Fractal Design Core 500 SFF Chassis Review

Cases & PSU/Cases by leeghoofd @ 2016-02-09

Fractal is expanding their lineup continuously: small form chassis are becoming more and more popular as even the latest high end hardware is also available in reduced size. Thus small form doesn't mean the end-user is limited to just entry or mainstream components. With the right hardware choices one has the ability to build a true gaming powerhouse. The Core 500 is one of them chassis models that looks very intriguing on paper, allowing high end cooling, normal sized ATX PSUs, a discrete GPU and last but not least plenty of storage options including Optical Disk Drive support. All this in a 60 euro bundle, now that sounds too good to be true! Time to find out if there is a catch or not; or does this Fractal Core 500 really deliver?

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To keep the introduction as short as possible: the Fractal Core 500 enclosure picks up where other small form factor cases have failed, combining modest dimensions with great cooling capability, plenty of storage possibilities and even an Optical Disk Drive is supported. To be honest not an easy task to integrate all of the above; yet the Fractal engineers seem to have taken it all to a next level by providing some clever solutions (again).




Typical Fractal Design packaging, nothing glamorous to be seen here. Being solid, thus the Core 500 is well protected inside; at first glance one can spot the numerous perforated ventilation areas on the top and sides. The front 3.5" bay bezel is also clearly visible in the plastic brushed looking front panel. To allow access to the interior, one has to remove the entire top lid, requiring the unscrewing of the four thumbscrews.



The Core 500 supports mITX motherboards only. Nevertheless power supplies up to 160mm in length for a modular version or up to 170mm in length for non modular ones. A single dual slot graphics card of a maximum length of 310mm can be installed; the Fractal Design Core 500 could easily serve as the foundation of a solid gaming setup. High end components tend to heat up the interior during long gaming sessions. The numerous ventilated areas, the option to install up to a 240mm All In One liquid cooling system and the utilization of a single Fractal patented R3 140 Silent series to expel the heat via the rear should keep temps in the green zone.




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