Fractal Design Core 3000 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on November 4, 2011


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Fractal Design is a Swedish manufacturer, and their products are easy to find in the US. The Core 3000 is a mid-tower case that costs USD 65. Let’s see if it is a good pick.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 1: Fractal Design Core 3000 case

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 2: Fractal Design Core 3000 case

The left-side panel has a mesh where you can install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan, which doesn’t come with the product. There isn’t an air filter for this mesh.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 3: Left-side panel

The Front Panel

The front panel of the Fractal Design Core 3000 has a very sober look, with only two external 5.25” bays, which allowed more space for internal bays. The external bays use meshed covers with air filters, and the bottom one comes with an adapter for you to install an external 3.5” device.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 4: Front panel

Internally, the case has two hard drive cages, and it comes with a 140 mm fan on its front panel cooling the top hard drive cage. You can install a second 140 mm fan to cool down the bottom cage or you can move the fan to the bottom, if you prefer to cool down the bottom cage instead of the top one. This fan spins at 1,000 rpm and comes with a three-pin connector, and it can be installed on the fan controller that comes with the product. There is an air filter for these fans.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 5: Front panel

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 6: Front fan

The Top, Bottom, and Rear Panels

The top panel supports two 120 mm or 140 mm fans, and the Core 3000 comes with a 140 mm fan installed. This fan is identical to the front one, spinning at 1,000 rpm and using a three-pin connector. It also can be installed on the fan controller that comes with the product.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 7: Top panel

The case comes with four USB 2.0 ports but no USB 3.0 ports. They are located on the front part of the top panel.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 8: Buttons and connectors

The bottom panel allows the installation of one 120 mm fan, but the case doesn’t come with an air filter for it. The second mesh you see in Figure 9 is for the power supply fan, and at least this one comes with an air filter.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 9: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Fractal Design Core 3000 are painted black.

The power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case.

The Fractal Design Core 3000 comes with a 120 mm fan installed on its rear panel, which has a maximum speed of 1,200 rpm and can also be installed on the fan controller that comes with the product.

There are seven expansion slots, all with white, vented covers.

This case has two holes using rubber covers for hoses of liquid cooling solutions.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 10: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Fractal Design Core 3000.

Inside the Fractal Design Core 3000

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes for you to route cables behind it, and several metallic clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 11: Overall look

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 12: A view behind the motherboard tray

In Figure 11, you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using black thumbscrews. The Fractal Design Core 3000 supports video cards up to 10.6” (270 mm) long, but if you remove the top hard drive cage, this clearance is increased to 16.5” (420 mm). The case supports CPU coolers up to 6.3” (160 mm) tall.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 13: Overall look

The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. Note that it can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it.

If you install a power supply up to 6.3” (160 mm) deep, you can install a 120 mm fan on the bottom panel. As already discussed, the case doesn’t come with an air filter for this fan, but it comes with an air filter for the power supply fan.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 14: Power supply compartment

The fan controller, shown in Figure 15, must be installed on an expansion slot. It is a single-channel, analog controller supporting three fans, which means that all fans are controlled through a single potentiometer.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 15: Fan controller

The Disk Drive Bays

The Fractal Design Core 3000 has two external 5.25” bays and six internal 3.5”/2.5” bays, and you can convert one of the external 5.25” bays into an external 3.5” bay. They don’t have tool-less installation mechanisms, but the case comes with several black thumbscrews for you to install the disk drives, which is terrific.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 16: Disk drive bays

The six 3.5”/2.5” bays are available inside two hard drive cages. You can remove the top cage in case you need to install longer video cards, or in the event that you want to increase air flow inside the case.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 17: Top hard drive cage removed

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 18: Hard drive cage

Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a small drawer, each one featuring rubber rings to absorb vibrations from 3.5” devices.

Fractal Design Core 3000 case
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Figure 19: One of the 3.5”/2.5” bays

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Fractal Design Core 3000 include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Fractal Design Core 3000 provides a terrific cost/benefit ratio for users who are looking for a mid-tower case with nice features at an affordable price.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Fractal-Design-Core-3000-Case-Review/1419


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