Today we are writing our Fractal Design Ridge Review, which is the latest offering from the company. Fractal Design is known for its premium-quality PC cases and is one of the most respected names on the market.
For years, the company produced top-notch and distinct cases, and the Ridge is no exception. The product is a small and slim case that you can mount vertically. It is also the latest ITX chassis from Fractal Design and is inspired by the Node 202 from 2015.
Interestingly, the company claims the Ridge is small enough to mirror a console. But despite its size, the product is as sturdy and solid as their other cases.
Continue reading our Fractal Design Ridge Review to learn about its specifications, features, design, functions, and performance. But before getting into detail, let us unbox the product and check its contents.
Fractal Design Ridge Packaging
Our case arrived in a simple brown cardboard box featuring the product name on the front. You will find its serial numbers and other details on one side, while the other displays the company logo.
Inside the box, you will see that Fractal Design skipped using Styrofoam spacers. Instead, they favoured a more environment-friendly option – cardboard moulds similar to those used for AIO packaging. These are good enough to protect the case inside, so you do not need to worry about damages during shipment.
Our Fractal Design Ridge Review will also discuss the package contents to give you an idea of what the company included. Like their other cases, the accessories for this case come in a separate cardboard box. In it, you will find a few zip ties, an assortment of screws, and rubber rings for anti-vibration. Aside from these, the slim box contains Velcro strips and one PCIe 4.0 expansion piece for the GPU.
Aside from that, the case ships with two stands, a user manual, and a warranty pamphlet.
Fractal Design Ridge Review – Design and Functionality
Speaking of its design, we mentioned earlier that the style of this product is inspired by the 202. Fractal Design is aware of its popularity, thus, aimed to modernise it and apply the optimised design to the Ridge.
This new case has steel construction and features perforations along its sides for better air intake. It even features a parted canvas-like front which is quite attractive and eye-catching.
We have the white version of the product for our Fractal Design Ridge Review. If white is not your cup of tea, you can opt for a black case.
After unboxing the product, our first impression of the case was positive. The case was heavy despite its size and felt robust and premium too. Of course, it was not surprising since Fractal Design is known for building excellent-quality chassis.
Although it is a slim case, the Ridge promises outstanding airflow to prevent heating of your hardware. It is all thanks to the perforated holes on the left section of this product.
The Ridge has two divisions: the upper and lower chambers. So you will find a break in its perforated design close to the centre of the panel.
To its right, you will find another perforated design; however, it only measures half of the panel.
You will find more ventilation up and along the edge. We want to call it the top portion, but it is possible to orient it in other ways. Its base features even more ventilation and appears similar in style too.
We think there were plenty of materials omitted from the case, so it is surprising to have it this heavy.
The case features a stunning front, which showcases its quality. You will not get the usual plastic body but an anodised CNC aluminium. These elements give the product a premium quality look and feel, which is the usual standard from Fractal Design.
The Ridge is magnetically mounted, thus, allowing you to pop it off for easy filter cleaning. Behind it, you will notice a sturdy plastic panel featuring a perforated design. However, its holes are massive compared to those on its side panels.
Additionally, there is a set of IOs at the base of the enclosure, specifically two USB-A 3.0 ports, one USB-C, and a combination audio jack. Its power button is solid, though it does not feature any LEDs to tell you if the system is on.
Top and Bottom Panels
The top and bottom covers of the Ridge appear similar to each other. Plus, these are perforated to optimise and improve ventilation. The bottom also comes with mounting holes for the base in the package.
We are glad that Fractal Design included everything necessary inside the package. Doing so will allow you to start working on your build.
Interior of the Fractal Design Ridge
Our Fractal Design Ridge Review will also focus on the interiors of the Ridge.
Opening the case was easy since you only undo one thumbscrew at the back. From there, you can pull the panel away to reveal the interior.
There is a lot of room in this area, and it is clear that the company set an adequate amount of effort to utilise the available space.
When you look at the higher chamber, you will find adequate space for a mini-ITX board on its left side. There are also stand-offs for the motherboard built into the area, making it ready to use.
You will see a cut-out that allows you to remove and fit CPU coolers. The process will be easier and more convenient on your part. You will no longer have to remove the board from the case.
There is an integrated riser cable, while its PCB is secured firmly at the base of the case. You can readily unscrew it if you need to move it elsewhere.
Power Supply and GPU
Looking at the right side of the case, you will find a large spacious area for the PSU. There is also room for an SFX or SFX-L unit, so powering your slim PC will not be an issue.
You will find a cut-out to provide room for the PSU and any cables you may include in your setup. You can see that several wires are running on its interior. However, all these are easy to tuck in neatly and out of the way.
There is a massive lower area where the GPU will slip in. It can support a graphics card having a total measurement of 335 x 137 x 82mm. That rules out the massive cards.
Additionally, the cut-out below the PSU makes routing the GPU cable easier.
Fans and Fan Mounts
There are two 140mm fans mounted along the base to bring air into the case. With these fans installed, you can have around 57mm of room for the GPU. But if the fans are not there, you will have 82mm of space.
