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Fractal Design Define XL

Cost effective and silent case

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Author: Jouni 'Jipa' Vasama
Published: 28.02.2011
Manufacturer: Fractal Design
Product Group: Enclosures
In English In English
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Temperature & Noise

The system we used for temperature testing consists of a MSI 790FX-GD70 motherboard, AMD Phenom X6 1100T CPU, HIS HD5870 graphic card, Seagate 7200.11 250 GB hard drive, and is powered by Xigmatek NRP-1200W power supply. The HD5870 has the iCooler Turbo stock cooler on it, and the CPU is cooled by Thermaltake Jing. Under full load the system consumes about 390 watts of power. We tested the case with the provided fan controller set to both minimum and maximum settings.

 

Fractal Design Define XL - Cost effective and silent case
 

With the fans running at the low speed, the Define XL does not fare well in the temperature tests. The CPU hit 58 C, and the graphic card, despite its fan spinning at 100% (4300 RPM) speed, got up to 81 C. The HDD was installed to the lower compartment where there's really no air flow without an extra fan, so it remained at a steady 42 C regardless of fan speeds or load.

With the fans turned to max the CPU-temperature dropped by a massive 6 degrees, and the graphic card by 3. These results look much better, and really the thing here is that if you want a quiet computer, you need to keep that in mind already when choosing the components and coolers.

 

Fractal Design Define XL - Cost effective and silent case
 

The case comes with a single 180 mm and two 140 mm fans, all of which are manufactured by Fractal Design. The smaller 140 mm fans are specified at 2,4 W and 42 CFM, but unfortunately there's no specifications available for the larger 180x25 mm fan. In use the case fans are very quiet, and with the fan controller you can turn them down to inaudible. Anyway the point of quiet computers is that you also need to choose quiet hardware to go with the case. For example the graphic card fan on the test system hit 4300 RPM under load, and no matter how good the case is, it just isn't going to help against that sort of noise.



Conclusion


PROS 
  • Cable management
  • Sleek looks
  • Quiet
  • Value for money
  • Large CPU cooler installation hole


  • CONS 
  • Door doesn't open all the way
  • Can't fit long power supplies
  • Award
    Gold Award!


    Overall the Define XL proved to be a successful addition to the Fractal Design cases lineup. It's a large, stylish and quiet monolith that even comes at a very affordable price. The provided three fans combined with the controller are quiet enough for most, and while the cooling wasn't too impressive, our test setup still remained stable throughout the tests. Other nice features are the support for E-ATX sized motherboards, and the cable management.

    Unfortunately the case doesn't come without flaws, the most important of which is the size limit for the power supply. It's a huge case, so it should definitely be able to hold even the longest of PSUs, but the cable hole is placed so that our PSU just wouldn't fit. Another somewhat related thing is the placement of the dividing floor between the compartments, moving it down would add more room to the motherboard chamber where it's needed. The divider combined with the 180 mm mount and its duct make the motherboard compartment feel more confined than it should. Another, much less significant problems are the door that doesn't open all the way, and also the built-in dust filters.

    While the case has some flaws, I think it can still be recommended to everyone looking to build a quiet computer. Just keep in mind when choosing the parts to keep the PSU size in check and that no matter how good the case is, you still need to have quiet hardware inside to make the whole system quiet.


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    Fractal Design

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