|Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Doug Dallam|
|Sunday, 22 January 2012|
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Detailed Interior Features
If you want airflow from the bottom drive cage area to flow out of the PSU compartment exhaust area, then remove the separator panel between the PSU and bottom hard drive compartments, as shown below. Otherwise, the bottom front drive fan exhausts into the cable side panel to be sucked out by the top 180mm fan and passively through the rear vents, as shown earlier.
Here we have a shot of the PSU top ventilation option. You can leave the PSU facing downward, or if you want to use it for additional exhaust, pull this panel out and turn the PSU upward. This passageway also doubles as an optional cable runway.
This shot doesn't look like anything special, but if you notice the air holes for the top and bottom drives, you'll notice that the bottom drive cages have much larger air holes between them than does the top cage. You can turn the top drive cage to face the drives either back into the case, for better cooling, or sideways, for better cable routing. Or, you can take the top cage completely out. The bottom drive cages, however, are not removable.
This is an image of the top cage completely removed, showing the mounting connectors and the top cage guide rail (in the case). The cage just slides in either direction you need, drives facing sideways or backwards. Two thumb screws, which are the same for all connectors in this case, secure the cage. The tool-less drive mounts are excellent quality, made of steel, and snap in firmly. They are exactly like Cooler Master's, if you're familiar with them.
When I first lifted this case, I almost suffered a hernia. This case is solid, and then some, weighing in at 39.5 lbs. The side panels alone weigh in at nearly 7.0 lbs each. As you can see, the scale reads 6.9 lbs. There are two reasons for this: The sound material on both panels is extremely dense and the panel steel is very thick. (Below: side air intake with its fan hole insulated cover installed).
Can you believe this? That's 0.047” thick! I've never measures a case with panels this thick. Most fall into the 0.025” to 0.030” area. The Define XL is built like a Volvo.
Here's what the PSU compartment looks like with a 140mm PSU mounted. Notice it comes right out to the edge of the cable holes.
Here's what it looks like with a 180mm PSU. So, yes, you're blocking the cable routing hole somewhat, but you can still get your cables behind the PSU with a little threading. The other option is to remove the PSU top hatch and run cables from the top. And, unless you have cable extensions, you may need to use that option (e.g., video card power cables). A 180mm PSU is the largest recommended for this case.
Let's get some measurements now. Cable space is good at one inch. I measured it through the CPU backplate hole to the side panel.
From the motherboard standoffs, you get almost 8.0” of space for cooling towers.
With the top drive cage installed, you have approximately 13.5” of video card space. Without the top drive cage, space is virtually unlimited.
Well, there you have some information on a very large and very solidly built case, with some unique options. Let's finish off with some words and the conclusion.