Curious to hear what aspects of the Fur E I didn't like so much? Well, you know what they say about curiosity and cats. This story starts and ends on a positive note but I'm putting it in the "against" column to serve as a minor warning. The Fur E's cat approval factor is high. Our cats seemed to recognize that it was not competing with them for food or attention. They quickly discovered that it was much more comfy than an ordinary computer case and adorably began laying on top of it (as one does). This wouldn't really be a problem save for the fact that the Fur E inherited a top-mounted power switch from the Nano S. See where this is going?
It turned out not to be a case of curiosity killing the cat, but the cat's curiosity killing, or at least turning off, the PC. With the hard drive LED tantalizingly positioned right in front of the easily-activated button, and one cat or another nearly constantly occupying the most sought-after perch in the house, using the PC was nigh impossible. It was simply being turned off all the time. I reached out to Fractal to find out if it had experienced the same problem during testing. Remarkably, the reply I received not only confirmed that the problem wasn't a specific incomcatibility with my own household's pride, but that Fractal had already produced a solution. I pounced on the chance to test it out.
In this case, the solution was a simple bumper that protects the power button from cat-strikes and vaguely resembles a paw print. It also blocks the blinking hard drive indicator from the perspective of any cat on top of the case. It is simply attached to the case by means of double stick tape. Here's how it looks in action.
The results were effective and the guard prevented further catastrophe. Since the guard will only be necessary for some users, it is not included with the case. The .3mf part file is freely available, though, and anyone that wants to print one for themselves can do so. I'm fortunate enough to have a few friends with 3D printers so it was no trouble for me to get ahold of the final product. If the printers you have access to are dimensionally challenged, you can order up the part using the 3D Builder app from the Windows Store or other 3D printing service of your choice.
If that all seems like a bit much, I have a pro-tip for Fur E owners with problematic cats to try instead. When you assemble your PC, don't connect the power switch to the front-panel header on the motherboard. Instead, connect the reset switch to the power switch pins. It's much smaller and much less likely to be accidentally(?) triggered by a cat's paw.
Speaking of assembly, one thing you should definitely do if you ever build a PC into a Fur E of your own is immediately remove all the panels from the case and stash them far away from the assembly area. The case's dust filters should keep case's own hair at bay during normal use, but you don't want the fur flying anywhere near exposed CPU pins, DIMM slots, or other defenseless internal connections.
One more minor complaint about the Fur E is that the thumbscrews on the side panels can be difficult to operate. It's easy to get the fur pinched between them and your fingers. This isn't a dealbreaker by any means, but there is a cut-out on the front panel to allow the hard drive indicator LED to be visible. It would be nice if the area around the thumbscrews had been given the same amount of thoughtfulness.
More than skin-deep?
How do you write a TL;DR summary of a PC case that's fuzzier than 5-year old frame time graphs? Suffice it to say that with the Fur E, Fractal has really gone out on a limb. The classic black and red "gamer colors" alone are a bit of a stretch for a company that traditionally favors monochromatic styling. I don't know what kind of maniacal mind dreamed this up, or how the chain of command allowed it to come into existence, but I'm really glad it's here for me to share with you today.
Ultimately, my initial positive response to the Fur E stuck with me just like the hair it sheds. Sure, it has some strange idiosyncrasies, and the list of tangible benefits is within a whisker of being completely fabricated. I'm perfectly comfortable with that, though (there's some self-editing even Tim Gunn would be proud of). A couple cautionary tails aside, the Fur E is firmly in, "well, it doesn't really hurt anything" territory. I think even mildly-eccentric gerbils would be happy to have the Fur E purring away at their desk.
90 comments — Last by DMF at 2:45 PM on 05/15/17
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