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Which case - Fractal Designs Define R3 or XL?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm in the market for a silent case with decent cooling. And I'm wondering which of these two should I get. I don't really need the extra wiggle room that the XL has but thought maybe it has better cooling and sound dampening.
 
AirPC
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AirPC
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intel i5 2500k Asrock Z68 Fatal1ty Professional  Powercolor 7970 G.Skill Sniper 2133 MHz 8gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingCooling
OCZ Agility 3 Asus Blu-ray combo drive XSPC Raystorm EK FC-7970 
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Koolance PMP-450 Black Ice SR-1 360 xspc d5 dual bay reservoir Windows 7 Pro 
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hauppauge colossus 
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OCZ Agility 3 240 gb WD 500 GB 2 TBGreen OCZ Agility 3 
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Asus DVD+R Noctua DH-14 Windows 7 64-bit Acer 23.6" LCD 
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post #2 of 11
I'd recommend the XL, mainly because of the extra space and slightly better cooling. Cable management is a bit better too, mainly because the PSU is in a seperate compartment at the bottom of the case.
Wingman Fuzzi
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Wingman Fuzzi
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post #3 of 11
same with fusion, XL is the way to go, expecially if you plan to xfire
Sharkbait
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
how's the sound when the graphics card is at full blast?
 
AirPC
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OCZ Agility 3 Asus Blu-ray combo drive XSPC Raystorm EK FC-7970 
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Koolance PMP-450 Black Ice SR-1 360 xspc d5 dual bay reservoir Windows 7 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Potalion 2710qw Logitech G510 Corsair TX850M v2 NZXT Switch 810 
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Logitech G400 Asus Xonar DX Creative Aurvana Live Logitech C310 
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hauppauge colossus 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-2500k @4.5 GHz 1.325v MSI P67A-G43 EVGA GeForce GTX 570  8 GB Samsung Eco  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Agility 3 240 gb WD 500 GB 2 TBGreen OCZ Agility 3 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Asus DVD+R Noctua DH-14 Windows 7 64-bit Acer 23.6" LCD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
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AirPC
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingCooling
OCZ Agility 3 Asus Blu-ray combo drive XSPC Raystorm EK FC-7970 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Koolance PMP-450 Black Ice SR-1 360 xspc d5 dual bay reservoir Windows 7 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Potalion 2710qw Logitech G510 Corsair TX850M v2 NZXT Switch 810 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech G400 Asus Xonar DX Creative Aurvana Live Logitech C310 
Other
hauppauge colossus 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-2500k @4.5 GHz 1.325v MSI P67A-G43 EVGA GeForce GTX 570  8 GB Samsung Eco  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Agility 3 240 gb WD 500 GB 2 TBGreen OCZ Agility 3 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Asus DVD+R Noctua DH-14 Windows 7 64-bit Acer 23.6" LCD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Standard Antec Truepower New 650w NZXT Source 210 Sidewinder X8 
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Nvidia freebie lulz 
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post #5 of 11
I went with the R3. I didn't like the layout of the HD cages in the XL. I think the bottom ones look really lame IMO. If I could remove them that would be great but you can't. So I went with the R3....
post #6 of 11
I own both of these cases. I'd say that the R3 has better cooling potential than the XL. Xbitlabs did a review and found that the GPU cooling was better in the XL than in the R3, while the CPU cooling was not. One of the advantages of the R3 is that it has a place to put a cooling fan on the bottom, whereas the hard drive cage in the XL prevents this. I had to install the optional 5.25" bay 120mm fan in order to improve my CPU cooling. I think the case is so big that it's needed. I'm unconvinced that the 180mm fan in the top is a great idea either, with its restricted output vent. If that vent were not right near the rear case fan exhaust I would certainly consider turning it around so that it acts as an intake fan instead. This is an option available to you with the R3. Also, you will definitely need to add more intake fans on the R3 to create a positive case pressure. The combination of the top exhaust fan and the rear case fan creates a CFM of somewhere in the region of 150 (depending on the RPM of both fans - I run my rear case fan at 900 RPM), meaning that the single front intake fan on the XL is insufficient. I balanced it with two NF-SB12FLX at 900 RPM and a NF-P12 in the 5.25" bay at 900rpm that together give me a CFM that slightly exceeds that exhaust fan CFM and delivers cool air more directly to the CPU heatsink. Don't underestimate this - orginally I had a NF-SB12 ULN in the 5.25" bay and swapping it for an NF-P12 resulted in CPU temps three or four degrees cooler.

Generally, I think the R3 is a slightly more flexible case, although I'm very happy with the XL (I have all 10 drive bays in the XL populated along with two 3-slot-width graphics cards). It's cable management possibilities are really good, and tere's tons of space to work. Make no mistake - it's a big case. I don't think you can go wrong with either, but if you don't need the size and the 10 drive bays in the XL, I would go with the R3.
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post #7 of 11
I have an R3 that I like very much. I wouldn't want an ever bigger case, so for me it's perfect. Looks nice outside and inside, noise dampening etc.
ISIS mainframe
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post #8 of 11
I also have the R3 and its a wonderfull case, I was surprised at how quiet it was (I do use all noctua fans).
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post #9 of 11
I'm thinking about getting the R3. Are the stock fans quiet?
post #10 of 11
Quite quiet with the door closed. Not the most silent, but it works.

I would get the R3. The XL feels like a case without much point tbh. It is basically the same thing as the R3, only it fits more HDDs and quite a bit taller. Unless you want a silent server build with like 10+ HDDs, then the XL is the way to go. Otherwise, the R3 will be the case you want, does everything the XL does, with maybe like 2 degrees warmer?, and with less HDDs. Though it already can hold quite a bit. More than 5 IIRC.

If you want something about the size of the XL, I would recommend looking at other cases with WC options as that is what most people look at when buying a full-tower.
    
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