Fractal Design Define Nano S Review
Fractal Design Define Nano S Review
Define Nano S from Fractal Design finally made it to our lab today. It’s pretty small and actually designed to be used for all ITX systems. Great, but is there anything special about this case? Well, yes. It supports watercooling with some limitations, of course and it offers enough space for larger high-end graphics cards as well. Fractal Design is well known for their quality and cases are designed to be as optimized as possible. That means, if enough users wish to get some features, it may be implemented in the case design later. As many other fractal design cases, also Define Nano S is full of small features and many parts are removable and easy to access. There are two versions of Define Nano S, a window version and one with a closed side panel. Let’s have a look at the non-window version.
If you don’t care too much about internal look and prefer to have silence during your work or gaming, then you would go with the non-window version, as it features sound dampening material on both side panels. Which obviously lowers the noise of system a bit. There are vents in front on both sides which helps also to lower the noise coming out of fan/fans in front.
The inner space looks actually pretty empty, and so gives user the opportunity to be creative without any restrictions. It also offers nice air flow coming from front to back of the case. The front fan position is optimal to push enough fresh air along the mainboard but also partially to graphics card. Of course there can be 2x 140/120mm fan mounted in front to get even more air flow and bit of positive air pressure inside the case. Thus, your case doesn’t suck dust anywhere else and your fresh air intake is only in front through the dust filter.
The front panel features kind of brushed aluminium look, but it’s made of plastic.
The front panel is easy to remove and the dust filter is hidden behind. It can be cleaned in a second and you won’t need any tools to remove it. Also the front panel features dampening layer for noise reduction. There is 1x 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 fan with 1000RPM in front and 1x120mm Fractal Design Dynamic GP12 fan, 1200 RPM at the back of the case.
The top cover is also removable in case you are willing to mount radiator or just fans on top. It also sports thin noise dampening layer as well. Should you be using only 120/140mm rad/fan on top, you have plenty options for position. Unfortunately, there is no additional dust filter, ones you use fans or radiator on top. Pushing air out on top would be wise in that case.
Very useful is the SSD plate hidden behind the big cutout in mainboard tray. Yes, it is also easy to remove, fixed with just one thumb screw. All cable holes are protected with rubber grommets. There is also some space behind the mainboard tray for cable management, although, you will need to tight your cables well before you close the side panel. We have big velcro ties and variable space between 17 and 35mm for cables to hide.
There is an extra plate at the bottom for mounting pump or reservoir. Thanks to many pre-drilled holes, there should be no need of using own drilling machine or any tools. Of course, the plate can be moved or even removed if not needed at all.
Because of some space restrictions, fractal design recommends to use ATX PSUs up to 160mm deep. For demonstration purposes, we have mounted PSU with 175mm to show there is even some reserve. Considering the small form factor of the case, we can see that using just air cooling, the case looks still pretty empty, offering good air flow inside the case.
SSD/HDD is hidden behind mainboard tray. There is no active air flow for the HDD drives, should you decide to use any HDD. Other than that, there is actually nothing much to complain.
- ITX motherboard compatibility
- 2 expansion slots
- 2 – 3.5″ HDD/2.5″ SSD positions; 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD unit positions (fits SSDs up to 13mm thick)
- 6 – Fan positions (1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fan + 1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP-12 120mm fan included)
- Filtered fan slots in the front and bottom (ejects from the front of the case)
- CPU coolers up to 162mm in height
- ATX PSUs up to 160mm deep (shorter PSUs recommended for easier cable management)
- Graphics cards up to 315mm in length with front fans mounted (Cards wider than the dual slot bracket are not recommended)
- 17 – 35mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
- Velcro straps included for easy cable management
- Both side panels and rear HDD/SSD brackets feature smart captive thumbscrews
- Dense sound dampening material on front, left and right side panels
- ModuVent™ on top of case for further silent computing or additional ventilation
- Colours available: Black
- Case dimensions (WxHxD): 203 x 330 x 400mm
- Case dimensions – with feet/protrusions/screws: 203 x 344 x 412mm
- Net weight: 5 kg
- Case volume: 26.80 litres
- Package dimensions (WxHxD): 275 x 485 x 420mm
- Package weight: 6.2 kg
The Fractal Design Define Nano S serves its purpose well. It offers enough space for larger graphics cards and even support for watercooling in front. With other words, it offers pretty much all you need for your small ITX build. The frame is stable and build quality is at high level. It accommodates a variety of radiator sizes and includes brackets for reservoir and pump mounting. When it comes to price, the offer is in acceptable 69 USD / 75 EURO range, considering all the features this case has to offer.
Removable dust filters
dual slot GPUs may get higher temps due to air flow restriction