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Fractal Design Define R4 with Window Arctic White Silent ATX Mid Tower Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Punches Above Its Weight 03/31/2013

This review is from: Fractal Design Define R4 with Window Arctic White Silent ATX Mid Tower Case

Pros: Let's work from the outside in. The paint finish is remarkable. It almost feels like automotive paint, it's so good. I like a really understated, but classy look and this case provides that aesthetic in spades. The side window is large and I find the black and white interior really attractive. One small detail I really like is that the front panel is magnetized shut. Everything is just really nice to touch, even the plastic parts. There's a sense of solidity and quality to it, two adjectives I never thought I'd use in describing a case.

Moving inside, there's plenty of space to build in. Although there are only two 5.25" bays, I don't realistically think people will need more than that. I certainly only need one. It's really nice that the hard drive cages are removable; the top one can rotate too. which allows for the most flexibility. Everything is fully tool-less, which is awesome.

Building is very easy. The rubber-lined cable holes are numerous. I'm not sure about the reviewer who said there aren't any cable tie points behind the motherboard. There are a lot of them, which combined with the healthy space between the motherboard and the side of the case makes cable management really easy.

Let's talk about performance. In a word, great. This case comes with Fractal's newest generation of quiet case fans, and this is very evident. I switched to this case from a much older one without upgrading anything else and the noise difference is astounding. Each panel is lined with a really thick mat that does a great job at sound insulation. Furthermore, the two included fans move plenty of air which reduces the workload of my CPU cooler. I'm running an overclocked Phenom II quad core, so it isn't the coolest-running CPU out there. This case handles it with aplomb.

I chose this case because it came out on top of Tom's Hardware's quiet case comparison test. Even if I bought this case at its full price of $110, it would have been a great value. At $85, it's a steal. Nothing can touch it at this price point. Heck, even much more expensive cases probably aren't as good.

What impresses me most is the fact that this case can work equally well as an office workstation or as a gaming machine. I think it looks good in both roles and it can certainly accommodate the hardware for both.

I read a lot of reviews of the Define R4 online. Everyone likes to complain how it wasn't a huge improvement over the Define R3 or that it isn't a revolutionary case. Couple things. The Define R3 was already pretty darn good. Second, these reviewers see so much hardware that they become desensitized. They think, "oh, I've seen this feature done a little better on this other case." Coming from a normal person who buys cases infrequently, the Fractal Define R4 does everything well. Where other cases have weaknesses, I haven't found one here. It holds (a lot of) things well, it cools well, it makes very little noise, and it looks great doing so. What more could you wan

Cons: It's a little ironic that I title this review "Punches Above Its Weight" because this case is HEAVY. It's over 25 pounds because of all the sound insulation, and when you install all the parts, it can get ridiculously weighty. The woman who delivered the package didn't have an easy time with it. I should say that Fractal's box has really nice handle cutouts in it, which makes carrying it a bit easier. Do not use this case for LAN parties.

Second, though Fractal claims that this case is tool-less, it isn't the first time around. Some of the interior thumb screws are fastened so tightly when the case is new that you need a screwdriver to loosen them. Of course, when you put them back in yourself, you probably won't tighten them to such an extent. Chances are, however, that you'll have a screwdriver at hand when you're first building this case anyway.

These quibbles are forgivable and easy to deal with. There is one problem that some users might face, however. Personally, I am using fairly standard components (see below for specifics). I have a fairly average mid-range to budget system with a standard ATX board, and just about one of every other component. However, this case probably isn't ideal for the extreme gamer. As it is, my motherboard takes up most of the allotted space. If you have an oversized motherboard, you may find that it partially covers the rubber cable holes. Also, I don't really think this case is the best for big water cooling either. Though I think there's enough space for a 240mm radiator, there isn't a lot of extra room for it. Again, I don't own any water cooling equipment; this is just my gut feeling. Finally, the extra PCI expansion slot (the +1 in 7+1) isn't oriented so you can hang a fourth graphics card off the end of your motherboard. It's actually perpendicular, so if you have an extension, it's a nice place to put things like wireless adapters if you need the space.

