The 3rd version of the Define 7 series is our focus in this Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review. It’s set to replace the Define C from the year 2017 and places a higher bar when it comes to quality and quiet computing.
The most popular products of Fractal Design has always been their Define series.
With this case, the company aims at everyone who doesn’t necessarily require a workstation case with EATX dimensions. Plus, they offer all the things you’d expect to have from a chassis produced by Fractal Design.
Today in this Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review, we’ll check out the features, specifications, and performance of the chassis. It’s a no-nonsense case offering all the things needed for a conventional system. It is also ideal for those who use big 360mm all-in-one coolers.
But before we get more into the cooler, let’s check out its packaging and contents.
This section of our Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review deals with the packaging and what’s inside. The case comes in a thick cardboard box that features an illustration of the chassis at the back and front.
The front displays the logo and name of Fractal on the upper left corner of the box. Below it is the name of the unit.
Some features and details are displayed on the box’s lower left section. The rear points out the different parts of the chassis with a blow-up diagram.
The sides of the package are coloured black, and you’ll barely find any useful information in these areas. However, you will find a sticker that informs you which variant of the chassis you’re getting.
Inside the box, you’ll find a lot of Fractal’s branding. There are two thick Styrofoam spacers holding the case, while one plastic bag prevents fingerprints and scratches on the chassis.
An accessory box is also present. It holds an assortment of screws, a ton of zip ties, plus a microfibre cloth. The company included a vented top panel instead of a solid, pre-installed one.
Lastly, you’ll find a detailed multi-language user guide. It rounds out the collection of accessories, and the product unboxing experience, entirely.
Fractal Design Define 7 Compact Review – Design and Functionality
Now, our Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review focuses on the functions and design of the chassis.
The Define 7 Compact offers the same DNA as the company’s bigger Define 7 cases. Meaning, the case features a lot of the same elements as the standard Define 7.
Both offer the same front radiator support, panel style, front I/O options, and a lot more. Define 7 is a high-end enclosure and is ideal for storage-oriented systems.
The front panel of the chassis features the classic understated design. It has become a trademark of the company’s Define series.
Its panel features a brushed aluminium fascia that has side air vents. It also comes with a little Fractal logo embossed at the bottom-left portion.
The chassis features a solid top fitted panel. It comes with another airflow panel within the accessories box. It’s equipped with a huge vented portion that should be used when running a radiator or top-mounted fans.
Switching between the two panels is simple since the Define 7 Compact features a tool-free panel style.
Set at the very front portion of the top panel is the front I/O. It’s made up of a large power button at the centre, while the reset button is on the far left.
The case’s connectivity options include two USB 2.0 ports and a USB-C port. There are also two USB 3.0 ports and 3.5mm audio jacks to link headphones and a mic.
The light tint of the tempered glass panel on the left provides an unrestricted internal view of the case.
The bottom and top of the glass have black borders that conceal the internal metallic portions.
The Define 7 is an extremely compact mid-tower case that isn’t larger than the usual micro-ATX cases around. Its rear panel is designed with a total of seven PCIe expansion slots, plus a ventilation section to its right.
You will find a 120mm fan vent, while at the bottom of it is a detachable power supply bracket. It’s to slip in the PSU from the rear.
Right Side of the Case
This section of the Define 7 Compact chassis is where you’ll find the classic solid steel panel. Like its tempered glass panel, this right-hand side panel features tool-free removal to make things easier and convenient. It has the same top tab to help you release the panel from its secure clips.
At the bottom of this Fractal case are four rubberised feet. These help elevate the case at approximately 25mm. You’ll also find a large dust filter that conceals the entire underside section.
The filter slips out from the front, then uncovers a huge vented part of the case. It spans the power supply and a section where the 120mm fan/radiator can be inserted. This is possibly by simply removing the HDD cage.
Accesing the inner portion of the Define 7 Compact is simple. It’s because all front, side, and top panels come with a tool-free solution.
Behind the front panel, you will find a pre-installed 140mm Dynamic X2 GP14 fan. Furthermore, there is space here to add either two 140mm fans, three 120mm fans, or u360mm / 280mm radiators.
Located beneath the top panel is a dust filter made of nylon. It covers the entire top portion of the case which you can slide to the rear for removal.
Under the filter is another spot for installing fans. It has space for up to two 120mm or 140mm fans, or a 240mm radiator with size limitations. This depends on the motherboard component’s height.
Sides and rear of the Fractal Design Define 7 Compact
In the right-hand section of the case, you’ll find a full cover and vented PSU shroud at the base. At the front of the PSU shroud, there are two detachable sections for aiding bigger radiator installations. These panels can easily clip into place, hence, its tool-free removal aspect.
There aren’t any 5.25″ bays present on the Define 7 Compact. With that, its left-hand section features a very open and spacious feel to it.
Most of the cable management cut-outs feature rubberised grommets. In all honesty, these are very good to see on a chassis under this price range. Plus, the cut-outs are set where it should be.
The motherboard tray can handle micro-ATX, ATX, and mini-ITX sized boards like what you’d expect from a classic mid-tower case.
The motherboard standoffs are pre-installed in the usual ATX locations. On the rear panel, you’ll find the fixed 120mm Dynamic X2 GP-12 fan positioned in an exhaust orientation.
Along the right-hand section of the chassis, space appears a bit tight at the base for power supply installation. Yet with the detachable PSU bracket, its power supply is inserted from the rear which helps greatly.
The positioning of the 3.5″ HDD cage is easily adjustable or removable. It’s for added space along the front section specifically for installing a radiator.
Behind the Motherboard Tray
At the back of the motherboard tray, you’ll find two 2.5″ SSD brackets. A single thumbscrew holds this in position.
The brackets are removable if you want to install this on top of the power supply shroud. This way, you can display your SSDs.
