical bay drive, and 2 x 2.5 drives.
  • Fan controller included.
  • Five expansion slots that allows for multiple GPU setups.

Specifications

  • Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD positions
  • 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD unit positions
  • 2 – Extra positions for either 3,5″ or 2,5″ drives
  • 5 expansion slots
  • 1 additional space in the front for Slot-In ODD
  • 10 – Fan positions (3 x 120mm  Silent Series R2 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front, top and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 160 mm in height
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 260 mm deep
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 320mm in length. Graphics cards up to 290 mm in length may be installed if a fan is installed in the lower position in the front.
  • Velcro strap for easy cable management
  • Clear Window side panel included
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 344 x 307 x 389 mm
  • Net weight: 6 kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 370 x 468 x 412 mm
  • Package weight: 7.7kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 4 – 120mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120mm fan slots (included is 1 hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 4 – 120x140mm fans (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – Integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)

Water cooling compatibility

  • Front (right chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 60 mm thick (with fans) and 278 mm tall are allowed.
  • Front (left chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 60 mm thick (with fans) and 278 mm tall are allowed. Using a radiator in this position prevents the use of a fan in the top position just next to it.
  • Top (right chamber) – 240/280 mm radiators up to 130mm thick (with fans) may be fitted if the HDD drive bays are taken out or placed elsewhere. No limitation to thickness.
  • Top (left chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 130 mm thick (with fans) will fit. Radiators in this position limits the height of memory modules to 48 mm tall.

Maximum radiator configuration: 1x240mm,1x280mm and 2x120mm radiators simultaneously.

The packaging is a pretty standard box; you’ll find specifications (as above) and a few diagrams around the sides of the box.

In the box you’ll find a small bracket, some spare rubber mounting washers, a huge pile of screws and fittings, cable ties and a user guide.

The chassis comes with protective film on the exterior and interior of the left side panel; this should help protect it from scratches while in transit.

Fractal Design Core 3300 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design have a long and trusted reputation for flawless build quality and sleek design, but their products are often priced a little too high for your average consumer. The phrase “you get what you pay for” holds true for the premium products Fractal Design produce and the extra investment for a Fractal case can certainly reap its own rewards, but some budgets only stretch so far. The new Core series from Fractal Design hopes to offer a “less is more” attitude, giving you the premium quality and design we’ve come to know and love, but matching it all with a more affordable price tag.

The core 3300 is a wide design ATX mid-tower and despite its mid-budget price tag, it comes with an extensive feature set that should satisfy casual and enthusiast users alike. You’ve got cable management solutions, room for multiple radiators, two high quality 140mm pre-installed fans, room for six hard drives on its vertical drive mounting bracket, plus two SSD stealth mounts behind the motherboard and a whole lot more!

The 3300 is a big chassis, but its extra wide design has clear benefits in terms of radiator support, with room for a 240/280mm radiator in the front and another 240mm in the top, as well as room for extra tall CPU coolers of up to 185mm, while still leaving extensive cable routing space and those extra hard drive mounts behind the motherboard.

Key features

  • A Wide Body mid tower case with bottom-mounted PSU, designed for exceptional airflow and cooling.
  • Brushed aluminum-look front panel with a sleek, three-dimensional textured finish
  • Superior water cooling support, supporting one 240/280mm radiator in the front and a 240mm radiator in the top
  • Featuring a 140mm rear exhaust fan for optimal cooling
  • Total 7 fan slots with two Silent Series R2 140mm fans included
  • Smart cable management with 22mm of space behind the motherboard plate for clean installations
  • Supports extremely tall tower CPU coolers, up to 185mm in height
  • Multiple easy-to-clean dust filters designed into the case to help maintain a dust free interior
  • Innovative vertical HDD bracket, which simultaneously holds three 3.5″ drives and three 2.5″ drives
  • Two additional SSD positions behind the motherboard plate

