Reviews and Problems with Fractal Design Define Mini
Showing 1-10 of 17
26 mid-range desktop chassis group test
3 October 2013
Excerpt: Choosing a desktop computer chassis can be a challenge with so many options out there, especially in the popular £60 to £120 segment. We tested ten chassis that recently came out, and compared them to 16 desktop cases we had tested previously. We put them all side by side and compared how well they cool their components, how noisy they are, what type of features they have and how easy it is to assemble a system in each one.
Conclusion: I keep feeling like Fractal Design is what would happen if Corsair were a European company. They share a lot of the same strengths, but they also share a lot of the same weaknesses, and that's fairly evident with the Define Mini. One thing Corsair consistently does better, though, is convenience. Their cases are typically much easier to build in and make a lot of allowances for the end user. The Define Mini isn't a bad enclosure by a longshot.
Excerpt: It seems all of the kinks have been worked out with the relationship between TweakTown and Fractal Design. I can only assume they approved of my review of the Define R3 because they keep sending me cases like the one I am about to bring to you today. Only having one product to view in the beginning hadn't really delivered the hype of what Fractal Design was getting all over the forums.
Summary: Compared to the Define R2 / R3 , the Define Mini is two inches shorter, sheds two hard drive bays, three expansion slots, and one optional fan placement on the ceiling. The smaller dimensions makes it seem sturdier even though the build quality is about the same. It's also a bit more versatile thanks to the removable (and rotatable) hard drive cage that allows for long graphics cards, though the motherboard must have its PCI-E 16x slot in the top position to take...
Summary: The Fractal Design Define Mini deserves the same score as the Define R3. The case is a successful attempt at offering the exact same features of the bigger cases as a compact mATX variant. On top of that the Define Mini finally is the first of the entire Define series to ship with internal USB 3.0.
Pros: Great build quality, All black interior, Internal USB 3.0 connector, Fan controller included, White Fractal Design accents still there, Plenty of space for large PSUs, Possibility to install long graphics cards, 5.25 inch to 3.5 inch adapter included, 3.5 inch hard drive rubber mounted, Thumb screws for external drives and expansion slots, Two silent fans included, Well placed spot for side cooling, The Define Mini is a shrunk Define R3
Cons: Very little space between mainboard and side panel, Clips of front covers won't last long, Limited CPU cooler clearance, Only available in black, No more eSATA, USB 3.0 cable is blue - not black, Tough cable hiding/management
Conclusion: The Mini is a great addition to the product range of Fractal Design, they already had the hugely popular Define R3 and also the huge Define XL for people who need even more space, so it's only logical to address also the mATX-users out there. All the good features that earned the R2 and XL good scores in our reviews are still there in this smaller edition, it's very quiet, looks stylish, comes with affordable price tag and also keeps the components cool enough.
Conclusion: We were also impressed with the low noise level from the Define Mini, the foam padding on the top, sides and front works well to keep things to a minimum, ideal for a HTPC.For anyone looking to build a compact, low noise system the Fractal Design Define Mini should be at the top of the shopping list. As for the ECS HDC-I, it is the most feature packed Fusion board we have seen to date and our favourite.