2022 was an eventful year for Fractal, a company renowned for its innovative PC cases. Eager to kick off 2023 with a significant impact, they introduced the Terra, a compact form-factor case that has generated considerable buzz in the tech community. Earlier in the year, we received this case for review, and we're excited to explore its features and assembly process in detail.
Fractal describes the Terra as their most challenging small form-factor build to date, and it's easy to see why. The case comes with a unique envelope containing draft designs, adding a personalized touch to the unboxing experience. The user guide is notably thick, reflecting the complex nature and versatility of this small form-factor build.
The Terra's weight is the first thing you notice, a result of its 8mm anodized aluminium construction. Available in three colours – Graphite, Silver, and a striking Jade – the case stands out with its premium build quality and materials, including a wooden accent on the front and a faux leather tab for easy access to the top panel.
Despite its small 10.4-liter volume, the Terra is designed to accommodate a full-size three-slot graphics card or a larger cooler, offering impressive flexibility for a case of its size. Fractal has also incorporated thoughtful features like easy-to-remove side panels and a minimalist design with the Fractal logo subtly placed on one side.
The interior is efficiently divided into two sections: one for the GPU and the other for the motherboard. The unique design allows the motherboard to be inverted, with the PC expansion cable situated at the top. The case also includes a handy accessory box filled with screws, an SSD mount, a cleaning cloth, cable ties, and standoffs.
One of the Terra's most distinctive features is its transformable design, allowing users to adjust the internal layout to fit larger graphics cards or coolers. This flexibility is further enhanced by dedicated SSD slots and thoughtful cable management options.
However, the Terra's journey to market wasn't without challenges. Fractal discovered issues with the PCIe extension cable, similar to those encountered with their Ridge case. In response, they initiated a recall to address and resolve these issues, demonstrating their commitment to customer satisfaction and product quality.
Now that the Terra is back on the market, we're eager to build in it and explore its full potential. With its premium materials, flexible design, and thoughtful features, the Terra is a standout option in the small form-factor case market. At a price point of $179.99, it's a premium choice, but its unique features and quality build make it an attractive option for high-end builders. Stay tuned as we explore Terra's performance and capabilities in our comprehensive review.
As we delve into the assembly process, we begin to appreciate the Terra's intricate design. The case accommodates a variety of configurations, enabling builders to experiment with different hardware setups. One key feature is the ability to adjust the internal spine of the case, a clever mechanism that allows for the installation of larger graphics cards or CPU coolers. This adjustability is achieved by simply removing and repositioning screws, a process made easy by the numbered markers inside the case.
For our build, we experimented with different graphics cards to test the Terra's versatility. While it comfortably fits mid-range cards like the 4070 Founder's Edition, larger, triple-slot cards present a tighter fit. However, to our surprise, even a massive RTX 4090 found its place within the case, though with limited space for air intake.
One innovative aspect of the Terra is its potential to accommodate a 120mm radiator, provided you use a shorter graphics card. This flexibility adds to the case's appeal for builders seeking optimal cooling solutions in a compact form factor.
In terms of assembly, the process is straightforward yet requires careful planning, especially in cable management. Fractal's design ensures that even in such a compact space, there's room to neatly route cables and maintain optimal airflow. The placement of components, such as the power supply and motherboard, is crucial to maximizing the case's potential.
Fractal Design Concept Images
We also explored the Terra's cooling capabilities. Despite its small size, the case allows for efficient heat dissipation, ensuring that components stay within safe temperature limits even under heavy load. This performance is particularly impressive given the case's compact dimensions and the challenge of managing airflow in smaller spaces.
Regarding noise levels, the Terra performs admirably. Under maximum stress tests, the noise remained within acceptable limits, making it a suitable choice for users sensitive to loud operational sounds.
Finally, the Terra's price point of $179.99 places it in the premium category. While it might be steep for some, the case's quality, flexibility, and unique features justify the investment for enthusiasts and high-end PC builders. Its ability to accommodate a range of components, from small to large GPUs, and its efficient cooling system make it a versatile and appealing choice.
In conclusion, Fractal's Terra showcases the company's commitment to innovation and quality. Its flexible design, premium materials, and efficient use of space set it apart in the crowded market of small form-factor cases. Whether it's the new king of air-cooled small form-factor cases is a matter of personal preference, but it undoubtedly stands as a strong contender. With its thoughtful design and robust build, the Terra is well-suited for builders looking to create a high-performance PC in a compact, stylish package.