Fractal Design Define XL Black Pearl Case Review

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Fractal Define XL Black Pearl

There has been a significant shift in the PC case market targeted at the enthusiast / gamer community from arguably gaudy to the very refined.  We see this trend first hand based on all the cases we have been receiving in the $70 – $200 range including this latest offering from Fractal Design.  

Fractal Designs Define XL
You may have heard of Fractal Design from their fans and PSU’s but as of about 1.5 years ago they have also been trying to make a splash in the value to mid range computer case market.  This is a bold move given the timing as there are a large number of companies competing for the very same market segment.  The only way to win in this space is to offer a lot of high end features with good build quality for a reasonable price.
Fractal Designs has seven case offerings currently, in up to four different colors:
  • Arc Midi Tower
  • Arc Mini
  • Array R2 Mini ITX NAS Case w/ 300W SFX PSU
  • Core 1000
  • Core 3000
  • Define Mini
  • Define R3, Arctic White
  • Define R3, Black Pearl
  • Define R3, Silver Arrow
  • Define R3, Titanium Grey
  • Define XL Black Pearl
  • Define XL Titanium Grey
Define XL Colors
The Define XL, that we are reviewing today, comes in either Black Pearl (our sample) or Titanium Grey.   Interesting choice given the current trend of white being the popular alternative to black but based on the pictures the grey doesn’t look too bad either.  While this case is titled a “Mid-Tower” the dimensions are close to what other manufacturers label as a “Full Tower”.  Also be aware that the Define series comes in standard or USB 3.0 versions.  The USB 3.0 versions simply have two of the four front ports wired for USB 3.0.  This is also a field upgradable option if you order the upgrade kit from Fractal.  Currently we found the Fractal Design Define XL with front USB 3.0 ports in Black Pearl for $149.99 plus shipping and Titanium Grey for $139.99 plus shipping at Newegg.

Fractal Designs Define XL Specifications

  • 4x 5,25″ bays, 1x 5,25″ to 3,5″ converter included
  • Mini-itx, micro ATX, ATX and E-ATX motherboards
  • 10x HDD trays. 4x HDD trays in the HDD cage in the main chamber. This HDD cage is removable and rotatable.(Space ~330mm with HDD Cage and without ~480mm) 6x HDD trays in the lower HDD chamber. These HDD cages are fixed.
  • A total of two 140mm fans and one 180mm fan included. Front 140mm fans are mounted with removable, washable filter. A fan controller is included, for mounting in one of the rear expansion slots.
  • Pre-fitted with dense noise absorbing material in both side panels.
  • ModuVent™ feature, allowing the user to choose between an optimal low noise level, having the cover mounted or optimal airflow by removing the cover and mounting a fan for intake.
  • Maximum PSU length: Supports PSU’s with a depth of maximum circa 180mm 
  • Maximum Graphic Card lenght: Supports graphic card lengths up to 330mm when removable HDD-Bay is in place 
  • Maximum CPU cooler height: Supports CPU coolers with height of 180mm 
  • Expansion slots: 7+1
  • On top of front panel: 4x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA and Audio I/O
  • Case size (WxHxD): 232x560x561.3mm
  • Net weight: 17.95kg (39.57lb)
  • Warranty: 2 Years
Cooling 
  • 2x 140mm fans (one 140mm included, one optional) with removable and washable filters, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 1x 120mm fan optional with removable and washable filter, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 1x 180mm fan included in the top of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
  • 1x 140mm fan included in the rear of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
  • 1x 120/140mm fan optional in the side of the case. Recommended for intake of air.

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