With the chassis market dominated by a small group of major companies, it’s easy to get excited when we receive a model from a company that’s not that well known – at least on these shores. In this particular case (no pun, of course), that company is Fractal Design, and its the silence-focused Define R3 mid-tower on deck today.
I walk away with two things from my time with the Fractal Design Define R3. The first is that it’s a very well designed chassis. All edges on the interior of the case had grommets around them and even when digging around in the hard drive bays, I never once found a sharp edge. In fact almost all edges are rounded off for additional safety, as well as adding a bit of rigidity to the overall composition of the Define R3.
Coming in at $100, the price might indicate that the Define R3 is cheap. I have to disagree strongly. It’s engineered to afford the user as many conveniences as possible while keeping the price at an affordable level. Speaking of design, the Define R3 is practically silent. With all the hardware installed and the side panel securely in place, there were few times I could hear anything from the machine. The acoustic dampening on all sides helps in this and the front door foam eliminates sound from the front. On all accounts, the Define R3 attacks sounds while keeping internal temperatures at a reasonable level.
Those looking for a performance case with a window of which to show off their machine should look elsewhere. For the rest of the chassis market, if you don’t need a full sized tower, the Define R3 should be on your list of cases to look at. My long standing favorite has been the Hiper Osiris for some time. I still use that case and can still appreciate the build quality. Sadly though, Hiper is no longer in business, but the case remains.
From build quality to small details that aid in the installation and upkeep of your machine, the Define R3 provides it all. You do get a bit more plastic than many would like but for the money, it’s to be expected. The front assembly and the legs are plastic but in the six months that I have had it in my possession, there aren’t any visible scratches on the front, so I can speak directly to the durability of the machine.
Looking past the price, I believe that the Define R3 can stand on its own amongst other cases from better known companies here in the US. With its water friendly design and near silent operation, the Define R3 is a winner no matter how you look at it.
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