Specifications

  • ATX, E-ATX (up to 295 mm wide) Micro ATX, Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 drive bays of 5,25″
  • 3 bays 3.5″- all compatible with SSDs
  • 2 -2.5″ dedicated SSD unit position
  • 7 expansion slots
  • Support Graphics cards up to 430mm. One or more 3.5″ hard drives may interfere with side-mounted power connectors on graphics cards longer than 255 mm
  • Support cooling system: 7 – Fan positions (2 Silent Series R2 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 185 mm in height
  • ATX PSUs up to 170 mm deep when using the bottom fan location for a 140mm fan; when not using this fan location longer PSUs can be used
  • 22 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Available in Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD):233 x 451 x 517mm
  • Net weight: 7.8 kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 625 x 540mm
  • Package weight: 9.3 kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 2 – 120/140mm fans (included is 1 hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is 1 hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 2 – 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Bottom: 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included, PSU length limits apply)
  • Side: 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included)

Water Cooling compatibility

  • Front –30mm thick 240 or 280mm radiator: 15mm fan spacing required for full fastening, radiators with 20mm fan spacing can be used with only the top half fastened to the case. (radiators of any thickness may be used if all 3.5″ positions are empty)
  • Top – 30mm thick 240mm radiator (with no components on the upper 11 mm on the motherboard that are taller than 38mm)
  • Top – 30mm thick 280mm radiator with slim fans
  • Rear – 120/140 mm radiator

The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a representation of the general design on the front as well as the usual names and logos.

In the box you’ll find all of the screws and fittings you’ll need to install all of your major components, as well as a few extra cables ties to help keep it all neat and tidy. There’s a simple user guide and also a booklet about the gaming brand Func.

Fractal Design Newton R3 1000W Semi-Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


Fractal Design kicked off its brand by making a single type of product: computer cases. However, like many other computer hardware brands Fractal Design made the decision to expand its product portfolio to encompass other things. One of Fractal Design’s new product areas is power supplies and just like with their cases Fractal Design were adamant about making sure they reach the same high level of quality their brand is renowned for. On the topic of high quality it is time for the Newton R3 1000W power supply to enter.

Fractal Design have pulled out all the stops with this new power supply model which features high quality 80 Plus Platinum capable internals, a modular design and a glossy white or black finish to match their computer cases. Fractal Design are also renowned for producing quiet cases; they were one of the first brands to mainstream the use of noise-dampening foam inside cases. Consequently it shouldn’t surprise you that the Newton R3 1000W power supply offers a hybrid fan mode that doesn’t spin up until the fan is needed. Even when the fan does spin up Fractal Design are claiming very low noise output as well as enhanced reliability for a ball-bearing based fan design. Other noteworthy selling points include the use of Japanese capacitors in this power supply’s construction and an impressive 5 year warranty.

Packaging and Contents

The Newton R3 comes in one of the largest retail packages I have ever seen. The packaging uses a sleeve over a plain white box with a carry handle.

The accessories are modest but are exactly what are required: a power cable, users manual, cable ties and some screws.

Fractal Design Launch Edison M Series Power Supplies

The new Fractal Design power supplies are here as the company introduce their new Editon M series. The new power supplies come with modular cables, in a range of wattage levels to suit a wide range of builds and system requirements. All the products in the range come equipped with 80PLUS Gold efficient certification, which should help save you money thanks to their improved efficiency.

The Edison M range has been designed to offer maximum reliability, with Japanese electrolytic capacitors and a wide range of protection features such as over-temperature protection.

Modular cables will no doubt please those who care about neat and tidy cable routing, as you can leave out any excess connectors that you don’t require for your build. The Edison M range also features an extra-long ATX12V cable, perfect for those who have top or bottom mounted PSUs and even better for those who use large cases that need to route the cable a longer distance.

Each PSU is fitted with a temperature controlled FDB bearing 120mm fan. There are four models available; 450W, 550W, 650W and 750W, more than enough to satisfy the needs of the budget friendly end of the market, as well as those wanting to power a high-end gaming rig.

