So, what was actually standing here next? Well, we have two Fractal’s products, one is their new Vector RS chassis and the other one their big 360 mm all-in-one watercooler called Celsius S36, I’ll talk about it a little bit later on in the video. So, strap in, relax, take some drink and snack, because this one will be a bit more in-depth.
The Vector RS is probably one of Fractal’s most distinct step away from the usual minimalistic design philosophy of their chassis, something that’s built to satisfy users who do appreciate this type of approach but would also like to have a little bit of that RGB flare. And flare they will get, because from top to bottom of the front panel we have this RGB LED strip, which also stretches across the top panel. It can be controlled over the addressable RGB header which hooks up to the motherboard, and of course with the accompanying software utility from the manufacturer of the said motherboard or it’s BIOS, while you have an option of manual control over the RGB remote which comes in the bundle. This RGB LED strip also highlights the division between the left and right part of the chassis, where we have this angled cut on front and top panel, marking a transition between two different textures so to speak which those panels have, from glossy part to normal smooth texture at the front, and from tempered glass to also normal texture on the top.
Yeah, I did an oopsy here by putting the fans as intake but corrected that just after I finished with the build.
Fractal Vector RS – familiar look and feel
With the tempered glass top pane being angled like this, it reminds of a skylight window, a panoramic roof if you will, definitely give a unique look to the chassis. But, that’s not the only thing why this area is unique. At first wondered why is the accessory box so big, although I had my suspicions, once I’ve opened it up it was clear why. You will actually get an additional mesh panel, together with a dust filter and a frame rail for installing the fans, so you have an option of putting it instead of the tempered glass panel, which will definitely help in getting the hot air out of the chassis, but more on that later on. Right of that, we have a set of I/O ports, a pretty usual one, with two USB 3.0, audio in and out jacks and power on and reset switch, but with an addition of USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.
Overall the Vector RS feels really sturdy and well build, it’s a big mid-tower chassis, although not that tall as long and wide, but that’s due to some solutions which they incorporated inside of it. Personally, I do like how it looks, it still has that simplicity airing out of it, it just gets a little bit more personalized, although I could see a lot of people being triggered by the fact that it’s not symmetrical looking it from the front, but rather offset like this.
On the bottom we have four plastic feet with rubber padding on them, which have this pretty cool looking angular design, while they are covered on the front by the front panel itself, it overhangs them basically completely to the bottom, giving it a pretty interesting look. Down there you’ll also find this big dust filter completely covering that bottom surface, preventing the dust being pulled inside from power supply or other fans which can be put along the inner part of that bottom panel. It can be pulled out from the front, but you need to remove the front panel before doing so.
Thankfully, the front panel can be easily pulled off thanks to Fractal using this connector-less type of connection for the RGB LED strip, so you can without any fear take it down one go. Here you will also find two thin dust filter on each side for those air intake points, it will be interesting to see how they handle airflow later on, as well as another big on the top, that is if you decide to use the mesh panel, because otherwise, yeah… This doesn’t look good or makes any piratical sense. Although this Vector RS build brings in three pre-installed of Fractal’s Dynamic X2 GP-14 140 mm fans, two on the front, one on the back, unfortunately, none of them are PWM.
Taking a look at the inside of the chassis, this is essentially their Define R6 model, but with a different outer shell. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing, on the contrary, but it does give out that “hey, I’ve seen that before” feel. To get to it, after unscrewing the two thumbscrews, you have the use some force to pop it off from its latching mechanics, while on the front it hugs this rounded part of the frame with its L profile. Although it’s an additional way of keeping the glass secured when you put it on without the thumbscrews, it’s a bit sketchy when trying to pop that back part first, you need to do it with two hands, while the other end is sort of hanging onto the frame with only friction, I wasn’t too comfortable doing it, I felt like the other end could just fly off and take everything down with it. To the non-ones surprise, the main interior is divided by a power supply shroud that completely covers the bottom part of it. You can fit here an E-ATX motherboard without any problem and the standoffs are already preinstalled which made my job of building in it just that much easier.
