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.

Now let’s take a look at the insides of the Define R3. The first time you’ll open up the Define R3, you’ll be greeted with a very sweet little bag inside which holds all of the extra cabling; more on that later. Apart from the PSU at the bottom and the bag in the middle, you’ll immediately notice the 8 white colored HDD bays. Each of these bays comes with a slide-out tray with silicone mounting for anti-vibration. The HDDs will have to be screwed on, there’s no clip attachment. Then one of the most important aspects of the Define R3 is seen, the pre-fitted noise absorbing material on the side panels (both left and right).

Going back to the front panel, once opened, there’s an air filter that doubles as a noise absorbing material as well, so you can see that noise reduction was one of the higher priorities for Fractal Design while making the Define R3. One other feature of the Define R3’s soundproofing solution comes in the form of the ModuVent design. You’re provided with 3 square slots, each having a thick pad attached for noise absorption, which can be replaced with any of the 120mm fans. This gives you the opportunity to have lesser fans for more silence, or vice versa. Keep in mind that there’s a fan controller provided which controls the speeds of up to 3 fans; dialing it all the way down will make the fans dead silent.

One of the final aspects of the Define R3’s interior that I really liked was that each of the PCI slot panels has its own screw; so there are no clips to break out or additional screws to be used. Following with the whole theme of an elegant solution, Fractal Design very kindly provides us with a mini-tool kit in the form of a magnetic screwdriver. Coming back to the small carry case, it contains all the additional cables for the PSU (4x PCIe, 2x SATA power cables and 2x Molex power cables). You’ll find that all the different varieties of screws you’ll need are provided as well as additional clips for better cable management.

As is the case with Ikea (these Scandinavians I tell you!), Fractal Design has nailed the practicality of the Define R3 with its simplistic design and ease of use. Simple, however, also means very effective in the case of the Define R3, with some well hidden vents and clips for smooth cable management and proper placement for fans to keep your whole system optimally cool. Of course, fans can always be replaced with further insulation should you require your PC to be supremely quiet. Now it may not be as “flashy” as other PC cases with LED galore and a huge see through side panel to show off your expensive components inside, but the Define R3 is sublime in its presentation. You know how good it is inside, and no doubt others will be intrigued by its commanding presence as well.

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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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