Following the success of the Define R6, Fractal Design has raised the bar for mid- to high-end enclosures in a number of areas. Now the successor is available in stores! The “R” in the name is dropped, but the features and possibilities have been expanded. Whether the Define 7 is still the modular and simple all-rounder, how the case performs in practice and whether it can stand out against the large offer of other manufacturers, will be clarified in our detailed review.
The Fractal Design Define 7* is available in two sizes since February 20, 2020. The Fractal Define 7 is available in black, black/white and white.
|Universal mount for 3.5″/2.5″ drives||14 maximum, 7 included, 3 in Open Design|
|Bracket for 2.5″ drives||4 maximum, 2 included in delivery|
|Expansion slots||7 + 2 vertical|
|Mainboard compatibility||E-ATX, ATX, mATX, ITX|
|Power supply unit Form factor||ATX|
|Front connections||1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, 2 x USB-A 3.0, 2 x USB-A 2.0 Audio I/O|
|Fan positions||9 x 120/140 mm|
|Fan front||3 x 120 mm or 3 x 140 mm,
(2 x 140 mm included)
|Fan top side||3 x 120 mm or 3 x 140 mm|
|Fan rear||1 x 120 mm or 1 x 140 mm
(1 x 140 mm included)
|Fan bottom||2 x 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm|
|Dust filter||fan for bottom + PSU, fan in front, lid|
|Front radiator||up to 280 mm or 360 mm|
|Radiator top side||up to 360 mm or 420 mm|
|Tail radiator||120 mm|
|Radiator bottom||up to 240 mm or 280 mm|
|Max. length PSU||250 mm (when HDD cage is installed)|
|Max. length GPU||491 mm, 467 mm with front fan, 315 mm in storage layout for cards over 150 mm wide (incl. connectors)|
|Max. Height CPU Cooler||185 mm|
|Room for cable management||Yes (30 mm at the back)|
|Left side panel||Steel (optionally with tempered glass)|
|Right side panel||steel|
|Dimensions housing (LxWxH)||547 x 240 x 475 mm|
|Weight net||13.49 kg|
|Price||€ 183.89 *|
Packaging and scope of delivery
The Define 7 arrives very well packed in styrofoam. The front is additionally protected with a foil.
Already in the packaging you will find the accessories next to the case. Included are the following parts:
- Various screws for hardware and fixings
- Several cable ties
- Additional universal mount for 3.5″/2.5″ drives
- Additional top panel in cooling design
- Various booklets
The accessories are unusually extensive and attractively packaged. Further accessories, such as additional HDD holders, are available in stores.
The housing consists almost entirely of steel. Gaps, defects in materials or sharp edges are not detectable in our housing. The workmanship is already excellent at first sight.
Like its predecessor, the Define 7 also has a front door. This is held magnetically and can be opened without much effort. If desired, the side of the door hinge can be changed.
Insulation is visible directly behind the door. Two covers can be removed from the housing itself. The upper one can be removed for a 5.25 inch DVD drive or similar. Alternatively, this space can also be used for fans, for example.
When the door is opened, the lower dust filter is visible: this is intended to protect the entire underside from dust. But even with the door closed, the dust filter is quite easy to remove.
Since the right side is quite unspectacular, we come directly to the front connectors: Besides the typical on/off and reset switches, the front panel has two USB 3.0 as well as two USB 2.0 ports. Moreover, there are two 3.5 mm jack connectors. Finally, the USB type C connector should be mentioned.
Let’s stay close to the front panel and take a closer look at the top cover. This can be removed without tools and also has insulation inside. Underneath it you can see an easy to remove dust filter. Those who now want to mount more fans or even a radiator of up to 420 mm length can grab the open top panel included in the scope of delivery. This is also made of steel and can be attached directly to the housing.
Finally, a look at the back side of the Define 7, where three things are noticeable: The two side parts are not fixed with screws as usual, but can be pushed away to the left or right via a small plastic lip. A look down reveals the last two details: It’s possible to mount an upright graphics card and the power supply can also be screwed outside of the case with an adapter.
