Fractal Design's budget oriented Core 3000 chassis has been available now for quite some time, although it's managed to escape our gaze here at bit-tech. At least up until now, that is, as given Fractal's successes in the past we thought we'd take it for a test drive. Coming in at just £46, it's actually cheaper than the excellent Xigmatek Midgard II which we looked at a few weeks ago, which is certainly a good start.
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Fractal's case designs have never been about standing out, and it's no different with the relatively nondescript Core 3000, which is a plain black box with a fully meshed front panel. It's hardly eye catching, but the white PCI brackets bring at least a little life to the chassis, along with the white fan blades which are visible at the rear and through the roof.
For a case that costs £46, the Core 3000 has a reassuring weight to it when you remove it from its packaging, and feels solid all round. We were unable to flex the sturdy chassis itself under pressure, and the case grips surfaces well thanks to its rubber lined feet, so the impression that remains is that build quality hasn't been sacrificed to meet a low price.
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The meshed front panel hides two optical drive bays with clip out covers, as well as two fan mounts, one 120mm and one 140mm, the larger of which is already filled. Along with the 120mm rear and 140mm roof exhaust fans, that means the Core 3000 comes with three of Fractal's Silent Series R2 fans as standard, which is astonishing value for £46. The front section is entirely covered by pre-fitted dust filtering material, and there's also a plastic slide out dust filter for the PSU, although it doesn't extend to cover the bottom 120mm fan mount.
Anyone looking to expand their cooling further will find a 120mm/140mm fan mount on the left side panel and an extra one on the roof too, meaning there's a total of seven. There are also two holes at the rear covered by well fitted grommets to allow for external water-cooling. Fractal has also been generous enough to provide a fan controller, and in fact it's essentially the same model as that found with the Xigmatek Midgard II. Powered by a single molex, it has a single channel with support for up to three fans, which it controls with its variable speed knob, and can be installed in any spare PCI expansion slot.
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The front I/O panel is top mounted, and consists of a power button and tiny reset button, alongside the usual pair of audio jacks and four USB 2.0 ports. The lack of even one USB 3.0 port is a little disconcerting, even if the case is at least relatively old. Fractal does list a USB 3.0 version on its website as an official product, although it isn't available in the UK as of yet.
Dimensions (mm) 205 x 480 x 430 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, plastic
Available colours Black
Front panel Power, reset, 4 x USB 2.0, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 2 x external 5.25in, 6 x internal 2.5in/3.5in
Form factor(s) ATX, Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
Cooling 1 x 120mm and 1 x 140mm front fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 2 x 120mm/140mm roof fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan included), 1 x 120mm/140mm side fan mounts, 1 x 120mm bottom fan mount (fans not included)