Fractal Design has revealed a new member of the Define family of cases, the Define S.
Designed to sit alongside the recently launched Define R5
rather than replace it, the Define S is another ATX mid-tower chassis with seven expansion slots. It maintains both the clean, sleek looks and noise dampening features that the series has become known for. As such, you'll find sound deadening foam lining the inside walls and individual ModuVent fan covers for the side and roof fan mounts.
The key differences are found inside the Define S. Fractal has modernised the internals, omitting optical drive mounts entirely like NZXT's H440
and optimising the layout for maximum airflow and for liquid cooling set-ups. While there is still a solid front panel in line with the case's aesthetics, there are large side vents and otherwise a direct flow of air from front to back.
Despite its low noise credentials, the Define S boasts an impressive nine fan mounts, all capable of housing 120mm or 140mm fans. There are three each in the roof and front panels, and one each in the rear, bottom and left side positions, although this latter one is missing in the windowed version, for obvious reasons. The case is supplied with two Dynamic Series GP14 fans, which Fractal says are optimised for low noise airflow – one is fitted in a front mount, and one in the rear exhaust.
The new spacious interior allows radiators up to 360mm to be installed in the front, with no limitations on thickness. You can go all the way to 420mm in the roof, but 140mm-fan based radiators (i.e. 140mm, 280mm and 420mm) only have a 55mm depth limit, just enough for one row of fans and a slim radiator. Radiators based on 120mm fans can be thicker, as the mounting holes are presumably offset away from the motherboard. It's not just radiators that Fractal has thought of, however, as the Define S offers drill-free reservoir mounting at the front of the motherboard tray (it extends all the way to the front of the case) and pump mounting holes on the floor as well.
As well as the lack of optical drive mounts, there's a total absence of HDD mounts in the usual front position. Instead, there's a trio of newly designed HDD trays behind the front of the motherboard tray, all of which can take 3.5in or 2.5in models. There's also the usual pair of dedicated 2.5in trays behind the main part of the motherboard tray too.
Other features include a pair of USB 3 ports on the front panel and removable front and bottom dust filters. The extended motherboard tray, hidden hard drives and multiple cable routing holes with grommets make for a clean interior, though there's no PSU shield as with the H440. Then again, this is a much more affordable case – Fractal's MSRP is just £64.99, or £69.99 if you want the windowed edition, with availability set for June 2015.