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Fractal Design Define R2 mini-review (56k)

post #1 of 51
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I have been looking for a new case for a while, but it took me some time to eventually find a product that would satisfy all my needs. Trying to find a good balance between stylish design of Lian Li, performance of Cooler Master, functionality of Antec and price of ExtraValue, I eventually found this brand new chassis, which has been released in UK just a week ago. Define R2 is made by Fractal Design, a new manufacturer from Sweden offering computer cases, PSUs and fans. Their aim, according to the website, is to make products with exceptional design without sacrificing functionality or quality, and at reasonable price point. As there is not much info about the case in English I decided to write this small review.




PACKAGING AND FEATURES

The case is available in three different colors: Silver Arrow, Titanium Grey and – my choice – Black Pearl. It comes in a big black box with some pictures of the front panel and interior, and the list of features.






Here are the specifications from the manufacturer’s website:

Quote:
  • 8x 3,5 inch HDD trays, compatible with SSD!
  • 2x 5,25 inch bays, with 1x 5,25>3,5 inch converter included
  • On top of front panel: 2x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA and Audio I/O
  • No PSU included (removable filter below PSU)
  • M/B compatibility: Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX
  • 7x expansion slots with sleek white painted brackets
  • Supports graphic card lengths up to circa 290mm and CPU coolers with height of maximum circa 165mm
  • Supports PSUs with a depth of maximum circa 170mm, when using
  • bottom 120/140mm fan location. When not using the bottom
  • 120/140mm fan location, the case supports also longer PSUs, typically 200-220mm.
  • Case size (WxHxD): 207.40x440x521.2mm
[/LIST]Net weight: 12.50kg[/LIST]
R2 comes with only two fans included by default, however it provides no less than seven fan mounts (2x120mm in front, 2x 120/140mm in top, 1x120mm in back, 1x 120/140mm in side panel, 1x 120/140mm in bottom). It also includes a simple fan controller for up to three fans, which is a nice addition. In the box there is also a standard set of screws and some velcro straps for cable management.




EXTERIOR

The design of the case is very minimalistic and resembles the one of Lian Li or Antec Performance One series. It is made mostly of thick steel and weights nearly 13 kg.




Behind the front doors there are only two 5.25 drive bays, one with 3.5 inch adapter, and two 120mm fan slots with removable dust filters. The doors are filled with a sound dampening foam on the inside, however it’s worth noting that they only open about 100 degrees.






The front panel features a power button, standard audio mic in/phones out ports, two USBs and eSATA connector. There is no reset button.




At the bottom of the case there are four chrome stands with some vibration absorbing material. There is also a removable dust filter under the PSU.






At the back there are seven expansion slots covered with screwable white plates and four water-cooling holes.




INTERIOR

The interior is black which obviously is a big plus on it’s own. It is a single chamber design with the PSU at the bottom as in most cases nowadays.






R2 features eight removable 3.5 HDD drive bays with vibration absorbing stands. Similar stands are also used under the PSU. There is also a shock absorbing foam between the PSU and the case.




The cable management is pretty good with six holes allowing to put cables behind the motherboard tray. Tidying up all the cables is still a bit painful though, as the rubbers around the holes tend to slip off and the space behind the tray is quite tight.






There is also a hole under the CPU which is very handy when installing heatsinks with a backplate.




Even though it is a mid tower it feels quite spacey and, apart from cable management, is realy easy to work with even after installing all the components. This is a big improvement over my previous case, where I had to remove the GPU to be able to take out HDDs.




ModuVent(tm)

It is apparent that a lot of thought has been put to make the case as quiet as possible. Apart from both side panels being fitted with a sound dumpening bitument, Define R2 also provides a solution which allows users to balance between silence and performance.




All of unused fan bays are by default covered with screwed plates made of plastic and bitumen, to keep the case quiet.




FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall the case quality seems very good. The steel it’s made of is thick and the construction feels very solid. There’s a good attention to details and it has all the features one would expect from a performance chasis. With six fans installed the case seems to be no louder then my previous one, which had only two. Thanks to the bitumen all higher frequencies are effectively dampened so there is more hum coming out of the case than any kind of hiss. Also the HDDs are virtually unaudible. I didn’t measure its temperature performance, but with 7 slots for 120/140mm fans there sure is plenty of room for improvement. And all this at the very reasonable price. What’s not to like?













Pros:
-Good design and quality
-Great value for money
-Pre-fitted with soud proofing material
-7 fan mounts
-8 HDD trays
-Black interior

Cons:
-Average painting quality
-Cable management could be better
-Only two ultra-silent fans included by default

Edit:
I've found a review from bit-tech. And a follow up here.
Edited by poroboszcz - 1/27/10 at 11:33am
buka
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post #2 of 51
awwww more height for CPU cooler please.
case is clean and awesome, how much?
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post #3 of 51
Cool review and case!

I posted a thread about these a while back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phospholipid View Post
awwww more height for CPU cooler please.
case is clean and awesome, how much?
They're European only, as far as I know.
    
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post #4 of 51
It's a very good case that I have considered as well but it just seems to be way too awesome for it's price that I am trying to find cons about it. I have heard about some minor quality-problems that could be solved and that during load the temps go up fast but I guess that can be solved with extra fans (which then in turn will higher the price)
post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by meticadpa View Post
Cool review and case!
They're European only, as far as I know.
I understand that, I just want to know how much they cost. If they cost to much in Europe, they'll cost more in the US, and I'll just buy another case instead of waiting.

Google says 100 USD - it's probably cost and arm and a leg to ship, might as well get a P182.
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post #6 of 51
Interesting, looks kinda like an antec P180 at first glance..

Never seen these before ;l

*googles*

EDIT: ^^ £80...
post #7 of 51
Quote:
All of unused fan bays are by default covered with screwed plates made of plastic and bitumen, to keep the case quiet.
I'd like to see more case manufacturers do this, it would also cut down on dust buildup.

Really great review, by the way. I thought it was a ripoff of the Antec P183 at first, but it's really not.
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post #8 of 51
Found one for sale at £84.99 inc VAT - that's $137, but that includes 17.5% sale tax which we have to pay over here and there may be cheaper prices on other sites
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post #9 of 51
Looks like a great case from a brand I've never heard of. Glad to see at least ONE other company incorporating those cable management holes like the ones on the Obsidian 800D.
post #10 of 51
Almost bought this case for my sig build before christmas, but OCUK ran out of Black Pearls and upped the price when I wasn't looking.

Ended up spending more, but am aiming for quietness + airflow above all - though no doubt the FD case would be quieter.

Also check out fractal's fans, they stock them @ scan.co.uk too, they don't push the most air, but if the volume stats are to be believed, I might have to find a way to squeeze one in.
    
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