The Define R3 is overall far more advanced than the above-discussed pair in terms of soundproofing. The foam rubber behind the front door is just one in a series of noise-suppressing measures.
The interior of the side panels is covered with a layer of soundproof material.
Every empty fan seat, save for the bottom one, has a thick cover made of soft soundproof material, too.
The mainboard’s mounting bracket has an opening for a CPU power cable but it's rather far from the corner of the case and you may find the cable to be too short to be routed behind the mainboard.
The cutout for the CPU cooler’s back-plate is the smallest among the four system cases, but the Define R3 is the only one to have the protective rubber edging on it.
We couldn’t help installing a matching power supply into this milk-white system case.
It offers as much space for expansion cards as the Arc: you can install devices up to 30 centimeters long. However, the width of the Define R3 is smaller, including the compartment for cables behind the mainboard's mounting plate. As a result, you may find it difficult to close the appropriate side panel, especially as it still has the same primitive fastening mechanism.
The cable compartment is smaller than in the Arc, so it’s hard to close the side panel with the cables under it.
The disk guides follow the same design concept but are shaped differently compared to the ones we’ve seen in the previous two products.
The 5.25-inch adapter is identical to the Core 3000’s except for its color.
For all its elegance, the Define R3 turned out to have a few defective elements. We can show you a couple of them here:
One of the rivets that fasten the chassis is skewed.
The cable from the eSATA connector bends and gets in the way of the optical drive you try to install into the 5.25-inch bay.
This is the product assembler’s fault rather than a manufacturing defect because the eSATA cable can be oriented in such a way as to provide free access to the 5.25-inch bay.
There’s an ugly piece of polyethylene film between the sheets of plastic.
One corner of the cover of the top front-panel fan comes off when closed.
The ventilation system has got weaker compared to the Arc. The Define R3 comes with two preinstalled fans, on the front and rear panels, both of the 120mm form-factor.
The bottom speed of the fans when connected to the included speed controller was about 640 RPM. The maximum speed was about 1270 RPM (although the declared speed is 1350 RPM).
We can understand the manufacturer’s desire not to put too many fans into a system case which is optimized for maximum acoustic comfort, but there are quite a few opportunities left for users who prefer to have their computer ventilated well. There's a place for a second 120mm fan on the front panel and as many as four places for 120/140mm fans elsewhere (one on the bottom panel, one on the side panel and two at the top).
The color scheme employed by Fractal Design permits using black components in conspicuous places, yet we guess a white optical drive would be a better match to this system case.
The shining Power indicator is the only thing that shows that the assembled Define R3 isn’t empty but has components inside.
- Elegant exterior design
- Good noise insulation
- Roomy interior
- Accommodates up to eight 2.5/3.5-inch disks
- Speed controller for up to three fans
- Some manufacturing defects
- Fewer opportunities for transforming the interior layout than provided by the other Fractal Design products