Overall and Final Verdict
I’ve been excited for a while with my theory that Fractal Design might be bringing out more ITX cases. Specifically, ITX cases that would use an SFX PSU like they introduced and the Era ITX is exactly that. But does it live up to the hype? Well first, I was really hoping it would be a new version of the Node 202, but this isn’t far off. The Era ITX is a more traditional tower design, but with that SFF footprint and at a capacity of 16 liters it isn’t small but it is once you also remember it also can fit a 240mm AIO and a full-length card if you for with a standard SFX PSU. CPU cooling is always a challenge with SFF cases, especially with CPUs putting out more and more heat and having AIO support is huge. The modular design allows you to use the Era ITX in multiple ways as well, if you want you can go for even more cooling or use an ATX PSU or put two 3.5 inch hard drives. You do have to plan depending on the direction you go though.
The styling is my favorite part of the case which is interesting because I normally like the clean and simple look that Fractal does and this is a departure from that in a lot of ways. The aluminum design is anodized in multiple color options, all of which look great, and it has a curvier design that normal for Fractal. To go with the colors, they also include a magnetic top panel that can be swapped out. The mesh is good for airflow but the maple wood that our titanium gray model comes with is amazing. The only downside is the wood top doesn’t offer nearly as much airflow so when you are running an AIO on the top you may have to swap it out to keep things running cooler.
The entire case is decked out with air filters on almost every intake or exhaust location and most are held in with magnets. You can open everything up without any tools and clean the filters. Working in the case wasn’t too bad for this small of a case, mostly thanks to the amazing instruction manual. I often ignore instructions, but they did a great job with these and they are worth the look. The only difficulty is with wire management, you don’t get your hand held as much as on some of today's new cases with wire tracks behind the motherboard and Velcro wire ties all over. You will have to actually work on cleaning things up a little “the old fashioned way” (with zip ties).
The other big elephant in the room is the price. The Era ITX isn’t a cheap case with an MSRP of $159.99. It is a premium case however being built from thick aluminum panels with relatively exotic bends. The other big cost is, of course, the swappable top panel. You are paying for two and one of them is tempered glass or in the case of the silver and titanium gray models, they used premium woods. Considering how many of the community designed cases are popular even with even higher prices I do still think there is a market for the Era ITX. But the price is going to chase off a few people as well. Altogether I do really dig what Fractal Design has going on here and the Era ITX without a doubt is going to show up on a few desks on Reddit's r/battlestations with its clean look and unique styling.
Live Pricing: HERE