Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While technically we should have been bringing forth the Core 3500 with window for review, we received an email from Fractal, stating that there were some inconstancies in the chassis. So, Fractal asked us not to go forward with the review, as they pretty much recalled the line for a while until the kinks could be worked out, and the chassis perfected for their customers. That is something all of us can appreciate, and shows just how "stand-up" this company really is. What we were given instead is no less impressive, although it does lack a few items like a fan controller, and option for a window. The chassis we are about to see is slightly longer, the storage has been changed, and it lacks grommets inside, but even with that list ahead of it, this chassis is still well-worth your attention.
The Core Series of cases from Fractal Design has been around for quite a while, as it ran through the Core 1X00 cases, into the Core 2X00 versions, and now we are into the third series. Somewhere along the lines we seemed to have missed out on the previous two editions of the chassis in its various forms, but today is a new day as we delve into the Core Series from Fractal Design. We don't know what to really expect outside of getting a very solid chassis with the black and white theme that we have seen in all of our other Fractal Design cases.
So, why would we expect those things to change any time soon? This is more of a builder series chassis in concept and design, but that does not mean it is not capable of housing more advanced and powerful systems.
So, rather than us bringing you the Core 3500, we are taking a look at its smaller sibling, the Core 3300. You may be thinking that we are looking at the lower-end of the barrel from the Fractal Design lineup, but get that thought out of your mind, because Fractal has brought a quality product to the table. Fractal's Core 3300 delivers smooth elegance on the outside, great ventilation and water cooling options, and takes a different approach to storage mounting on the inside, and does all of this at a really good price point. While it may lack a few things its larger companion was to offer us, considering the price this chassis is available at, you will not be disappointed in what you are about to see. So, let's get up close and personal with the Core Series 3300 mid-tower chassis from Fractal Design.
Out of the gate, when looking at the specifications, we see something not typical to a mid-tower chassis, and that is that this 233mm wide by 451mm tall by 517mm deep chassis will not only hold Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards, but it shows that 295mm wide EATX boards will also fit. The rest of the inside consists of a pair of 5.25" bays at the top, and rather than a typical drive rack, they have used a plate that will house three 2.5" drives and three 3.5" drives at the same time. On top of that, two 2.5" drives can be mounted to the back of the motherboard tray too.
At the back we get seven expansion slots, and a PSU location with rubber supports under it and a gasket at the back -both isolate it as much as possible. There are some limitations, if you want to call them that. The CPU cooler can be 185mm in height, the PSU can be 170mm if you plan to install a fan in front of it, otherwise it is unlimited, and video cards have no real limit with the new drive rack orientation. Along with the chassis' seventeen pound weight while empty, we also see that they list the 22mm of room behind the motherboard tray to hide wiring.
Cooling is handled well in this mid-tower. Fractal has designed this chassis with room for a pair of either 120mm or 140mm fans in the front. This also means radiator support for 30mm radiators. Thicker radiators can be installed, but that will encroach on the room needed for the 3.5" drive storage. The rear of the chassis offers a single fan location, again for either 120mm or 140mm fans, and can also house a single fan radiator.
The top is just like the front, and so is the 30mm radiator thickness specification. This time the specification is due to motherboard clearance, and if the top of the motherboard is free of obstruction, thicker radiators can be used. The bottom offers a single fan location, as does the left side panel, and just like all the others, they are drilled for 120mm and 140mm fans. Of those seven fan locations, the top front location, and the rear exhaust location have been filled with 140mm R2 Series fans.
At first, as we looked around, we were seeing a lot about the Core 3300 and its $99.99 MSRP. To us, that seems a bit expensive for a chassis like the Core 3300, even if it's well designed and thought out. However, if you shop around as we always try to do, you can save yourself a fairly good chunk of change. Some listings, well most of them, try to beat the MSRP, and are offering out the door pricing in the $75 range. Amazon.com currently has the lowest price listed, as we are seeing it there at $67.99 with free shipping. Now that is a price we can really appreciate. With what this Core 3300 mid-tower offers, we feel this price is definitely justified.
PRICING: You can find the Fractal Design Core 3300 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Core 3300 retails for $67.99 at Amazon.
Canada: The Core 3300 retails for CDN$70.54 at Amazon Canada.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [Fractal Design Core 3300 Mid-Tower Chassis]
- Page 4 [Inside the Core 3300]
- Page 5 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 6 [Case Build and Finished Product]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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