In and Around the Fractal Design Core 1000

Black monoliths are fast becoming the "beige boxes" of the 21st century, but at least black goes with everything—ask the 1970's just how much beige goes with. Fractal Design has maintained a very specific, very minimalistic style with their enclosures that has by and large served them well, and that style remains in full force even with a case this small and inexpensive.

The front of the Core 1000 is an almost totally uniform mesh, broken only where the 5.25" drive bay shields are. The I/O ports, power button, and reset button are all on the right side of the front of the case. It's a fairly unique placement for them, but "unique" doesn't always translate to "good," and by placing them there Fractal Design has substantially reduced the overall utility of the case. I get the impression the Core 1000 was meant to be placed on a desk to the left of the user, but as someone who doesn't want to hear his computer running I've never liked the idea of having a tower on my desk, even a small one like this. If you regularly use front/top mounted I/O ports, their placement on the Core 1000 will likely be very inconvenient.

As both a minimalistic Fractal Design case and a budget entrant in general, the sides of the Core 1000 are spare. There's nowhere to mount a fan on the bottom of the enclosure, no openings on the top or the right side, and a single 120mm fan mount on the left side panel. The back is even pretty plain, though it's there where you really understand just how small the Core 1000 is: there simply isn't enough space for an exhaust fan bigger than 92mm. They don't make any allowances for routing watercooling tubing out of the back of the enclosure, but I take a bit of absurd pleasure in that: if you're planning to build a sophisticated watercooling loop, why would you buy the cheapest case you can find?

The side panels are affixed using thumbscrews, and once they come off it becomes painfully easy to see where Fractal Design made many of their sacrifices to reach that $40 price point. There are no allowances made for cable management, no space behind the motherboard tray, no cutout in the tray for aftermarket cooling, and the drive "cage" is just a single tray that's kept in place by three thumbscrews.

All told, build quality is actually decent for a case this inexpensive, but it's a situation where I'm concerned that Fractal Design may have put some of their eggs in the wrong baskets. Fair enough, something this small is going to have space at a premium, so I can't complain too much about the lack of cable management or the awkward-looking drive cage. I still would've appreciated a cutout in the motherboard tray for aftermarket cooling, though. Even if the clearance in the case is low, there are still excellent and inexpensive aftermarket solutions that would be ideal for a case with this kind of thermal design, and you can't argue that Intel's stock cooling mounting solution is a dog.

Introducing the Fractal Design Core 1000 Assembling the Fractal Design Core 1000
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  • tambok2012 - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    I just got this pictures from our country philippines

    http://www.tipidpc.com/viewtopic.php?tid=261886&am...
    Reply
  • mariush - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    Our Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is by no means [..], but its 159mm height caused the tops of the heatpipes to press against the side panel, bowing it outward a little.

    Yeah, because someone who buys a $40-45 dollar case is obviously going to to buy a $30 cpu cooler when the retail processor come with a perfectly good stock cooler.

    How out of touch can some reviewers become...

    This is not a case designed for overclockers, no need for special coolers, the stock ones are fine for regular users.

    The only flaw I see is the small cage. A 4-5 unit one would meet more users' needs.
    Reply
  • stoggy - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    how disconnected? He is using a downward facing PS, in a top slot. That will severily reduce his ability to overclock too, extra heat.

    Lesson to learn, Its easier to cool more heat in a smaller space then it is to cool less heat in a greater space. Google it, check in Heating/AC, simple physics too.

    Possible solutions for reviewers concerns:

    1. Zip-Ties. We use to use them. Back when case mods ment saws and drills.
    2. Proper Power supply
    3. Grinder to lower the heat pipes, this might not be enough though, In which case i would suggest a drill. Probably with a 1/4" bit.
    4. Growing a pair.
    5. Have fun.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    "This is not a case designed for overclockers, no need for special coolers, the stock ones are fine for regular users."

    Speaking of being out of touch, who are you to say what a case is or isn't supposed to support? This is a review, and the point about the CPU cooler is exactly that: if you happen to be the type of user that has or plans to purchase an aftermarket cooler, the case has some cooler height limitations. That's useful information, and there are many (MANY) people that read AnandTech that are hardware enthusiasts who overclock just about every PC they own.

    Your comment is pretty much exactly what we've said: if you plan on a moderate config running stock, the case will work fine. Then again, if you're doing that, just about ANY case will work fine. If we tested with the stock Intel HSF, however, we'd be adding noise and reducing cooling efficiency, all in the name of saving $30. The same people that won't want to buy a superior $30 cooler also won't want to buy an i7-2700K, or an SSD, or a GTX 560 GPU, etc. We test with a higher end setup along with overclocked settings because if that will work in a case, then everything lower spec will also work.
    Reply
  • mariush - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    "...however, we'd be adding noise and reducing cooling efficiency, all in the name of saving $30"

    That's EXACTLY what most users buying this case did, give up features commonly found on larger cases to save 20-30$.

    The stock Intel and AMD coolers are not exactly low quality ones. Users can actually perform a reasonable overclocking with them - they don't HAVE TO buy a better cooler just to overclock.

    In such a small case, even with good coolers the cooling efficiency will be reduced. By the time you add a large video card and the large cpu heatsink into this case, you'll barely have any airflow at all.

    So coupling this case with high performance after market cooler doesn't really make sense, and by writing it out you make it seem like a flaw, instead of something obvious.

    For a real world example, why would I pay 40$ for this case, then pay 30$ for an aftermarket cooler, when I could just as well pay 60$ for an Antec Three Hundred case that comes from the start with a 140mm top fan and a 120mm side fan, has more "slots" for 120mm fans and better airflow due to the power supply being mounted at the bottom?

    The Antec 300 case coupled with a stock CPU cooler will almost definitely keep the processor cooler, compared to a large cooler in a crowded Fractal Design case.
    Reply
  • samoya22 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    The Antec 300!
    Oh, wait...that's not the...?
    Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    I spent 29.99 at compUSA about 8 yerars ago for a better case AND it came with a freakn 250W power supply that has not exploaded and killed anyone yet! (parents low power comp)

    This think is pure junk. Whats with the mesh in front? Why try and get fancy with limited funds? Stick with the basics. And a vent on the side? REALLY? If you fucking have a system that needs that extra kind of cooling, you sure as fuck have the money to toss $30 more at a case.
    Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Already found a far supirior case for 10$ more. Free shipping. Why was this ugly piece of junk even reviewed??
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    This guy is only 20$ ! And its still better!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • Mugur - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    I don't think they are in the same class. Frankly I consider the case reviewed great for an inexpensive mATX build. And I'm sure that there are a lot of ugly tin and plastic 20$ cases... :-) Reply
  • GPCustomPC - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Does the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo really fit inside this case? It states 150mm of clearance and the EVO is said to be 159mm. Reply

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