Fractal Design Core 2300 ReviewManufacturer: Fractal Design
UK price (as reviewed): £36.95 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $59.99 (ex Tax)
We've seen one of Fractal Design's new Core cases before, specifically the Core 3300
, and found it to be a good value, well-balanced chassis. Up to day is the Core 2300, which is lower down the rungs. It's the mid-tower version of the Core X3 series, the Core 3300 being the wide-body ATX version and the Core 1300 being the smaller micro-ATX one.
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Build quality on the whole is very good, as we'd expect both of a Fractal Design case generally and of the Core series after seeing the Core 3300. The plastic front panel is robust, and there isn't too much flex or wobble to the steel – it actually feels pretty strong, and there are no uneven gaps between the panels where they meet either. The power/reset button combination does feel a bit tacky, and the case stands on plastic rather than rubber-soled feet, but all in all we can't complain given that the Core 2300 retails for just under £40.
The front I/O panels position up top means this is a case best suited for floor use, which is fine as the relatively plain, no nonsense external design means the Core 2300 isn't designed for showing off on a desk anyway. The I/O panels consists of the usual audio jacks as well as dual USB ports, one of which is thankfully USB 3. The bigger sibling, the Core 3300, has both ports as USB 3, but it's common to only see one at this price point, as with the Corsair Carbide Spec-01
, for example, so we have no complaints.
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You can fit a total of seven fans inside the Core 2300, so there's plenty of room to expand the default cooling arrangement which impressively consists of two fans. These are both 120mm models, with one being fitted to the top front mount as an intake and the other in the usual rear exhaust mount. The narrower profile compared to the Core 3300 means 120mm is the maximum fan size for the rear exhaust mount rather than 140mm, but all other mounts in the Core 3300 support 140mm models. It's a shame Fractal didn't fit a 140mm in the front, therefore, but these are more expensive than their smaller brethren, and we'd rather have a 120mm fan than nothing.
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The mostly solid front panel means that airflow will be limited to the front intake fan, though it can draw air in through the ventilated side sections of the front panel, which are backed by dust filtering material, as well as through the hole in the bottom of the same panel, which has no dust protection. The slide out bottom dust filter on the Core 3300 has been swapped for a simple sheet of filtering material here, allowing Fractal to keep a feature while lowering costs. It's not as easy to use as a slide out filter, but it will still block dust from entering the PSU or the case through the bottom fan mount, which is the important thing. However, there is no dust filter supplied for either the roof or the side fan mount.
- Dimensions (mm) 195 x 450 x 431 (W x D x H)
- Material Steel, plastic
- Available colours Black
- Weight 5.2kg
- Front panel Power, reset, 1 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2, stereo, microphone
- Drive bays 2 x external 5.25in, 3 x internal 3.5in, 4 x internal 2.5in
- Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
- Cooling 2 x 140/120mm front fan mounts (1 x 120mm fan included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 2 x 140/120mm top fan mount, 1 x 140/120mm bottom fan mount, 1 x 140mm side fan mount (fans not included)
- CPU cooler clearance 162mm
- Maximum graphics card length 380mm
- Extras Removable dust filter