Raptor Computing Systems Community Forums (BETA)

Third Party Hardware => General Discussion => Topic started by: pocock on May 07, 2020, 06:12:53 pm

Title: Fractal Design cases
Post by: pocock on May 07, 2020, 06:12:53 pm

Here is a photo of another board in this particular case, does it appear suitable for Talos II?

More about the case:

Some of their cases also appear suitable for Blackbird.

Searching their support page produces some measurements and screenshots for SSI and E-ATX:



For example, this appears to rule out their R6 E-ATX case for Talos II:


Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: pocock on September 03, 2020, 12:52:13 pm

With the Fractal Design Define 7 XL, all the studs can be moved into positions compatible with the Talos II and the board fits nicely in the case.

By default, the case includes three 3-pin fans and a fan hub for powering them.

The fan hub has connections for
- each case fan
- the CPU1 fan
- connection to the motherboard
- connection directly to the PSU via a SATA power socket

Can anybody comment on whether

a) the case fans should be replaced with 4-pin fans or the default 3-pin fans will be OK?

b) the case fans should be connected to the Fractal fan hub or directly to the case fan jumpers on the Talos II motherboard?

c) the cable from the fan hub to motherboard would go to which port on the motherboard?

Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: madscientist159 on September 03, 2020, 04:47:50 pm
A couple of notes...

The old style 3-pin fans would run at full speed all the time.  I'd personally replace them with modern 4-pin fans unless they're nice and quiet at full power (or the case is controlling their speed somehow with a sensor).

The Talos II fan headers can supply quite a bit of +12V power, just watch out for the connector(s) you attach to the header(s).  Just because the mainboard can supply a lot of amps safely doesn't mean the attached third party fan connector can actually handle that current without damage (melting, fire, fusing, etc.).
Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: pocock on September 03, 2020, 05:10:15 pm

I went looking for more details about the fan hub integrated in the case.

It appears that I can connect the 4-pin wire from the hub to one of the zone 3 outputs on the Talos II

The hub will then supply power to all three case fans.

I will test this to see if they run at full speed all the time or if the Talos II is able to control their speed through the hub

If the fan hub can't control the speed then I'll replace the case fans with 4-pin fans and connect those directly to the motherboard.

Does that make sense?
Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: pocock on September 04, 2020, 10:56:55 am
I tried the above, connecting the case fans through the Fractal case's fan hub.  The fan hub is getting power from the PSU via a SATA power socket and it has a 4-pin input that connects to motherboard FAN1

Visually, it looks like the fans speed up after power on and they slow down after some time has passed.  It sounds really quiet too.

Is there any way to verify the speed of the case fans definitively?  For example, can I force them up to full speed while leaving the CPU fans at minimum, to see if I can hear the case fans alone?
Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: pocock on October 08, 2020, 03:02:58 pm

I ran ipmitool and I didn't see any fan speed from the built-in fan hub of the Fractal case.

I decided to try replacing one of the default 3-pin case fans with a 4-pin PWM Noctua fan

If the fan is at the rear of the case, the 30cm cable from Noctua doesn't quite reach the fan connectors on the front of the motherboard.

The fan hub has some 4-pin connectors and 3-pin connectors.  It appears that it takes the speed sensor from the first 4-pin connector and passes that back to the motherboard.  Connecting the fan to the first 4-pin connector, I was able to see the speed with ipmitool.  I tried moving it to each of the 4-pin connectors and they all report 0, it only reports the speed if it is on the first connector.

Using the fan hub in this way also solves the 30cm problem because the fan hub is at the back of the case too.

At idle, I don't believe the system is significantly quieter using the Noctua fan.  ipmitool reports that the fan is running at its slowest speed, 300 RPM.  I suspect that any noise I can hear is coming from other parts of the system and not the Noctua fan.

Overall, it is convenient being able to see the fan speed like this but maybe I could see the fan speed by using a more advanced fan hub that can monitor the 3-pin case fans.
Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: pocock on October 08, 2020, 04:47:31 pm

As discussed elsewhere (https://forums.raptorcs.com/index.php/topic,218.0.html), the PWM fan described here is now running at 1800 RPM.  The system is actually idle so this feels a bit odd.

It was 300 RPM when the system booted and it increased gradually over time.

From the perspective of the Fractal case, the default Fractal fans are rated for 1000 RPM.  Given a PWM fan, the system seems to prefer a lot more than 1000 RPM and that implies the default Fractal fans are not sufficient for a multi-CPU build like this.  They may still be suitable for somebody with single CPU, e.g. Talos II Lite with 4 or 8 core.
Title: Re: Fractal Design cases
Post by: vikings.thum on October 09, 2020, 03:37:20 am
After building a number of system with Fractal Design cases I've monitored a decline in build quality, esp. in the Define 7 XL:
Some of the stand-off holes are not drilled correctly and either can't be used at all or have to be re-drilled with a screw tap.
Some of the motherboard stand-offs break off when you try screwing them in because of weak material (sometimes requires a thin drill for removal). Do not use Fractal Design stand-offs.

Side-note for assemblers who are shipping these cases: Fractal design uses cheap packaging, it's not suitable to ship workstations builds. They use hard styro which often already breaks with just the case inside, shipping with broken styro not recommended at all. Customized corrugated board with engineered foam enclosures (foam bags) are more effective and reinforce the rigidity of the outer box. Alternatively I can recommend double-boxing with the original box inside.