This case review is a little more difficult for me as there was a lot I really liked about the Era ITX, but there were also things I did not like. Lets talk about the good first. Looking at this case it really is something to see, the design is elegant but will still garner attention if you have it sitting on your desk. The color choices as well as the choice of wood or glass top panels on some models really make this a unique case. On top of just the design Fractal Design has wrapped the case in quality aluminum panels. You can’t forget these panels do not have any screws and easily pull right off the case.
This case is small, actually very small, but there really aren’t really many restrictions. You can fit dual-slot graphics cards (reference), 240 mm AiO radiator units up top, and even full ATX power supplies. During my installation things did not seem all that cramped like they have on other ITX builds I’ve done.
Fractal Design also brings the quality we expect as there really is not any plastic on this case. All of the storage brackets, PSU brackets, and fan mounts are metal. They also include a glass or wood top as well as a mesh top to let you choose which top will work best for your setup. You also get a true USB 3.2 gen 2 type-C port on the front of the case.
With any ITX case you are going to have to make some concessions. One of the biggest is heat. Putting all of this high-performance hardware in a small confined space means things are going to get hot. In our testing with a standard AMD Wraith Prism cooler and no extra fans added to the case things did a little too hot for my liking. Obviously thermals could have been improved by adding two fans at the top of the case or going with a 240 mm AiO liquid CPU cooler. I would honestly recommend using a 240 mm AiO as it will provide great cooling for your CPU and you’ll get the added benefit of two 120 mm fans as well.
Another problem that I ran into was fitting a graphics card inside. Not length-wise, but width-wise. Our first card installed no problem, but once we connected the PCI-Express power cable we realized the side panel out not close. This was because our card was wider than a reference card. Card width restrictions are not listed on Fractal’s website, so I would have no clue this specific card (MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X) would not work in the Era ITX. Luckily we had another card laying around to install and complete this review.
Right now the version of the case we reviewed (Gold with glass top) is selling at our favorite online retailer for $139.99, which I think is very fair for what you are getting and the quality of the case. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Fractal Design Era ITX Case an 8 out of 10 score.
– Sleek and Elegant Design
– Aluminum panels
– Can support both SFX / ATX power supplies
– Easy installation
– Availability of colors / top panels
– Mesh top panel included
– Can support up to 240 mm AiO units
– Thermals with air-cooling are not the best
– Wider graphics cards may not fit
– Hard to really organize cables
– If you install a graphics card the bottom fan spots cannot be used