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Fractal Design Define S2 Review – Blackout Edition!

You have to get up close and personal with the Define S2 to spot the external changes. Fractal Design has since added an option for USB Type-C to the R6, so while that feature has appeared since we did our review, it isn’t a clear indicator which case you have in front of you. Having said that, Fractal Design’s inclusion of USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 ports is welcome as that covers all three types of header that you find on motherboards.

It may seem like an obvious step to provide 4x USB 3.0 however many motherboards do not have two mid-board headers. The provision of I/O is a case of chicken and egg that causes confusion for motherboard makers and case builders, as well as the end user.

The most obvious change with Define S2 is the fixed front panel, in place of the door that was part of the R6. The reason for this change is that the S2 does not have an optical drive bay so there is no need for a door to cover the non-existent DVD drive. When you remove the various panels you can see the open interior of the chassis that is just waiting for a liquid cooling configuration.

Define R6 had a number of panels that supported drive bays that could be removed to open up the interior. Define S2 looks like a big, open box, however you do get 3x HDD drive bays and 2x SSD bays on the back of the mid-plate so there are more options for storage than you might first think.

As you will see in our video, we were less impressed by minor features such as the reservoir mounts on the mid-plate. We also had problems with the perforated floor of the case as the screws we used to secure a pump interfered with the full length dust filter. One point that is frustrating is that the 3 included fans – 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 1,000rpm models – are not PWM, despite the the PWM version of the same fan only costing just an extra £1 at retail here in the UK.

Specification:
Motherboard support: E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX.
Expansion slots: 7+2 vertical.
Included fans: 2x 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 front intake, 1x 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 rear exhaust.
Fan mounts: 3x 120mm/140mm front, 3x 120/140mm roof, 1x 120mm/140mm rear, 2x 120mm/140mm floor.
120mm radiator mounts: 120mm/240mm/360mm front, 120mm/240mm/360mm roof, 120mm rear, 120mm/240mm floor.
140mm radiator mounts: 140mm/280mm front (Max width 147mm), 140mm/280mm/420mm roof, 140mm/280mm floor.
5.25-inch drive bays: None.
Internal drive bays: 3x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 2×2.5-inch.
Dimensions: 465mm H x 543mm D x 233mm W.

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