Fractal Design’s Define 7 is a sleek, elegant PC case. It comes with the company’s signature design, and three included Fractal Design vertical fans – all for less than $200! Featuring an innovative new internal layout that offers room for liquid cooling loops or extra components, it has plenty of options to please any user.

WePC loves a Fractal Design case, and today we’ll be looking at the Fractal Design, Define 7 Compact, the newest addition to the highly praised Define 7 line. As you can probably guess from the name, it’s a smaller version of the mid-tower we examined not long ago. You may be asking why to bother when we previously had a mid-tower alternative, but the fact is that the Define 7 was still a little too large for some people.

This is a brand-new Define case from a long series of excellent Define cases. While the original Define 7 is still my personal favorite, this collection has something for everyone (nearly). The Define 7 XL is designed for individuals who want to construct monster builds; the original has enough adaptability for a conventional build or an extensive water-cooled configuration, and this follows suit, except that the size has been reduced, similar to the previous Meishfy C.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Fractal Design is working on a Define 7 Nano, but enough chit-chat; let’s look at this PC case in more detail.

Pros

  • This is a high-end, high-quality casing.
  • The layout is open and spacious.
  • A fantastic acoustic performance.
  • Panels that don’t need any tools and cable management
  • Dust filters of excellent quality
  • Cable management is a breeze.
  • An additional top panel is included for cooling setup options.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 5.25′′ bay is lost.
  • It loses its fan base
  • The Interior had a dual configuration that was lost.
  • Paying for a top panel you won’t utilize is a waste of money.

Specifications

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Case Type Mid-Tower
Measurements (mm) 427 x 210 x 474 pixels (L x W x H)
Materials Steel, aluminum, Glass that has been tempered, and plastic are some of the materials used.
Available colors Grey, black, and white
Weight 8.76 KG
I/O panel in the front USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, Type-C (Universal Serial Bus) x 1, Audio Input Jack x 1, Microphone Input x 1; Button of Strength, Button to Reset, USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, Type-C (Universal Serial Bus) x 1;
Slots for Expansion 7
Bays for driving 2 x 3.5″/2.5″ x 2 x 2.5″ x 2 x 2.5″ x 2 x 2.5″ x 2 x 2.5″
Support for motherboards ATX, Mini-ITX, MicroATX
Cooling (front, top, and back) 2 × 120/140 mm / 1 x 120 mm / 3 x 120 or 2 x 140 mm (1 x Dynamic X2 GP-14 included) (1 x Dynamic X2 GP-12 included)
GPU’s maximum length 360 mm (305 mm with a front rad of 280/360 mm)

Main Characteristics

  • Panels from ModuVent
  • Glass that has been tempered
  • Operation Quiet
  • Tool-less
  • Type-C (Universal Serial Bus)

Inside the Container:

  • Define 7 Compact PC Case by Fractal Design
  • Accessory Container

The Environment

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You can see that this is a smaller version of the original Define 7. It doesn’t have the same aesthetic impact, but the quality is immediately apparent. This PC case has the same straightforward style that many people like in Fractal Design cases. There’s nothing showy about it; simply clean angles and a high-quality finish.

The front door has been removed, yet the design still makes it look as though it swings open. The door has been released for obvious reasons since it is no longer required. Fractal has removed the 5.25″ disk slot to save space, making the door redundant, which is a good choice given that many people no longer use CD/DVDs.

Despite the lack of a door, the front remains a sturdy panel, resulting in cooling performance that is on par with its larger brother, mediocre. However, since the Define series has always been designed for stealth, the industrial cushioned front panel will provide enough acoustics. Therefore, an intricate fan configuration may not be necessary for your build. A filter is installed behind the door on the larger Define 7, making dust removal a breeze. In this example, a similar method is used on the vented sidewalls on each side of the front panel. These filters may be removed and cleaned after removing and cleaning the front panel.

