Fractal Design Define R3 ATX Tower

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.


The new version of the Fractal Design Define case has a few notable improvements over its predecessor. The bitumen sheets to dampen noise has an improved look and finish. The rubber grommets that were the source of the smell that some users compained about is gone. For users who wanted a little more airflow, the updated model delivers minor improvements in ventilation and fans that are not only faster but sound smoother overall. And lastly, the added hooks on the back of the motherboard tray allow the use of more zip-ties and twist-ties to rein in rogue cables.

We have but one minor quibble: The overall noise level of the new fans cannot match the old ones without an undervolt to about 5V which the included fan controller can't quite deliver. If you want to use the R3 for a super quiet system, extra measures will have to be taken to silence the stock fans. Front USB 3.0 ports, quickly becoming a standard case feature, would also have been nice.

The Define R3 provides more airflow and better cooling than budget noise-conscious cases like the Antec Sonata series and the NZXT H2. It does not match the build quality or features of decked-out enthusiast cases like the Antec P183 or Silverstone Fortress/Raven series, but with a street price of US$110, it is considerably more affordable. With little competition in the midrange sector, we can recommend the Define R3 without hesitation.

Recommended by SPCR
The Fractal Design Define R3 is Recommended by SPCR.

Our thanks to Fractal Design for the Define R3 case sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Silverstone Fortress FT03 microATX Tower
NZXT H2 Classic Silent Midtower Chassis
Antec ISK 100 Mini-ITX Case
Zalman Z9 Plus ATX Tower Case
HDPLEX H10.ODD Fanless microATX Case
Lian Li PC-V354 MicroATX Mini Tower Case

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