Reviews and Problems with Fractal Design Define XL
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Fractal Design Define XL Case Review
19 December 2011
Summary: We were really impressed by the Fractal Design Define XL. Its construction quality is superb, allowing you to build a high-end system with very low noise level at a very affordable price. The only real negative of this case is that you will probably need to rent a crane to put your computer on your desk after you install three video cards.
Conclusion: Although we strive for objectivity here at Benchmark Reviews, please remember that each author perceives these points differently, and our conclusions and recommendations will necessarily differ from others. Also, prices can fluctuate and designs change after publication, so that the product we review might not have the same price and specifications of a product that's available later.
Pros: Extremely well built, Sound insulated, Tons of space, Ten plus hard drives, Unique compartmentalization, Nice looking, Good value, Excellent mechanical tolerance, Lots of options
Cons: Front fan filter release tab location akward, Only three included fans, PSU cable hole needs relocating, Horizontal divider can limit cable routing, Could use side and top 230mm fan options, Front inner door/filter needs reworking
Summary: The 'XL" in Fractal Design Define XL Case stands for extra large and that's no lie. With lots of room to work, plenty of drive bays, excellent cooling, cable management system, great styling and so much more, this is one of the better cases on the market. Fact is, it has just about everything you should be looking for in a full tower case.
Conclusion: The Fractal Design Define XL excels in aesthetics with its classy, stylish look, and while testing it I came across several interesting features that I'd never seen before on other cases. Some areas of the case are well thought out, while other aspects could use some retooling. While the overall build quality is stunning, the front panel contains several flimsy elements.
Conclusion: Knowing the Fractal Design Define XL is an eATX chassis, it probably does not come as a surprise to you that the case is very easy to work with. Combined with a plethora amount of room, the dual chamber design allows the user to install components in any order they prefer. Personally, I like to install the CPU and motherboard first, followed by the power supply, then components that connect directly to the motherboard, with hard drives last.
Summary: Performance of the Fractal Design Define XL was excellent all around. Installation was very easy, cable management was top notch and cooling characteristics for all components was far above average. The sound absorbing material did its job well, making the Define XL an extremely quiet case regardless of the CPU cooler installed.
If you ask me to hang a singular word on the Fractal Design Define XL, that word would be “refined”.
Pros: Excellent Noise Absorption For Near Silent Computing, Impeccable Fit and Finish, Engineering and Layout Make Installation Easy, Configurable Three Chamber Design To Tailor Component Airflow, Excellent Airflow With Many Flow/Noise Balancing Options, Top Quality Materials Used In Every Component
Conclusion: Overall the Define XL proved to be a successful addition to the Fractal Design cases lineup. It's a large, stylish and quiet monolith that even comes at a very affordable price. The provided three fans combined with the controller are quiet enough for most, and while the cooling wasn't too impressive, our test setup still remained stable throughout the tests. Other nice features are the support for E-ATX sized motherboards, and the cable management.
Pros: Cable management, Sleek looks, Quiet, Value for money, Large CPU cooler installation hole
Cons: Door doesn't open all the way, Can't fit long power supplies
Summary: The Define XL may just look like a simple size increase of the Define R3 and from an outside perspective it actually is. It is a bit wider, a bit taller and comes with more external drive bays and a larger number of USB 2.0 connectors, but retains the exact look and feel of the Define R3. Once you look at the interior there are a few noteworthy differences which are mainly enabled due to the overall size of the chassis.
Pros: Excellent cable management possibilities, Very spacious interior, Two types of sound dampening materials used, Can hold 10 hard drives, Three fans included, Top 180 mm fan angled for better sound encapsulation, Fan controller included, Very good paint job, 7+1 expansion slots, Front drive bay covers easily removable, Front dust filter easily accessible for cleaning, Excellent tray system for hard drives, Thumb screws on all external drives, Thumb screws on motherboard...
Cons: No USB 3.0, Rather heavy, Fans not the quietest, Upper left corner a bit of a squeeze due to angled fan, Door only opens to the left
Excerpt: We’ve been reviewing quite a few cases lately and they’ve really run the gamut from the unique (seriously, what else can we call it?) Lian Li Cowry to the ultra high end, feature packed Cooler Master Cosmos II Ultra Tower . Fractal Design meanwhile has been busy reinvigorating their lineup by introducing some new blood like the Arc Midi Tower and a new full tower case which is aptly named the Define XL.