It's no secret that the RGB LED phenomenon that's sweeping through the PC hardware world is, to put it mildly, not for everyone. Fractal Design seems to recognize the disdain some enthusiasts harbor for the blinkenlights. Its latest case eschews them completely in favor of a feature they hope will appeal to the more refined PC gamers out there. Marmot.
Yes, marmot. Faux marmot, thankfully, but still, we're talking about a PC case covered in fur. I'm skeptical, but as it turns out, the inside of the Fractal Design Fur E is actually identical to the Define Nano S that we gave our coveted Editor's Choice award to early last year. That leaves the primary difference served up by the Fur E as just the, uh, reskin of the outside. With that prestigious pedigree established, we're going to focus this review on the Fur E's rather dubious namesake. Without further ado, let's find out whether or not you're getting fleeced by getting fleeced.
Digging into the box
Things get hairy as soon as we start to check out the Fur E (literally—it sheds a bit). Fortunately, the marmot fur doesn't impede access to the case in any way. All of the fur is attached to the four removable panels at the left, right, top, and front of the case. With the panels removed, the remaining frame bears none of the hallmarks of its name. It just looks normal. I know what you're thinking, and we've already asked. Yes, Fractal is considering selling what it calls a "confursion" kit to existing Nano S owners who are itching to upgrade to the Fur E.
Besides the case itself, there are a few other goodies littered amongst the Fur E's box. Of course, we find the traditional case hardware such as zip ties and mounting screws. Logically, but less traditionally, a pair of combs is thoughtfully included so you can style the case's exterior to match your mood, your fan-speed profile, or whatever else blows you hair back.
The truth is, a little grooming really makes a difference. It was one of the weirder things I've ever done, but the combs transformed the somewhat disheveled looking case in the animation above into the rather dapper looking beast below. It seems to have sprouted some appendages along the way as well.
Featured in the picture above are the "soft-wears" that Fractal designed to accompany the case. The "tailganizer" is exactly what it sounds like: a cable organizer shrouded in fur. It attaches to the back of the case and purportedly alleviates some of the stress that cables and ports can experience while also keeping them tidy. Personally, I think it only exists to elicit attention, because I didn't find it particularly useful. Your mileage may vary.
Finally, we have the repositionable ears. It seems to be a growing trend for PC cases to offer up a method of storing headphones, and at first, I thought these clearly cat-inspired ears existed for that purpose. However, it turns out they are merely a cosmetic touch. Chalk them up as slightly ridiculous but completely harmless. I did have to ask Fractal, though: why use faux marmot when the tailganizer and ears are obviously feline in nature? The company told me that "covering a case with fake cat fur would just be weird." There you have it, folks.