Inside the Fractal Design Core 2500
As we continue to explore the Fractal Design CORE 2500 I have to say that Fractal’s claim to fame is easy to see with the engineering of the inside of the case. Cases look simple from the first look but as you study the way things fit together and the room that is made for things you start to understand the very intricate details that go into a high quality case. This case falls right into that category. The workmanship and placement is well thought out in the Fractal Design CORE 2500.
Looking closer at the build side of the case it’s easy to see that the placement of the drive cages leave room for other devices to fit without cutting and modding. Starting at the top front where the ODD Drive is located you see the slight indentation in the top side wall of the drive bay gives sufficient room for water cooling radiator placement. Another look shows the access hole for the CPU cooler back plate is generous and the wire routing is in great positions all over the back wall of the case. The wires sticking out the back is the wiring for the fan controller. Looking at the bottom back of the case you see the extra SSD Mount right in the area behind the power supply. Make sure that if you are going to use this placement for the SSD you will need to secure the SSD to the back of the case before you mount the power supply into place or you will be removing it again. This is never a good thing. We like to build once and get it ready. The Fractal Design logo is stamped into the back of the chassis just so you don’t forget that you are building into their special case. Notice the open air look of the entire interior of the case. This is to give great placement for up to Three video cards but the down side is that your motherboard will depend on triple SLI or Crossfire as there are only seven PCI Slots but there is plenty of room for even the longest of video cards if you so desire to sell that extra kidney that you are not using for a few 980’s or 780ti’s.
The motherboard tray side also shows the exceptionally clean area for building into this case but I must point out that the back does not leave much room for fat wire bundles as the clearance for wire management is a mere 7/16th of an inch or 11mm of space so it’s not impossible to route wires behind the motherboard tray but you will have to be creative. Using a ribbon wired power supply can make a world of difference but since there is not a window in this case wiring on the build side is accessible and easier since looks are not important but you still need to remember to keep your air flow unrestricted.
The front of the case is non restrictive for airflow from the intake fan. There is only one 1 x 120mm fan in the front but you can fit two 120s or two 140s as well as mounting a 240 or 280 mm radiator in the front. Good airflow and placement for these items at first glance but I will still want to check with the build to see how the measurements of radiator and fan stack up in the build phase of this review.
In this picture I wanted to show that the water cooling access is very important for Fractal’s Design. The top optical drive bay can be completely removed if needed for super phat radiators to go up top. The way the mounts for the radiator is also well thought out since the mounting is towards the panel side of the of the case to give plenty of room for top wiring of the motherboard and also to give room for the large heat-sinks that are so widely used at the top of most high quality motherboards. Also that top optical drive can be removed altogether if you are not planning to add a CD type drive at the top, but you still can keep that lower drive bay under it in place for more SSDs or hard drives since they are connected by Phillips head screws and give the option to build as you need without drilling rivets and making the case unstable.
The bottom drive bay is for two 2.5 or 3.5in data drives. This bottom drive mount can be totally removed or moved back for radiator placement if need be. The Steel Drive holders are the atypical Fractal Design type all steel construction drive slides with holes for both rubber isolated bottom drive screw with rubber gaskets or the 2.5 drive mounts flush with the back of the case for easy wiring as we will see in the build segment of the review.
The one fan located on the top front is located in a good spot if you are going for just air flow. You can add 2 x 120mm fans or 2 140 Fans in the front and they use the long screws that go through the fan to the mount in the case for more rigidity and vibration elimination.
The 7 PCI slot covers are made of steel and are the thumb screw type design. The Airflow is never cut off even if you have nothing in the slot as the slot is ventilated for air circulation.
The top optical drive mount of the Fractal Design CORE 2500 is riveted to the body and is not meant to be removed but it makes lots of room both on the bottom and the side for top and bottom radiator placement. The lower hard drive module can be removed by taking out a few screws to give ample room for the front 240 or 280 radiator placement. All of these parts are very well built and there is no chance of vibration as the screws fit tight and the rivets are the high tension type that will not fall away after a few years of use.
These next two issues that I really didn’t care for about the CORE 2500 case is the back SSD mounting position. If you plan on building with a rear mounted SSD you will need to install the SSD drive before you install the power supply as the power supply completely covers the four mounting holes after the PSU is installed. The power supply is rubber mounted with four point rubber bumpers to keep any noise from coming from a power supply that is vibrating or has a really loud fan. Again another thing that I really didn’t care for on the CORE 2500 is the bottom Filter element that has ten point mounting and can be a real head scratcher to replace after a build is all wired up. But if you clean it by turning the complete case on its side it won’t be much of a problem so plan on that if you place the power supply fan down.
Another peeve I have with this case is the wire management space behind the motherboard tray. The clearance is exactly 7/16th’s of an inch or 11mm but this is also nit-picking since this case is not windowed and does not require the builder to hide wires as they would with a case with a window so it’s just a small inconvenience.