Fractal Design favourably optimised and enhanced its Define series each time without losing its original, classic design DNA. So today, we are writing our Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review to discuss everything about these cases.
The 7th Generation case of the company was released way back in 2020. It instantly followed with a shorter case (Define 7 Compact) a few months later. But the thing is, there were no updates and additions to this collection.
With the launch of its Define 7 Nano which we are discussing, the company again ventures into the ITX space. They are entering with their hero case, and it is something Fractal has not done for some time.
Moreover, Fractal Design also launched its m-ATX-based Define 7 Mini. This move closes the gap in this generation of the Define 7 series.
Continue reading our Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review to get more information about these cases. If you are planning to purchase one of these, it is best to know their specs, features, performance, etc.
Let us begin our review by looking at the packaging and contents of the Define 7 Mini and Nano.
Fractal Design Define 7 Mini
Fractal Design shipped their Define 7 Mini in a simple-looking cardboard box that does not have many designs on it. However, it features an illustration of the case, the company branding, unit name, and some details. The front also displays the different specifications of the case.
On its rear, you will find a diagram of the case. Each part is categorised separately and has numbers to help determine which sections are present.
Inside the box is the Define 7 Mini, a user manual, and a ventilated top panel. You will also find an accessory box that contains the items for assembling the case.
Fractal Design Define 7 Nano
The Nano case also arrived in a simple cardboard box and has the same design as the Mini box. You will find the company name, product name, and an illustration of the case. There is even a product specification list available in front of the box.
When you flip the box, you will see another diagram separated into different parts with numbers. The latter will help you identify each part of the case.
To know what version of the case you purchased, you can check the sides of the box for a sticker. Fractal Design included the sticker to help you determine what variant you received.
Like other top-tier and high-end Fractal Design cases, you will find a print inside the box for increased visual elements. You will discover thick Styrofoam spacers inside that secure the enclosure from damage during shipping. Plastic covers the case to prevent scratches and fingerprints from reaching the product.
Aside from the Define 7 Nano, you will find an assortment of screws and a few zip ties. On top of that, the company added a vented top cover to replace the previous solid one. There is also a piece of cloth to clean the case and a 2.5-inch HDD tray inside the chassis.
Lastly, you will find a user manual which you can refer to once you start building.
Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review – Design and Functionality
Our Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review will discuss the design and functions of these cases. Are there any differences and uniqueness between the two? What makes them better than their competitors?
Let us find out.
Fractal Design Define 7 Mini
Looking at the Define 7 Mini, you find that it still provides you with the same stylish aesthetics. It also offers the same features that its bigger siblings have. However, it has a more streamlined form factor.
At first glance, the Define 7 Mini is sturdy and robust despite being compact and small. Its tempered glass measures 2.9mm-thick, like the pricier Meshify 2 cases.
We love that Fractal Design retained the latching mechanism on each side panel. For us, it is handy for quicker building inside the case.
You only have to pull on the rear to have the side panel in your hands. We feel it holds tighter than the other Fractal cases we tried before.
The case has a brushed aluminium front, giving the series an eye-catching and premium look. You can conveniently snap out this area for easier cleaning and fan handling.
You can find its air intake via the side panel, though its dust protection is slightly weaker here.
There are detachable grilles on the sides, which make them easy to clean. However, the grilles’ perforation is on the bigger side.
The centre of the panel is packed with foam to dampen noise from the cabinet. The same foam is also on the right side of the case.
At the back of the panel is a 140mm fan for intake from the Dynamic X2 GP14 series. Remember that this is the 3-pin version (with DC controls only). So if you want another 140mm fan, you have adequate space for another one.
If not, you can replace these with three 120mm fans instead.
Alternatively, the Define 7 Mini can accommodate a 280mm water cooling radiator. However, be sure that its maximum width is 146mm on the intake.
You can swap out the top panel for a perforated version. The only issue is you need to remove the front panel to change the top one.
