The general opinion appears to be that the Solo isn't the best choice, and you have convinced me.
I've reread the reviews about the Define R3, and I like it. I like even more the Define Mini, which will soon be available. The smell problem, which made me disregard the series at first, seems corrected. The 120 mm fans of the Mini are rated for 1200 rpm, versus 1350 rpm for the R3. It's still higher then the 1000 rpm of the R2, but the fan controller might be able to lower the noise to 14 dB. I am referring to Laurence Lee's review of the R3 : http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1192-page3.html
I got the 1200 rpm figure from the product sheet:http://www.fractal-design.com/downloads ... _sheet.pdf
There's a top front USB 3 port (why not 2, and why do they keep the USB 2 ports, I wonder - isn't 3.0 compatible with 2.0 ?), but the eSata port is gone. There's no word about the accessories. I hope they'll include cables to the internal headers.
All in all, the Mini is much better than the Solo. But before making my final decision, I would like to know if the Lian Li A04 can be silenced. Aesthetically, I find it superb. But there's a top opening with a fan right under it, and the casing is aluminum. I hope I can have some feedback on that. (Is the Mini aluminum too ?)
Please note that I won't stuff the case: one SSD and one Caviar Black, which I would happily change to a Green if it helps, 4 memory sticks and a heatsink. No video card. The system will be based on the i7-2600K and the P8Z68-V Pro.