Fractal Design Core 500 Review
Published: 20th October 2015 | Source: Fractal Design | Price: £49.99 @ OCUK |
You're probably familiar with the expression "It's not big, and it's not clever". Well the Fractal Design Core 500 isn't big, but it certainly appears to be quite clever. By this we mean we're not quite sure how they manage to cram so much into such a compact case. Measuring just 250x213x380mm (WxHxD), the Core 500 has a total internal Volume of just 19.5 litres. As you'd imagine it will only accept M-ITX boards, but what isn't perhaps so obvious is that it will take GPUs up to 310mm, CPU coolers up to 170mm PSUs up to 170mm as well as 3x3.5", 3x2.5" and 1x5.25". Add to this the ability to stick a fat 240mm or 280mm rad in the roof (you’re going to lose the 5.25” but that’s no biggy), and you have the makings of a very accomplished and very usable case, ideal not just for tight desk tops, but for HTPC or dorm builds, with its size making it more than a bit ideal for LAN parties and the like. Fractal haven't scrimped on the quality either. All the surfaces were well finished, with nice tight shut lines in evidence. The front, although plastic looks so much like Aluminium as to be not worth bothering about. The case stands on sturdy rubber capped metal feet, and all major ventilation areas have magnetic dust filters to keep the interior as dust free as possible.
Building into the Core 500 is a challenge, but then you'd expect it to be. A great deal of time and effort must be put into cable management not so much if you want it to look nice, more for if you actually want to be able to fit everything in at all. It can be done, but it takes time, and although Fractal do include a slack handful of cable ties there aren't that many places inside the case to utilise them.
If we have a criticism of the Core 500 it's that its looks are a little dated. We've seen plenty of shoe box cases in the past and they do all tend to look the same. On the other hand you could now say the same of the BitFenix Prodigy and could claim that the Core 500 does at least have a "classic" look about it. We guess it depends on your own sense of aesthetic as to which side of this particular fence you fall.
All in all though, at just £50 it does represent a significant bang for your buck. Yes you can get cases that offer the same if not better features, but there are few that offer the same in such a small package. All in all the Core 500 gets a well Deserved OC3D Value For Money Award.