Fractal Design Define Nano S Review

March 4, 2016 | 15:16

Tags: #mini-itx

Companies: #fractal-design

Interior

Captive thumbscrews and front hinges mean that opening up the Define S Nano is simple. Doing this also reveals the thick noise dampening material on the inside of the right panel. Inside, the spacious interior makes component installation hassle free, and the build process is further aided by the pre-installed motherboard standoffs, PCI bracket thumbscrews and the large cutout in the motherboard tray for CPU cooler backplates. Other nice touches include the rubber stands and foam padding to quell PSU vibrations, and the internal cables being sleeved all in black, including the supplied fan splitter cable.

*Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior *Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior
Click to enlarge

There are no HDD cages and no optical drive support in this case, with Fractal opting for a very open internal design to promote airflow and water-cooling support, much like the original Define S. What you do get is a single 3.5in/2.5in mount in the main cavity, in the form of a tray secured to the floor. The remaining three mounts are found behind the motherboard tray – one mounting plate for a pair of 2.5in devices and another 3.5in/2.5in mount near the front. Both of these mounting trays are secured with a thumbscrew for easy access – there's no need to remove any other components to get at them. Another positive is that both 3.5in mounts have rubber grommets to limit noise from mechanical disks.

*Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior *Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior
Click to enlarge

The HDD mounting tray in the main section is quite versatile. It does involve the removal of four screws from underneath the chassis to free it, but after that you can move it further into the case to improve water-cooling clearance. You could also remove it entirely or secure it vertically to the front of the extended motherboard tray. Not only that, but it also doubles as a pump mount for anyone looking to build in a custom liquid-cooling loop. Similarly, those elongated mounting struts at the front of the motherboard tray can be utilised when mounting reservoirs, with Fractal also supply some metal reservoir mounting brackets. It's great to see this level of support for custom liquid-cooling – something that's notably absent in the NZXT Manta, which only caters to AIO coolers out of the box.

*Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior
Click to enlarge

Of course, pumps and reservoirs are useless without radiators, and the Define Nano S is well covered here. In the offset roof mounts, 240mm radiators are supported with basically any thickness provided you RAM modules do not exceed 35mm in height. The front mounts, meanwhile, can support 280mm or 240mm models, though the former cannot be more than 147mm wide or 312mm tall. This is more than enough water-cooling support for a mini-ITX chassis, but going overkill is perhaps not such a bad idea in a case designed specifically for low-noise, as it would allow you to use very slow-spinning fans to maintain healthy temperatures and virtual silence.

*Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior *Fractal Design Define Nano S Review Fractal Design Define Nano S Review - Interior
Click to enlarge

For cable routing, there's a fair amount of space behind the motherboard tray, especially that extruded front section, and Fractal also uses Velcro cable ties which are very user-friendly, although they're not anchored to a point like those in Phanteks' cases. There are routing holes in all the usual and convenient places, but the holes are definitely on the small side and the grommets aren't secured too well – when pushing PSU cables through them, they typically dislodge.
Discuss this in the forums
Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Review

September 15 2020 | 14:00

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU