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Fractal Design Core 3300 Review

Fractal Design Core 3300 Review

Manufacturer: Fractal Design
UK price (as reviewed):
£55.01 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $69.99 (ex Tax)

Fractal Design has a strong presence in the mid-range case market, with both its Define and Arc series of chassis typically being well-received. However, it's made less of an impact in the budget space. At least until recently, that is, because as we reported at Computex, Fractal has just completed a massive expansion of its Core series of cases, splitting it into the X3 and X5 lines. The one with us today is the Core 3300, the wide body ATX model of the lower spec X3 series, which also covers the Core 1300 (micro-ATX) and Core 2300 (mid-tower ATX).

Fractal Design Core 3300 Review Fractal Design Core 3300 Review
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Initial impressions are very good – it's difficult to tell that this is a budget chassis from the exterior build quality. Admittedly, £55 is pushing the limits of what can be called a budget chassis, but even so the craftsmanship and construction of the steel and plastic is pleasing with this price in mind.

The front of the Core 3300 is covered in solid plastic with a brushed metal effect. You can push it in fairly easily if you apply pressure, but it's not creaky or flimsy. There are two intake vents, one down either side of the front panel, and both are backed by foam dust filtering material. This can be cleaned, but you'll have to pull the entire front panel off to do so. Thankfully, this only requires a firm tug, and the panel comes cleanly away – you'll also need to do this to utilise the pair of optical drive bays.

Fractal Design Core 3300 Review
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The front I/O panel is equipped with the usual connections, including dual USB 3 ports, and the connections and buttons all face upwards, it's a chassis best suited to sitting below you. There's no fan control, but that's permissible at this price point. One slight slip in quality, however, is the plastic pair of buttons for power and reset, as they feel hollow and tacky.

Cooling is taken care of by two 140mm Silent Series R2 fans. You'll find one acting as an intake in the top front intake mount, and the second in the rear exhaust position. If you want to add more fans, you have numerous options, as there are five additional 140mm/120mm fan mounts, with the bottom, roof and side all catered for.

Fractal Design Core 3300 Review Fractal Design Core 3300 Review
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The case stands on plastic rather than rubber feet, but it's weighty enough that with a system inside it shouldn't move around too much. The bottom of the Core 3300 also hosts a slide out dust filter for the PSU and lower fan mount, although as with many cases this can be tricky to accurately replace without first having to tilt the case or lay it on one side.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 233 x 517 x 451 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel, plastic
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 7.8kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 2 x external 5.25in, 3 x internal 3.5in, 5 x internal 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
  • Cooling 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (1 x 140mm fans included), 1 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mount (140mm fan included), 2 x 140mm/120mm roof fan mounts, 1 x 140mm/120mm bottom fan mount, 1 x 140mm/120mm left side fan mount (fans not included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 185mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 430mm (255mm with HDDs installed)
  • Extras Removable dust filter