Overall, the case already leaves a fantastic impression on the outside. Every part seems to be well thought out. Optically, the case looks deliberately simple and high-quality. The quality of the material and workmanship doesn’t show any weaknesses.
The interior of the Define 7 appears tidy and orderly at first glance. This is partly due to the separation of the space for the mainboard and the power supply. If necessary, a 360 mm radiator could be mounted in the front and 420 mm radiator on the top. There are many different rubberized options for cable routing. If many HDDs are to be installed, the HDD cages included in the accessories must be mounted next to the fans. With additional cages available in the accessories, the Define 7 can be extended to a total of 14 universal brackets.
If an ATX mainboard is installed, it closes with a little distance to the partition wall of the PSU room and to the upper cover. For the assembly of an AiO water cooling there is enough space. If thicker radiators are mounted, however, it should be checked before mounting, whether the mounting can still be done without problems after the mainboard has been installed.
The area behind the mainboard also looks very tidy and orderly. The lower area is hidden by a cover. The fan hub is located in the upper area. The fans are controlled by the PWM signal of the mainboard, power comes via a SATA cable.
In the lower area, three 3.5-inch HDDs can be mounted in the already mounted and rubberized hard disk cage. Furthermore, there is still space for some 2.5-inch drives.
Finally, the interior leaves a very good impression. Both the room separation and the already mounted cable ties and covers allow for optimal cabling.
System build-up in Fractal Define 7
The following hardware is built into the Define 7:
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 1600|
|CPU cooler||Thermalright Macho Rev. B *|
|Mainboard||ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4|
|RAM||Corsair 16GB DDR4-3000|
|graphics card||Palit GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock Premium 8GB|
|power supply||be quiet! Straight Power 10 power supply 500W CM|
|data carrier||Two 2.5-inch SSDs|
If you don’t want to install a top radiator, you don’t have to pay much attention to the installation in the Define 7. The installation of the above mentioned hardware was easy and with cable management completed within 20 minutes.
The rooms, which are generously dimensioned in every respect, offer space for any hardware combination. After installation of the mainboard, there is sufficient space both above and below for the correct connection of cables.
It is also possible to use a power supply unit with cable management or a slightly larger energy dispenser without any problems. The mounted Straight Power 10 from be quiet! could therefore be installed without any problems. Finally, the lower cover allows uncleanly laid cables to be hidden in the floor.
The space separation between the power supply and mainboard area and the very well placed cable bushings allow an optimal cable management in the visible area. Furthermore, up to six drives can be mounted invisibly behind the mainboard. Closing the right side is possible without any problems even with a large amount of cables in case of suboptimal installation.
Cooling capacity and volume
The housing has three pre-assembled 140 mm fans. Fractal Design deliberately dispenses with RGB lighting or LED control. However, there is a fan hub instead. The control of all connected fans can then be done via the mainboard, for example.
At low speed, the already mounted fans are no longer noticeable from 50-75 cm. Even with this configuration trimmed to silence, cooling the installed hardware with the three fans is always possible without problems.
At maximum speed the fans are of course noticeable, but not disturbingly loud. For 99% of all hardware configurations the silent tuning is more than sufficient.
The Define 7 stands non-slip and stable on black rubberized feet. Optically, the simpler case is very successful and looks both modern and high-quality. The modularity of the case allows almost any hardware configuration: a water cooling, many HDDs or both? No problem for the Define 7: everything seems possible here.
Conclusion on the Fractal Design Define 7
With the Define 7, Fractal Design does not have an easy time to beat its already very good predecessor – the Define R6. But they did it: the potential buyer gets a simple and high-quality case, which is prepared for almost any hardware combination due to its modularity. The workmanship is on an excellent level and the choice of materials is convincing. The case deliberately dispenses with RGB lighting and its own fan control, but offers many possibilities for installation, such as the fan hub or the optional glass side panel.
At the end of the test it is clear: The case is a very good choice for all those who are looking for a simpler case that can cope with all challenges. On top of that, the buyer gets many well thought-out features and a perfect finish. For the whole package, the price of currently just over ca. 160 €* is absolutely justified.
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