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Fractal Design Core 3300 Review

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Fractal Design Core 3300: Conclusion

Let us recap my reasoning and scoring method before diving into my final words. First I look at what the company is saying it offers. For example, say the company states the case supports large / long graphics cards or ten quiet fans. In this example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be trying to overclock a CPU in a Mini-ITX case and expecting a low temperature. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the case offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include an extra fan, cable management, different color paint, or support for larger video cards. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.

Fractal Design makes good on its promise with the slogan "more is less". That being said, I am left with the desire for more. The chassis lacks any flash and that's not always necessary, but it's definitely something I would hide in the corner or under my desk. In its defense, Fractal Design never intended to make the Core series about flash and looks. It meant to be a solid chassis that covers the basic needs with some decent design elements inside. As a tradition, I am going to start with the negative aspects of this chassis and end on a positive note.

To start off, the price is a bit high for my tastes considering this is meant to be budget chassis. I have come across and reviewed many chassis within this price range that offer more in different categories. Given Fractal Design focused solely on the performance, is not a bad thing, though I would have liked to see the price slightly lower. The sacrifice for quality in the sheet metal integrity for better fans is just another trade off and one that might be a factor for some.

Finally, leading into the many positive things. The Core 3300 support in long video cards is nearly unmatched in this size topping out at 430mm. The downside of using a vertical hard drive bracket instead of a traditional hard drive cages / trays, is that any 3.5" mounted may interfere with any video card installed over 255mm (10"). With the prices drastically dropping, the need for multiple 3.5" drives is slowly becoming obsolete, but the consumer is simply just not there yet in the adoption of 512GB and 1TB SSD's. Therefore anyone with a higher end video card and a bunch of traditional 3.5" drives are going to run into problems, so be warned.

The Core 3300 has a ton of great features that make up for many of my complaints. My list is shorter this time, but i'm only going to cover the things that make it stand out. First up, having support for nearly every aftermarket CPU cooler is a major advantage. I have time and time again given advice for purchasing a cooler, only to find out that a height limit is an issue. At 185mm and a good amount of surrounding space, there isn't much that will not fit. Going along with the CPU Cooler, the huge space of 430mm is insane for anyone willing to give up some hard drive real estate.

To follow up, the generous 22mm space behind the motherboard tray is a welcome addition that every chassis needs to consider having. This basic cable management can play a large role in air flow, which ultimately affect performance under load. Speaking of fans, Fractal Design Silent Series R2 140mm fans are really as silent as its name in tales. Being only a few feet away, all I could hear was the whisper of the CPU Cooler fans and the video card. Once the computer was put to the test of its temperatures under load, the only thing I could really hear still was the video card and power supply fan. Considering how open and vent the top panel is, I was surprised the fans never peaked loud enough to hear over anything else. Then again, all the other components stepped up and took the job instead. So unless you are browsing the web or doing light work on the computer, it's going to sound loud as sound just pours out of the top from other components. Essentially making it no different than other chassis on the market today.

To conclude, Fractal Design has made another chassis that holds its own in many ways. Even with a few set backs, I would recommend this chassis to anyone who is looking to get a few features that may be only available in a high tier / price range. For the rest, who aren't completely sold on the Core series, Fractal Design does offer the XL I reviewed last year along with the other chassis at similar prices.

Pros:

  • Water cooling support
  • Support for large, aftermarket CPU coolers (185mm)
  • Support for large, high-end graphics cards (430mm)
  • Long internal cables
  • Easy cable management (22mm behind the tray)
  • Quite fans

Cons:

  • Price
  • Loss of HDD slot(s) for longer video cards over 255mm
  • Thin sheet metal
OCC Silver



  1. Fractal Design Core 3300: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Fractal Design Core 3300 Closer Look: The Case
  3. Fractal Design Core 3300 Closer Look: Working Components
  4. Fractal Design Core 3300: Specifications & Features
  5. Fractal Design Core 3300: Testing: Setup & Results
  6. Fractal Design Core 3300: Conclusion
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