Fractal Design Define R4 – Review
I am back with a new review And this time we will have a look at the Fractal Design Define R4 that is the revision of the multi awarded Fractal Design Define series of cases.
Before I go on I would like to Thank Fractal design for letting me do this review.
I am one of the people who have had the joy to try out and us the Fractal Design R3 and the Define XL, both very impressive PC cases.
So I have been looking forward to get my hands on the Define R4.
If you are new to Fractal Design and their products here is some words from them.
THE CONCEPT OF FRACTAL DESIGN
The concept of Fractal Design is to provide products with an extraordinary design level, without compromising the important factors of quality, functionality and pricing. The computer of today has come to play a central role in most people’s home, creating a demand for appealing design of the computer itself and its accessories. Our main product areas are computer enclosures, power supplies and related accessories
DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED IN SWEDEN
All Fractal Design products have been thoroughly designed, tested and specified in our Swedish head quarter. The well known ideas of Scandinavian design can be found through all of our products; a minimalistic but yet striking design – less is more.
The Fractal Design R4
Fractal Design has stepped away from the black box we are used to see, but the Define R4 box still gives a great first impression and holds allot of information.
Included with the case is motherboard standoffs, Screwes, cable ties, rubber fan standoffs ( for anti vibration and space purpose), and the Manual.
Pushing the upper section of the fan grill reviles the removable front fans slot, this slot comes with a removable dust filter and you can fit both 120mm and 140 mm in it.
Note That The Define R4 comes with one 140mm Silent Series R2 Fan installed in the front.
The left side panel of the Define R4 holds the Smart ModuVent feature that will allow the user to install either a 120mm or 140mm fan for extra cooling.
In this image the ModuVent is covered with the included sound damped blank plate.
At the first look on the inside of the Define R4 I could see that there has been allot of changes made to the R4. The cable holes has been relocated but most important is that the top cage can be easily rotated or removed, a feature I know many missed in the R3.
The upper cage can be rotated, if you remove the HDD trays this will make the upper cage act like a air focus tunnel.
Note: You can with some imagination add a inner fan to the cage and this can dramatically lower over all system temperatures.
Note: The lower cage also has the flexibility to be rotated or removed, it can also be moved further in to the cage and even be installed on the 120 mm bottom intake slot if there is enough space behind your PSU. This feature also opens up for the water cooling enthusiasts.
For more information on this check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqLxS38SCVA
Another feature hidden is marked with read circles on the image above, these wholes are designed to allow you to install two SSD hard drives. If you only have like a 250gb SSD or two 128gb SSD, Imagine the cooling performance if you remove the two regular HDD cages.
Note: there is a downside to this, the SSD´s has to be installed prior the motherboard so if you want to replace a SSD mounted in these spots you will have to remove the motherboard.
CPU: I7 930 with a Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X58a-UD3 (rev 2.0)
GPU: Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate (passive
Ram: 24 GB Kingston HyperX DDR3
System hard drive: PLEXTOR PX-128MR SSD
Storage and project hard drive : Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
Building a PC with the Fractal Design Define R4 is a dream. Cable management is spot on.
the space is great and as you can se in the image the finished build is very clean.
The Define R4 is probably THE best gage I have build in up to today.
I decided to use the lower cage for my SSD as I am only using two HDD´s in my DAW PC, to start of I decided to remove the top cage completely to se how the R4 can cool my system with only two fans.
Testing the R4
Before I show you my results there are some things you have to know!
This system is mainly used for DAW applications so quiet performance is more important then stress cooling. The Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 comes with one 140mm and one 120mm PWM fans but I locked them at 7V so I would get a low noise CPU cooling.
I test the system in three steps!
Step one:working with a big Studio Project (DAW).
Step two: Light gaming in Guildwars 2 (GW2).
Step three: 10 min with Prime95 (P95)
All tests are done with the fan controller on 12V, 7V and 5V.
System temps Results
|Test / fan voltage||CPU Temps||NB Temps||GPU Temps|
The Define R4 manages to keep my system below recommended temps in all tests without a problem, this is done with only two fans so with additional fans in the right slots even a High end OC gaming rig will be kept cool.
when it comes to quiet computing the included Silent Series R2 Fans is quiet at 5V, at 7V I can hear the airflow from the fans but they are still very quiet , the 12V mode is a cooling mode so the R2 fans does make a bit more sound at 12V but they are not loud.
Now I am very picky when it comes to PC noise but i have to say the basic setup of the Define R4 and the included fans is a great start point for a quiet PC
Fractal Design uses the name Define for this case, Define quiet computing?
The Define R4 is quiet computing defined, with the fans at 5V I can not hear the PC and I find my self thinking “did I start it up?”.
Building a PC with the Define R4 is a dream, cable management is excellent, the fan options is awesome and the Define R4 just shines Quality.
Not only is the Define R4 a perfect case for a studio PC that allows a near silent computing, The flexibility of the Define R4 is Superior to any case I have seen and the cooling options for the Define R4 is amazing making it suitable for anyone in need of a most impressive case.
To top this off the Fractal Design Define R4 can at the time this review was written be found for $109.99 US, £89.81 UK and 879KR a incredible price for a case in in this class with these features and flexibility.
- Great price
- Cable management
- good cooling
“The flexibility of the Define R4 is Superior to any case I have seen and the cooling options for the Define R4 is amazing making it suitable for anyone in need of a most impressive case.”
I would once again like to thank Fractal Design for letting me do this review.
And to my readers… Thanks you!!