Fractal Design Define 7 Mid -Tower Chassis
The front panel or door of the Define 7 looks the same as previous Define series chassis with a brushed metal outer skin on a plastic swing open door. The slit in the middle of the front panel is where the power LED is located and enables it to be seen on a chassis that is at eye level on a desk. The lower left edge of the front door is adorned with the new Fractal Design logo stamped into the exterior metal skin.
The top of the Define 7 is smooth solid steel, but as you will soon see this top is retained with ball and socket style retainers. This can be swapped with an airflow edition top panel, which allows air to vent from installed cooling in the roof of the chassis. Upfront, we can also see the I/O, which we will move to next.
I may have complained about Fractals I/O arrangement in the past, but they did exactly what I had called out for them in the past. Here is the full list of I/O on the Define 7:
- Headphone 3.5mm jack
- Microphone 3.5mmm jack
- Reset button
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port
- Power Button with power LED in the slot on the front panel
- 2x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
As you can see here, there is no waste to the I/O with several connectivity options form the aging 2.0 USB up to USB 3.2 Gen 2. The only thing omitted from the I/O would be an HDD LED, which has become increasingly unnecessary as newer NVMe SSD's can render them useless. In some cases, the data access may not even register due to the speed and access latency of modern storage mediums.
We have now rotated the Define 7 to show the tempered glass panel, which covers the main chamber. The glass is dark tinted as the label indicated, and as you can see, even with photo lights blasting the chassis you cannot see much detail of the inside structure. We do get a nice view of the side air inlet louvers, which direct airflow into the front fan inlets with the front door closed. Whether or not the front door impacts airflow or cooling performance, we will determine at the time of testing.
The side panel on the Define 7 is retained via a friction fit with ball and socket connections and is toolless with the ability to use the top-mounted thumb grips, which means you can open the panel with a single hand. There are areas where you can secure the panel with screws behind the front panel should you want them locked into place.
Here we have the thumb pad previously mentioned, which is what you would use to pop the side panels off of the chassis ball and socket retention. Do note that if you are uncomfortable with this retention, as previously mentioned, you can install screws behind the front panel, which will lock the panel in place.
The rear I/O area of the Define 7 is standard for the most part. Looking to the top and we can see the previously mentioned thumb grips which are used to pull the panel away from the chassis to be lifted off. As you can see, both the main and cable management panels can be removed in the same way. Everything else is standard, but there is one thing to note, which is the ample space between the motherboard I/O cutout and the cable management panel, which signifies the larger space reserved for cable management. This space is listed as 30mm, which is quite massive and 7mm more than the previous version of Define chassis.
The cable management side is where we find ourselves now, and this side is covered by a steel panel that is backed by sound deadening material. This panel uses the same quick-release thumb grip to remove the panel. Toward the front panel, we see the same louvers design from the main panel view, which means the front fans can pull from both sides.
The bottom of the Define 7 is primarily covered by the removable filter, which runs the entire length front to back and is removable from the front for easy access and cleaning. There is also a tag dedicated to the serial number of the chassis and four uniquely angled feet designs with rubber pads to avoid skidding on the desk.
Pulling the filter from the bottom of the chassis reveals the slotted mounting, which works for both fans and radiator mounting, or for the preinstalled HDD cage, which you can adjust its positioning to fit your needs best. An additional HDD cage can be purchased separately should the need arise, and it can be installed down here as well.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:34 pm CDT