Key Features

  • Modular construction to assist with a clean build with only the most essential cables permanently attached
  • 80PLUS Gold efficiency with a 5 year warranty on the PSU
  • ATX 2.4 compliant, including full support for the new C6 / C7 power states introduced with the 4th generation Intel Core CPUs
  • DC-DC design for improved system stability and maximum 12V output
  • Tight voltage regulation: +/- 2% for +12V and +/- 3% for minor rails
  • Japanese electrolytic capacitors, rated at 105°C; Japanese and Taiwanese solid polymer capacitors
  • Extra-long ATX 12V cable
  • Silent, temperature-controlled 120mm fan with quiet, long-life FDB bearings
  • Full protection suite: Over Power Protection, Over Voltage Protection, Short Circuit Protection, Under Voltage Protection, Over Current Protection and Over Temperature Protection
  • Sleek look to add to the overall design of your build
  • Available in Black
  • Available in different wattages: 450W, 550W, 650W and 750W

MSRP:

  • 450W: $84.99
  • 550W: $94.99
  • 650W: $104.99
  • 750W: $119.99

The Edison M should be available from most major retailers shortly.

Thank you Fractal Design for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Fractal Core X3 Chassis Series Revealed at Computex 2014

Computex 2014: Fractal Design already have a superb range of premium chassis products, but now they’re looking to branch out with their Core series, adding a wide range of new products that are tailored towards the budget end of the market.

The chassis sacrifice a little of the Fractal Design premium quality to offer lots of features with a greatly reduced price tag. side mounting SSD bays in the lower end models leave room for front mounted cooling and long graphics cards, radiator support in the top panel mounts, cable routing (including rubber grommets on the higher models).

The metal front panels and thick paintwork is gone in favour of plastics, but the design still looks great, featuring a fake brushed aluminium texture that still adds a premium quality look.

Prices and release dates are still being nailed down, but expect to see the full range appearing in retailers of the next few months, and well be following up with in-depth details and full reviews as soon as possible.

Fractal Design Reveal New AIO Water Cooling Products At Computex 2014

Computex 2014: Fractal Design are well known for their high-end chassis products and robust power supplies, but now they’re reaching further out into the components market with  the release of their very first cooling products. Not only are they now preparing to launch their first range of all-in-one water coolers, but they’re also pushing AIO coolers to the next level with the release of a stunning 360mm unit, something I’ve never seen before outside of the custom loop market.

Three models will be available, a 120mm thick radiator, 240mm slim and 360mm slim, all fitted with Fractal Design fans, a custom pump design, copper radiators and our first hand impression is that the design and build quality are superb. No details on figures just yet, but Fractal say that their 360mm has big benefits over the top offerings from Corsair, Enermax and NZXT.

We’ll have them in for review in a few weeks and more details on pricing and release date will follow very soon.

Core X5 Series PC Cases Announced By Fractal Design

Fractal Design has introduced its new series of PC Cases, the Core X5, distinguishable by its intuitive and easy-to-access interior, while also providing a removable HDD cage and tray system, supporting up to four 3.5″ or 2.5″ disk drives.The PC case series is made up of four different models, the 3500 / 3500W / 25000 and 1500, each offering its unique support for different user conditions.

Taking a look at the 3500/3500W, it can be seen that the cases fit a wide body ATX Mid Tower specification, having also a Windowed side panel version which allows users to display their build. It comes with either two (for the 3500) or three (for the 3500W) 140mm fans, a built-in three-step fan controller and supports either two 249mm radiators or one 280mm radiator. In terms of disk space, the 3500/3500W version can fit up to four 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drives, having the tray equipped with vibration dampening silicone grommets. For the more demanding, two additional SSD drives can be fitted behind the motherboard tray as well.

Moving on to the 2500 version, a clean and modern exterior design presents itself along with exceptional cooling and component compatibility features. The case model comes with two 120mm fans, a built-in fan controller and support for a 280mm and 240mm water cooling radiators. Up to four 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drives can be mounted in two hard drive cages featuring vibration dampening and an additional SSD mounting can fit one SSD drive behind the power supply position.

Last but not least, the 1500 model features an extremely compact micro ATX Mini Tower design. It delivers a clean, modern exterior along with a high feature of compatibility and cooling. The model comes with two 120mm fans, a built-in fan three speed fan controller and support for two 240mm water cooling radiators. Up to four 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drives can be fitted in trays as well in this series’ “little brother”, equipped with vibration dampening features, with an additional SSD tray placed behind the power supply position.

