Fractal Design Vector RS Review
So there we have it folks, the Fractal Design Vector RS case. What do we think of it? Well, before we get to that, let's have a bit of a recap of the key features and our thoughts from the review. First then, the key features. Deep breath now, we're going to do this all in one go. Ready??? Bolt-free TG panels with push-to-lock latching, Interchangeable top panels offer a choice of sleek tempered glass or filtered ventilation, Counter angled intake vents designed to trap noise with minimal airflow resistance, Customisable ARGB LED strip spans top and front panels, Set colours and effects via standard 5V RGB motherboard connection or included Adjust R1 controller, Six HDD trays included 11 positions (additional Type-A trays sold separately), Two SSD (included with four positions available, (additional Type-A trays sold separately), Three Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 140 mm fans pre-installed, Up to nine 120/140 mm fan positions, Nexus+ fan hub manages up to nine fans via your motherboard, Extensive water cooling support for radiators up to 420 mm in the top, 360 mm in the front, and 280 mm in the base, Ventilated PSU shroud conceals cables and provides additional SSD mounting options, Modular design converts from a storage focused standard layout to a cooling centric open layout, Support for Flex VRC-25 vertical GPU riser (sold separately), USB 3.1 GEN 2 Type-C....Aaaaaand Breath.
OK, so it's a pretty well spec'd out case, but that's not all, it can accommodate motherboards up to E-ATX (285mm), CPU coolers up to 185mm in height, GPUs up to 440mm long, and pretty much and PSU you care to throw at it.
Looking at the specs though doesn't tell us the full story of the RS. It is in fact, two cases in one. Actually it's a bit more than that, but we'll get to that in a minute. Out of the box it's set up in "Storage" layout, with trays for up to 6xHDDs behind the vanity panel. Now, for those of you thinking "This isn't 2008, we don't need loads of storage", untwist your panties and get a grip. As it happens there are some out there for whom this vast storage appeals, and if you don't like it...you know what you can do??? Yup, that's right, you can totally reconfigure the interior to provide a solution able to accommodate simply awesome water cooling setups. Happy now.? So a few minutes with the screwdriver enables the user to convert it into "Open" layout. In this configuration, the HDD trays, and their supporting framework are removed or relocated, opening up the front and allowing for rad and fan combinations up to 180mm thick. It's worth bearing in mind that this can be done while still accommodating up to 3xHDDs behind the reconfigured panel. So, we've covered the front, but what about the roof section? Out of the box, the RS comes with the glass panel in place, but the package also includes an alternative vented roof solution for those that are looking for better ventilation or who perhaps want to put a radiator in the roof. It's not the place of the conclusion to detail the endless possibilities offered by the RS when it comes to water cooling, for that, we suggest you read the full review (yes, we know you skip to the end) and also have a gander at the water cooling section of the Introduction and Technical Specification.
But its Achilles heel is airflow. Or lack of it. A combination of a restrictive front panel plus fans that have just been reused from the R6 and therefore can't move enough air to overcome this mean for the price it's actually quite hot out of the box. We think it will be fine with more fans and set up right or utterly rammed with water cooling but it needs work and for a case this pretty that's a shame. This is the first case we have done in a long time that unless you're just looking for something that looks nice and you're happy to tune your rig around the case limitations - you HAVE to upgrade the fans.
Our final thoughts are these. Here at OC3D we've reviewed hundreds, and we mean hundreds of cases, We have many "official" awards, which we'll get to in a moment, but one of the highest "unofficial awards" that we can never ever bestow is the "Mmmm I'd quite like to keep that" Award, and as we're sitting here finishing off this review, and gazing at the sheer beauty of the RS and thinking about how we would set it up to work around that front panel. It's like an old car, you have to buy it knowing you need to spend more money on it to make it right.