You will find a set of three 80mm fan mounts at the base. It is a route to check if you need extra cooling. Doing this will change the total height of the GPU from 137 to 125mm.
We were impressed with the mounts and the fans. The latter had excellent quality, which is something to expect from Fractal Design.
Its mounts offer 120mm and 140mm spacing. Then, its massive and elongated screw holes guarantee that the fans blow directly on the GPU.
Internal SSD Bays
You can place 63.5mm SSDs in front of the Ridge. However, remember that having one in this area will bring the maximum length of the GPU down to 325mm.
Behind the motherboard, you will not find much in this area. You will only see a recess to the side for mounting a pair of 63.5mm SSDs. These will be at the back of the PSU mount.
These even come with additional tool-free push-pin mounts.
Key Features of the Fractal Design Ridge
As we mentioned, Fractal is a known manufacturer of premium PC cases. But what makes this new product better than the rest? Let us find out as we discuss its key features in our Fractal Design Ridge Review.
Horizontal or Vertical Orientation
Multiple feet configurations allow you to set up the Ridge vertically or horizontally. You can also elevate any workspace, gaming desk, or entertainment area.
Unrivalled Convenience and Easy Access
All panels of the Ridge are removable, so you can easily access any side of your build. This design is ideal if you often swap components and upgrade.
All-around Ventilation of the Fractal Design Ridge for Superior Cooling
The Ridge has ventilation on all sides, which maximises its cooling potential. It also has two pre-installed 140mm PWM Aspect fans. Plus, you can increase airflow in the case since it supports two 120 or 140mm and three 80mm fans.
The front I/O of the Ridge features one USB-C and two USB 3.0 ports. Next to these is a combined headphone & mic jack. USB-C offers faster transfer speeds for more convenience.
The company included a securely pre-installed PCIe 4.0 riser card in the Ridge. The case also has four mounts for 2.5-inch drives, allowing you to take advantage of more storage space.
Well-balanced Design of the Fractal Design Ridge
The Ridge has a unique design that features CNC-machined aluminium and a stylish fabric on the front panel. It also has a Power LED bar to keep the design well-balanced.
Before we share our hands-on experience with the product, our Fractal Design Ridge Review will focus on its product specifications. You will need to know these little details to determine if the case will be ideal for your build.
The Ridge is a mini ITX case that supports mini-ITX motherboards. It measures 368.3 x 355.6 x 93.98mm (HxWxD) and weighs 4.3kg.
The max GPU length for the case is 12.8 inches, while the CPU cooler height is 69.85mm. It has four internal SSD bays that measure 63.5mm each and three expansion slots for use.
The front I/O of the Ridge houses two USB-A 3.2 Gen1 ports and a USB-C 3.1 Gen2 port. Additionally, it comes with two rear fans that measure 140mm each and a one-year warranty from the company.
Hands-on with the Fractal Design Ridge
We tried and tested the Ridge for our review so we can share our user experience with you. We will divide these details into groups to help you determine if it delivers performance according to your needs.
Building with the Ridge was quick and straightforward, which we always appreciate. Despite its size, it is spacious enough to let our fingers conveniently reach areas for routing cables. But of course, there are also some tricky spaces, so keep that in mind.
It also does not feature a cable routing area, but there is enough space to keep things neat and organised. But no one will see the cables even if we leave the wires untucked. The case does not have a side panel window, so it conceals everything inside.
The Ridge features thick steel for the bulk of the chassis. However, it comes with a beautiful machined finish to provide optimal ventilation.
Everything felt robust and solid, and we removed each side panel successfully via a thumbscrew. With a screwdriver, we had the case dismantled in minutes, which gave us more access to tight spaces. It made our installation quicker than other similar chassis we tried.
At first, we thought cable routing would be challenging with its interior. And if we added SSDs, things would get trickier.
But thankfully, the company integrated handy features to make cabling manageable. These elements allowed us to fit a surprising amount of hardware into this compact case without compromising its neat aesthetics.
We used the newly built PC for gaming to see how well it could maintain low temperatures for the components.
At idle, the CPU temperature reached a maximum of 28°C, and the GPU did not exceed 34°C.
With load, the CPU temperature did not exceed 66°C. The GPU hit temps of 75°C.
We were pleased with our test results since the temperatures were within acceptable levels. It proved that the Ridge has an excellent cooling capacity, thanks to its vents on each side and the fan mounts.
Fractal Design Ridge Review Summary
The Ridge from Fractal is a mini-ITX chassis that is full of potential. Since it is compact, it has the same limitations as other mini-ITX cases, so building a PC can be challenging.
You will need to ensure you are using the appropriate components with the right size for this chassis. Also, you must tune them to maximise the performance of your system.
Despite its small form factor, the Ridge has all the features that will allow you to install powerful components. You will not run out of options since the market offers many high-quality motherboards, CPUs, and GPUs for compact PCs.
Overall, we highly recommend the Ridge if you want a compact PC. This sleek case is visually appealing and can install multiple fans for excellent cooling. Plus, it is a versatile product that you can set up horizontally or vertically.