Fractal Define 7/Define 7 XL Review

Thermal Testing - Does

Fractal Define 7/Define 7 XL Review

Thermal Testing - Does Silence Optimised mean hot? 

Thermal performance is an essential factor when looking at any PC case. Your system may look fantastic, or appear silent from the outside, but all of that is for nought if your PC is baking your components like an oven. Your PC case needs enough airflow for your components to remain cool under load, to increase their longevity and to prevent any form of thermal throttling in the meantime.

When testing PC cases, we like to provide our readers with a variety of results. Not everyone runs their fans at their maximum RPMs, and not everyone uses fan speed profiles to limit their noise levels and airflow. So to cover all bases, we test cases with three fan profiles, a 600RPM profile, and a 1000 RPM profile speed profile. We also sort the graphs in both CPU and GPU priority so you can easily compare other cases and the performance that is most important to your desired system build.

Our 'CPU' Test is run using OCCT in linpack mode and a maximum temperature recorded over a 30minute run. Our 'GPU' test is run using Unigine Valley in 4K with 8x AA, and our GPU's maximum temperature is again recorded over a 30minute run.

Note that the temperatures below are measured in the form of thermal deltas. Our testing is conducted in a temperature-controlled room which sits at 20 degrees Celcius during testing. 


Testing Hardware
Intel i7-9700K @4.8GHz at 1.2V
ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming @ 100% Current Capacity/ LL lvl16
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition @ 9V via Fan Speed Reducer
Nvidia GTX 980 Reference @ 60% Fixed Fan Speed
Corsair LP Vengiance LP (Grey) @ 3200MHz
Corsair MP500 M.2 NVMe SSD
Corsair RM550X Power Supply

600 RPM

At 600 RPM, Fractal's Define 7 performs better than one should expect it too. Yes, one could complain that it isn't a chart-topper, but given its silence-optimised design, it is hard to complain about the thermals on offer here.  
With our low-RPM test, Fractal's Define 7 is able to keep our GTX 980 cooler under load while keeping the temperatures of our 4.8GHz i7-9700K at temperatures which are comparable to competing case designs. That said, we need only look at Cooler Master's Silencio 600 to see how badly silence optimised cases can perform with regards to thermal design. 

Note that we have started out thermal charts at 50 degrees here to better differentiate between each of the cases below. A temperature difference a few degrees isn't that meaningful in the grand scheme of things, and in this regard the Fractal Define 7 is more than adequate. 

Fractal Define 7/Define 7 XL Review  
Fractal Define 7/Define 7 XL Review  

1000 RPM

In our testing, Fractal's Define 7 is able to offer surprisingly good thermal performance given its silence-oriented design. While many would claim that Fractal's front panel design restricts airflow, it looks like Fractal's Define 7 is more than capable fo keeping up with competing case designs. After all, a two-degree difference from our chart-topper for CPU thermals is a great result. 

If you are concerned about the Fractal Define 7's thermal performance, don't be. This case offers enough out of the box cooling for most systems, and Fractal has given its users the option to add more fans if it is ever necessary. 

Fractal Define 7/Define 7 XL Review  
Fractal Define 7/Define 7 XL Review  

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Most Recent Comments

25-02-2020, 09:55:02

So much want! I adored the Define S was considering getting another to replace the Define C which really does suffer bad thermals, Fractal have ticked all my boxes and wetted my appetite again. Loving the OC3D inspired features, Angled full length PSU Cover (Myself), Front Filter (TTL) (we know we inspired them). I know who's getting my hard earned cheddar on this upgrade.Quote

27-02-2020, 00:49:21

If I were to watercool a massive build this would be the case. BUT on the other hand, why are cases getting more and more expensive? I remember you could get an insane quality case for like $80... good ol' times. At least this case for the money is probably the best you can get in that price bracket.Quote

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