Installing the mainboard worked flawlessly this time around. Even though I had some trouble with the R2 and a few missing rivets, this time all is well in the R3. The mainboard tray holds perfectly fine - just as you would expect from a brand new chassis. As you can see, the interior of the chassis allows for good cable routing and hiding, but more on that at the end of this chapter.
Preparing the hard drives for installation is an easy task. Just secure the unit with four special screws in the frame and then slide it into place. The drives sit on rubber rings so you should not have any problems with vibrations. Sliding the filled tray back in until it snaps into place concludes the installation process. We have seen the system in various other cases and it is an excellent one. Installing an SSD is quite similar, but you use normal screws and secure the drive from the underside of the tray.
Installing the optical drive this time around did not seem to be such a pain, as the drive slides into the chassis with an appropriate amount of force. Once inserted, simply use the included thumb screws - quick, easy and tool-less.
The power supply itself is installed with the traditional means of screws. A thin layer of foam reduces the chance of any vibration passing from the power supply to the case itself. There is plenty of space for a standard power supply, but if you happen to use a larger one, you will be forced to remove the bottom mounted fan frame.
Once everything is installed, I used a single velcro strip and the features of the chassis itself to route and group the cables. I have not used a single zip tie and the result is very good. Fractal Design has done a great job within the Define R3 to route and hide cables.
Once everything was put back together and turned on, the first notable thing is the good encapsulation of the sound generated by the internal components. The two included fans are very quiet and can be turned down even more with the included controller. While the power LED on the black cases is blue, Fractal has opted for a red on on the all white version. Both of them look good in their respective environments and I am glad to see that Fractal has decided to change it in the white version.
The optical drive is nicely hidden behind the door. Turning the case around we have clear access to everything. Fractal Design should offer a white PSU, as it would be perfect for these cases.