BT: What about alternative materials then? Asus use bamboo!

FD: We want to keep it simple - the Define uses a plastic and steel design to get the right look but we haven't really experimented that much yet. It's important for us that the cases be affordable.

BT: How do you balance cooling performance with your philosophy of silence and neat design?

FD: It is difficult to make it stylish and simple in design, especially a case like ours that are also airflow based. We're attempting it with the new Arc cases, which will also be slightly cheaper - £10-15 we anticipate for the same size. There will be a few more fans [in the Arc case] than the Define. We always test [our designs] with mock-ups and add "enough" fans to get good cooling for a typical PC. If you then want to go "super overclocked" then you can add the extra fans yourself.

Fractal Design's future cases Fractal Design: Less Ape, more HTPC
Define XL versus the R2. Click to enlarge

That's also with the upgraded sound insulation and textile finish. The one we have right now is more industrial looking and we got some reviews back that said it looked like a "monkey forehead" so we're adding the textile cover to give it a cleaner look with less ape.

We're aiming for about £120 including VAT for the Define XL - that's not written in stone because the exchange rates are going crazy still, but it'll be around that price.

BT: You've said by 2011 the whole range would be out: large cases [Define and Arc XL], midi towers [Define and Arc R2/3], and LAN/micro ATX cases [Array]. What's after that?

FD: We don't want to spread out too much - we see other companies do gaming series stuff with mice and keyboards, but we don't think this fits into our product focus. In the beginning we actually had a regular keyboard, but we felt after a while it didn't fit into our program at all. We'll do more case fans and a wider range and we'll continue to develop our power supply series too.

BT: Who do you work with to manufacture your power supplies?

FD: It's different manufacturers actually: there's FSP and AT&G at the moment. In the beginning it was difficult to get our name out there initially because there are lots of PSUs on the market, but with a case we could have more freedom in design and include the exact features we wanted.

We're also working on the HTPC segment with a remote control and joystick for the mouse right now, and we will also create a high-end remote control with more features. We've also started to design a wireless keyboard but it's still only a prototype. The HTPC concept is another market we think is underdeveloped and want more products to fit in our range - right now we see mini-ITX has a future here, which is where the Array starts from.

Maybe also we could venture into the cooling business. We want to have something that is unique from the crowd, but it's not easy to make a difference. The Corsair H50 is a popular and unique cooler for example - we've been considering watercooling options with the Arc series because of its great cooling to noise ratio, but it's too early to say. We wouldn't want to get an OEM to make just another H50 - it should be fit for our purpose.

BT: So you are looking at some form of integrated watercooling in the Arc series then?

FD: We were looking at that, but it's much too early to say whether it would make it as a final product. We are willing to make the option of watercooling there. Options are better than forcing people down your set route.

Stay tuned for reviews of Fractal Design's upcoming cases!
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Project Mirai - Part 4 - Final Assembly & Watercooling

September 16 2021 | 09:00

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