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Fractal Design Define R3

Darksaber

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#1
Fractal has updated the Define chassis once more. The R3 revision comes with an interesting list of upgrades and features. We take it for a spin to see if it can keep up with the modern times and if it manages to impress in the light of stiff competition in the same price segment.

Show full review
 
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#2
I own the R2 and judging from this review, the R3 really is an improvement.
And might I add, those fans are among the, if not the best fans I've ever came across.
 
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#3
good review


but errrrr........was kinda expecting the white one from the small pic on the front page :(
 
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#4
Looks nice, I like the minimalistic exterior.

For R4, please include support for longer cards, front usb3 and a clear side window option with no fan opening. You'll get my money then.
 
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#5
darksaber please review the fractal design define XL, ow btw, great case and great review
 

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#7
if the R3 is better why does it score lower than the R2?
 

Darksaber

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#8
if the R3 is better why does it score lower than the R2?
Because the market has changed. Many case manufacturers have brought out new cases, which cost between 80 and 100€ with features like USB 3.0, hot-swappable hard drive bays and the likes. Fractal has taken a good case, and not really added a lot of new features, just improvements. While the case is still great, it feels a bit like they are not evolving as fast as the market itself. Thus the lower score.
 

Darksaber

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#9
darksaber please review the fractal design define XL, ow btw, great case and great review
That is in the works ;) Should receive the case next week ^^
 
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#10
That is in the works ;) Should receive the case next week ^^
Heh its good that Fractal is widely available in Europe. By the way since when do you reside in Berlin? Wasn't Austria good enough anymore? And why not Switzerland? ;) (Would be nearer to Stuttgart, since you're Wizz' sidekick *nudge nudge*
 
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#11
There are two negatives I could add to that regarding the bottom intake since I built my system using that case:

The filter screwed to the bottom intake may come in contact with the 140mm fan that you fit to it, especially a Fractal Design 140mm as that was the fan I fitted. This would cause some scrapping noise which would remove the silent element of the case and it is possible that it could prevent the 140mm fan from working properly too.

Second issue may not apply to all, but it did to me which was that the bottom intake's filter colided with my Corsair HX 750W ATX PSU so I had to unscrew the filter in order to put my PSU in and I had to use a smaller 120mm fan instead of the 140mm fan too since my PSU was a bit long in depth.
 
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#12
Make it bigger, give it hotswap and USB 3.0 . . . then I might buy it. :D

Excellent review btw, but in the future I think it would be good to take an extra picture of the inside of the case with a bit more light since these all-black interiors make it hard to see all the detail in normal lighting. Either that or I need to calibrate my monitor again :laugh:
 

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#13
Make it bigger, give it hotswap and USB 3.0 . . . then I might buy it. :D

Excellent review btw, but in the future I think it would be good to take an extra picture of the inside of the case with a bit more light since these all-black interiors make it hard to see all the detail in normal lighting. Either that or I need to calibrate my monitor again :laugh:
I agree about the lighting. I just moved to germany 4 months ago and am - well in a temporary state of "flux" as far as my living situation is concerned. Rest assured, that 2011 the images will get better. MUCH better ;) I have big plans gentlemen - very big plans
 

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#14
Great review DS as always. I just want to say I want this case. Not for my everyday case but for a secondary pc. I want the Phantom or Corsair 800D for my everyday computer
 
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#15
I agree about the lighting. I just moved to germany 4 months ago and am - well in a temporary state of "flux" as far as my living situation is concerned. Rest assured, that 2011 the images will get better. MUCH better ;) I have big plans gentlemen - very big plans
Building a photo studio inside your home? ;)
 

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#16
That is in the works ;) Should receive the case next week ^^
That's great to hear...it would be nice to see a review of this case with many hdds...you cannot test a case for rigidity, construction, noise eliminating features etc by using a single SSD...
5-6 hdds would be an appropriate testing configuration for that case...both because this is the main audience for the case, and because the actual "testing" of such a case would require it...
The recent bit-tech.net review of the case is a good counter-example of an in-depth review...

Really looking forward for the DefineXL, but a decent review has not yet hit the web...

PS: In many references to the case in the review "R2" is used...mainly in the beginning.
 

nvus

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#17
I have the Arctic White Define R3 you can see it on youtube, I think I'm the only one so far with an Arctic White one on youtube. And my site has some pics of the STORM-TROOPER BUILD
Define R3 if you want to see em go visit www.envious.eu

The white seems to have a better paint job and has a red POW LED instead of the blue LED on its Black Pearl model. Its also more costly to buy I guess down to the extra paint.

Your going to need fan filters for this, the white one seems to collect dirt/dust finger prints faster I'm using DEMCifilter on mine both of the top case fans use the 140mm fan filters and one stuck on the side/door panel fan intake.

I also added some small red glass tea candle holders for the feet of this to get more air from the bottom, I'm sure its not needed but it looks freaken shweet with them and the Red LED strip I got on the bottom.

It was a joy to build in too and for 99€ I forgive them their design decisions to ad a plus to a bigger hole for the CPU cooler mounting bracket but leave little room for wiring the PSU behind the MoBo Tray.

Anywhos www.envious.eu is the site I worship my Define R3 Arctic White STORM-TROOPER BUILD
 
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#18
You mention R2 alot instead of R3... It's rather confusing.
 

