Fractal Design Define R5 Review

Layout, design and features exterior …

Firstly we want to take a look at the front, which is one of the main differences to the Define S case. But at first glance it does not look like it is different at all. Like the “S” the R5 has a straightforward plastic-front with the look of matte-black aluminium with a notch for the blue status LED.

Also the lateral air inlets are identical, but the small notch at the upper part spoils the secret.

The front door can be pivoted to the side and reveals the view on the featured behind. Those are a 140mm fan behind a dust-filter, to slots for optical drives and an unobtrusive switch for controlling up to 3 fans.

Fractal Design does not supply a frame for a 3,5″ device (e.g. card reader, fan control, floppy), but this can be purchased for a few Euro by third-party manufacturers. Here you can see the covered slots and the fan-controller in close-up:

The door and the side panels are equipped with bitumen-pads. The door can be easily mounted otherwise so it can swing open to the right.

If you already read our Fractal Design Define S Case Review, you can now skip to the internal features as all the differences on the outside have already been discussed at this point.

The front-panel is located on the upper side and except the small reset-button all elements have a high-quality look to them. Before the first use all of the USB ports should be tested with an expendable USB-cable as they tend to snap in really tight. In our test we had to apply considerable force to extract the cable from one of the ports.

The status-LED shines relatively brightly towards the front even in stand-by mode.

The top side seems to be divided in several sections.

This appearance is formed by the three removable “ModuVent” inserts. These are fitting plastic panels which are also equipped with noise-reducing material.

Below there is a big aperture in the top of the case where additional fans or heatsinks can be mounted. Unfortunately Fractal Design did not supply any dust protection for this opening.

Contrary to the uncovered bottom. Here you can find a big dust filter which can be easily removed for cleaning by pulling it forwards with just one hand. This way you can clean it without moving the case at all. Our cat contributed some hairs to prove that it works well.

From the side Fractal Design shows simple elegance.

Only the ModuVent-insert on the left side disrupts the concept a bit.

Both side panels are equipped with big bitumen pads.

On the back only the white painted metal covers for the PCI-slots stand out. The mounting of the side panels are the most interesting feature here.

The thumbscrews for the right panel cannot be removed completely. This way they stay attached to the panel while removing and cannot fall down.

On the left panel the thumbscrews can be removed, but if you need to open your case regularly you don’t need those necessarily. At medium height you find a sliding mechanism which can lock the side panel quickly and easily. In everyday use this feature was very helpful for us, because we were able to remove the side panel with one hand even while standing in front of the case. Unfortunately Fractal Design did not equip the side panels with any kind of handle, this way they can easily fall down after releasing.

Fractal Design Define R5 layout, design and features interior …