Fractal Design Core 1000: How Little is Too Littleby Dustin Sklavos on April 13, 2012 11:35 AM EST
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
|2x 5.25” (includes adaptor plate and cage for 3.5"-to-5.25")
|2x 3.5"/2.5" OR 3x 2.5"
|1x 120mm intake
|1x 92mm fan mount
|1x 120mm fan mount
|2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
|Power Supply Size
|8.5" / 210mm
6.9" x 14" x 16.5"
175mm x 355mm x 420mm
Silicone grommets for drive cage
Adaptor plate and cage for mounting a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay
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.