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Review: Fractal Design Define 7

by Parm Mann on 20 February 2020, 15:01

Tags: Fractal Design

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Working With Define 7

We alluded to the top ModuVent having been replaced with a better solution, and here it is. The top of the chassis is formed of three layers - a radiator tray, a mesh dust filter, and a steel top cover - and the trio comes away after undoing two screws. Having the top opened wide makes the build process that much easier - no more struggling to fit that eight-pin motherboard power cable - and if your build is going to benefit from upward airflow, a ventilated steel cover is included as part of the bundle.

Fractal's attention to detail makes it a rewarding build process, and there's ample scope for high-end hardware and elaborate liquid cooling. Supported motherboard form factors extend up to E-ATX, there's a 7+2 PCIe expansion slot arrangement for vertical graphics card mounting via an optional riser, and scattered around the case are a total of nine 120/140mm fan mounts. That's three in the front, three up top, one at the back and two at the bottom. For radiators, there's room for up to 420mm in the roof, or up to a 360mm in front, though you will need to jettison the optical bay in order to make way for the biggest rads.

A trio of three-pin, 140mm Dynamic X2 GP-14 fans is included as standard, as is a neatly-stowed and SATA-powered Nexus+ 2 PWM fan hub that can manage up to seven fans; three PWM and half-a-dozen three-pin. Elsewhere, and in addition to the top and front filters, a full-length bottom filter is easily accessed behind the front door, while the removable inlays at the end of the PSU shroud double as a mounting point for the bundled multi-bracket; ideal for attaching a reservoir.

It is worth noting out that overall component compatibility has also improved. The front of the case can now house a trio of 140s (Define R6 was limited to two), graphics cards can measure up to 491mm in length (up from 465mm), and with the case being fractionally larger than its predecessor, there's a generous 30mm of cable clearance around back.

At this point it shouldn't surprise you to learn that cable management is very well catered for. In addition to 16 tie-down points, you get five Velcro straps and sleeved front I/O wiring for maximum tidiness. If you still can't keep it looking clean, a detachable plastic insert that conceals the PSU compartment does a fine job of covering things up. Might we have preferred another rubber-grommeted hole in the roof of the PSU shroud for routing graphics cables? Perhaps, but on the whole there's little to criticise in what is ultimately a fine example of a modern PC case.

Define 7 ticks a lot of the right boxes, yet if you happen to favour full-tower solutions, you'll be pleased to hear that there is a Define 7 XL. The super-sized variant measures a substantial 604mm x 240mm x 566mm in size and can accommodate up to 480mm radiators, a workstation-grade dual-socket motherboard, and even more storage devices. Prices for the XL start at £190, rising to £200 for a windowed model.