Introducing the Fractal Design Core 1000

Extreme budget enclosures are interesting creatures. While the best balancing acts usually show up around the $100 price point, and going north of $150 will generally get you the best of everything, hanging out at $60 or lower means having to make a lot of sacrifices and lose a lot of niceties. For some users that's not a big deal; they just want a box to put their computer in.

Fractal Design has been making a lot of waves with their lineup of minimalistic but effective enclosures, but most of those kits have been $80 or more. Today we have their Core 1000, a fascinating-looking case that retails for just $39.99. Does it bring the same magic to this end of the market that Fractal Design has brought with their other efforts, or has too much been left on the cutting room floor?

The Core 1000 has been out for a little while, but I first had a chance to lay eyes and hands on it back at CES 2012 and I definitely came away feeling curious about it. Top-mounted power supplies may have gone out of fashion for the most part, but designs like this one that feature a single substantial intake fan in the front and blow straight through the components and out the back (such as SilverStone's Temjin TJ08-E) are capable of producing a tremendous amount of thermal and acoustic efficiency.

There's also the fact that the Core 1000 is, frankly, way smaller than it loooks in photos. This is a Micro-ATX enclosure to be sure, and you're going to see in a moment just how "micro" that really is. We'll begin as usual with the specifications overview.

Fractal Design Core 1000 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro ATX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25” (includes adaptor plate and cage for 3.5"-to-5.25")
Internal 2x 3.5"/2.5" OR 3x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake
Rear 1x 92mm fan mount
Top -
Side 1x 120mm fan mount
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
I/O Port 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 150 mm
PSU 180 mm
GPU 8.5" / 210mm
Weight 9 lbs.
4.1 kg
Dimensions 6.9" x 14" x 16.5"
175mm x 355mm x 420mm
Special Features Silicone grommets for drive cage
Adaptor plate and cage for mounting a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay
Price $39

When you're dealing with such a low price point, a lot of the trimmings have to go by the wayside. For the Core 1000, that primarily means sacrificing USB 3.0 connectivity. Where Fractal Design went a different route with the Core 1000 than most other budget enclosures was by including removable expansion slot brackets instead of just having them twist and snap out of the case, making allowances for mounting 3.5" kit in a 5.25" bay, and including silicone grommets to dampen mechanical drive noise. There were sacrifices made in the process, though, and I'm not entirely sure they were worth it.

In and Around the Fractal Design Core 1000
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  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Seems black is the new beige these days. :( Reply
  • Belard - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    I thought it was the "new beige" 10 years ago.

    I've been using silver and white cases for years... I've never owned a black case for my main desktop.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    Hmm, no, beige was still the most common case color for a person building their own a decade ago.

    Black is better for 2 reasons, in my opinion; it fades from view better if it's a background piece of hardware you don't care to look at anyway, and, particularly if it's plastic, doesn't develop that old look beige does.

    My least favorite is silver paint or poorly finished aluminum; they seems to look the worst over time (again, my preference, it may not be yours :) ).

    ;)
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Yeah I had Black 10+ years ago, moved to silver 6 years ago, next one will either be a two-tone white/silver, or wood (veneer). Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    You'd prefer this was beige? Reply
  • jaydee - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    I don't see any exposed USB or headphone/mic ports on the top or front of this case, but they're listed in the spec sheet. Where are they? Reply
  • Light65 - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    It's on the right hand side of the case... click on the right side of the case and you should see it up front... Reply
  • jaydee - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    I see it now. Kind of an odd place to put them... Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I saw this case at Microcenter. It's a nice case, but the side ports are a terrible idea. I'd rather they go top mounted on a mATX. Otherwise it seemed like a very solid build. Reply
  • Azuredragoon - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Haha, this is hilarious, but that's the exact spot I need my ports with the way my table is set up Reply

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