While we liked the idea that Fractal Design was one of the few hold-outs of the whole tempered glass RGB craze, this case was bound to happen sooner or later. To me Fractal Design has done it correctly though. We’ve seen so many tempered glass cases that offering absolutely no intake and are more concerned with looks than functionality. While you are not going to see a high-airflow case with a tempered glass front panel, the implementation that Fractal Design has gone with is the best that we’ve seen to date. This case is based off the very popular Define S2, which we gave a 10 out of 10 and our Recommended Award last year. So you ventilation sections on either side of the case that are about an inch thick and extend the entire height of the case. Again, while not the best airflow it is definitely better than what we’ve seen. If you are looking for a high airflow case be sure to check out our review of the Define Meshify S2.
Another new thing with this case is the tempered glass panel on the top of the case. If you choose to use this panel you will give up top cooling options, but Fractal Design does include an optional cooling bracket and ventilated top panel. I really like this, although it does add some extra cost having those optional components included by default. But of course it does give you the ability to add fans / radiators to the top of the case. Talking about tempered glass the side panel design that Fractal Design uses is the best I’ve seen, I mentioned this in my review of the original Define S2. Basically they’ve taken a standard panel, cut out most of it then affixed the tempered glass panel on top of it. This makes it so you can install and remove the panel like a normal side panel and keeps the sleek look of the case with no screws actually on the tempered glass panel.
Keeping with the RGB theme Fractal Design has really outfitted this case with RGB accessories. First you have four of their Prisma AL-14 ARGB PWM fans, which one is a lot of fans to be included with a case and two they of course are ARGB. There is also an included RGB strip, which comes pre-installed on the top of the case facing down. Fractal Design includes an RGB controller to control the fans and RGB strip, but you can also connect them to your motherboard. I would have liked to have seen the fans and RGB pre-connected to the hub and RGB controller, connecting those just makes extra steps when it comes to installation.
Internally the case is a joy to build in, it is quite big so getting all of your components in is very easy. There is support for the longest graphics cards, E-ATX motherboards, long power supplies, CPU coolers as tall as 185 mm, up to 9 fans, 360 mm radiators in the front and top, and five hard drives. You can build a pretty insane system inside of this case. Even with our system installed the case seemed a little empty. The front part of the case where the reservoir mounts are is sort of like empty space if you don’t go the watercooling route. This case more or less screams for watercooling.
There really is not much to not like about this case, it is the full tempered glass RGB case done correctly and should be the standard going forward. I mentioned the fans and RGB strip not being pre-connected and the fact that the optional cooling bracket adds an extra cost to the case, but that is really me nitpicking.
Right now you can pick this case up for $239.99 with the Blackout version being $189.99. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Fractal Design Define S2 a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award!
– 4 included ARGB fans and RGB strip
– Tempered glass on the front and top of the case
– The front of the case offers some ventilation
– Solid construction and quality
– Tons of room inside and lots of cooling options
– Side panel design
– ARGB fans not pre-connected
– Having the optional cooling bracket adds an extra cost