Specification and Performance
Fractal Design Define S Specification
|Motherboard Compatibility||ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX|
|Drive Bays|| Internal 2.5/3.5in x3
Internal 2.5in x2
|Cooling System||Front||3x 120/140mm fans (1x Dynamic GP14 fan included)|
|Rear||1x 120/140mm fan (1x Dynamic GP14 fan included)|
|Top||3x 120/140mm fan or 1x 180mm fan with 165mm hole spacing|
|Bottom||1x 120/140mm fan|
|Radiator Support||Front||360, 280, 240, 140 and 120mm radiators of all thicknesses|
|Rear||120 or 140mm radiator|
|Top||420*, 360, 280*, 240, 140* and 120mm radiators|
|Bottom||120mm radiator (limits PSU length to 165mm)|
|Clearance||Graphics Cards: 450mm
CPU Cooler: 180mm
Power Supply: 180mm
Cable Management: 20mm - 40mm
|I/O Ports||1x Audio
2x USB 3.0
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||233mm x 451mm x 520mm|
|*thickness limitation of 55mm for both radiator + fan applies on 420, 280 and 140mm top radiators|
HEXUS Chassis Test Bench
|Hardware Components||HEXUS Review||Product Page|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570K (quad-core, overclocked up to 4.40GHz)||April 2012||Intel.com|
|CPU Cooler||be quiet! Dark Rock 3||-||Bequiet.com|
|Motherboard||Asus Sabertooth Z77||-||Asus.com|
|Memory||8GB G.Skill Ripjaws-X (2x4GB) DDR3 @ 1,600MHz||-||Gskill.com|
|Graphics Card||2x EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC in SLI (2x 4GB)||April 2015||EVGA.com|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 (750W)||July 2012||Bequiet.com|
|Storage Device||120GB SanDisk Extreme SSD||March 2012||Sandisk.co.uk|
|Monitor||Philips Brilliance 4K Ultra HD LED (288P6LJEB/00)||-||Philips.co.uk|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1 (64-bit)||October 2012||Microsoft.com|
To get a truer feel of how today's latest chassis perform, we've revamped our test platform to better illustrate the noise levels and heat build up of a modern-day build. Most chassis become hot and noisy when attempting to cool our previous platform, which consisted of dual Radeon HD 7950 graphics cards, so we've decided to refresh our graphics, CPU cooler and PSU to offer a more accurate depiction of the current hardware landscape.
Our Z77 test platform now consists of an ASUS Sabertooth motherboard, an Intel Core i5-3570K processor overclocked to 4.4GHz, a be quiet! Dark Rock 3 CPU cooler, 8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws-X memory and two factory-overclocked EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC graphics cards in an SLI configuration.
To find out how well the chassis can cool this particular setup, we log CPU temperature while encoding a large 4K video clip. This task puts full load on all available CPU cores and we extend the stress test by carrying out multiple passes. In order to provide a stabilised reading we then calculate an average temperature across all cores from the last five minutes of encoding.
To get an idea of graphics-card cooling performance, we log GPU temperature while playing Tomb Raider at a 4K resolution with Ultra quality settings and SLI enabled. Last but not least, we also measure chassis noise by using a PCE-318 noise meter to take readings when idle and while gaming.
All chassis are tested only with the standard manufacturer-supplied fans (any/all of which are set to 'silent' in the Asus BIOS or low-speed using a fan controller if present), and to take into account the fluctuating ambient temperature, our graphs depict both actual and delta temperature - the latter is the actual CPU/GPU temperature minus the ambient.
The Define S is the first chassis benchmarked using our refreshed test platform and it has no problem in serving our hardware a good supply of clean air. Our overclocked Core i5-3570K processor is kept below 60ºC under load, and GPU cooling performance is more than adequate, too, with our dual GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards peaking at 74ºC.
What's most impressive, however, is that the Define S is able to keep everything running cool while keeping noise levels to an absolute minimum. A near-silent idle reading of 29.3dB is testament to the quality of Fractal's bundled Dynamic GP14 fans, and that figure climbed to just 35.1dB when gaming. You can of course hear the graphics cards at that point, but noise levels are kept down to an agreeable level, making the Define S a fine choice for a relatively quiet gaming rig.