Fractal Design Core 2300 Review

January 20, 2015 | 11:06

Tags: #atx #best-budget-atx-case #budget-chassis

Companies: #fractal-design

Interior

The pair of side panels are both hinged at the front – it's great to see this rather than notches and rails on so inexpensive a case, as it makes them very easy to get on and off. Likewise, the front panel pulls off fairly easily so you can access the front fan mounts.

The internal design is unsurprisingly very similar to that of the Core 3300. It's painted all in black, and the internal cables are fully sleeved in black too, which is a nice touch. There's also a nicely sized CPU cooler cutout on the backplate and small rubber pads for the PSU to sit on.

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Optical drives are installed the old fashioned way with screws, and there is only a pair of mounts for them – more than enough for most modern systems.

Also included is the side-mounted storage bracket, which is again capable of housing three 2.5-inch drives on the outside, and three 3.5-inch on the inside. Impressively, there are rubberised mounting holes for 3.5-inch drives to help stifle vibrations. The bracket itself is easily removable with three thumbscrews, and its design means that a HDD cage is not needed, leaving plenty of room for graphics cards – 380mm in fact. However, for graphics cards longer than 200mm, HDDs can interfere with top-mounted power connectors.

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There is also one further 2.5-inch mount behind the motherboard tray, though it has the same affliction as those on the Core 3300 (which has two such mounts), namely that you have to remove your PSU to access it. It's therefore best suited to your system drive, or one that you definitely won't need to swap out much, if at all.

Considering the size and price, the Core 2300 has a decent amount of support for water-cooling. Technically, you can install 240mm radiators in the top mounts, but there are some limitations. Firstly, you're limited to slimline (30mm) radiators only, which is fair enough, and you'll also need to ensure your top ODD device is no longer than 150mm. Secondly, with 32mm of room between the roof and motherboard, fixing a standard set of 25mm deep fans would require that the top 23mm of your motherboard has no components taller than 34mm – clearly some measuring up is needed before committing to a build, but it's possible nonetheless. You can also install slimline 240mm or 280mm in the front of the case, or thicker 240mm radiators provided you use the secondary mounts so as to avoid the 3.5-inch bracket and hard drives.

*Fractal Design Core 2300 Review Fractal Design Core 2300 Review - Interior *Fractal Design Core 2300 Review Fractal Design Core 2300 Review - Interior
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The cable routing holes are sensibly placed as they include ones above the motherboard tray and ones also suitable for micro-ATX builds. The holes themselves are a little small in places, and have no rubber grommets – these are very uncommon in the budget market, however. Room can also be a little tight behind the motherboard tray, but our thick 24-pin ATX cable did fit without causing the side panel to bulge once we'd tied it down.
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