The Define series of cases from Fractal has a classic design that has been around long before Fractal Design was even focusing on the US market. When they came to CES 2011 when they announced the brand to the US market they were already on the Define R3. The design has been around all this time because it is unique, simple, and quiet. When Define hit the market the clean styling that Fractal is known for was an outlier, flashy cases were still extremely popular. It's crazy looking back at just how much the market has moved in Fractals direction. Anyhow, the Define S2 has the same brushed metal front with a vent around it that really sets the style of the Define. This design gives that clean look while still allowing airflow but its other function is to keep noise down. The exterior of the Define S2 looks a lot like the Define R6, it is the inside that is the most different, but I will touch on that later. The Define S2 is available in four color configurations. The black with white is called Black, there is then a Blackout model with all black then gunmetal and white versions.
So the original Define S came before the tempered glass movement, so this is the first time an S model has glass. The original Define S came with a solid side panel or one with a plastic window. This new glass side panel looks amazing and will always stay nice where plastic loses its luster over time. I love that Fractal put a black border around this panel to hide all of the mounting edges. It also has a different mounting solution than past glass cases to come into the office. They have it mounted to a metal frame so it hooks into the right and then closes with thumbscrews on the back to hold it in place. This means no thumbscrews going through the glass and a cleaner look for the side panel. It also has pegs mounted towards the back that pop into place when you push them to hold the panel in place when you install the thumbscrews. Tempered glass is heavy and you don’t want to drop it and break it or damage your table.
The front panel buttons and I/O are all up over the plastic ring on the front of the case. You have a large aluminum power button in the middle and a small recessed reset button for buttons. Then for the I/O, there are headphone and microphone jacks over on the left as well as one Gen 2 USB Type-C. Then the right has four traditional USB connections, two are USB 3.0 and two 2.0. They are all black so you don’t have blue to set the USB 3’s apart, but they did label them.
The top of the S2 is similar to the original S in that it comes out of the box with a solid panel in it. This is called their ModuVent cover and it is in its third generation of design. The panel has both a steel cover with sound dampening and a filter built in, depending on if you are aiming for noise or cooling performance. At the top edge of the back of the Define S2, there is a big button, pushing this in will pop the panel up and you can pull it off to change that around or to clean the filter.
Up under the ModuVent, the top of the case is unique as well. For starters, they have added a potential hole for a fill port. For custom water cooling this is awesome. I had my fill port in our Fridge build from years ago hidden up under the top panel in a similar way. Its great for maintenance but still out of the way and you don’t have to drill a hole in your new case. You can see the panel has springs built in to push up on the modular panel to help it pop out when you push the button. There are also mounts for three 120mm or 140mm fans. This panel also can be removed to gain access to your motherboard from the top. This should make plugging in that 8-pin extremely easy if you want.
The back of the Define S2 is really the first time we see some of the white accents that Fractal is known for. All of the PCI brackets are bright white against the black. The back view of the case really starts to put the overall width of the S2 into perspective as well. You can see how much space there is to the left and to a smaller amount to the right of the PSU bracket. Speaking of the bracket, the PSU is mounted down at the bottom and the removable bracket here with two thumbscrews means the PSU is installed through the back of the case, but through one of the side panels like normal. The S2 has seven normal PCI brackets as well as two vertical brackets where you can mount a GPU vertical, but you will need their Flex VRC-25 PCIe riser for that to work. It’s a bummer that doesn’t come with the case, but I love having the option to vertical mount my GPU without having to cut the case up. Up top next to the rear I/O the rear of the case has just the one fan mount. The mounting design supports 120mm and 140mm fans but you can see that the case comes with a 140mm fan. The mount also has an interesting slot design that will allow you to slide the fan up or down about an inch. This can help with top radiator clearance.
The right side of the Define S2 is old school with a traditional solid steel side panel. Because of that, we might as well take a look at the side of the front of the case here. The vents run from the top to bottom of the case on both sides and if you look close you can see that they have included a filter mesh inside as well.
Down on the bottom, the cases feet are visible because they are large round and chromed. This goes with the more formal design and I like that the feet aren’t basic rubber nubs hidden away.
The rest of the bottom of the case is really filled with the full-length filter. It is removable with a handle up at the front of the case, reachable when the case is in use. The large chrome feet also have large rubber pads on them to keep everything from moving around. Lastly in the middle Fractal has their badge with a model and serial number, certifications, and branding. This is the only branding on the outside of the case but there is a fractal logo that shows through the window that I will touch on in the next section.