When it comes to pricing, the 3500 can be found at a price tag of $79.99 / €69.99 / £59.99 while the 3500W comes with a price tag of $89.99 / €79.99 / £69.99. The other models, 2500 and 1500, can be found at a price tag of $59.99 / €49.99 / £44.99 and $59.90 / €49.99 / £44.99 respectively.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp

New Fractal Design Node 804 Chassis At CeBIT 2014

 

Here we are at the Fractal Design booth at CeBIT 2014 to check out their latest entry to the popular node series. Taking hints from their popular Node 304 chassis the new Node 804 looks set to make everything bigger and better than ever before. Featuring a dual compartment design (like that of the Corsair Air 540) you can expect to pack this new chassis full of high end components without the need for a much bigger full-tower chassis.

The overall design is what we have come to know and love about Fractal Design, it’s exterior design is sleek and bold, with build quality that feels strong enough to with stand more than a few serious knocks and bumps. With a focus on cooling performance and maximum configurability this is already shaping up to be one of the best cases on the market and the best new is that it actually launched this week! So expect to see it showing up at retailers very quickly and selling out just as quick.

“The dual chamber layout separates hot running components from the cooler ones and allows for unrestricted airflow over the motherboard, processor and graphics card.” Said Fractal Design.

Fitted with three high quality 120mm fans as standard, with room for up to ten in total should you need them. A Flexible modular internal design to allow for water cooling configurations  with up to four radiators simultaneously or tall heat sinks, and a unique hard drive mounting system allows for the fitting of up to 8 x 3.5″, 4 x 2.5” or up to 10 x 3.5”, 2 x 2.5″ drives HDD/SSD! With that much storage you could even use this as a small server or NAS box.

Every intake features a washable dust filter, the side panel features a windowed section and the front is finished in high quality brushed aluminium. A built in fan controller, slim ODD drive bay and room for up to 5 expansion cards mean that the Node 804 ticks a LOT of boxes that will no doubt prove popular with system builders.

Specifications

  • Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD positions
  • 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD unit positions
  • 2 – Extra positions for either 3,5″ or 2,5″ drives
  • 5 expansion slots
  • 10 – Fan positions (3 x 120mm Silent Series R2 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front, top and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 160 mm in height
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 260 mm deep
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 320mm in length. Graphics cards up to 290 mm in length may be installed if a fan is installed in the lower position in the front.
  • Velcro strap for easy cable management
  • Clear Window side panel included
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 344 x 307 x 389 mm
  • Net weight: 6 kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 4 – 120mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120mm fan slots (included is 1 hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 4 – 120x140mm fans (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – Integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)

Water cooling compatibility

  • Front (right chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 60 mm thick (with fans) and 278 mm tall are allowed.
  • Front (left chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 60 mm thick (with fans) and 278 mm tall are allowed. Using a radiator in this position prevents the use of a fan in the top position just next to it.
  • Top (right chamber) – 240/280 mm radiators up to 130mm hick (with fans) may be fitted if the HDD drive bays are taken out or placed elsewhere. No limitation to thickness.
  • Top (left chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 130 mm thick (with fans) will fit. Radiators in this position limits the height of memory modules to 48 mm tall.
  • Maximum radiator configuration: 1x240mm,1x280mm and 2x120mm radiators simultaneously.

We really can’t wait to get our hands on this chassis, not only because it looks fantastic from the exterior, but the component compatibility means this could be one of the most versatile chassis in its class.

We’ve got plenty more coverage from CeBIT 2014 to come, check back shortly for even more great new products.

Fractal Design Arc XL Full Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design are one of the coolest component manufacturers around and over the years they’ve gone on to win countless awards for their chassis, power supplies and fans. I’ve seen a fair few Fractal Design products in the eTeknix office and I’ve never been anything less than stunned at their flawless design and rock solid build quality. This is especially true of the Arc chassis series and the one I’ll be taking a look at today is supposed to be the biggest and best one yet.

The Arc XL offers solutions for the extreme end of the PC market and with its large size and high specifications comes an equally high price tag of just over £100 here in the UK and around $130 in the US. This is obviously not targeted at your average consumer, but at this price we’ll be expecting high build quality and plenty of features to justify the investment.

As you can see from the specification below, there isn’t much the Arc XL can’t handle, with support for all major motherboard form factors including Mini-ITX all the way up to XL-ATX, plenty of room for 5.25″ drives or similar devices, loads of room for hard drives with 8 storage bays that can hold either 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives, as well as two stealth mounts for 2.5″ drives behinds the motherboard.

