Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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The Core 3000 comes with an adapter that lets you install an external 3.5-inch device into a 5.25-inch bay. Some makers of system cases omit to provide such an accessory.

The HDD rack is split up in two parts. The top one is removable while the bottom one is stationary. The gaps between the disk bays are larger in the bottom rack, so it is not easy to grasp the point of the developer's decision to equip the top of the rack with a preinstalled fan. The air does not flow easily there.

Perhaps that decision can be explained by the fact that the top half of the disk rack can be positioned in two ways: with the disks oriented lengthwise or across the chassis. In the first case you can improve the cooling of your disks since the sides of the rack won't get in the way of the air flow from the front fans. In the other case, you can get a couple of extra centimeters for your expansion cards (the Core 3000 can accommodate cards up to 27 centimeters long then).

And if you need to install even longer expansion cards and can do with only three disks, you can take the top half of the rack off altogether, making the Core 3000 compatible with cards up to 420 millimeters in length.

Both halves of the rack have identical guides for disks. Like the back-panel brackets, they are painted white, which looks rather incongruously in a black system case. Fractal Design seems to make a point of mixing and matching black and white elements in its products, though.

The guides are compatible with both 3.5- and 2.5-inch disks, the latter using the smaller mounting holes you can spot in the photos.

3.5-inch disks are installed via vibration-absorbing rubber pads.

Although the mainboard’s mounting plate doesn't have a cutout for a CPU power cable, it has a rather large window for a CPU cooler's back-plate. It is large enough for installing and uninstalling most coolers without taking the mainboard out of the system case.

The cooling system consists of three preinstalled fans: two 140mm (on the front and top panels) and one 120 mm fan (on the back panel).

There are places for optional 120mm fans on the front and bottom panels of the case. You can also add 120 or 140mm fans to the top and side panels.

The preinstalled fans have a Fractal Design logo although their characteristic black-and-white coloring and the pointed edges of the blades resemble Arctic Cooling products. There are differences in terms of dimensions and the number of blades, though.

Connected to the speed controller, the 7-blade 120mm fan was about as fast as 620 RPM at its bottom speed and 1250 RPM at its top speed. The 11-blade 140mm fans have a bottom speed of 580 RPM and a top speed of 1040 RPM.

The front fans are protected against dust in a conventional, although hardly optimal, way. There is a sheet of foam rubber behind the front panel.

It doesn’t look neat from the outside and it hinders the flow of air towards the fans.

The PSU bay is equipped with an easily removable fine-mesh filter in a plastic frame.

We had no problems assembling our PC configuration in the Core 3000 except the ones we’ve mentioned above. The assembled Core 3000 looks like this:

Highs:

  • Flexible interior layout
  • Full compatibility with 2.5-inch disks
  • Speed controller for three fans

Lows:

  • Unhandy fastening of the side panels
  • CPU power cable can’t be routed behind the mainboard’s mounting plate
 
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