Fractal Design Define S2 Vision RGB Case Review: Premium DIY PC Chassis
Fractal Design Define S2 RGB: Exterior and Design
The Fractal Design Vision RGB has four dark tempered glass panels (two on the sides, one on the top and another on the front). The tempered glass gives the case an elegant look and also put's your internal PC component hardware on full display. The two side panels have near wall-to-wall tempered glass coverage, but there is an inch long bezel that runs along the outside of the panel. The bezel covers the case's steel frame, giving it a cleaner, trimmed look. Unlike the side panels, the front has ventilation ports on both sides to allow air to flow into the case. The ports are all covered by a thin mesh that catches dust before it enters the case. Fortunately, the entire front panel can be removed when the filter needs to be cleaned.
One feature we really like about the side panels is their tool-free design. When the case ships there are thumb screws secured to the back of the panels. These screws are just added as a safety measure while the case is in transit though. Both the panels have plastic bolts on them that securely hold the panel to the case without thumbscrews.
The back panel is the spitting image of the Fractal Define S2. So, what you're looking at is a bottom mounted power supply bay, 9 expansion slot locations and a standard I/O cutout. Traditionally, cases only have seven expansion slot locations instead of nine. The two additional ports allow a graphics card to be installed vertically into the case, clearing up room for water cooling and really showcasing the GPU as well. There's also a single 140mm ARGB fan at the back that matches the ones on the front. If you're looking to change things up though, the fan can be replaced with any 120mm or 140mm fan.
If you look at the upper left hand side of the case you'll notice a button. Exactly what does this mystery button do ? Keep on reading and all will be revealed shortly.
The front control panel on the Fractal Define S2 Vision RGB has dual USB 3.0 and 2.0 headers as well as a power button, a reset button and the audio ports. Just to the left of the power button, there's also a USB 3.1 Type-C connector that will allow you to fast charge a phone, or connect an external USB-C storage device. There's just one aspect of the control panel we didn't like and it's not what's included, but rather what is not included. The fans are all controlled via a physical controller that's inside the case. The fact that you have to access it from the inside means you can't change the settings on-the-fly without removing a side panel. Without question, it would have just been easier to control the fans from the top panel.
Just behind the controls is the top tempered glass panel. The panel covers the majority of the top giving you a nearly unrestricted aerial view of the inside. The tempered glass panel looks nice but as you can see there's no where for air to come into or flow out of from the top of the case. In addition, no fans or radiators can be mounted here either. The solution to this is an included cooling bracket that can secure up to three fans and radiators up to 360mm in length. This leads us back to the mystery button on the back of the case. The button is a quick release switch for the top panel. When pressed, you can pop the current panel out and switch it for the panel of your choice. That solves the airflow and mounting issues, but it comes at a cost...
After removing the tempered glass panel you'll have to install two additional panels; one that can accommodate the fans and radiators, while the other is the new top cover. The image above shows the cooling bracket, which can support up to three 120/140mm fans, or a 120mm, 240mm, or 360mm radiator. This case is truly optimized for liquid cooling and the included cooling bracket is no exception.
Our only complaint about the cooling bracket is the cover Fractal included. It doesn't even come close to looking as sexy as the tempered glass panel. Fractal went with a sports car inspired louver design that looks just a bit dated. On the plus side, the cover does allow air to freely flow out of the case and it can support a massive 360mm radiator. We just would have liked to have seen a more modern looking cover. A less open, perforated panel without the fins would have looked better in our opinion but beauty is in the eye, as they say.
Let's move on to the installation and see what this beast offers on the inside...