The Define 7 XL is Fractal Design’s new flagship case. It uses the same quality, professional-grade components available in their smaller cases and adds a slightly larger size to accommodate those of us with more power-hungry hardware configurations. The bigger brother also comes equipped with an RGB LED strip on top which can be illuminated by a self-contained RGB lighting kit or integrated into your motherboard for ultimate white light control through software provided by Fractal Design. This 650W 80 Plus Titanium rated PSU gives you ample power at lower wattage consumption, making this one of the most efficient PC builds on the market today.
The Fractal Design Define line of PC cases may be among the finest on the market right now, with the unmatched build quality, limitless compatibility, and genuine simplicity of assembly. So it’s fair to say we were ecstatic when Fractal Design sent us their newest flagship Define 7 XL case to see what this successor to the XL R2 has to offer!
The version we got had a “light Glass that has been tempered” side panel, which is a great contrast from the tinted glass that is common these days. However, if you want tinted glass, Fractal Design also provides a tinted version as well as a sound dampened version.
The Fractal Design Define 7 XL was introduced with a mid-tower counterpart (the Define 7) and has already generated a lot of interest among PC enthusiasts. SSI-EEB motherboards, multi-GPU setups, and a plethora of storage devices – including two 5.25′′ optical drives – are all supported by the 7 XL. It also includes a large Accessory Container with additional mounting trays, replaceable panels for more ventilation and airflow, and an intriguing convertible component that allows you to utilize unused fan locations for a variety of other purposes.
The next article will take a closer look at Fractal Design’s massive case to evaluate how it compares in terms of build quality, features, simplicity of assembly, and overall value for money.
- Excellent construction quality
- Supports the widest range of motherboard configurations
- ModuVent panels are excellent noise dampeners.
- Panels that do not need any tools
- Dust filters that are both durable and simple to clean
- Support for two 5.25′′ optical drives
- Excellent cable management assistance
- There are 18 HDD/SSD mounts in all.
- Grommets that can be swapped out
- The most expensive end of the market
- The front panel is obstructing airflow.
- Internal temperatures may reach dangerously high levels.
|Case Type||The tower is completely full.|
|Measurements (mm)||604 x 240 × 566 pixels (L x W x H)|
|Materials||Steel, Glass that have been tempered, and plastic are all materials that may be used to make a product.|
|Colors that are available||Black, dark-tinted black, light-tinted light-tinted black|
|I/O panel in the front||1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Audio I/O, Power and Reset buttons|
|Slots for Expansion||9 + 3|
|Bays for driving||18 x 3.5″/2.5″ + 7 x 2.5″ positions 2 x 5.25″ optical Bays for driving|
|Support for motherboards||ATX, E-ATX, SSI-EEB, Mini-ITX, MicroATX|
|Cooling (front, top, and back)||4 x 120mm or 3 x 140mm in front (2 x Dynamic X2 GP-14 included) 4 x 120mm or 3 x 140mm for the top 1 × 120/140 mm rear (1 x Dynamic X2 GP-14 included) 2 x 120/140 mm at the bottom|
|GPU’s maximum length||359 mm storage arrangement – 549 mm open layout (524 mm with front fan)|
- Modular in every way
- The glass that has been tempered
- Airflow may be adjusted for quiet operation.
- Fan Hub Nexus+2
- Type-C (Universal Serial Bus)
Inside the Container
- Define 7 XL PC Case by Fractal Design
- Accessory Container
- Beginner’s Guide
When I initially saw the Fractal Design Define 7 XL in the package, I was taken aback by its size — this monster is on par with Thermaltake’s View 71 in terms of sheer mass. It dwarfs the Define 7, making it an excellent upgrade for individuals who enjoy the smaller iteration’s design but want additional storage, water cooling, and component support.
On the flip side, and like most Fractal design cases, this one offers a fairly basic, uncharacteristic design that could be conceived as boring from The Environment – depending on how you look at case designs. However, once we delve inside, things become a whole lot more exciting.
We start at the front with a sleek fake brushed metal front panel that, happily, now includes a hinged door — we’ll get into why this is important later. The front doesn’t have a lot of design elements, but it does include a little slot at the top of the casing that holds a small LED light — weird, right? The front panel seems solid and well-made, with metal door hinges replacing the plastic on the previous XL R2. Having said that, I can see situations where this may be a point of failure in the future.
Behind the door, users have access to the dust filter and fans for cleaning and replacement purposes. The dust filter is split into two sections, meaning if you do plan on using the available 2 x 5.25″ optical Bays for driving, you still have a large dust filter sitting underneath. The filters are quite difficult to remove and require a decent amount of force to pry away from the case – not ideal when you consider how small the grip on the dust filters is.
It’s worth noting at this point that the door has a significant influence on ventilation and inside temperatures. If you intend on purchasing this case for your future build, bear in mind that if you want to use it for a quiet build, water cooling may be necessary to maintain interior temperatures at acceptable ranges. Although opening the door may result in a significant reduction in internal CPU temperatures, you must also consider the noise consequences of your setup. We’ll go through this in further depth later.
