Where to begin? Let's just get this out of the way. I really like this crazy thing. There's something about it that's so obnoxiously charming that all my practical sensibilities go out the window. It would be easy to leave it there, and dismiss the Fur E as nothing more than evidence of overzealous marketing and underfunded R&D, but I think there's at least some merit to the marmot-madness.
Believe it or not, Fractal isn't the first PC hardware company to embrace the softer side. Noctua did some experimenting with flocked fans a few years back (in an effort to reduce noise) but the fuzzy fans never made it to market. That's not the only example, though. Oculus and Google are currently pulling the wool over your eyes, so to speak, by selling VR headsets covered in fabric. That's basically all faux fur is, fabric. Even CPU coolers have gotten peltier again lately. At any rate, whether it's through headphone covers, computer chairs, or wrist rests, chances are you're in contact with PC-specific fabric right now, so why not cases?
After spending some time with with the Fur E, it turns out there are a few reasons "why not cases." We'll get to them later, though, because I have a surprising number of positive things to cover.
Inside the enclosure: A new look at case reviewing - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Fish Labs does not have access to the monitoring equipment or exact PC hardware that we usually use for thermal and noise testing. Unfortunately, that means I don't have any empirical data to share about the Fur E's characteristics in those measures. I expect that the Fur E's purrformance would be similar or identical to the Nano S, though. Eagle-eyed gerbils will note that the 360-degree photo above betrays that the Fur E's accessory box sports a Nano S description. They really are the same case on the inside.
As you can see from the inside and out, the faux marmot doesn't appear to block the intakes or the exhaust of the case. I also highly doubt its insulating factor is significant considering the constant airflow. What was noticeable, however, was the impact the Fur E had on ambient noise. In a sparsely decorated room, with a hard floor, it acted like a four-sided anechoic panel and lowered the noise floor more than a little. Neat.
We complain about shiny surfaces being finger print magnets on a regular basis. The industry seems to have gotten the hint as of late and choices for matte surfaces are plentiful. Fractal seems to have fully cracked the code, because the Fur E's coat is both glossy and completely immewn to fingerprints. Furthermore, unlike cleaning up fingerprints, if the Fur E starts to look a little shaggy, it's actually kind of soothing to pet the hair back into place. That psychological boost is also nice to have at hand in the event of a BSOD, ranked match loss, or when dealing with comment trolls.
Along those lines, there's a bit more to know about the care and feeding of the Fur E. We all know that any case that's worth its salt will filter the air that goes into it through some kind of mesh or screen. The Fur E goes one step further because its hair exponentially increases the case's surface area and thus, the amount of dust, it can hold on the outside of the case. That's great, because any dust that's clinging to the Fur E isn't floating freely around the rest of your house. Moreover, we're talking about a case that will practically never appear to be dusty. Like a real cat, though, that doesn't mean it shouldn't periodically get a bath. Here's how to clean it.