Doing this will subsequently make cleaning filters under the ceiling more challenging. However, we must commend Fractal Design since the replacement process was toolless.
We suggest putting the ceiling down even if you will not put anything on it during installation. Why? Because doing so will open the space inside your case while also giving you the freedom to handle hardware.
With the more compact case, its rear also features lesser covers for PCIe expansion cards. But everything else on the back remained the same.
There is a slot for the motherboard I/O panel, then next to it is a 120mm fan exhaust. Then, there is a hole at the base with a frame to mount the PSU.
The trend with new cases from Fractal Design is that you need to purchase the USB-C port separately. Luckily, the Mini was able to avoid this. So, you can get up to five USB ports where one is a Type-C.
Another section of the front I/O panel is the on/off button. Then there are two 3.5mm jacks for the mic and headphones.
The case has four feet with non-slip pads underneath to keep it from moving out of place. Its dust grille is set in the grooves and is tricky to remove despite having a handle.
Its interior can accommodate most hardware. And aside from the motherboard support, you will need to watch for the length of your graphics card. Usually, this is the case if you have models with three fans.
With a fan set in front, you have enough space for a graphics card measuring up to 306mm long. If you do not use the intake, the GPU clearance will increase to 331mm. Also, the compactness of the Mini will not limit tower CPU coolers.
The rubber caps on the grommets are present for safer and more convenient cable routing. Although the latter is tighter, the narrowed hole allows the rubber caps to hold the cable firmly. Moreover, the grommet found in the tunnel features a rubber cap too.
Next to it are two 2.5-inch storage compartments. You can alternatively set these on the tunnel perforation by using a bracket. It would be better if Fractal Design placed a fan directly underneath the graphics card in such areas.
Also, a Dynamic series fan (X2 GP12) is on the exhaust.
The whole case consists of a thick steel plate. Its skeleton is sturdy and can withstand great force placed on it.
On the other portion of the tray are six Velcro strips that are ready for cable management.
Fractal Design Define 7 Nano
Let us continue our Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review and discuss the Define 7 Nano.
This case manages to copy the contemporary design of the Define 7 despite being shorter and smaller. With its size, it is slightly lighter than its bigger siblings at 7.1kg.
Although it is an ITX case, the Nano is not the most compact. Instead, it sports a more classic layout.
The front portion of the case features a brushed aluminium panel and an embossed company logo in the bottom-left area.
This case does not have 5.25 bays, and there is no front area to swing open. Instead, you can remove the entire front panel to install two 120mm / 140mm fans. This setup includes a 140mm Dynamic X2 14 pre-installed.
Alternatively, this space offers room for a 240mm / 280mm radiator.
The primary side panel of our case consists of tempered glass that is slightly tinted. There are no variants with a darker tint, unlike the original Define 7 or Compact.
Nevertheless, the company offers a version with a solid steel panel. And thanks to the style, you will not find visible screws on either side of the case. The other section features one unperforated metal panel.
The PSU bay along the rear uses a metal frame. The reason is that you have to slide the unit to the chassis from this area.
It is held firmly in place by two thumb screws, and above it are two horizontal slots. The slots feature reusable covers with thumbscrews for quicker access. The space beneath allows you to use a 2.5-inch drive without problems.
At the top, behind the vent, is the last pre-installed Dynamic X2 120mm fan. It pushes air out through the rear section of the case.
Looking closely, you will find two tabs, one on each side. We think it is a convenient way to secure the sides neatly.
Compared to the massive Define 7 cases, the company chose to keep the height of this case to a minimum. So, there is little room on top and no AIO compatibility on the ceiling.
Even if the top panel is solid, you can pull it out to display a fully-removable and neatly-designed dust filter. Under the dust filter, you will see a mounting bracket to accommodate two 120mm / 140mm fans.
You can also remove the mounting bracket to reveal an easy-to-access chassis due to the missing crossbar. Because of its sturdy design, the frame does not encounter any flex or similar issues despite the missing element.
