Both side panels come with noise absorbing material. You can even remove a panel to place an intake fan.
One of the coolest features on the Define XL is the moveable drive bays. The default configuration has the drives facing sideways, but should you not want that, you can easily remove the drive bay case and turn it around so that the drives face inwards. This is a very cool feature!
It is just a case of removing a couple of screws and sliding the cage out, turning it and sliding it back in. Takes no more than a minute or two!
The underside of the case, at the front, even has a removable air filter (just like you might find in a tumble dryer). You just slide it out, give it a quick vacuum and slide it back in.
The Define XL case from Fractal Design is amazing. You can easily see how much time and effort has gone into designing and building it.
The noise absorbing material works really well – I was concerned that with the ability to hold 14 hard drives and also the various fans, that it would sound like a jumbo jet engine, but the case does a really good job of limiting the noise.
It looks fantastic, and is really practical. I really loved the ability to change the orientation of the drive bays if I wanted to. I also thought splitting the inside of the case into three thermal chambers was a great.
The ability to clean the dust out of certain parts of the case without the need to dismantle the case is a really good idea as well.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, the case is big, and it is heavy (and that’s without any motherboard, power supply, optical drives or 10 hard drives). But that’s fine with me – I like my cases to be stable. I have two cats that love to jump on top of my cases and occasionally go to sleep, so I prefer more stability!
The Define XL case comes in two different colours – Black Pearl (which is the one I am reviewing here) and Titanium Grey. Both look stunning!
The manual, whilst only being a few pages long, does provide a very detailed installation guide and also a guide to mounting the optional 120mm fan in the 5.25” ODD bays. So make sure you do take a few minutes to read it as it is time well spent.
Opening the case was simple and only involved using my fingers to turn some screws – and the same goes for the screws inside the case holding the drive bays in place.
There is space for 4 optical drives (or you could use a kit to mount additional hard drives if 10 were not enough), all of which provides more than enough storage space!
The USB ports are USB 2.0, what would be great would be to see USB 3.0 ports, and as I understand it Fractal Design are working on doing just that.
There are even holes for water cooling – not that I have tried using water cooling myself. I am still a little nervous about putting any liquid in a computer, even if it is a tried and testing method. But the point is Fractal have thought of everything.
Bottom line is that this a fantastic case with just about every possible thing you would want and more! If you want to build yourself the mother of all computers, or a very large Windows Home Server, then this is the case for you.
Price wise, you can pick up the Define XL for just under £100, which given it’s size, capabilities and design is a bargain.
Great job Fractal Design – you have another winner on your hands.