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Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl Mid-Tower Chassis Review (Page 2)

By Chad Sebring from Jul 23, 2012 @ 1:13 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Specifications, Availability and Pricing


The exterior of the Define R4 keeps the same textured black steel exterior that the Define series is known for on the steel components of the chassis. The front bezel is made from ABS plastic and offers a door with a brushed look to it, easy access to the components behind it and it also holds the front I/O on the top edge. This panel offers HD Audio 3.5mm jacks, a reset button, a power button surrounded with a backlit ring, two USB 3.0 ports and a pair for USB 2.0 connectivity.

Aside from all of the textured steel and the stylish front bezel, the feet of the Define R4 pop with the look of natural brushed aluminum to add a bit of elegance to an otherwise black, plastic, plain foot. The rear of the Define R4 offers ventilation at the top through some honeycomb mesh above the rear I/O and 140mm fan. Below this you will find eight white expansion slot covers in the slots and a large hole with a padded ring around it for the PSU installation.

Internally there is a lot going on in the Define R4. In the front let's start with the fan rack assembly. Fractal Design includes one 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, but leaves room for another to be added. This fan rack uses a clip in, clip out securing method to allow ease of use without any rattle and this front area has a dust filter to cover both fans. Just behind this is a pair of 5.25" bays and a hard drive rack that has many ways to be used. There are eight total bays broken up into a group of five at the top and three at the bottom. The top five can be rotated ninety degrees or removed all together. As for the bottom three, well they aren't stuck in place either and with the removal of six screws it will also come right out of the R4. That means a ton of room for a radiator and water cooling gear. The top of the chassis has two ModuVent panels covering the pair of holes and I am told a slim radiator will also fit here with fans.

Moving down, you run into the motherboard tray that offers room for ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ATX motherboards. Along with easy to read placements for the risers, this tray offers five wire management holes with grommets and the large CPU cooler access hole. On the back side of it you have six wire tie places, 26mm of workspace and room for a pair of SSD's. I almost forgot all about the fan controller. On the left side of all of the bays, looking in from behind the motherboard tray, you will find three leads to power fans that have a switch that allows for settings of 5V, 7V or 12V to the connected fans.

With what I have described fresh in your mind, I know you are thinking with every addition to the chassis design, there must be dollar signs going off in someone's head right? Well with the Define R4 that simply isn't the situation. As of this moment the chassis is just releasing, so finding one outside of those privileged few that received them as I did, is near impossible. Give it a bit of time though, as I am sure this chassis will be filling shelves soon. The really good part about this wait for stock to arrive is that you don't have to spend that time scrounging up a bunch of money to get one.

The MSRP of the Define R4 is set at only $109 and from what I can already see, this chassis is worth every penny of that pricing and can contend with many offerings in the $150-200 range without even breaking a sweat.

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