The I/O of this case has two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, and the standard audio connectors. There is also a fully-functional USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C connection.
For simple cleaning, you can remove the dust filter on the base. This convenient element also comes in a distinctive design.
The side and top covers have a sound-dampening material, which is common in this series. To access its interior, pull the tab of each panel off the case.
The company includes a metal shroud positioned in the bottom to set up one SSD tray. That said, Fractal Design also offers three positions available, but it only supplies two trays.
The front features two plastic covers that form an air duct, directing airflow across the top.
The Nano has a slightly different layout than the Define 7 Compact or classic variants. The reason is there is not much space in it.
It has eight standard Velcro strips along the cutout for the CPU cooler backplate. The presence of these strips helps keep things neat and organised.
In front, you will see one 2.5-inch tray that you can rotate to fit the second tray. Also, you will find an HDD cage that can hold one 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch unit. This section received a complete redesign that is simpler than its predecessors.
Above that is a section dedicated to the air intake, with the 140mm fan aligned with the air duct (two-piece). As an alternative, you can install a 280mm liquid cooler.
This area is the only one with enough space for a well-sized AIO. So, remember that it will limit your GPU to around 280mm long. If you think about it, this is short compared to other ITX enclosures.
At the top portion (ceiling), you can set two 120mm or 140mm fans.
A 140mm fan will barely fit since most contemporary ITX boards have large heatsinks. Plus, these also have plenty of connectors along the top edge of the motherboard. We think Fractal Design should provide more height to make the most of this area.
Lastly, all the cables in the Define 7 Nano are the default type and are sleeved black.
Key Features of the Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano
In this Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review, we will see the features of the Mini and Nano. Let us determine what makes these cases stand out from their competition.
Fractal Design Define 7 Mini
A Redefined Sleek Design
The Define 7 Mini features front and top side panels with a brushed aluminium finish that offers a sophisticated look. With the latching mechanism, these panels are easy to remove.
The case features a silence-optimised construction with industrial-grade sound dampening on the top, front, and side panels.
Steel or Ventilation
You can quickly swap the top panel with a closed steel panel or filtered ventilation. Each side has easy-to-clean nylon filters that promote high airflow while keeping components safe from dust.
The Define 7 Mini offers room for up to seven 120mm fans or four 140mm fans for enhanced ventilation. It has a ventilated PSU shroud with a two-part removable cover, offering maximum coverage and front radiator support.
Room for Your GPU
The PC case supports GPUs up to 331mm when you use a 240mm radiator at its top. If you install 25mm thick fans, you can use a 306mm radiator.
The bridgeless expansion slots allow obstruction-free connections, allowing for easier installation and assembly of components.
With the removable top bracket, you can fully expose your case and quickly access its interior. This new design makes installation and cable routing easier than ever.
For simplified cable management, the case has integrated cable guides with straps.
mATX or Mini ITX
Despite its compact size, the Define 7 Mini has a spacious interior that can accommodate mATX and mini ITX motherboards.
Install Up to Six Drives
The Define 7 Mini can support two 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives and four 2.5-inch drives. Fractal Design included two 2.5-inch brackets with the PC case.
Enjoy fast charging and fast data transfer speeds with the USB-C port.
Fractal Design Define 7 Nano
Sleek and Sophisticated
The brushed aluminium front and side panels offer a classic look that will look good with any setup. Its silence-optimised design makes it ideal for quiet environments like offices.
Swap Between Two Panels
By default, the Define 7 Nano has the closed steel panel installed. To increase airflow, swap the steel panel with the included filtered ventilation.
The top, front, and base have high-airflow nylon features that are easy to clean.
The open interior design of the Define 7 Nano provides a smooth path for airflow from intake to rear exhaust. With its two-part modular air duct, the GPU has more airflow. The bridgeless PCIe slots allow for an unrestricted GPU exhaust.
Support for Large GPUs
Install a GPU as large as 306mm when you use a front fan with 25mm thickness.
