Until today, Fractal Design is a well-known company that keeps away from the RGB lighting trend, but in our Fractal Define S2 Vision review, we’re going to check out their mid-tower PC case, which is also a new variant of their Define S2.
We were a bit surprised to see a different version of the chassis appear slightly over than half a year later, so we’re going to have a look at what changes or upgrades they made.
Generally, the S2 Vision marks the company’s entry into the world of RGBs since the chassis sports three glass panels, as well as four 140-millimetre RGB fans. Simultaneously, Fractal also launched these RGB fans into retail, so you can opt to purchase them separately as well.
The company gives us two choices since the S2 Vision has two variants: one is the non-RGB blackout, and the other is the Define S2 Vision RGB, which is our focus on this Fractal Define S2 Vision review.
S2 Vision’s design aims to merge function and beauty. So with its fully tempered glass exterior, you’ll get to experience and enjoy the radiance and charm of your rig from every angle.
Fractal Define S2 Vision Packaging
In this section of our Fractal Define S2 Vision review, we’re going to take a look at the case’s packaging and what items come with it. We received the chassis in a brown cardboard box that features an outline of the case on its front.
The rear portion of the package displays the product’s features, along with a diagram of the enclosure. You’ll see a bunch of specifications on one area, while the other side shows another angle of the case itself.
After checking out the box’s exterior, we went on to see what’s inside the package. There, we saw the case kept between two Styrofoam spacers, plus an additional large foam layer set on the area where the glass panel is. This protective layer is necessary to guarantee further protection to the glass panel while the S2 Vision is in transit. Although there aren’t any additional layers of protection for the case itself, there’s still a plastic bag placed over the S2 Vision to prevent it from getting scratched along the way.
You will find a large thin box inside the main package that doesn’t only hold the standard collection of screws, but it also includes a vented panel and radiator/fan mounting plate for the Fractal Define S2 Vision. Inside the thin box, you’ll receive an assortment of black screws, a couple of zip ties, as well as a cleaning cloth for the chassis. Aside from these, you will see a SATA power extension cable and a mounting kit. It’s nice that the company included a fully-featured RGB controller for the chassis’ fans, as well as a pre-installed LED strip. We received a detailed user manual, which is also part of the accessory kit, and we think that this will come in handy when we start making the most out of the chassis’ features.
Design & Functionality
Out of the box, you will notice that the S2 Vision is lengthier than it is high, and its overall appearance is specifically based on the usual design of products from the Define family: straight and clean edges with a brushed and plated aluminium front door. The utilization of such materials is an improvement compared to the earlier Define cases that made use of plastic.
Fractal replaced all major panels of the Define S2 Vision with tinted glass panels. And with all cases under the Define series, the front portion of this specific chassis also has a solid front with a removable front panel that reveals three RGB 140-millimeter fans. Along the rear part of the case, you will see all elements arranged in a classic fashion. At the bottom of the case, you will also find the PSU bay.
When you observe the main glass panel, notice that the variant on this chassis is a bit tinted while the original S2 featured glass that wasn’t tinted. Another interesting element about the Define S2 Vision is that its glass panel is set on a metallic frame and is secured just like your traditional solid side panel. This setup and style allow the company to provide cases in solid and windowed variants without having to worry about different types of tooling elements. The same kind of panel on the opposite sides, so you’ll get to see all the hard drives and wires once you’re done assembling your rig.
When you take a look at the Fractal Define S2 Vision’s rear, you’ll see that the PSU makes use of a mounting frame. Because of this, you’ll need to slide the power supply in via the back portion of the case when you start assembling the rig. Above these, there are a total of two horizontal and seven vertical expansion slots. With its optional Flex VRC25 PCIe ribbon cable & slot, the horizontal openings let you nicely display your high-end GPU behind the glass windows. At the top, you’ll see another set of retail-grade 140-millimetre fans that help blow out air through the back of the case. There’s a huge round button in the area that will release the case’s ceiling panel when you press this firmly.