While we’re on the subject of airflow, Fractal Design has pre-installed two of its Dynamic X2 GP14-140mm fans behind the dust filter – with enough area for a third 140mm fan if you want to beef up your cooling. Alternatively, four 120mm fans or a 480mm radiator may be used in lieu of the 140mm fans.
The dust filter, which lies behind the PSU shroud, is located beneath the front panel. Thankfully, Fractal built the dust filter to come out from the front, which means customers won’t have to turn their PC around every time they want to clean it – PC makers, take heed
The dust filter is simple to remove and clean, however, it was tough to reinstall. The dust filter seemed to have been somewhat twisted at some time and did not seat correctly in its bay (once removed). After some tinkering, it was evident that the corner had been bent, so that issue was quickly rectified with a short alteration.
Moving to the rear of the case, users are greeted with a ton of Slots for Expansion and features. Starting at the top, you will find the newly improved opening mechanism for both side panels. Fractal has equipped the Define 7 XL with two sliders that help aid in popping the side panel out of its housing at the top. To fully remove the side panel, simply tilt the panel back slightly and lift it out of the recess it sits in.
The I/O shield cutout is below, along with a pre-installed 140mm fan — the same one we see in the front. If you choose, you may replace this fan with a 120mm fan and modify the height of the fan by around 30mm.
Below this, we find the 9+3 Slots for Expansion. Each of the nine horizontal Slots for Expansion is protected with re-usable covers which can be replaced while swapping out the hardware. Users will be able to vertically mount a GPU in this case with up to three slots available for even the largest of graphics cards. A locking mechanism is used here which feels well-made and durable.
Below here is where the PSU is housed. It incorporates an easy-install bracket that enables you to rapidly install or remove the power supply without the need of a tool. Personally, I’ve never been a great fan of this; once your PSU is installed, it typically remains in place for a long time. However, it does not detract from the argument, so why not?
The top isn’t very distinctive in terms of appearance, but there are plenty of options to experiment with, especially when you change out the sound-dampening ModuVent top panel for the vented one. By pushing the sides out around the I/O ports, you can easily remove the top panel, following which you can simply take the roof off. Underneath, you’ll find the dust filter as well as a mounting place for extra fans or a radiator, depending on your arrangement.
The dust filter has a unique design that easily hooks into place at the rear of the 7 XL. It’s quite simple to remove, and it’s been intended to clear any screws required when attaching cooling arrangements – something we’ve had trouble with in the past with comparable cases.
Almost any radiator/fan arrangement will clear your CPU cooler, RAM, and motherboard VRMs since the fan mounting region has been offset. In the ceiling of the case, the 7 XL supports 4 x 120mm fans, 3 x 140mm fans, or 1 x 480mm radiator. Various cutouts for extra water-cooling loops and cable management options may be seen behind this.
Swapping the roof panel for the ventilated alternative that you receive in the Accessory Container will help increase airflow dramatically. It doesn’t offer nearly as much noise dampening, but it does reduce temps quite a lot. It also offers a little bit more in terms of aesthetics thanks to the mish-mash air vent style Fractal has gone for.
The I/O ports are likewise located on the case’s top at the front. Power and reset buttons, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, and audio connections are all included on the Define 7 XL. For practically every circumstance, that’s a lot of data. It’s also worth noting that the power button has a really tactile feel to it.
From the Inside
Simply remove the side panel using the popping mechanism near the rear of the casing to get access to the inside. Although I like the hinged doors seen on both the Thermaltake View 71 and the Phanteks Enthoo 719, Fractal’s side panel design is still among the finest. Because the side panel lies in a little recess at the bottom, as indicated above, you don’t risk damaging the glass.
Removing the side panel reveals the massive inside, which is spotless and offers enough of storage and cable management choices. The pre-installed fans at the front of the case have been positioned in the center of the case for maximum airflow. As previously stated, you have the option of adding a third 140mm fan to the case or replacing them with a radiator up to 480mm, depending on your needs. We’ve kept them in stock configuration for the sake of this assessment.
Looking at the roof of the case you can clearly see all the mounting possibilities this case supports. If you do plan on bolstering the cooling configuration of this build, you will have to swap out the roof panel to do so (unless you plan on setting up a custom loop). Replacing the roof panel is extremely easy and requires little to no effort. Once removed, you can easily access the mounting area from above and below – thanks to the size of the interior. Unlike smaller cases, the Tower is completely full. 7 XL is built so that even the most elaborate radiator fan configurations aren’t going to interfere with internal components. As mentioned above, users have the option to fit 4 x 120mm fans, 3 x 140mm, or a radiator up to 480mm in the roof – so plenty of versatility here.
The full-length PSU shroud, which extends from front to back, can be found in the bottom of the chassis. Ventilation vents are included with the shroud, however to be honest, they don’t offer much in terms of airflow. They do, however, double as fan mounting holes, with support for two 120mm/140mm fans. There are two grommeted cable cuts beside the vent, as well as two detachable plates at the front that may be removed if you want to install a huge radiator or water cooling system in the front. You may also use the PSU shroud to install a large number of SSDs or HDDs.
