Let me start off this Core 1000 review by saying that the case itself is very budget-oriented. You will find that at most places it retails for around $39.99, which is much less costly than even the mid-range PC cases we’ve looked at so far, including the also simplistic Corsair Carbide Series 330R case reviewed just a day ago. It also has a micro-ATX form factor, which is compatible with micro- and mini-ATX motherboards. You get 2 traditional 5.25″ hard drive bays, as well as a vertically mounted side panel that allows for either three 3.5″ drives or two 2.5″ drives. As for fans, there are three regular slots and it also comes with one 120mm Silent Series R2 fan. The Core 1000 case we are reviewing also has USB 3.0 enabled on the “front” panel (which is actually located on the side), although there are older Fractal Design cases of this type that only had USB 2.0.
This case by no means should be used for gaming builds, as I am afraid the features needed for larger motherboards, graphics cards, additional drives, and quite frankly the style are all not there. Fractal Design built this budget-oriented case with office needs in mind, and it seems to do the job well enough, while keeping costs down. I personally used this to build a simple office computer with no graphics card.
The quality of materials is important whenever we review a case. Fractal Design usually is reputable for having nice and sturdy equipment. While the Core 1000 is not flimsy in any way, I certainly feel the price of the computer when compared to other mid-tier cases. The metal on the case felt much weaker but still obviously can hold its own. It just will not feel thick and as durable as it should, but it gets the job done. The side panels were tough to remove because of the steel tabs that you slide it open and close with. They were slightly crooked, making the whole installation process take a little longer. I am not sure whether those steel tabs were crooked on purpose to ensure the side panels remain in place once you are done or crooked because of how the steel was not made thickly, but the build quality could have been a little more cooperative. It makes it tough whenever I need to edit the build I am working on since I dread having to open the case back up.
As for cable management, I did feel a little cramped but that was to be expected from a small form factor case. Despite its budget-friendly nature, I expected some sort of help for cable management, like loops or mini hooks to help keep them in place, but you are sort of left on your own to neatly organize everything while building. Again, not a big deal, but it could be tough for those new to building computers and/or those dealing with a non-modular power supply. I could see the frustration in that audience since non-modular PSU’s are much cheaper than going semi-modular and this case itself specifically targets budget-oriented PC builds.
These cases quite truthfully are not that quiet. Both sides are fairly thin metal and have no sound dampening material applied to the inside of the walls. The PSU is mounted to the top, so if you have a pretty noisy unit, it could vibrate and cause some noise. I pretty much solved the issue by applying my own sound dampening material and it was fairly quiet from that point on. The fan included isn’t that quiet either, but it isn’t bothersome.
Like mentioned, there really aren’t a lot of features found in the Fractal Design Core 1000. It is a minimalist as it comes. For the money, you get a decent office computer case that holds up well. The connector panel has a nice USB 3.0 port. In addition, there are enough drive bays for most people and we found the air flow has no issues. The sound could use some work, definitely, due to the rather shallow metal walls of the case, but that is to be expected from a sub-$50 enclosure.
The case is small form factor so it fits snugly in a corner without taking up too much room.