Fractal Design Define R2 ATX Tower Case

Cases|Damping
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TESTING

System Configuration:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • CPUBurn processor stress software.
  • FurMark stability test to stress the integrated GPU.
  • GPU-Z to monitor GPU temperatures and fan speed.
  • SpeedFan to monitor system temperatures and fan speeds.
  • Seasonic Power Angel AC power meter, used to measure the power consumption of the system.

System temperatures and noise levels were recorded with SpeedFan and GPU-Z at idle and on load using 4 instances of CPUBurn to stress the CPU and FurMark with the Xtreme Burn option to stress the GPU.

Stock Fan Measurements


Fractal Design Silent Series 120mm fan.
120 mm Stock Fan Specifications
Manufacturer
Power Rating
0.72 W
Model Number
FD-FAN-120
Airflow Rating
38.3 CFM
Bearing Type
?
RPM Rating
1000 RPM
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
15 dBA
Frame Size
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Header Type
3-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
112 mm
Starting Voltage
~3.8V
Hub Size
40 mm
Weight
120 grams
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.
140 mm Fan Specifications
Manufacturer
Power Rating
2.52 W
Model Number
FD-FAN-140
Airflow Rating
39 CFM
Bearing Type
?
RPM Rating
600 RPM
Corners
Closed
Noise Rating
9 dBA
Frame Size
140 x 140 x 25 mm
Header Type
3-pin
Fan Blade Diameter
129 mm
Starting Voltage
~6V
Hub Size
45 mm
Weight
150 grams
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.

120 mm Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL @1m
12V
820 RPM
12 dBA
9V
630 RPM
11 dBA
140 mm Fan Measurements
12V
690 RPM
11 dBA
9V
520 RPM
<11 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the intake side of the fan.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.

We found that the 120 mm fans ran slower than expected, 820 RPM rather than the rated 1000 RPM at 12V, while the 140 mm model spun a bit faster, closer to 700 RPM than the 600 RPM listed on the box. Both the 120 and 140 mm fans are very quiet on their own, close to our anechoic chamber's noise floor. However, they both exhibit a noticeable ticking quality. It is particularly bad on the 120 mm model, being audible within one meter's distance at 12V, and within half a meter at 9V.

The included fan controller has a range of about 6.4V to 11.4V.

Baseline Noise

Noise measurements were made of the case with the rear, front and side fan at various voltages in various configurations. The air cavity resonances inside a case amplify fan noise, as do any vibrations transferred from the fans into the case, so these measurements can be regarded as the baseline SPL levels for the case and fans.

Baseline Noise Level
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Front
(120 mm)
Rear
(120 mm)
Side
(140 mm)
12V
off
12 dBA
off
12V
off
13 dBA
off
12V
21~22 dBA (28~29 dBA with screws)
9V
off
11~12 dBA
12V
15 dBA
9V
7V
13~14 dBA
9V
16~18 dBA
12V
9V
18~19 dBA
12V
22~23 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case.

Both 120 mm fans became louder when installed in the case, even though the mic position places the front fan closer and the rear fan further away. Despite the distance difference, the rear fan measured 1 dB higher than the front fan as it was muffled by the vent and the front door. The 140 mm fan hanging on the side panel was much louder unfortunately, measuring about 10 dBA higher due to the vibrations passed onto the side panel, and interaction with the vent in front of it. The rubber isolators definitely helped as the noise level was much higher when we mounted the side fan flush against the panel with screws.

If the system doesn't have a high-end video card to cool, it would probably be best to omit the side fan and leave the bitumen mat cover in place.


The case measured 16~18 dBA@1m with the rear, front and side fans @9V.


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