Fractal Design Vector RS Blackout Review
Fractal Design has been regarded as one of the market leaders in enthusiast-level mid-tower cases for quite some time, with a plethora of options for builders who want silent operation, ease of build, and water-cooling.
Today we are looking at the all-new Fractal Design Vector RS Blackout PC case, and the first thing to note is the identical interior to the excellent R6. That’s right, this is essentially another refresh from Fractal Design, with some serious exterior changes. While this new look from Fractal Design does a great job of interweaving RGB, tempered glass, and sharp case angles, does it tick the usual boxes their other premium cases tick?
|Dimensions (mm)||233 x 552 x 498 (W x D x H)|
|Materials||Steel, Plastic, Tempered Glass|
|Front I/O panel||2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB Type-C, Microphone, Headphone, Reset Button, Power Button|
|Drive Bays||Up to 11 3.5" drives (6 included) and up to 4 2.5" drives (2 included).|
|Motherboard support||E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Cooling (Front/Rear/Top)||3 x 120/140mm (2 x 140mm included)/ 1 x 120/140mm (1 x 140mm included)/ 3 x 120/140mm (with cooling bracket installed)|
|CPU cooling clearance||System 1: 185mm|
|Maximum GPU length||440mm with front fans mounted|
Packaging & Contents
Fractal Design sent the Vector RS over to us and also threw in the ION+680P power supply and a pack of their Prisma fans. The case arrived undamaged as you would expect and has had some mixed reviews in the office.
Inside, you get the case and also an accessories pack. The accessories pack wasn’t anything tremendously exciting; it was just the modular brackets for the top of the case, if you were planning on hooking up extra fans. In the pack, you also get your manual and the screws for installation.
- Vector RS Blackout computer case
- 3 x Dynamic GP-14 fans
- Ventilated top panel
- Top filter
- Top radiator/ fan bracket
- Adjust R1 RGB controller
- User manual
- Accessory box
Seeing the Vector RS up close with the packaging removed and I’m less skeptical about the angular front. The Vector RS is labeled ‘Blackout’ due to its black aesthetics inside and out. You can go even darker though with Fractal offering a ‘Dark’ version, which is identical except the tempered glass features a heavier tint. This case, as mentioned, is a refresh, but the outside of the chassis has seen the most design changes. The Vector RS is mostly comprised of steel and plastic, shipping with three glass panels.
The front is where we see the angular profile; certainly an acquired taste, but it does give the chassis a sleek, simplistic look.
The minimalist approach on the design is broken up with a vein of RGB running vertically up the front and all the way to the back, separating the tempered glass from the plastic chassis.
The I/0 ports are located on the top, leaving the front of the case completely clean. There are ventilation grills along either side of the front panel for airflow to compensate for the glass panel and closed off front.
On the subject of air, the front panel is easily removed to reveal space for fans. Of course, this case comes with 2 x 140 mm fans (Dynamic X2 GP-14) installed on the front, but there is room for a third. If you wanted to mount 120mm fans on the front, it would still only take a total of three. You can easily mount an AIO cooler on the front too, with space for radiators up to 360mm in length.
Everything at the back of the Vector RS case is pretty standard, and we see the third and final pre-installed Dynamic X2 140mm fan here. For expansion, you get a fairly common seven slots, but there is also the inclusion of two vertical slots. I’m not sure you could vertically mount a chunky GPU without running into clearance issues, and these slots may be better suited for a turbo blower card or a water-cooled GPU.
It’s worth noting that there are no side panel thumbscrews this time. Instead, we see the use of a little ball-shaped part of the panel that clips in place. The side panels come off with a little bit of force and are so smooth I thought it was magnetic at first.
To The Side
Like a lot of Fractal Designs cases of late, we see a thick, scratch-resistant tempered glass panel. Unfortunately, this case doesn't come with any hinges of sorts as we saw in the Phanteks Enthoo 719, so you have to pay attention when taking off this side panel as it has a bit of weight to it. The glass, as you would expect, is of high quality, and for those that prefer a heavier tint, Fractal offers this case with a ‘Dark’ option too.
On the top of the Fractal Design Vector RS, Blackout is where we see the I/O ports, and at first glance, it’s a bit limited.