Removable Top Bracket
The removable top bracket offers quick interior access for easy installation and cable routing.
The USB-C port lets you enjoy fast charging and 10Gbps transfer speeds.
Flexible Storage Options
This PC case can support one 3.5-inch and three 2.5-inch drives.
Let us continue our Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review and check the different specifications of the cases.
Fractal Design Define 7 Mini
The Define 7 Mini has two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive mounts plus four (two included) dedicated 2.5-inch drive mounts. It has four expansion slots and a 15-12mm cable routing space.
The front interface features one USB 3.1 gen2 Type-C and 2x USB 3.0 ports. This area also has an audio port and two USB 2.0 ports.
The Define 7 Mini has seven 120mm or four 140mm fan mounts and accommodates mATX, mini-DTX, or mini-ITX boards. Additionally, the Define 7 Mini uses an ATX power supply.
The case can accommodate a front radiator that is 120mm / 240mm, 140mm / 280mm. However, be sure that the radiator has a maximum height of 361mm and a width of 146mm.
It can work with a 120mm / 240mm top radiator and a 120mm rear radiator. And then, it can work with a bottom radiator that is 120mm. However, you will need to remove the HDD cage to use it.
The maximum PSU length the case can accommodate is 165mm with the HDD cage. Without the cage, it can work with 200mm.
For its GPU, the maximum length it can handle is 331mm and 306mm with the front fan installed. Also, the maximum CPU cooler height it can work with is 167mm.
Lastly, the case measures 399 x 205 x 406mm (LxWxH) and weighs 7.49kg (solid) or 6.84kg (TG).
Of course, Fractal Design included a 2-year warranty for the Define 7 Mini case.
Fractal Design Define 7 Nano
The Nano case has one 3.5-inch / 2.5-inch drive mount (included) and three 2.5-inch drive mounts (two included). Also, it has two expansion slots available.
Its front interface sports a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C. Plus, it has two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, and an audio port.
There is room for six 120mm or three 140mm fans. However, the top 140mm fan mount requires 15mm slim fans.
This PC case has a 15-25mm cable routing space and is compatible with mini-ITX / mini-DTX motherboards. Additionally, the case also sports an ATX power supply.
The front radiator accommodates 120mm / 240mm, 140mm / 280mm radiators with a maximum height and width of 316mm and 146mm. However, 280mm is ideal to use in push configurations for a better fit.
The case can work with a 120mm rear radiator and a PSU with a length of 165mm. For the latter, 200mm is best if you use the case without an HDD tray or modular air duct.
It can also accommodate GPUs that are 331mm long or 306mm long when you use the front fan. The recommended maximum GPU thickness is 57mm / 2.8 slot.
For the maximum CPU cooler height, the case can accommodate a CPU that is 167mm high.
The case measures 399 x 205 x 361mm; without its feet/screws/protrusions, it is 390 x 205 x 345mm. Its net weight is 7.1kg (TG), 7.2kg (solid).
And similar to the Define 7 Mini, the Nano case comes with a 2-year warranty from Fractal Design.
Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review Summary
With the Define 7 Mini and Nano, Fractal Design managed to retain the overall quality of the Define series. Even with the reduced size of both cases, the company did not fail to deliver excellent PC cases.
We loved the unique features of these products, especially the toolless side panels, sound dampening, and easily removable parts. Another thing we appreciate is the inclusion of the Dynamic fans from Fractal Design.
With their compact size, these cases will fit perfectly with any build. The brushed aluminium finish gives a premium look and will suit the aesthetics of any setup.
When we tested the products for our Fractal Design Define 7 Mini and Nano Review, they delivered excellent cooling performance. The fan noise was also minimal, which makes both cases ideal for quiet environments.
Overall, the Define 7 Mini and Nano are sturdy, premium-looking cases with flexible storage & ventilation options and excellent cooling capacity. Their toolless design makes building easier, so we highly recommend these products.