Fractal Design Define Mini £70

6th Nov 2011 | 10:02

Fractal Design Define Mini

Small and very almost perfectly formed.

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

It may seem expensive for a smaller case but the Define Mini is a seriously impressive chassis.

Like:

Design;Storage capacity

Dislike:

No eSATA;High price tag

Fractal Design Define Mini: Overview

The perfect home for your mATX or mini-ITX mobo could well be the Fractal Design Define Mini. It's a lot of case in a small form factor.

With the rising popularity mATX, and more especially the mini-ITX format motherboards, the demand for the smaller PC case has risen sharply and there are far more available now than ever before.

This is thanks in a large part to Intel's release of its Sandy Bridge CPUs and tiny, full featured mini-ITX motherboards like the Zotac Z68-ITX WiFi.

AMD has also jumped on the small form factor ride with its Llano processors, like the A8-3850, and A75 chipset, again with Zotac pioneering away with its Zotac A75-ITX WiFi.

You could be forgiven though for not knowing the name Fractal Design as it has only been around since 2007.

But despite being a new kid on the block compared to most of its competitors, the Swedish company has been making some serious waves in the PC enclosure market with its simple, no frills case designs.

They may look a touch uninspiring from the outside but internally it's a whole different ball game, with some excellent design features and great build quality.

The Define Mini is a slightly shrunken down version of the companies popular and award winning Define R2/R3 case, but the only thing that has been reduced is the size.

The Define Mini still manages to retain some of the award winning features of its larger sibling.

Fractal Design Define Mini: Verdict

Fractal design define mini

If you are looking for a case with LEDs and other paraphernalia to make it look pretty then pass on by - there's nothing for you here.

If, however, you are looking for a well built, well designed case to build a compact PC in, then the Fractal Design Define Mini might just catch your eye.

Although the case carries the mini name, it's not that much smaller (210 x 395 x 490mm) than the Define R2/R3. That means despite it supporting the small format motherboards there's enough space internally to offer a good deal of storage space.

You get two 5.25in drive bays and six 3.5in drive bays, split between two drive cages. Each of the bays has a white finished tool free tray (just like is bigger sibling) which has rubber drive mounts and is also drilled to take 2.5in SSD's.

The uppermost drive cage is rotatable or, should you want to fit a long graphics card (up to around 400mm), is completely removable.

For cooling Fractal Design has preinstalled two eleven bladed120mm fans, one in the front bezel and one in the rear panel. But should you require more cooling then there are mounts for four more; two 120mm mounts in the front and bottom of the case and two 120/140mm mounts, one in the roof and one in the side panel.

There's also a fan controller included which supports three fans.

The top I/O panel includes a single USB 3.0 port along with two USB 2.0 and two audio ports but sadly there isn't any eSATA support.

We liked:

The one thing that strikes you about any Fractal Design case is the attention to details, and the Define Mini is no different.

For example the PSU mounts have rubber on them to reduce noise from vibration and the wiring holes on the motherboard backplate all have rubber grommets to protect the wiring.

Then there is the pre-installed noise absorbing material on the side panels which for the access door even has a separate panel built into the material you can remove to fit a 120 or 140mm cooling fan.

We disliked:

The only thing that springs to mind is the price tag, which for a case supporting the small format motherboards may seem high.

Bbut then again it's not every day you'll come across a case as well designed and built as the Define Mini.

Final word:

The Fractal Design Define Mini may seem expensive for a smaller case but it's a seriously impressive little chassis

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