Fractal Design ‘Define R3’ Chassis Review

By on February 13, 2011
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Simple, practical, beautiful.

Good: Elegant design, Customizable for better cooling or lesser sound, Good cable management, Built-in PSU is powerful
Bad: Heavy at 13kgs+ for just case & PSU
Price: AED 1,399 (for 1000w PSU) & AED 1,299 (for 800w PSU)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

It’s very rare that I get excited about a PC case. Back in the 90s a PC case was nothing more than a white colored piece of plastic to house various components, which turned yellow over time and was eventually discarded in some dump. Since the early 21st century however, things started to change for the better. PC cases became more than just a boring necessity, they actually became interesting.

People started showing of their creativity with wild designs and custom mods for their PC cases with multicolored LED fans, UV tubes and pretty looking water coolers. This, obviously, led to PC manufacturers to design something for the new age of PC enthusiasts. It wasn’t long before black cases with multiple LEDs and fans became the norm. Nowadays it’s easy to tell how much a person cares for their PC (or how enthusiastic they are) based simply on the type of casing they have. Most people will go with the now standard black case with a couple of fans to keep things cool. Few, however, will go out of their way and spend the money to get something that is every bit as nicely designed on the inside as it is on the outside.

So it’s not really a surprise that I was really excited to review the Fractal Design “Define R3” PC case when I got it last week. Let’s start off by taking a look at the outside. On first glance, the Define R3 looks pretty simple. There are no glass panels on the side, just a webbed cut for a side fan. The front looks very elegant with its brushed aluminum finish on the entire door panel, with the Power switch on top, coupled with two USB ports, an eSATA port and audio connectors. The subtle finish on the outside of the case belies the practical interior design of the Define R3. The Define R3 comes in Arctic White, Black Pearl, Silver Arrow and Titanium Grey (reviewed) so you have quite a lot to choose from.

Moving further along the top you’ll see two 120mm fans, and then another one at the back. Then there’s a hollow rectangle for the rear I/O panel on the motherboard followed by 7 removable panels for PCI slots concluding with the PSU hollow right at the bottom. It’s important to note at this point that ‘Uber’, the official distributors for Fractal Design cases in UAE, actually sell the Define R3 case with a PSU. The choices available are between an 800W or a 1000W PSU, either of which should be good enough for any SLI or CrossFire gaming setup. The warranty for the case, strong as it is, is 1 year, while the PSU gets an ample 5 years. Right next to the PSU, at the bottom of the case, is another 120mm fan which is flanked by another fan at the front of the case. All the HDD bays are behind the front intake fan, so things should remain nice and cool throughout the chassis.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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