To add to the glass panel design, the Fractal Define S2 Vision features a glass top cover, which you can replace with a more classic vented piece, especially if you want to install additional cooling devices or even a radiator at the chassis’ ceiling. Its I/O panel is isolated from the front cover, so you can pull the cover off without worrying about any wires getting tangled. The middle section will give you a small reset button, a slightly bigger power switch, as well as a full-fledged USB 3.1 Generation2 Type-C port. d
Like the earlier series, the Fractal Define S2 Vision sports a large dust filter on the underside. It’s a good spot since you can pull it from the case’s front for easier cleaning.
For you to access the chassis’ interiors, you only have to remove the four thumbscrews that are holding the side panels securely. As we mentioned earlier, the interior is configured in a classic fashion, but there’s something unique about this. Each of the elements that are in the S2 appears custom-designed and tooled – something that’s quite customary when it comes to the Define series.
At the back of the motherboard tray, you will see a PCB fan powered by one SATA connector. It received an upgrade from the original in the S2, and it can now handle a total of nine PWM fans. This type of PCB will prove to be extremely useful when it comes to using bigger radiators and multiple fans. Also, the company included two signature Velcro strips for easier cable management. There are about 23 millimetres of space you can work with, and this is a good amount for keeping any cable mess hidden away neatly.
Along the rear, the PSU bay has four rubber bits, which is necessary for placing the power supply unit during installation. At the top are expansion slots wherein seven are vertical while the two others are horizontal. When it comes to the cables of the Fractal Define S2 Vision, they’re all standard and sleeved nicely, allowing them to fit perfectly with any contemporary motherboard without problems. Since there’s the presence of a USB 3.1 Generation2 Type-C connector, you’ll be able to find the right plugs as well.
The next part of our Fractal Define S2 Vision review is where you’ll get to know more about the case’s key features.
Key Features of the Fractal Define S2 Vision
The Fractal Define S2 Vision comes with four PWM fans, water & air cooling support, as well as an advanced top panel system. It allows swapping of the tempered glass for added cooling with one push of a button. The top panel of the chassis comes with a cooling bracket to support triple-fan top cooling.
The Define S2 Vision also has reservoir brackets, pre-drilled pump mounts, Nexus 9P fan hub with nine PWM connections, bolt-free TG side panels, and optional Flex VRC-25 vertical riser support.
All Glass Exterior for Outstanding Visuals
The Fractal Define S2 Vision features a full tinted tempered glass exterior, giving a stunning view from all angles. For brilliant lighting effects, it comes with four pre-installed Prisma ARGB PWM fans, and an addressable AR-4020 RGB LED strip. Its tempered glass panels are bolt-free, so you won’t find any bolts and hinges obstructing the build’s overall aesthetic.
Versatile Reservoir Mounting
The Fractal Define S2 Vision grants you full control of your build with its versatile reservoir brackets.
The chassis’ high-airflow nylon dust filters keep your components protected from particles that cause damage. These are also easy to clean and offer convenient front access.
The intuitive and spacious layout of the Fractal Define S2 Vision allows for the accommodation of the most powerful hardware and a maximum of nine fans. It is while providing an unobstructed airflow path for high cooling capacity. The included mounting brackets give you multiple options for the placement of your SSD – both behind the motherboard and or one the power supply shroud.
Supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
The Fractal Define S2 Vision features a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port for fast charging and up to 10 Gbps of speed.
Support for Air and Water Cooling
With the 360-millimetre radiator support for the top & front portions, adjustable pump brackets, as well as the 240-millimetre radiator support at the chassis’ base, you can integrate your greatest cooling system. If you plan to use a larger front radiator, you can remove the front cover of the PSU shroud. You can also use the cover to mount a pump, a reservoir, or an extra SSD.