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A pre-installed Dynamic X2 GP-14 14mm fan may be found just beneath the front panel. These fans come standard with most Fractal Design cases and provide enough ventilation, so you may upgrade them if you wish, but there’s no need to change them. At the front, there is enough room for two 140mm fans or three 120mm fans. So even though it’s little, there’s still enough place for a radiator up to 360mm long. To avoid disappointment, whether you choose a 280 or 140mm rad, be sure to stick to the case specs’ maximum width of 145mm.

The conventional lower dust filter slips out from the front at the very bottom. The filter runs the length of the case from front to back and is one of the finest unsung heroes in most Fractal cases. Because it pulls out from the front, it’s much easier to clean than a lot of the competitors. So take notice, case makers: this is how you assist your customers.

Rear

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At the rear of each case, clear evidence of quality may frequently be noticed. The rear of the Define 7 Compact is solid, as are the backs of the previous models in the series. The sheet metal feels sturdy and expensive, with no flex anywhere on the rear.

The ModuVent upgrade we saw with the original is here too, with Fractal’s latest way of removing side panels. The clips you see, simply slide, and pop, and your side panel is off. This may sound like the panels will just fall off but the design is clever enough to deal with that and they are on tight so no need to panic when you are removing the Glass that has been tempered side. In addition, the Glass that has been tempered panel features a black tint at the top and bottom to further improve the aesthetics of your finished build. This new way of taking off commissions is a welcomed change for me as I have always hated thumb screws. Even Fractals large thumbscrews I found a bit irritating and would often just leave them off entirely.

While the original Define 7 features a 7 + 2 Slots for Expansion, this version has been reduced to just seven, so I’m afraid there is no vertical GPU mounting with this case. At the rear is where we see the final included fan, a 120mm Dynamic fan just like the one at the front, and again, it does a stellar job of pumping heat out of the case, so there is no need to replace it unless you need the space for a 120mm AIO. Finally, towards the bottom, we see the same PSU bracket included with most Fractal Design cases, generally making it easier to install your PSU and another welcomed feature.

The Top

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With the new replaceable panel design and increased aesthetic, the top is where we notice the most changes from the earlier R6. Although the ModuVent is technically an additional panel that you pay for but never use, many people like the added adaptability. The ModuVent has always been a good concept, but it seems that the creators have revisited it and enhanced it tenfold.

The top panel now pulls off with minimal effort, making it easy to swap it out for an alternative setup. Unfortunately, the connected top panel is made of the same sound-dampening materials as the other side panels; therefore, replacing it will reduce the acoustic performance. But that’s the beauty of premium cases: adjusting the arrangement to best fit your acoustic or cooling demands is a breath of fresh air.

The front I/O is visible at the top, and it consists of:

  • Button of Strength
  • Button to Reset
  • Audio Input Jack
  • Microphone Input
  • 1 x Type-C (Universal Serial Bus)
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports

Apart from those I/O ports, the top panel is entirely unbroken and appears clean as in the NZXT series of cases. If you replace the top panel with a ventilation panel, you may add extra fans or a radiator to the top of the case. It’s ideal for people who want to add an AIO, but the acoustic performance will decrease. Of course, there’s enough space for two 140mm fans or a 280mm radiator. It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going to put anything on top, make sure it’s 40mm or less.

From the Inside

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As previously said, all you have to do to get inside is remove those incredible side panels. Getting inside a PC case has never been simpler (except for the Lian Li O11). While I like the hinged door found on the Phanteks Enthoo 719, these side panels make PC setup and any subsequent upgrades or cleaning sessions a lot easier.

The inside is smaller than you would expect, yet there is no wasted space; the basic arrangement seems open. The logical structure may support motherboards ranging from ITX to ATX, with E-ATX reserved for larger versions. Even with the original Define 7, it was always going to feel claustrophobic, so dropping E-ATX in a mid-tower makes a lot of sense. I inserted an ATX board to test this box thoroughly, and it fits well, leaving me enough of an area to handle my wires via the grommets.