Specifications

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, E-ATX, XL-ATX motherboard compatibility
  • 4 – 5.25″ bays
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs
  • 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD positions behind the motherboard plate
  • 9 expansion slots
  • 7 – Fan positions (3 Silent Series R2 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front, top and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 180 mm tall
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 190 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 345 mm deep) can be used
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 330mm in length with the top HDD cage installed – With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 480mm in length may be installed
  • 26 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
  • Window side panel included
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 572 x 552mm
  • Net weight: 13.8kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 625 x 635mm
  • Package weight: 16.3kg

Three 140mm fans are included, and they’re all high quality Silent Series R2 fans and that certainly adds value for money to the Arc XL. On top of that there is also a fan controller integrated to the case which can run up to three fans.

Cooling system

  • Front: 2 – 120/140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 3 – 120x140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Bottom: 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – Integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)
  • Water cooling compatibility:
    • Front – 240 mm radiators (thick and slim) when HDD cages are repositioned or removed
    • Top – 240mm radiators (thick) or 280 and 360mm radiators (slim)
    • Bottom – 120mm radiators
    • Rear – 120 and 140mm radiators

The case comes nicely packaged in a large box, with a clear high contrast image on the front on the box that shows the general design of the case.

Around the back there is a tear down image of the case that shows all the major components and fittings.

In the box you’ll find a nice component box filled with all the screws, bolts and cable ties you’ll need to install all major components as well as an easy to follow installation guide / owners manual.

UK Gaming Computers Flagship ‘Minos’ Mini PC System Review

Introduction


In the UK there are a growing number of system integrators to chose from when buying a new PC and with such a competitive market, it is not the easiest of tasks to decide who to buy your new system from. Whilst many people do opt to go for the bigger, more well known names such as PC Specialist, Overclockers UK and Scan, there are a whole host of smaller companies out there who strive to offer high quality systems and customer service alike.

For many people, including myself UK Gaming Computers are a company that until now I’ve never heard of. Formed in 2009, the Essex based integrator that have been building custom systems like no other in their thousands, offering unique paint jobs, modifications and even bespoke system builds on a per-client basis. As well as building systems, UKGC also offer an extended line of services which include laser panel cutting, airbrushing and even wrapping your system in caron fibre.

The companies main focus is on quality over quantity and this is how they have managed to build up a rapport for some of the best individual systems in the UK market. Up to this point UK Gaming Computers have never had one of their systems reviewed, so I will say that I am a little privileged to be the first person to take a proper look at one of their systems and give my thoughts back on it. The system that has been sent across to me is UKGC’s latest creation and also their new flagship mini-PC and goes my the name “Minos” – meaning the ‘Son on Zeus. As well as being a flagship system, the case has also been covered in a new prototype paint finish, which adds another style to the extensive selection of finishes that are already on offer.

The Minos starts from £1,629.99 inc VAT and can be purchased here, however the system that we have has had a couple of additions made to it and as a result is a little more expensive.

  • Name: Minos
  • Case: Fractal Design Node 304
  • MB: Gigabyte Z87N-WIFI
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k @ 4.4GHz
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz (2x8GB)
  • SSD: 120GB Corsair Force LS
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX Titan 6GB
  • Cooler: Corsair H80i
  • PSU: Corsair TX650 V2
  • Paint: ‘Crystal Ice’ in Toxic Green
  • OS: Optional Windows 7 or 8
  • Warranty: 3 Years complete / Life-time technical support
  • Price: £1,810.59 inc VAT + Delivery (£16 + VAT)

There is no prizes for guessing what chassis the system comes in and don’t worry, the system was packed inside another protective film along with the clear warning that the system likes to be handled with care.

Opening the box up, I am a little surprised to see a ton of packing peanuts included on top of the standard protective foam that the chassis is otherwise shipped in (Note at this point I’ve not been made aware of the paint). This goes to show that UKGC take pride in their work and wish to protect it in the best way possible for transit between themselves and you the customer.

In a separate packet came all the user manuals for the key parts of the system, along with the motherboards WiFi antenna and mains power cable.