Introducing the Fractal Design Core 1000

Extreme budget enclosures are interesting creatures. While the best balancing acts usually show up around the $100 price point, and going north of $150 will generally get you the best of everything, hanging out at $60 or lower means having to make a lot of sacrifices and lose a lot of niceties. For some users that's not a big deal; they just want a box to put their computer in.

Fractal Design has been making a lot of waves with their lineup of minimalistic but effective enclosures, but most of those kits have been $80 or more. Today we have their Core 1000, a fascinating-looking case that retails for just $39.99. Does it bring the same magic to this end of the market that Fractal Design has brought with their other efforts, or has too much been left on the cutting room floor?

The Core 1000 has been out for a little while, but I first had a chance to lay eyes and hands on it back at CES 2012 and I definitely came away feeling curious about it. Top-mounted power supplies may have gone out of fashion for the most part, but designs like this one that feature a single substantial intake fan in the front and blow straight through the components and out the back (such as SilverStone's Temjin TJ08-E) are capable of producing a tremendous amount of thermal and acoustic efficiency.

There's also the fact that the Core 1000 is, frankly, way smaller than it loooks in photos. This is a Micro-ATX enclosure to be sure, and you're going to see in a moment just how "micro" that really is. We'll begin as usual with the specifications overview.

Fractal Design Core 1000 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro ATX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25” (includes adaptor plate and cage for 3.5"-to-5.25")
Internal 2x 3.5"/2.5" OR 3x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake
Rear 1x 92mm fan mount
Top -
Side 1x 120mm fan mount
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
I/O Port 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 150 mm
PSU 180 mm
GPU 8.5" / 210mm
Weight 9 lbs.
4.1 kg
Dimensions 6.9" x 14" x 16.5"
175mm x 355mm x 420mm
Special Features Silicone grommets for drive cage
Adaptor plate and cage for mounting a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay
Price $39

When you're dealing with such a low price point, a lot of the trimmings have to go by the wayside. For the Core 1000, that primarily means sacrificing USB 3.0 connectivity. Where Fractal Design went a different route with the Core 1000 than most other budget enclosures was by including removable expansion slot brackets instead of just having them twist and snap out of the case, making allowances for mounting 3.5" kit in a 5.25" bay, and including silicone grommets to dampen mechanical drive noise. There were sacrifices made in the process, though, and I'm not entirely sure they were worth it.

In and Around the Fractal Design Core 1000
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  • tambok2012 - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    I just got this pictures from our country philippines
  • mariush - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    Our Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is by no means [..], but its 159mm height caused the tops of the heatpipes to press against the side panel, bowing it outward a little.

    Yeah, because someone who buys a $40-45 dollar case is obviously going to to buy a $30 cpu cooler when the retail processor come with a perfectly good stock cooler.

    How out of touch can some reviewers become...

    This is not a case designed for overclockers, no need for special coolers, the stock ones are fine for regular users.

    The only flaw I see is the small cage. A 4-5 unit one would meet more users' needs.
  • stoggy - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    how disconnected? He is using a downward facing PS, in a top slot. That will severily reduce his ability to overclock too, extra heat.

    Lesson to learn, Its easier to cool more heat in a smaller space then it is to cool less heat in a greater space. Google it, check in Heating/AC, simple physics too.

    Possible solutions for reviewers concerns:

    1. Zip-Ties. We use to use them. Back when case mods ment saws and drills.
    2. Proper Power supply
    3. Grinder to lower the heat pipes, this might not be enough though, In which case i would suggest a drill. Probably with a 1/4" bit.
    4. Growing a pair.
    5. Have fun.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    "This is not a case designed for overclockers, no need for special coolers, the stock ones are fine for regular users."

    Speaking of being out of touch, who are you to say what a case is or isn't supposed to support? This is a review, and the point about the CPU cooler is exactly that: if you happen to be the type of user that has or plans to purchase an aftermarket cooler, the case has some cooler height limitations. That's useful information, and there are many (MANY) people that read AnandTech that are hardware enthusiasts who overclock just about every PC they own.

    Your comment is pretty much exactly what we've said: if you plan on a moderate config running stock, the case will work fine. Then again, if you're doing that, just about ANY case will work fine. If we tested with the stock Intel HSF, however, we'd be adding noise and reducing cooling efficiency, all in the name of saving $30. The same people that won't want to buy a superior $30 cooler also won't want to buy an i7-2700K, or an SSD, or a GTX 560 GPU, etc. We test with a higher end setup along with overclocked settings because if that will work in a case, then everything lower spec will also work.
  • mariush - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    "...however, we'd be adding noise and reducing cooling efficiency, all in the name of saving $30"

    That's EXACTLY what most users buying this case did, give up features commonly found on larger cases to save 20-30$.

    The stock Intel and AMD coolers are not exactly low quality ones. Users can actually perform a reasonable overclocking with them - they don't HAVE TO buy a better cooler just to overclock.

    In such a small case, even with good coolers the cooling efficiency will be reduced. By the time you add a large video card and the large cpu heatsink into this case, you'll barely have any airflow at all.

    So coupling this case with high performance after market cooler doesn't really make sense, and by writing it out you make it seem like a flaw, instead of something obvious.

    For a real world example, why would I pay 40$ for this case, then pay 30$ for an aftermarket cooler, when I could just as well pay 60$ for an Antec Three Hundred case that comes from the start with a 140mm top fan and a 120mm side fan, has more "slots" for 120mm fans and better airflow due to the power supply being mounted at the bottom?

    The Antec 300 case coupled with a stock CPU cooler will almost definitely keep the processor cooler, compared to a large cooler in a crowded Fractal Design case.
  • samoya22 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    The Antec 300!
    Oh, wait...that's not the...?
  • UltraTech79 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    I spent 29.99 at compUSA about 8 yerars ago for a better case AND it came with a freakn 250W power supply that has not exploaded and killed anyone yet! (parents low power comp)

    This think is pure junk. Whats with the mesh in front? Why try and get fancy with limited funds? Stick with the basics. And a vent on the side? REALLY? If you fucking have a system that needs that extra kind of cooling, you sure as fuck have the money to toss $30 more at a case.
  • UltraTech79 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - link

    Already found a far supirior case for 10$ more. Free shipping. Why was this ugly piece of junk even reviewed??

    This guy is only 20$ ! And its still better!
  • Mugur - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    I don't think they are in the same class. Frankly I consider the case reviewed great for an inexpensive mATX build. And I'm sure that there are a lot of ugly tin and plastic 20$ cases... :-)
  • GPCustomPC - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Does the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo really fit inside this case? It states 150mm of clearance and the EVO is said to be 159mm.

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