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Fractal Design Core 3000 Case Review

Dark Mantis

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Fractal Design Core 3000 Case Review
« on: September 26, 2011, 10:58:00 am »
Fractal Design Core 3000 Case Review

by Dark Mantis

Fractal Design is a Swedish computer hardware manufacturing company that has a very modern outlook and an active approach to making sure that their products fill the right niche and are

well advertised  so that the market in general is well aware of the components they are offering. It is nice to see a company that has the proactive approach to marketing and not just

sitting there waiting for business to come to them. This is obviously of great benefit to their marketing partners.

As already mentioned Fractal Design doesn't believe in letting the product lines get stale and this is one of their new lineup of cases and is aimed at the business and home user that

doesn't require too much in the way of space for a lot of extra drives, expansion cards etc. That being said it is far from being basic and is still a very nice enclosure. It is fairly

compact and doesn't waste a lot of desktop real estate which is in short supply in most offices and homes. Even though compact the options are still there if you need to add more devices or

components to your original setup. This case will take a total of six hard drives each catered for with their own slide out tray and soft silicon rubber mounts to help cut down on vibration

that would be otherwise transmitted through the case. This is something that Fractal Design are accutely aware of and do their best to keep it to a minimum level.

This matt black case with white highlights has nice clean lines and doesn't stand out from the crowd in any respect of the exterior design front.This is not a bad thing for the intended

market. It will fit in  with any decor, business or residential. The main case is purely the standard oblong box of 200 x 430 x 480mm with few distinguishing features and fairly compact, on

the front it is mainly covered in dust filtered, perforated steel and at the top is a plain section with the company logo stamped in negative relief. Directly below this are two external

drive bays with the same look as the rest of the front section. Underneath this is an area that will take two 140mm fans behind and has a fixed dust filter attached to the front panel. The

front looks like aluminium but is in fact plastic.

On the left hand side panel is a perforated  square area made to house an 120 or 140mm fan internally. This would blow directly onto the graphocs card part of the motherboard which is

especially usefull. This fan is an optional extra. The opposite side of the case is totally plain as would be expected. On the top there are two more fan housings that join together and

will accept two 120mm or 140mm fans. This could also take a dual radiator on the inside or outside but if fitted internally it would impact on the size of CPU cooler etc that could be used.

At the very front of the top panel are the controls and ports. There is the usual power button with status light, reset button, hard disk LED, microphone and headphone jacks and four

USB.2.0 ports.  Going round to the rear of the enclosure now there is the cutout for the PSU at the very bottom which helps to keep[ a low centre of gravity and stops the computer from

toppling over easilly. This again has decoupling taken into account. Above this are the seven white painted covers for the expansion card slots. Next up is the standard space for the rear

panel I/O cover with a 120mm fan(included)next to it. This has white blades as are standard with all Fractal Design fans. At the very top are two rubber grommitted holes for the

watercooling pipes if that is chosen as the cooling medium. On the underside of the case there are two perforated ares adjoining one another. The outermost has a slide in dust filter to

help keep the debris out of the intake of the power supply.

Once opened, the case has a box of fixings and screws with pictures of each on the cover. There is also a drive bay cover designed for a smaller 3.5" drive. Probably the only device now to

use this size of fitting is a card reader as there are few people who still use a floppy drive. As previously mentioned there are six slide in drive mounts that will accept 2.5" SSDs as

well as the older 3..5" magnetic hard disk drives. There are special screws that enable the silicon grommets to work best in stopping vibrations too.THe driver bays are split into two

sections and the uppermost is totally removable or able to be rotated through 90 degrees. This gives some more space for fitting large cards. Maximum size of graphics card that could be

fitted once the hard drive tray is removed is 420mm or 16.5"! This is bigger than any graphics card currently on the market at the moment so there shouldn't be any complaints from that side

of the business. Right at the top are the two 5.25" external drive bays usually filled with optical devices.

The cables from the front panel are all sleeved and cleanly bundled. All the wires for the fans are covered with braid and then finished at each end with heat shrink sleeving. This makes a

nice finish and is much better to look at than bare wires. The fan cables all termionate in three pin plugs so will connect to motherboard headers or a dedicated fan controller. In this

respect Fractal Design do include a single controller for three fans that will mount in a spare free expansion slot. It comes with a four pin Molex adapter for connection to the the PSU for

power. Even on this size of chassis the manufacturer has still included a motherboard tray(not removable) so that good cable management can be adhered to. There are plenty of built in cable

tie anchor points in the motherboard tray to fasten the cables in situ. All of the edges are nicely finished and there are no dangerous or sharp areas that I could find.

This case has nothing to make it especially stand out from the crowd but also no blatent bad points either. It is a shame that the filters were not removable for cleaning, there was no

filter at all on one of the bottom fan mounts and that at least one of the front USB ports wasn't to USB3.0 standard but generally it is sound and well finished with plenty of plus factors. I award it 7/10.

Supplier: Fractal Design      Website:        Price: Circa £50 depending on retailer
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