Hardware, Reviews

Define Mini mATX Case From Fractal Design: The Review

Define Mini: In Practice

All of the above can sound very positive, but the real test is when it comes down to actually building the system itself, and the Define Mini on the whole does not disappoint. When it comes to motherboard installation we find that the Mini reverts to the traditional standoffs that we tend to see less of these days. There are no studs on the board’s back plate so you will have to screw in the supplied standoffs first, just like the good old days. I have no personal issue with this, but for some builders this may seem a little old fashioned. The good news is that all of the holes matched up with my board perfectly – nothing worse than having to wrangle the board to match up with poorly drilled holes. Just a millimeter of inaccuracy can cause some moments of unwanted frustration.

Installing the PSU like-wise was without issue. If you are not using an optional floor mounted cooling fan the Define Mini will accommodate PSUs as long as 220mm. This means you will not be able to indulge in monster 1500W PSUs like the AX1500i from Corsair which roles in at 225mm, but let’s be serious, the AX1500i was not designed with Micro ATX in mind. Just about every other power supply unit you can buy will be right at home. If you do employ a floor mounted cooling fan, you can install PSUs as long as 170mm, which is fine for all standard sized PSUs, most of which measure 165mm in length or less.


Plenty of attention has been paid to offer neat cabling on the Define Mini with plenty of depth behind the motherboard panel to stash component cables. The back plate offers six holes through which you can route cables, each adorned with rubber teeth to further hide and secure the cables. The holes nearest the PSU are larger than the others being designed to take all the PSU cables as they spring from the unit, while the CPU 12V power cable hole in the corner furthest from the PSU is considerably smaller. Fractal are very adept at these finer details.

The only problem when it comes to cabling in fact, would be when the fan controller is installed. This uses a standard molex power plug for power and can actually end up being the most difficult cable to hide neatly. Likewise, make sure you install your PCIe cards before the fan controller as it can be damn hard to access the PCIe slot thumb screws with it installed. This could still be a small frustration when replacing or upgrading VGA cards.