Fractal Design Define R4 Case ReviewTue, Sep 11, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Define R4 Exterior Thoughts
Instead of exposing the entire front of the chassis, Fractal Design places a brushed aluminum door to maintain the clean modern day look to this chassis.
Opening up the front door of this chassis, Fractal Design installs a foam rubber insert onto the inner front door; to keep sounds coming from this chassis to a minimum. We can also get a good look at how Fractal Design designed the front of the Define R4 chassis; Fractal Design only includes two 5.25” drive bays, and the entire lower portion of the front bezel has vents cut into it; this has got me a bit baffled, that this chassis uses a door that covers the entire front of the chassis, making getting fresh from here next to impossible.
This is new, instead of having the front 5.25” drive bay covers snap into the front bezel; Fractal Design makes these front drive bay covers utilize a simple locking mechanism.
Fractal Design places the included fan controller on the inside of the front bezel and to the right of the 5.25” bays. This is a simple fan controller switch, we have three options on how we want our fans to be ran at; we can choose to operate our fans up to full speed (12 Volts), medium speed (7 Volts), or low speed (5Volts). This fan controller can only handle up to two fans.
Turning our attention to the left side panel of the Define R4 chassis; the only thing that grabs our immediate attention is the single fan mount. This fan mount can use either a 120mm or a 140mm fan.
Time for me to give the backside of the Define R4 chassis a quick look through; Fractal Design uses a traditional ATX layout on this particular chassis.
Fractal Design places vents directly above the 140mm rear exhaust fan, and the motherboard rear IO ports so that this chassis will have better ventilation.
The Define R4 chassis like many other mid-tower chassis can only utilize standard sized ATX or mATX motherboards. Now the one area that has me scratching my head with is the vertical PCI expansion port that is just to the right of the standard PCI expansion ports. The manual does not say what this is used for, nor does Fractal Design’s website.
Directly below the PCI expansion ports is where the PSU mount is located, this PCU mounting area can accommodate a variety of PSU configurations.
Turning the Define R4 chassis to the right hand side.
Since the Define R4 chassis uses a front door that will block most of the front fans airflow, Fractal Design included small side vents on both sides of the front bezel to ensure that these front fans maintain their flow rates.
Time to lay the chassis onto its side and examine the top.
Starting from the bottom of the chassis and working our way up, Fractal Design includes 2 USB 2 ports, followed by 2 USB 3 ports. Right dead center of the chassis is the on/off power button, then a smaller reset button, and then we finally get to the front chassis head phone/mic 3.5mm jacks.
Towards the rear of the top of the chassis is where we can mount either two 140mm or two 120mm exhaust fans. These are currently blocked off by a sound deadening material, this can be removed if you wish to install the two fans up here.
To finish up the exterior portion of this chassis it is time for me to look at how Fractal Design did the bottom.
Fractal Design includes a rather large removable fan filter that covers both the bottom optional 120mm , and the PSU fan to keep dirt and dust to a minimum.
The feet of the Define R4 chassis utilize a soft rubber bottom to ensure that our surfaces does not get scratched up when we are using this chassis.
So far my overall impressions of the Define R4 chassis have been positive, with a few exceptions. The Define R4 is very solidly built, and Fractal Design does not have any one thing that grabs our attention that detracts from the entirety of the chassis itself.