The I/O ports consist of:
- Power Button
- Reset Button
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB Type-C
- 1 x Microphone & Headphone Jack
An unusual gripe I found while using this case was the awkward reset button. Not only did it feel difficult to actually press but is quite small too, which I suppose wouldn’t be an issue if it actuated properly.
Fractal has once again implemented the modular top design with interchangeable panels for different setups. As you can see, the case comes with the glass panel installed on the top, and an accessory pack provides you with the other three attachments. The other attachments, which include the fan bracket, filter, and ventilated panel, will provide you with another space to mount cooling fans or, of course, an AIO radiator up to 420mm.
Regardless of which top panel you go for, you will still get the addressable RGB LED strip running through the top. This strip is connected to the R1 RGB controller, which also comes in the accessory pack.
The most important thing to note on the interior of the Vector RS case is the fact it is exactly the same as the Fractal Design R6. As mentioned, this is a refresh, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the insides of this premium case. The chassis can fit E-ATX boards, which would cover the cable holes entirely, but that isn’t a big deal as there is room through the HDD trays if you were desperate to make it work. Motherboard support is from Mini-ITX all the way up to E-ATX as discussed, but the optimal motherboard for the job in here is definitely an ATX.
Fractal offers some modularity with the Vector RS as the HDD cages can be removed. If you were going for a storage-based build, then the six included trays will be enough to get you started. Furthermore, if you needed extra storage, you can fit up to 11 HDDs alone. As you would expect from a case of this quality, the HDD trays come with vibration-dampening rubber grommets, but this is all fairly standard stuff for a premium case. While we are on the subject of storage, you also get two dedicated SSD brackets with the option to fit a total of four if you were going down the storage route. Removing the HDD trays is the only option for watercoolers out there as it's in a spot where you would ideally mount your reservoir.
Lastly, the final touch from Fractal is the full cover ventilated PSU shroud at the bottom of the case. I’m always a fan of a PSU shroud as it's such a simple addition that goes a long way with the aesthetics of any build, allowing you to easily tuck away those cables- out of sight, out of mind. Beneath the shroud, there is space to mount 2 x 120 or 140mm fans or a radiator up to 280mm.
The Back Panel
Taking the back panel off reveals the two SSD mounts and ample cable management room. According to the specification, the Vector RS has about 23mm of room for your cables. This translates to you never having to worry about the space at the back, and this also features Fractal's velcro straps, with a load of tie points for the cable management enthusiasts out there.
With the case being on offer in the US at the time of writing this, there are a few key features to the Vector RS Blackout that may persuade a few to grab this for their next build. The tool-free side panels with the push-to-lock mechanism are useful, but as mentioned, a hinged door is always preferred for me.
- Design - The angled intake vents along the sides are designed this way to trap noise without interrupting the airflow, but it gives the case a unique look that some possibly won’t like. There is plenty of storage and cooling support with this PC case, and the customizable ARGB strip running through the Vector is a touch I quite like.
- Water-Cooling - We have come to expect this level of water-cooling support from Fractal cases, so it is unsurprising to see it on the Vector RS. This cooling support, along with the modular design, gives builders multiple configurations to play with, and of course, there is vertical GPU mounting available too.
- Fan Hub - The handy fan hub screwed into the back panel assisted me during the build process and is a feature I’d like to see more often. While I didn’t cram this full of fans, it stopped me from needing a fan splitter and tidies up the build from the front massively.
While there are many features to the Vector RS Blackout, there is nothing to make this case stand out from the rest of the competition. That being said, the quality of Fractal Design shines through once again, and at the right price, this could be a decent option to go for.
Overall, the Fractal Design Vector RS Blackout PC case is a solid, feature-packed chassis. For your common builder or enthusiast, there is enough to this to keep both ends of the scale happy. The sharp angles could do it for some, and it's the first time we have seen Fractal include a strip of RGB through a case, but I still prefer the R5/R6 models or even the S2s.
The acoustic performance was very good, and the three included fans do a great job for thermals. So with few negatives to talk about, why am I still not sold on this? Well, the plastic feet and angular look are just not to my taste for what is considered to be a premium case. The tempered glass is great, but it seems wasted on the front as you can’t see any RGB fans behind it.
This Fractal case, like many before it is of stellar quality and makes the building process easy, so if you’re on the market for a case that performs, then the Vector RS could be one to go for.