Eliminate the Mess Instead of Hiding it
The Fractal Define S2 Vision offers excellent cable routing with its two SSD mounts, three stylized HDD enclosures, a 3-way SATA extension, and a spacious area behind the motherboard’s plate. Three vibration-damped 3.5-inch HDD mounts are also present to keep the interior space free and the drives neatly concealed.
Now, this Fractal Define S2 Vision review will give you all the specifications of the chassis. First up, it measures 223 (W) x 543 (D) x 465 (H) and weighs a total of 12.1kg; its drive bays measures 3 x 3.5in.
There are two options available, and these include the black with RGBs, while the other is the blackout version. The Fractal Define S2 Vision’s body utilizes steel, plastic, and tempered glass; plus, it makes use of an E-ATX (up to 285mm wide), micro-ATX, ATX, and the mini-ITX form factor.
When it comes to the graphics card, the chassis can hold a card that measures 440mm, and it comes with a 2-year limited warranty, which is good.
Hands-on with the Fractal Define S2 Vision
This time, the Fractal Define S2 Vision review will talk about how good and efficient the chassis was. Generally, the Fractal Define S2 Vision is similar to the original case, which makes it well-ventilated. Though the difference between the two is that the Define S2 Vision makes use of faster fans with an additional intake fan as well. With that, the latest version gives off better performance since we were able to achieve better results for the CPU temperature and GPU compared to the original version of the case.
Just as we thought, the additional room plus excellent airflow within the Fractal Define S2 Vision made it stand out from the rest. It is all because of the extra room, high-performance fans, and the better cable management that the chassis offers. When it comes to noise, we compared the other chassis that we tested with the Fractal Define S2 Vision, and the latter produced a bit more sounds than the rest. But despite this, its fans did move more air and cooled our system better than the other cases.
Noise levels and cooling efficiency are ways to measure the chassis’ performance properly and determining the cooling to noise ratio or acoustic efficiency is done by averaging all the tests to acquire a base value. Solid thermal performance with low noise output makes the Fractal Define S2 Vision an excellent case for a plethora of different kinds of system builds.
Overall, we won’t say that the cooling fans of the Fractal Define S2 Vision are loud enough to bother you. But if you put the case on your desk, or anywhere extremely close to you, then you’ll surely notice the sounds of air flowing through the chassis. The reason why these fans were louder was due to the fan controller being unable to alter the fan speed. It only changes the RGB settings and not the movements of the fan’s blades. To do this, you will need to manually set a fan curve in the BIOS to decrease the acoustics to the right level. Do take note that since all fans are linked to a PWM hub, they’ll produce the same levels of sound, as well as pressure & airflow.
Fractal Define S2 Vision Review – Summary
Fractal built the Define S2 Vision after their legacy chassis, but it’s more than a simple upgrade. It’s also their first time to release a product with RGB lights. Although they’re quite late in the trend, they produced an exceptional case. Its full tempered glass panels, generous air & water cooling support, excellent cable routing, and many other features make the Define S2 Vision an outstanding high-end product. It’s a case determined for showcasing your hardware configuration and top-notch components in style.
The Fractal Define S2 Vision offers more than aesthetics. It has a lot of room to accommodate any graphics card. Its design is perfect for overclockers and extreme liquid cooling enthusiasts since it comes with a multitude of mounts and brackets for these components. Aside from that, it has a perfect fit, finish, and the materials used for the case are all of high-quality. Most importantly, you get all of these excellent features at a reasonable price. With several tweaks, the Fractal Define S2 Vision could be the best chassis for you.
With its excellent thermal performance, neat cabling and layout, RGB lights, as well as its impressive aesthetics, the Fractal Define S2 Vision comes with everything that an enthusiast would want and need. Although it has a minor drawback on its acoustic performance, we consider it as one of the best cases we’ve used.
To conclude our Fractal Define S2 Vision review, we highly recommend this chassis for builders, cooling enthusiasts, and overclockers who require superior cooling performance for their rig. If you want to have the Fractal Define S2 Vision, check out the store locator on the company’s official website to see the authorized distributors and resellers in your area.