Custom PC

Fractal Design Torrent RGB TG Review

By Antony Leather. Posted

If there’s one company that has stepped up its game to stay ahead of the pack with case design, it’s Fractal Design. The removable roof sections and other features on the likes of the Meshify 2 and Define 7 made the process of building a PC even more of a joy than usual, so we were pretty excited when we heard about a new ATX case landing from the company. However, the Torrent is interesting in a very different way to Fractal Design’s recent efforts.

In fact, the case is a step backwards in some ways, as it loses the ability to ditch its roof section. With the Torrent (£220 inc VAT), the company has gone back to a roof-mounted PSU, with a power supply area made of riveted panels. In a perfect world, we still feel a removable roof section would have been possible, perhaps with a removable PSU mount instead.

However, there are some clear differences to other cases that mount the PSU in the roof. The area is closed off from the main chamber, keeping PSU cables completely out of sight, thanks to a side channel that routes them behind the motherboard tray.

It also makes for a perfect area to stow the cables, while ensuring the PSU is far more accessible than it would be under a usual PSU cover. For instance, if you need to add or remove modular power supply cables, we’d far sooner do it with a system built in the Torrent than in a Define 7.

With no PSU cover, the lower chamber is a square open space

With no PSU cover, the lower chamber is a square open space, and to make the most of this design, Fractal Design has geared the Torrent towards high airflow. The flagship model on test here includes two enormous and powerful 180mm digital RGB fans in the front section, and three 140mm models in the base, with all the fans acting as intakes in order to create positive air pressure.

The 180mm fans dish out massive airflow, aided by an attractive front vent section with angular ridges, with airflow aimed at a huge area of hexagonal mesh at the rear of the case. At £219, the Torrent RGB TG is fairly pricey, mostly thanks to the digital RGB fans, but if you’re happy to forgo RGB lighting (bar a small strip on the PSU cover), you can get the same case for £185.

With no roof fan mounts and only a 120/140mm mount at the rear, you’re left with few options when it comes to using some form of liquid cooling and keeping the included case fans. There are 180mm AIO liquid coolers from the likes of Alphacool that could secure to the front fans, but mounting an AIO cooler to the bottom fans would mean the radiator and any reservoir section would sit well below the pump, which isn’t ideal with these types of coolers.

Thankfully, Fractal Design has thought of this and included 120/140mm adaptors for the front section, allowing you to remove the 180mm fans and cater for smaller radiators instead. Custom water cooling fares much better, though, as there are single and even double 180mm radiators (180mm and 360mm) available, and of course, 280mm and 420mm radiators that can make use of the 140mm base fans. Plus, you can put a 360mm radiator in the base, as demonstrated in our feature.

Of course, the Torrent is ideal for air cooling, and its generous width offers 18mm of CPU cooler clearance and 423mm of graphics card clearance, even with the front fans mounted. There’s no vertical graphics card support out of the box, although if you’re desperate, most universal vertical mounts should fit, even with a radiator and single row of fans in the base.

The front panel offers the basic single USB 3 and USB 3.1 Type-C ports as well as audio jacks

There’s E-ATX motherboard support too, but the case isn’t overly huge at 54cm long and 53cm high. If that’s still too large, there’s even a Compact model in addition to the mini-ITX-focused Torrent Nano, which is noticeably cheaper too.

Both side panels are made from tempered glass and are tool-free, and normally we’d say the far panel requires some time spent tidying cables as even modest bundles of spaghetti will likely prevent its mounting pins from keeping it closed. However, Fractal Design has thought of this, and the Torrent enables you to secure the panels using screws from within the PSU chamber.

Also, rather than have the base fans sit directly on the case chassis, which would make installing radiators or other fans here very difficult, a fan mounting plate is included that caters for 120mm, 140mm and 180mm fans, so you could even swap the 140mm fans to the front of the case and place the 180mm fans here instead.

Meanwhile, the front panel offers the basic single USB 3 and USB 3.1 Type-C ports as well as audio jacks, but while you can power the fans from a SATA-powered fan hub, you’ll need a separate 3-pin digital RGB lighting hub to control the lighting. Alternatively, you can use your motherboard’s software and the RGB connectors for the fans, and case lighting can be daisy-chained too.

For such a large case, though, there’s only two 3.5in hard disk mounts and four 2.5in SSD mounts, with these all sat behind the motherboard tray – cable tidying can be a tad cramped if most of these bays are occupied.

Performance

It was no surprise to see stellar out-of-the-box cooling from the Torrent, and the CPU delta T of 45°C was more than a match for any other case, bettering the Corsair 7000D Airflow and be quiet! Silent Base 802. The Torrent’s GPU delta T of 41°C was on par with the best results we’ve seen too, although it didn’t better the likes of the Corsair 7000D Airflow. While the fans did produce a fair amount of noise at full speed, they lacked the unpleasant tone of smaller fans.

Conclusion

The Fractal Design Torrent is a refreshingly different take on an ATX case that looks great, offers stellar airflow and decent water-cooling potential. You’ll need to consider your options if you want to use liquid cooling, as you might need to move fans around, but with an eye-catching front panel, RGB lighting and superb cooling, the Fractal Design Torrent is the ATX case to beat in 2022.

Verdict
Attractive, refreshingly different and super-cool – this is the case to beat this year.

Price
£220 inc VAT

Scores
COOLING 29/30 | FEATURES 15/20 | DESIGN 28/30 | VALUE 15/20 | OVERALL 87%

FRACTAL
+Excellent airflow
+Large fans with low noise levels
+Attractive design

FRACTURE
-Rather pricey
-No RGB lighting hub
-Limited storage support

SPEC
Dimensions (mm) 242 x 544 x 530 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, plastic, glass
Available colours Black, white
Weight 11.1kg
Front panel Power, 1 x USB 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, stereo, mic
Drive bays 2 x 2.5/3.5in, 4 x 2.5in
Form factor(s) E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling 3 x 120/140mm, 2 x 180mm front fan mounts (1 x 180mm fans included), 1 x 120/140mm rear fan mount (fan not included), 3 x 120/140mm, 2 x 180mm base fan mounts (3 x 140mm fans included)
CPU cooler clearance 188mm
Maximum graphics card length 423mm

TEMPERATURE RESULTS

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