Vector RS sparing no space
There’s plenty of cutouts around the motherboard tray, and all of them have their rubber grommets, expect one in the left bottom corner for some reason. This big plate with Fractal’s logo on the front definitely steals the show, because nowadays it’s not common to see something like this, and it in a way imitates those old school chassis where we had that dedicated compartment for the drives. And this exactly also serves the same purpose for the Vector RS, but with a catch, you can remove it anytime you like. You can also choose to remove just the drive trays if you wish to and leave the panel itself on, so you can cover for example the excess cable or you don’t wont to see the fans or the radiator placed on the front. In there we have a total of 11 slots, but not all come populated with tray, with the case itself come 6 of them, while the rest you can buy if need too, and the existing ones you can move around if you wish to. The tray themselves are partially tool-less, you can pull them off just by undoing a single thumbscrew, but for installing the drive, it takes both the 3,5” and 2,5” ones, you need to screw them in or put these mounting rubbers
If you decide to not use that drive tower, you can basically push the whole thing to back, since there’s no other rail parallel to it, the drive trays just latch onto it, while the back of the trays screws into the edge of the motherboard panel, using that before mentioned signal thumbscrews. This way you’ll get it basically in-line with the motherboard tray, and like this, you will completely make the main compartment opened up. Fear not, you will still have a possibility to vertically install up to two 3,5” drives onto the back on that same rail.
The backside also reveals plenty of room to go about, that being for example additional two 2,5” drive trays, SATA powered Nexus+ fan hub which can power up to nine fans, three of them having 4-pin PWM connection. There’s plenty of routing and cable tie points, you will get few Velcro and plastic zip ties, as well as enough space between the side panel and the back of the motherboard, just don’t go overboard with the thickens, because the right-side panel also closes up by just popping in, so you’ll have to be quick with the thumbscrews if you overdo it. Since the chassis is a bit longer, it still has enough room around the power supply installation spot, it has it’s own dedicated chamber basically, with separate installation bracket and muting pads.
If you decide to remove or push the drive tray up a bit and free some room for that left part of the bottom compartment, you can then put up to a 280 mm on the bottom, while on the front you can go for a thicker radiator or a push-pull configuration. On the other hand, if you choose to leave any of the tray installed, you can count on about 30 mm of headroom for the radiator. Since I’m already talking about the cooling setup, there’s plenty of routes you can choose to go for. Beside this bottom configuration, on the back you can put up to 140 mm fans or radiators, on the front you can put anything up to 360mm in terms of fan or radiator configuration, while on the top that’s bumped up to 420 mm, with everything else in between also being supported.
As for the CPU cooling, when it comes to air cooling solution, you can use up to 185 mm tall models, so basically anything will fit in terms of that, while for the GPU the basic length is 300 mm, while it can go up to 440 mm or 465 mm if you don’t have the front fans installed, but then the GPU can be 150 mm wide at most. As you’ve probably already noticed by the two vertical expansions slots, you have an option to install your GPU vertical, but you’ll have to first buy a flat PCI-e extension cable because you’re not getting one in the bundle. I would advise using that option only if you’re going to water-cool your graphics card because you’re not going to get any airflow for its cooler with it being basically pressed right against the tempered glass side window.
Completing the build with Celsius S36 watercooling
Jumping to the topic air-flow and temperatures, as I said, for taking care of CPU temperature we have the Fractal Celsius S36 all-in-one watercooler. This is the most powerful model in their current line-up, it uses an aluminum 360 mm radiator, which rather thin for its size. It also carries standard G quarter fittings, so you have an option of expanding your loop, but only on the radiator, on the CPU block. The tubing is nicely sleeved, appropriately rigid and still flexible enough, although a bit on the shorter side when you put it on the front of Fractal Vector RS chassis, it barely reaches the CPU socket. It also comes with its own fan hub supporting up to three fans, and it’s nicely placed on the radiator itself, while the PWM cable goes underneath the sleeving of the tubes, all the way to the block. The only problem I have with it, or rather the fans is the last bottom one can not reach that hub as its cable is too short, which is a pretty serious oversight considering how they intended this to be used.
