There is a ton to like in such a small chassis. On the outside, the CORE 500 offers a brushed metal-like texture to the front, and along with it being flanked with strips of mesh to either side, it has an appeal that a lot of potential customers will like. The rest of the chassis is pretty plain looking, but all the mesh that are used for intakes, are backed with dust filtration.
This brings two benefits. One, it is easy to clean the filters, by sliding the one out from under the CORE 500, and detaching the magnetic ones in the removable panel. The second advantage to that is that you won't need to be getting in through tiny spaces to clean the gear permanently mounted in the chassis. Even though this chassis is only 19.5 liters in size, we had plenty of options for video cards with the room left there, everything installs without issues, and we even took advantage of the water cooling capabilities without much struggle at all. There is also the fact, that while you only get one fan to cool this chassis, it is sufficient inflow to keep our system comfortable, and it made the least noise out of anything we put in the chassis using a fan.
Our last look at an SFF chassis from Fractal Design is a case in a whole other realm of PC builds, and we love the changes made to deliver the masses a chassis that is flexible enough to allow plenty of storage, and still offer water cooling support, enough for two loops even. For most gamers, an SSD and one spinner for mass storage are plenty to get by on, and we can download anything the ODD drives are used for, so we were not at any loss removing the bays from the front of the chassis. We do want to remind you that PSU choice is key in this build, and if you have plans for a video card longer than the motherboard, you need to stick to their 170mm limit. With how compact this design is, we would have assumed we would be busting knuckles and struggling to get our gear inside of it, but we ran into none of these issues, leaving us with not one bad thing to point out about this design.
We do know that you can find these "shoe box" cases for next to nothing when it comes to pricing, but with those solutions, most will bang you up and make you struggle just to get the main components inside of it. In this realm of case design, not many offer water cooling support, and not to this extent. Most will make room for a single 120mm AIO and likely has to be the thinner options out there. In the CORE 500, we got away with a thicker radiator, thicker tubing that does not want to flex as much.
Simply put, for $59.99, it is tough to detract from this design in any way. It may have taken us a while to get to reviewing this chassis, but we are glad we did, as there are not many cases of this stature that are this easy to work with.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Edition (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB SSD
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||97%|
|Bundle and Packaging||95%|
|Value for Money||99%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||97%|
The Bottom Line: For such a compact design, possibilities are quite good in this SFF chassis. Modularity where it is needed, a sleek exterior, and water cooling potential will make this affordable solution from Fractal Design a hit with any gamer with limited space.
PRICING: You can find the Fractal Design CORE 500 Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Chassis for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
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