Fractal Design Define R5 Window Case Review

Fractal Design Define R5 Window Case
Reviewer: Tyler DeGiacomo
Category: 
PC cases / Chassis
Price: 
$125

Fractal Design's Define R5 PC Case is the current evolution to their profoundly popular Define Series lineage. This mid-tower enclosure is designed for silent operation, available as both a steel side panel or windowed version in three different color options, all of which include a wide variety of cooling support and hardware configuration flexibility to satisfy any build.

Specifications

Unique Features:

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 7 - Expansion slots
  • 2 - 5.25" bays (removable)
  • 8 - 3.5" HDD positions (can also accommodate 2.5" units)
  • 2 - 2.5" dedicated SSD unit positions
  • 4 - ModuVent plates - three in the top and one in the side
  • 9 - Fan positions (2 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans included)

Physical Characteristics:

  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 451 x 521mm
  • