Fractal Design Define XL case review

Up on the test bench today is the Fractal Design Define XL, which is basically a larger version of the company's Define R3 case. A relative newcomer in the computer enthusiast hardware market, Fractal Design was founded in 2007 and focuses primarily on computer cases, case fans, and power supplies. As the company's name implies, Fractal Design's mission statement confirms that they're focused on providing products with an extraordinary design level, without compromising factors of quality, functionality and pricing. All of Fractal Design's products are designed and engineered in Sweden and the firm's cases quickly made a name for themselves.

The Define XL is a full-tower case that focuses on silence, it ships in two colors: Titanium Grey and Black Pearl. The model in this review is the Titanium Grey variant, it's a neat, stylish color that distinguishes the case's front from all the black cases out there today. A large case requires a large cardboard box, it's nicely decorated but when I picked up the box for the first time I already noticed that the case isn't only very large but also quite heavy. A quick glance at the technical specifications reveals it has a net weight of 17.95kg, it hints that Fractal Design didn't skimp on materials but if you like to frequent LAN parties the high weight will make transport quite tiresome.

Fractal Design Define XL 

cardboard box

Here's the first shot after unpacking the case. The Define XL has a neat and clean design, quite Spartan but very stylish. The front panel is made from plastic, with a brushed aluminum like finish.

Define XL sideshot

Before we move on to testing, here's an overview of the case's features and specifications.

  • 4x 5,25" bays, 1x 5,25" to 3,5" converter included
  • Mini-itx, micro ATX, ATX and E-ATX motherboards
  • 10x HDD trays. 4x HDD trays in the HDD cage in the main chamber. This HDD cage is removable and rotatable.(Space ~330mm with HDD Cage and without ~480mm) 6x HDD trays in the lower HDD chamber. These HDD cages are fixed.
  • A total of two 140mm fans and one 180mm fan included. Front 140mm fans are mounted with removable, washable filter. A fan controller is included, for mounting in one of the rear expansion slots.
  • Pre-fitted with dense noise absorbing material in both side panels.
  • ModuVent™ feature, allowing the user to choose between an optimal low noise level, having the cover mounted or optimal airflow by removing the cover and mounting a fan for intake.
  • Maximum PSU length: Supports PSU’s with a depth of maximum circa 180mm
  • Maximum Graphic Card lenght: Supports graphic card lengths up to 330mm when removable HDD-Bay is in place
  • Maximum CPU cooler height: Supports CPU coolers with height of 180mm
  • Expansion slots: 7+1
  • On top of front panel: 4x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA and Audio I/O
  • Case size (WxHxD): 232x560x561.3mm
  • Net weight: 17.95kg

  • 2x 140mm fans (one 140mm included, one optional) with removable and washable filters, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 1x 120mm fan optional with removable and washable filter, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 1x 180mm fan included in the top of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
  • 1x 140mm fan included in the rear of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
  • 1x 120/140mm fan optional in the side of the case. Recommended for intake of air.
  • Here's a closeup of the Define XL's front door, it hides the bay covers and gives the case a very uniform look. The door has a magnetic latch, it opens to the left, and unlike some other cases with doors, this model does not allow you to change the door's opening direction.

    Define XL front door

    Left and right of the door are plastic vents to let the fans suck in cool air when the door is closed.

    Define XL front vents

    Added: April 12th 2011
    Product reviewed: Fractal Design Define XL case
    Reviewer: Thomas De Maesschalck
    Score: 7.5/10
    Page: 1/6

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    About the Author

    Thomas De Maesschalck

    Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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