Speaking of it block, we have this very minimalistic looking design, with just a snowflake engraved into it. It’s deferentially not the thickest I’ve seen, just the right amount, and inside of it we have ab Asetek solution and pump that runs from 2000 to 3200 RPM and you have an option to control over PWM or it can do its thing automatically, for which you have a switch on the block itself, you basically just rotate the outer ring of the block. On more thing, if you decide to use the watercoolers fan hub, you won’t be able to set a separate speed for the fans or the pump, as the fan hub itself the uses PWM connection of the pump, so you’ll either set the pump speed to your liking, and the fans will spin at certain speed together with it for that signal level, or it will be the other way around.
On the other side, we have around copper contact plate for the CPU, with the pre-installed thermal paste, while I did end up scrapping it and using my Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut solution. Taking for a test drive, it was able to cool my 8-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 3700X without any problem, way better than anything else that I’ve tried on it up until now, it actually clocked higher and more frequent since the CPU temperature was in the low to mid 70. In the end, the temperatures didn’t fluctuate from those numbers that much even in case of my overclocking scenario, which I usually use when testing air CPU coolers, since It was reaching higher voltages and temperatures, to begin with, because of better cooling, so in that overclocking scenario, it barely touched 80°C. Feel free to my recent review of Be Quiet’s brand new Shadow Rock 3 CPU cooler, I will put it in the right top corner of this video, so you can see what the actual difference is compared to an air cooler. I’ve also run temperature testing with that mesh top panel and those two pre-installed 140 mm fans set as exhausts and I saw a difference in a couple of degrees in CPU temperature, while it also had some effect on the GPU temperatures, they all dropped across the board and the speed of the fans went down too.
As you’ve probably noticed the right-side panel is completely covered in sound dampening material, which helps in keeping all the noises in. With pump being at PWM mode and with the fan and pump speed profile being set at default on the motherboard, it was running close to its maximal speed, while on the automatic control on the block itself that was more around 2000 RPM. Either way, that pump was somewhat quiet at both of those speeds, a tad rattler in the first case, definitely more subtle at a lower speed, but noticeable for sure, as for as pumps go, but I’m not a big fan of water-coolers when it comes to acoustics, as there’s always some sounds out of them, and I’m a bit of a noise freak when it comes to that.
It was strange to see the whole PC being just a tad louder in the scenario where it had a glass top on and two less 140 mm fans, but when I think about it it makes sense because those fans were quiet, to begin with as they run at only 1000 RPM, so they overall didn’t make any difference together with the mesh top, their noise is just drowned by the AIO’s three 120 mm fans spinning fast and loud at 2000 RPM, while the GPU fan speed went up in that scenario where I had the top glass panel on, since it was hotter in there as without those fans on the top, no-one was pulling the extra heat from the inside of the chassis, so the GPU was getting warmer and fans faster, so that’s probably where the difference in loudness comes from. Of course, all of this can be customized manually in the motherboards BIOS, you could make all of the fans and the pump run much slower, which in theory shouldn’t problem since there’s a lot of headroom on the CPU temperature. Here’s a short sound clip of the noise which came out through the chassis in a few different scenarios, while also showing you the sound meter for measurement comparison.
Both the Vector RS and Celsius S36 go great hand in hand, but I suspect they won’t be everyone’s first choice on a count of their asking price, although the latter overall seems reasonable for it offers. I had a hard time finding any major complaint with the Vector RS, I honestly thought that the temperatures will be higher on a count of the front panel seemingly having a restricted airflow, but I guess this hardware combination suited it well, I assume it would be a different story if I would have driven up there and an air CPU cooler, so that’s a bit individual. As for the Celsius, other than what I already mentioned, it’s hard not to see it being among the top choices for its class, before all on a count of the performance it delivers.
That’s it for this time from me, thank you for watching, please take a second to toss me a thumbs up if you enjoyed my content, that really helps a lot, and if you like what you saw feel free to subscribe and if you already are, be sure to press that notification bell down below so you don’t miss out on a new video until then, catch you later guys.
That’s it for this time from me, I hope this Fractal’s Vector RS review and Celsius S36 review helped you out in your search, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!