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The rubber, as mentioned above grommets is of superb quality. They make it easy to get the hefty 24-pin wire through, but they also don’t come off in the process! I understand why some people dislike grommets, but those in this instance are sturdy and scarcely move.

From front to back, the PSU shroud covers the bottom. Because the basement can hold a fan or a 120mm radiator, the shroud incorporates cutout ventilation using Factal’s unique design. I’m not sure whether this makes much of a difference in thermals, but I like this design over the solid option. The replaceable plastic pieces of the PSU shroud are part of Fractal Design’s modular initiatives. If you wanted to place a pump/reservoir or a passive radiator on the front of the case, they snap out.

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You can’t upgrade to a more storage-oriented system as you can with the larger models, and there’s even less storage capacity overall. I used an M.2 drive in my setup, but I believe there are acceptable solutions for most gamers in this instance. Two SSD caddies are located on the rear of the case, while two HDD cages are located in the case’s basement. There is room to put SSDs on top of the PSU shroud, but the brackets are supplied separately, making projects appear a little haphazard. You can remove the two HDD cages or position them inside the case at the top if you intend on water cooling your build and need the room. The HDD cages in that location might seem funny to me, but it’s always nice to have choices.

The Panel on the Back

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Because there isn’t much room for storage drives, the integrated cable guides are in an even better location. These are detachable, but they lie in line with where the wires would generally fall, and you may place them to the right of the rubber grommets (as I did) if you want to go a little crazy with your cable management. These cable guides are similar to the NXZT H510s. However, they support the thicker 24-pin connectors.

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Cable management was straightforward, mainly down to the high-quality, malleable cables. These cables go exactly where you want them and look clean without too much fuss. There is around 28mm (maybe a bit less) of space to work with at the far left of The Panel on the Back, but I found enough room on the right of the grommets (17mm) if appropriately managed.

Features

Fractal Design cases aren’t short on functionality, and just because this one is “Compact” doesn’t mean it’s any less. So let’s take a closer look at this case, which comes with a slew of nice-to-have features.

Good performance – The Define series has always been built with stealthy gaming in mind. The old R5 opened our eyes to clean, premium, acoustically gifted cases, and the line has continued this trend.  The case features high-density padding in the front, top, and back panels to dampen the system’s sound inside. We have the glass that has been tempered version here, so the sound performance isn’t as good as the plain paneled one, but it still outshines a lot of cases in this area.

Modularity – While this Compact version may not be as modular as the other models, it still comes with the swappable ModuVent top panel. The new and improved ModuVent system is a welcomed addition to the case, making it easier than ever before to whip that top panel off for the included alternative.

This adaptability allows the customer to pick between sound quality and additional cooling. For example, you may use the extra space for a radiator or fans if you replace the default panel. However, changing the layout would reduce acoustic performance because the other top panel has ventilation holes and no sound dampening materials.

Because the case is so tiny, there is no choice for a storage-based interior, so you’ll have to do with the default “open layout.”

Tool-less – The top-latching panels offer quick access to your case without needing a screwdriver or keeping track of where you placed that thumbscrew. The panels also prevent any accidental drops with a clever design. The back also features removable cable clips and velcro ties to give you all the cable management you need without using cable ties or tie bases to get a clean-looking setup.

Conclusion

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The Define 7 case series is one of the most impressive I’ve seen in recent memory. Fractal Design strives to provide functionality and features that make sense to customers without detracting from their experience. In addition, the Compact Edition of the series makes a lot of sense since many people thought the original Define 7 was a touch too big.

This tiny variant compresses everything of the original’s clean-cut aesthetic and quality spirit into a more manageable mid-tower, providing a more reasonable PC case for the ordinary builder.

While I still prefer the original Define 7, the Define 7 Compact provides many features. This is a fantastic cause, and I’m looking forward to the Define 7 nano (if it even exists).

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