The Fractal Ridge is an ITX case designed to be relatively compact and has a unique layout that I would consider to be a lot closer to a modern gaming console than to a traditional case. The Ridge isn’t the first case to have that layout, it isn’t even the first case from Fractal. Its total size is 12.6 liters which is how most SFF cases are measured, using the overall dimensions and for a case from a mainstream case company that is very small with just a few cases that are more compact that also still support a full-sized video card. Once you get into some of the nitch companies there are more in that range but it is great to see mainstream options at that size. To get to that size, the case without its feet attached comes in at 355 x 95 x 375 mm. Once you figure in the feet it adds to that with the horizontal layout being 360 x 375 x 115 mm and with it laid out as a vertical orientation it is 374 x 110 x 395 mm. It comes in both black and white color options and like with a lot of Fractals cases its styling incorporates fabric into the front panel which for the white model that we have here is a heather grey but on the black case has a darker almost black color to it. I’m a big fan of this because it makes the case unique without having to resort to the flashy in-your-face “gamer” styling that you see on some larger cases.
Both sides of the Ridge have steel side panels that have been powder-coated white. They have the fractal logo debossed into the left panel and both have an array of ventilation holes. The left side just has half of the panel covered in ventilation. The right side panel on the other half has most of the panel covered in vent holes. The holes are standard circles and on the right side, you can spot a few holes that are larger than the rest. These are for mounting the stand that was included when you do the horizontal layouts. You can put the stand in two different layouts on this side panel.
The front of the Ridge gives a better look at the overall shape which has rounded corners that wrap around the top and bottom to the side panels. The front however is flat, none of the rounded edges wrap around on to it. The fabric hides the ventilation that runs up the front of the case and the front panel is plastic and is removable. It is held in place with magnets making it easy to pop off when needed. Down at the bottom, they have the front I/O and power button. The power button is in the center and is white to match the case, it also has a status LED about an inch above the power button behind the fabric on the front panel keeping it hidden completely until it powers on. On both sides, it has USB 3.0 plugs. Then on the far left is a Type-C plug and on the far right is the audio jack. That is a combination of audio and microphone plug.
The bottom and top of the ridge look similar, these are both steel as well and have the round vent holes running the length of the panel. You can spot the bottom side though because it does have those four holes that are larger to mount the stand. I do wish that these holes were threaded, the stand mounting design has you mounting it from the back of the panel which for the horizontal layout is fine but means you do need to take things apart a lot more to get to it for the vertical layout, so swapping between the two is possible but could be easier.
The back of the Ridge is the only area on our white model that doesn’t have that bright white finish. The back, like the inside of the Ridge, has a black finish. The view of the back gives us a lot better look at the overall layout though. The rear I/O for the motherboard is at the bottom here or on the left if we had it laying in the horizontal layout. Right up against the rear I/O is the power plug. Then up in the top half are the PCI brackets which you get three in total. The PCI brackets and the area all around it is all ventilated as well with slots and the area above the brackets is left open where some cases would have a bracket to cover that opening. It’s clear that they are looking to get airflow anywhere they can. Down at the bottom below the I/O opening, there is also a small slot which I almost missed. This is a security lock slot just in case the Ridge is set up somewhere that you are worried someone might take off with it. Given the size, it's a valid concern.
For comparison, I did put the Fractal Ridge next to a few other cases that share a similar design. Namely the Silverstone ML-08 which has the top handle and the Sentry 2.0 from Dr Zaber. The Ridge doesn’t have its base installed in one of the pictures and you can see how the Ridge would end up being taller. Even without the stand, you can see how much bigger the Ridge is compared to the Sentry 2.0 but it and the Silverstone Ml-08 are very close in size. The styling of the Ridge is a lot nicer than the Silverstone case, however.