Computer Cases have come a long way since I first started working with customizing cases and Fractal Design has been on the leader board for quite a while doing things that were unheard of in the beginning of computer case production. Fractal Design was one of the first companies to engineer their cases by collaboration between manufacturer and custom modders and builders with decades of experience under their collective belts showing everyone that this was a very clever and cost effective idea for manufacturers. As racing cars drivers help with the actual show room ready automobiles so does this same expertise work for computer case builders. As Fractal Design clawed its way from the ground up, they have become one of the leaders in innovations for some of the most practical, affordable cases for the custom case professional as well as the average builder. Their cases have been very well ventilated, versatile and made for custom builders that like to do things their own way.
The concept of Fractal Design’s cases have always been simple, but exceptional in their efforts to perfect the optimum case for the water and air cooling crowd alike. While more and more companies have began of this type of collaborative work with professional Modders and builders, Fractal Design was one of the first companies to use this unique engineering process. Their cases are very “Lian Li” in their simplicity and very Fractal Design on the inside. Fractal Design has made a big splash in the Olympic sized swimming pool of products that have been dangerously close to market saturation, but still they seem to stay on top of the water with their simplistic quality and smart design ideals with a very affordable price point.
In this Review we will be looking at the demurely sized Fractal Design Core 1500 computer case. While The Core 1500 is lightweight and inexpensive I would not choose to use the word “Cheap” to describe this small, yet very versatile case. While its size is small, it is very tough and rigid in design and function. Most cases of this price range and size are usually chocked full of cheap steel, ever cheaper rivets and non-ABS plastics parts, but this case has what it takes to stand up to the ultimate test of time. The actual steel is a bit thinner, but it is a much higher quality steel than most and rolling edges in certain places to make it a very strong case under stress. The money saving features that Fractal Design uses with this case are the plastic “snap-in” feet and the pure simplicity of its design, smart packaging and transference of key parts between all of Fractal Design many case models. This is how Fractal Designs saves the money, make profits and pass on the savings on to the customer.
Scandinavian by nature, this case is made very smartly and efficiently, but not cheaply manufactured as other economy cases have been known to be. At the very reasonable cost of $60.00 USD you can be sure that you are getting your money’s worth with all of Fractal Design cases including the smaller Core 1500 version that we review here and now. The Fractal Design Core 1500 has all the features of the bigger cases with the same type of hard drive mounting systems that most, if not all of Fractal Design cases including the wire management access holes that are uniformly placed with very smooth edges, but you will not find any rubber grommets covering these holes within this particular model which is one of the ways Fractal Design has saved money including the smart use of the same hardware over the entire product line.
The Fractal Design Core 1500 is one of the smallest cases in the Core Series of cases and that said, it is made purposely for the smaller Mini-ITX or the slightly larger Micro-ATX sized motherboards. There are 4 ventilated PCI slots in the back painted using the common white type of blanks of all the cases made by Fractal Design to this point and date.
So, it is a given fact that the Fractal Design Core 1500 is a smaller case and that is the reason for its very existence. Smaller motherboards of the present have more power and a smaller footprint than the Standard ATX and E-ATX of the past decade or so. While there are still the bland core basics economy-motherboards offered even to now, others are truly gaming monsters with all the power you need to make even the harshest of gamer happy. Premium sound with separate headset amplifiers and premium chipsets that can transform these little into boards into a gamers dream and still won’t take up the entire desktop or floor to do it. They can be very small and yet very powerful and ready to move at a moment’s notice to game at their favorite LAN parties and still have high speed gigabit LAN capability and dual channel high speed wireless to compliment the features. The USB connections on the top front are two few but they are very fast using the current standard USB 3.0 5 Gb/s speed and if you need more speed there are PCI cards that will be available soon for those back slots for Mac Lightning connections or USB 3.1 ports 10 Gb/s ultra speeds but that would also depend on the product that you plug into those ports of course so 3.0 USB should be plenty enough for the time being and is still able to use USB 2.0 and 2.1 standards.
Today’s CPU’s are built faster and more powerful while using less power to get those higher clock speeds more efficiently due to miniaturization of internal CPU chip die sizing changes which is now at 16 nanometers which allows billions of transistors to be put on a single chip the size of the commonly grown peanut. Even the huge graphics cards of present day, take less power to run and doesn’t get create enough heat to replace a space heater in the dead of winter. So all that being said, you don’t necessarily have to have a huge case and a huge board to get huge gaming power. In fact, most high end gaming and over clocker’s chipset including the LGA 2011-3 Intel chipset have a Mini-ITX form factor motherboard that will accommodate DDR4 or DDR3 Z97 chipsets with much higher speed and bandwidth ram and workstation sized power CPU’s in just a 6 inch x 6 inch size, so don’t be afraid of using a small board, just make sure that you use a powerful chipset and have a great case like this Fractal Design Core 1500 at your disposal. You will save some money and have a great build that can run with the fastest Arabian Stallion of gamer-boards on the market today and still be quite the competition to the other larger gamers on the playing field.