I purchased this case as a replacement to my Define S. Now some might seem that as pointless, but I really wanted the reduced footprint and power supply shroud of this case. And it was definitely worth it as a "sidegrade" from the Define S. Most of the case is very similar to my previous Define S, ATX motherboard support, 7 PCIe expansion slots, 2 USB 3.0 front panel connectors, front panel audio jacks, and the overall design. However all of this in a much smaller enclosure is much appreciated as I did not fully use all the available space in my old Define S. One difference between the Define S and the Define C I liked, although quite small, was that on the C the bottom dust filter can be removed from the front which is VERY convenient.
Now on to the building process which was very simple. In fact it was probably simpler all things considered compared to the S. The motherboard slotted in very easily with the center motherboard standoff. The case even barely fits my Noctua NH D15 which I was a little worried about. My SSD was simply 4 screws on the back bracket, would've been nice to have some sort of tool-less system, but it isn't that big of a deal once you get it installed. The hard drive cage is nice being able to be slid from front to back to install a big radiator up front with the removal of the PSU shroud cover plate in the front. Or you can just remove the cage as well. Hard drive installation looked simple, just insert 4 screws and plop it into the cage. Keep in mind that it only fits 3 2.5" drives and 2 3.5" drives though. Not a problem for me as I only use a single SSD. Installing the GPU was even easier then the Define S because Fractal finally put in a little notch in the case to allow your screwdriver to easily screw in expansion cards without having the screwdriver at an odd angle. Power supply installation was very easily, simply 2 thumbscrews to unscrew the bracket then you can screw in your power supply outside the case. Then just plop it back in with the 2 thumbscrews when done. Very simple method and the case is able to squeeze my longer RM1000i (180mm/7.09in long) in with just a little pushing with the hard drive cage in the stock configuration (the front). You might not be able to squeeze in a large power supply if you moved the HDD cage up to install a front radiator however.
The included 120mm fans seem quiet and push enough air to cool my 4790k and 980ti adequately. It would've been nice to see a 140mm included in the front though. The adjustable height of the back fan is appreciated as well. The case also comes with the "moduvent" feature on the top or you can put in an included dust filter. Nice to see them include the dust filter, although I just kept the moduvent on mine. One minor knitpick is that Fractal is still using acrylic windows which can scratch fairly easily. Would've been cool to see glass, although that'd most likely make the case cost a bit more.
Overall this is an excellent case for the money. Very easy to build in and offers enough room for an ATX build with an AIO for the CPU and maybe GPU if your creative. Might even be possible to fit a custom loop in it if you are very determined. Although for a custom loop I'd recommend the Define S instead due to having more space in the front. But for 90% of builds this case is perfect for the typical CPU and 1 GPU setup. Or maybe even 2 GPUs as it could definitely fit it.
- Space Efficient, especially for an ATX case
- Fits large air coolers (Noctua D15) or AIOs
- Well thought out hidden storage system with HDDs under PSU shroud and SSDs behind the motherboard
- PSU shroud. I couldn't use a case without one now. It makes the build look much cleaner
- Moduvent feature allowing to block off or allow airflow through the top
- Strategic placement of dust filters in the front and bottom
- Easy to build in with attention to small details such as the cutout for screwing in expansion cards
Neutrals (or minor nitpicks):
- Only 2 front USB 3.0 headers. Doesn't bother me, although it could bother some
- Still using acrylic for the window, although at this price point I wouldn't put it as a negative
- Still using the captive screws instead of the latched panels of the R5
- Power LED is SUPER bright. It'll easily light up a dark room. Wish it was slightly toned down