Users will be welcomed with a large space to put motherboards up to SSI-EEB form factor in the motherboard tray. However, if you want to use this build for something a bit more discreet (at least internally), the Define 7 XL also supports Mini-ITX form factors and anything in between. If you do intend on utilizing a bigger form factor motherboard, you’ll be relieved to learn that Fractal has included extra cutouts for this purpose. The motherboard tray has a big hole beneath the motherboard for easy access to large CPU coolers, as well as nine grommeted cable cutouts for ease wire management. On the right, the Define 7 XL has a piece of plastic covering the rear of the hard drive mounting bays in its factory form. However, by removing this plate – which can be done by first removing the front fans and then snapping it off – you have access to a slew of useful accessories, like water cooling mounts and more storage space.
In terms of compatibility, the Define 7 XL is compatible with almost every piece of hardware on the market right now. There’s enough capacity for massive SSI-EEB motherboards, a GPU up to 549mm long (in open configuration), 185mm of cooler clearance, and 11 fans in totaHowever, rememberber that with the door closed and the sound dampening roof panel in place, the cooling of this case is quite poor. If you want to utilize enthusiast-grade components, you’ll need to change the case’s setup, so keep that in mind.
The Panel on the Back
Behind The Panel on the Back is where most of the design features come into play. Remove the panel in the same manner as the front panel, using the pop mechanism found at the back of the case. Once removed, you have access to a plethora of storage options and cable management routeIn addition, theThe PSU shroud can accommodate a PSU with a max length of 250mm with the two hard drive cages installed.
The PSU and hard drive cages at the bottom are covered by a shroud that doubles up to stop the cables from coming into contact with The Panel on the Back. Seeing as though The Panel on the Back doesn’t have an actual locking mechanism, this feels like a well-thought-out design feature additionally, these shroud can easily be removed to access the cages and PSU by simply pulling it towards you.
Numerous hard drive mounts can be found behind the motherboard and on the left-hand side of The Panel on the Back, along with cable management tie holds and Fractals signature straps in the middle.
Fractal has built a super-thin fan controller on the top of the case, above the motherboard, that supports up to 9 fans — 6 x 3 pin and 3 x 4 pin. The hub is at the top of the case, towards the rear, which should help with cable management, particularly as the radiator and fans are generally located near the top.
So, now that we’ve had a quick glance at the Define 7 XL’s appearance and inside, it’s time to go over some of the case’s standout features. As previously said, Fractal Design is professionals when it comes to building beneficial features, so picking the best should be a piece of cake.
Sound Performance – One of the big pluses that you get with the Define 7 XL is the noise dampening performance. It comes equipped with Fractal’s signature noise dampening sides panels – equipped with Moduvent technology – meaning noisy internal components will be nullified – even when pushed in heavy workloads.
Modularity – Fractal’s latest Moduvent technology has been equipped in the Define 7 XL to its fullest, making almost every panel interchangeable – requiring no effort to do so. Unlike other cases of this size, which require screwdrivers and Allen keys to access hard-to-reach places, the Fractal brings an almost tool-less design to the table. If you’re looking for ease of building, look no further, this thing does it all.
Fan Hub Nexus+2 – Fractal has tried to make cooling this case a priority by equipping it with a high-quality Nexus fan controller which supports up to three PWM fans and six 3-pin connectors. This make managing your buildloteal easier and should give you enough support to equip your PC to the max.
Build Process – One of the benefiofith a case of this size is just how easy they are to build in – and the support they offer for more significant components. The Define 7 XL feels like everything has been considered during the design process. It provides many cable management options, NAS levels of storage support, clearance for numerous radiator and water-cooling configurations, and easy-to-replace panels. ly screams premium in almost every area – a great Tower full chassis.
So, we come to the end of the Fractal Design Define 7 XL case review. This is where we sum up our final thoughts and give a Conclusion on whether we feel it’s worth the money and your consideration.
The Define 7 Xl, along with the Define 7, is one of Fractal Design’s newest products, and it comes with a slew of new technology and design elements that will make your life (as a PC builder) a whole lot simpler. In addition, it’s been beautifully designed using high-quality materials and a fantastic finish. This case would be ideal for a server build or a big Threadripper build, with ample space to install all of the cooling you could want.
It does not allow nearly enough ventilation to keep the interiors cool. Users operate the computer with the second panel in place and the front door open. This will result in a temperature drop of almost ten degrees, which is rather significant. However, some individuals may not be thrilled with the idea of using this case with the door open since it detracts from the sleek appearance.
Aside from the cooling, you can’t fault this case. I believe it offers fantastic value for money (at a current price range), mainly if you prefer build quality and functionality above appearances and RGB.
So, with that in mind, here are my final comments. Look no farther if you’re searching for a well-built PC case with plenty of space for substantial enthusiast-level components, complicated water-cooling systems, and excellent acoustic performance. Even the most discerning PC enthusiast will be pleased with the Fractal Design Define 7 XL.
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