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#19
It looks like a good case but i do not like cases with front doors. I always find a way to break it off when im using it LOL
 
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#20
It looks like a good case but i do not like cases with front doors. I always find a way to break it off when im using it LOL
There is actually a new model of the Fractal Design cases being made called the Fractal Design Arc which is mostly the same as the R3 series cases (especially inside the Arc case, you could argue that there is little or no difference), except that the front doesn't have a door and it's been tweaked to get better airflow with the top and front panels.
 

$immond$

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#21
Personally owning this case I am really unimpressed, Fractals attempt to reduce production cost churned out a case which feels flimsy and cheap. I own the Arctic white R3 and I absolutely love the design but I hate how cheap the case feels. The paint is chipping and peeling in some areas and the side panels feel wobbly and weak.

The front intake covers are so thin I don't think it will last if opened regularly (to even clean the dust filters). The rubber cable hide-aways fall out easily and don't stay in place.
The doors are a major pain to put on, and the rubber grommets for the hard drives are absolutely garbage.

I know Fractal is a relatively new company but still, my much cheaper Antec 300 is definitely a lot more solid and cost $55 (CAD) which is less than half what I paid for the white wobbler. :shadedshu

I would have "generously" given it a 6/10.

Pros
-Looks Great
-2 Included fans are sleeved and silent
-Dampening material makes case much quieter
-Easy installation
-Lots of places to hide cables

Cons
-Side panels are flimsy and cheaply constructed
-Front fan guards are poorly constructed (flimsy again)
-Paint peels/chips off easily (-VERY DISAPPOINTED-)
-Lack of USB 3.0
-Fan holes are to close together causing whining noises on higher CFM fans
-Rubber hide-aways for cables fall off easily


Next time you do a review, Id like you to be more critical in regards to build quality, Id hate to see a biased review to push a brand name.
 
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#22
My first post on the forums so a greeting goes out to everyone.

Darksaber thanks for this review. I recently got myself this case and in the next couple of days I'm gonna start filling it. I have myself the same Super Mega cooler from Prolimatech and I was wondering what fan did u slap on it?
I'm about to place an order for 2 sets of Gskill Ripjaws and I'm really afraid that SuperMega + Noctua P12 aren't going to allow to place a stick on the first RAM slot that is any higher than 35mm. :(
 
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#23
I can't wait until I can buy one of these in the US. I want this case.
 

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#24
I can't wait until I can buy one of these in the US. I want this case.
ncixus has them but their shipping has always been retarded every time I've thought about buying anything off of them. I hope frozencpu or performancepcs can start carrying these soon.
 
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#25
Personally owning this case I am really unimpressed, Fractals attempt to reduce production cost churned out a case which feels flimsy and cheap. I own the Arctic white R3 and I absolutely love the design but I hate how cheap the case feels. The paint is chipping and peeling in some areas and the side panels feel wobbly and weak.

The front intake covers are so thin I don't think it will last if opened regularly (to even clean the dust filters). The rubber cable hide-aways fall out easily and don't stay in place.
The doors are a major pain to put on, and the rubber grommets for the hard drives are absolutely garbage.

I know Fractal is a relatively new company but still, my much cheaper Antec 300 is definitely a lot more solid and cost $55 (CAD) which is less than half what I paid for the white wobbler. :shadedshu

I would have "generously" given it a 6/10.

Pros
-Looks Great
-2 Included fans are sleeved and silent
-Dampening material makes case much quieter
-Easy installation
-Lots of places to hide cables

Cons
-Side panels are flimsy and cheaply constructed
-Front fan guards are poorly constructed (flimsy again)
-Paint peels/chips off easily (-VERY DISAPPOINTED-)
-Lack of USB 3.0
-Fan holes are to close together causing whining noises on higher CFM fans
-Rubber hide-aways for cables fall off easily


Next time you do a review, Id like you to be more critical in regards to build quality, Id hate to see a biased review to push a brand name.
LOL! :laugh:

Sorry, I had the exact opposite experience. I used to own a Antec 300 case myself, I upgraded to the Fractal Design R3 Black Pearl because to me the Antec 300 was only a temporary since it didn't belong to me, but while using it I found the build quality to be mostly like the cons you got from your experience other than the issue with the paint.

When I got my R3 I was impressed as it felt like a massive upgrade with the build quality and airflow set-up I was able to do, but even I must admit there are a couple of flaws I found myself which I've already mentioned in this thread. As for the paint work on the Artic White R3 I heard someone saying it was superior to the paint work on all other models including my own yet I don't seem to have this paint peeling/ chipping issues, if anything my paint seems to be really scratch resistant which I noticed after a few stupid accidents I made with a screw driver (despite the accidents there were no visible scratches at all) when I was trying to correct the fan on my side panel since it was blowing out instead of in a it should have been. :eek:

Truth be told though I did like the Antec 300 case, but a much better version of it could be made with the panels being more solid than flimsy, the top panel having 2-3 slots for some 140mm fans as well as having a hole or two at the bottom. It could also be much better with other upgrades including the obvious on with having USB 3.0 ports and maybe a custom fan fitting for the front of the case. I would say a Lian Li version (I would like to exclude the overtall part though as a upgrade feature as I don't like it :shadedshu, although making the case a little taller, not by too much of course, might work out well) with the case being made mainly of aluminium with a black interior (like my R3 Black Pearl), along with my upgrade suggestions would be a even better upgrade of both the current case and maybe the R3 series completely. :)

But like that is going to happen. :D