Articles: Cases/PSU

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Fractal Design Define XL


Take a Define R3, stretch it along each of its three dimensions and cover the front door with film which imitates a brushed aluminum surface – here is the cooking recipe for the Define XL!

Well, they aren’t exactly identical, we must confess. It’s not only about size. There are some minor design discrepancies between the two products.

The Define XL is the only Fractal Design case which has four open 5.25-inch bays.

The 5.25-inch faceplates are identical to the Define R3’s except for their color.

Instead of two separate front-fan covers, there is only one now and it fits perfectly, unlike in the Define R3.

There is a shared dust filter for the front-panel fans and you don’t need a screwdriver to take it off.

The Define XL gives you the opportunity to install a 120mm fan into the 5.25-inch bays if you don't use them. With this fan installed, you'll only be able to have one 5.25-inch device, but that's going to be enough for most PC configurations.

Like the pair of main front-panel fans, the additional fan seat opposite the 5.25-inch bays has a meshed dust filter.

The I/O panel has a different design again. Compared to the Define R3, the eSATA connector has moved away and turned around by 90 degrees. There are as many as four USB 2.0 ports now while the highlighting of the Power button is blue.

Like the Define R3, the Define XL supports the USB 3.0 upgrade kit available at the manufacturer's website. It helps replace two USB 2.0 with USB 3.0 ports connected to the mainboard's onboard headers. The most recent version of this system case, called Define XL USB 3.0, offers the upgraded configuration right out of the box, though.

We can see a different set of feet in this system case, too. They are as good as in the other products, though.

The side panels are designed differently in the Define XL and we like that. You don’t have to align the panel’s numerous tabs with the slits in the chassis, so it is much easier to install the panel above a bulging heap of cables.

The panels themselves are thicker than in the other Fractal Design products and feature soundproof coating similar to that of the Define R3.

Like the other Fractal Design cases, this one comes with a printed user manual (it’s pretty but not very detailed) and a box with fasteners and accessories.

Notwithstanding the additional upright back-panel bracket which is sunken into the rear panel (similar to the Arc), the speed controller’s knob is short, which is not handy if you install the controller instead of that bracket.

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