Saturday , 25 October 2014
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Fractal Design Define XL Computer Chassis Review

On the morning the Fractal Design Define XL chassis showed up at our facility, everything was shut down.

It was the worst storm of the year with all news media warning people to stay in their homes as we were being pelted with the worst snowstorm of the season. Thats when the bets were on as to whether the postman’ motto would hold true.

I won but only because I was afraid that negative energy would void my good fortune.

I had been anticipating this arrival since meeting up with Fractal Design at CES. A knock at the door resulted in this picture and a wave from our courier as he backed out of the lot.

FRACTAL DESIGN AT CES

It was shortly before attending CES that I first met with Elizabeth Castiglioni, Channel Marketing Manager of Fractal Design North America Inc and, from the outset, the company enthusiasm was obvious.  We arranged to meet up at CES and, quite frankly, I was a bit taken aback by the experience.  It seems that we had stumbled upon a company who valued the customer as much as the product; a company that had built a product from the ground up based solely on consumer input, suggestions and feedback.  This was a company that had actually jumped into websites and forums to ask members exactly what they wanted in a computer chassis.

Before even looking at the cases, I was asked to describe the ideal chassis that would suit the needs of The SSD Review.  I quickly answered that silence was paramount, the case needed to be well built and sturdy, very roomy inside and I wanted easy access to the interior as we changed system configuration frequently.  They looked at one another, smiled and informed me that I had just described their Define XL exactly and we might just enjoy trying it on for size here at The SSD Review.

Something that I didn’t tell them was that I had looked over all of their cases at the Fractal Design website beforehand and was bewildered on exactly which system would best suit our needs.  If there ever was a model chassis designer in the industry, Fractal Design just might fit the glove well.  The great part of this story is that this Scandinavian company is just about to open its doors in North America.

DEFINE XL CHASSIS

I wanted to spend a few weeks experimenting with this chassis before I wrote about it and must say that I haven’t really found a negative as of yet.  Quite the opposite actually, I found a few unexpected qualities that  that I don’t think I can do without in future cases.  The case is of a solid metal that one might actually think is bulletproof and the inside surface of which is covered in a dense noise absorbing material.  To add to this, the front has a very attractive cover which gives the case a very classy look once closed.

With respect to silence, they have gone a bit further than simply building a sturdy system with a front cover and equipping it with soundproof lining, in that, this chassis also an easily installable rear fan control that lets the user control the fan speed of up to 4x120mm to 180mm fans.  Our set up has the two in the front and one angled in the top and we have them adjusted to low with absolutely no noise whatsoever coming from this chassis as it sits 2 feet to my left at my desk.

Here is a video review of the Define XL from our friends at NCIX:

Pg1 – Introduction

Pg2 – Chassis Interior

DISCUSS THE REVIEW HERE

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
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