Then again, this probably isn't a problem for the people considering this case. This case is, after all, primarily supposed to be quiet. You could very well run a high-end Z77 board with CrossFire or SLI and the case has no shortage of space for various RAID configurations. You just probably won't want to build your i7-3960X dream rig in here.

Other Thoughts: There are two things I want to note before I finish this review. The first is that this case has a switch for three different case fan speeds: 5v, 7v, and 12v. I happen to agree with other online reviewers that the 7v setting is the best. It cools better than 5v but is still almost silent. At 12v, you get a "whoosh" sound, which still isn't obtrusive. Second, one reviewer mentioned that there isn't an HDD light. If that really is your thing (really? how many people absolutely need to know when their hard disk is working?) you can plug the lead for the power indicator light into the place where the HDD light would normally be plugged in. Voila: HDD indicator.

A little perspective: I bought my last case four years ago. Obviously a lot has changed since then. Although my old case was a decent gaming unit from AZZA, it only had buzzy 80mm case fans, metal break-out expansion slot covers (remember those!?), and plastic 5.25" bay covers from hell. Moving to the Fractal has been like a night and day difference. I can't overstate how impressed I am with this case. I also can't remember the last time I was so excited about a metal box. Of course, this case is so much more than that. You can see what's in my current (slightly outdated) machine below. I do have plans to upgrade in the near future (probably to a bigger HDD, an FX-6300, and a Radeon 7850) and I am fully confident that the Fractal Define R4 will be able to handle anything I can (afford to) throw at it.

My specs:
AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition Callisto (unlocked to X4 B60) @ 3.6 Ghz
Cooler Master Hyper 212+
AsRock 970 Extreme3
8 GB Pareema 1600 Mhz RAM
160 GB Western Digital HDD
60 GB Corsair Force 3 SSD
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670
Windows 7 Home Premium

READ FULL REVIEW
C2G 10155 6
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Works 08/09/2012

This review is from: C2G 10155 6" Serial ATA Dual Power Splitter Cable M-F

Pros: This cable does everything that it's supposed to do and it's inexpensive to boot.

Cons: I wish the cables were just a little bit longer.

It is a bit difficult to plug in the Molex side of this cable.

Also, I live one day away from Newegg's New Jersey distribution center, so I've been spoiled by super fast delivery. This product ships from elsewhere, so it took a bit longer. No matter; shipping time was still reasonable.

Other Thoughts: Good product and a huge help when working with multiple drives and/or old/new PSUs and drives.

Specs:
AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition Callisto (unlocked to X4 B60) @ 3.6 Ghz
AsRock 970 Extreme3
8 GB Pareema 1600 Mhz
160 GB Western Digital HDD
60 GB Corsair Force 3 SSD
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670
Windows 7 Home Premium

READ FULL REVIEW
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - CPU Cooler with 4 Direct Contact Heatpipes
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: I suppose I'll just add my voice to the 3000+ strong chorus. This is a great product. It's cheap and it works very well. I bought it because MaximumPC gave it a perfect 10. It surely deserves it. It reduced my (overclocked) idle temperatures by nearly 10 degrees Celsius over the stock AMD cooler.

Cons: This is quite a large cooler and may be an issue in small cases. Also, the installation is just a bit fiddly.

Other Thoughts: For this price, there's nothing that can take on this product. I'm not even sure that a cooler that costs twice as much will do a better job. The Hyper 212+ is really a master of cooling.

Specs:
AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition Callisto (unlocked to X4 B60) @ 3.6 Ghz
AsRock 970 Extreme3
8 GB Pareema 1600 Mhz
160 GB Western Digital HDD
60 GB Corsair Force 3 SSD
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670
Windows 7 Home Premium

READ FULL REVIEW

Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 06/22/12

  • Reviews: 10
  • Helpfulness: 6
  • First Review: 08/08/12
  • Last Review: 03/31/13
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