At the far end of the motherboard tray’s rear is 20mm space for cable routing. It may seem tight, but there’s a recessed section on the left-hand portion for increased cable routing space. This area is approximately 25mm, where most of the cable management takes place.
Fractal Design Define 7 Compact’s interior has an innovative design and interesting features that help in easy installation. The chassis’ frame feels durable and sturdy, plus the tool-free panel removal makes it more convenient.
Moreover, the case has a lot of tie-down points, cut-outs, and Velcro straps for neat cable management. Another great thing about the chassis is its two pre-installed fans, which is a generous addition considering its price.
Key Features of the Fractal Design Define 7 Compact
This portion of our Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review is all about the case’s key features.
Small and Spacious
The Define 7 Compact features a visually appealing design and a versatile layout. With that, you can maximise of this small case with full-size ATX to meet your needs.
The Define 7 Compact enables you to easily fit up to 360mm GPU with a 240mm radiator at its top. If your radiator measures 360 or 280mm, you can use a GPU under 305mm instead,
The Deine 7 Compact has a robust construction with high-density sound damping for whisper-quiet operation. Its front has a brushed aluminium finish, and it comes with top-latching side panels. Additionally, you can exchange the top panel’s solid steel to filtered ventilation with ease.
With the Define 7 Compact, you can install 120 or 140mm fans together with radiators up to 360mm. Its PSU shroud is also ventilated with a two-part removable cover. This provides front radiator support and optimal coverage.
Robust Front I/O
The five front USB ports include USB 3.1 Gen 2 type-C at up to 10Gbps for fast charging.
The Fractal Design Define 7 Compact provides room for two 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives beneath the shroud. Behind its backplate, there’s room for two SSDs. Aside from that, a pair of SSDs can be mounted on the PSU shroud.
High airflow nylon filters are easy to clean. Also, you can remove the entire top when installing components for no hindrances.
This time, our Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review will focus on the chassis’ specifications.
The Define 7 Compact has two 3.5″ and 2.5″ universal drive brackets. Two trays are also included for dedicated 2.5″ drive brackets, giving a total of four slots for your drives. For expansion slots, seven are available.
The ports include USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, two USB 3.0, and two USB 2.0. You’ll also find an AUDIO I/O, a power button, and a reset button.
For fan mounts, you can install seven 120mm fans or a combination of four 140mm and two 120mm fans. At its front portion, you can fit three 120mm or two 140mm fans, including one Dynamic X2 GP-14. The rear has room for a 120mm fan, including the Dynamic X2 GP-12.
Two 120mm or two 140mm fan mounts are at the top, while a 120mm fan mount is at the bottom.
Two dust filters can be seen at the top portion. There are also two at its front and a full-length filter at the bottom. The captive thumbscrews are present in SSD brackets, HDD brackets, PSU brackets.
The left side panel is made of tempered glass, while the right side panel is made of industrial sound-damped steel.
The Fractal Design Define 7 Compact is compatible with ATX, mATX, and mITX motherboards.
For the power supply, it’s compatible with the ATX type with a maximum length of 200mm. The maximum length for the GPU is 341mm while for the CPU cooler, it’s 169mm.
When it comes to the bottom and rear radiators, the Define 7 Compact is compatible with a maximum of 120mm. The top cam holds a radiator of up to 240mm and the front can either be 360mm or 280mm.
The available cable routing space is 17 to 28mm.
The dimensions of the Fractal Design Define 7 Compact is 427 x 210 x 474mm (LxWxH). Without its feet, screws, and protrusions, it measures 415 x 210 x 451 mm. Its net weight is a total of 8.76kg while its volume is 39.3L.
Hands on with the Fractal Design Define 7 Compact
This is the part of our Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review where we get hands-on with the product.
We allowed the chassis to stay idle until the temperatures reached equilibrium. During the stress-testing load, it continued to run until the temperature became stable.
When it comes to its build quality of the case, it’s highly impressive. Its base structure feels solid and premium, plus it’s tough, as well as durable, which is excellent.
It allows for quiet performance. And with the proper components, we’re sure that the Define 7 Compact can retain its quietness. During our tests, the sounds it produced were barely audible when it was idle.
As for dust filtration, Fractal surely designed the case well. Its case roof, floor, and front panels have the detachable nylon dust filters. We love that all of these are easy to pull out, especially during cleaning. It’s great that these are well-hidden once we return them into the case.
The case is ideal for people who looking for something that is compact but big enough to fit the latest hardware.
Overall, the Fractal Design Define 7 Compact is an excellent chassis to have. It has an impressive build, allows for excellent ventilation, it looks good, and it keeps things looking clean and neat.
Would we recommend this case to users? Definitely.
Fractal Design Define 7 Compact Review Summary
With the cases under the Define 7 series, Fractal Design stayed with its usual, minimalist front panel design. Even if this has been ongoing through a lot of years, the Define 7 Compact still looks sleek and modern.
With Define C, the company only used a plastic front panel with a brushed aluminium finish. Now for the Define 7 series, you get actual brushed aluminium that gives the cases a more premium appearance.
The Define 7 Compact is an excellent case that is visually appealing and well-constructed. Aside from that, it efficiently keeps components cool while filtering dust particles. It comes with everything that an average computer needs.
Also, cable management with the Define 7 Compact is more straightforward since the case’s roof is removable. This makes it easier to set up the case and install parts compared to other similar chassis of this size.
You’ll have to consider the size of your cooling system and graphics card before purchasing the Define 7 Compact. As long as you have the right components, the case is a great choice, especially if you’re after quiet performance.
In conclusion to our Fractal Design Define 7 Compact review, we’re satisfied with this chassis, and we highly recommend it. If you want to purchase this product, check out the store locator for authorised dealers.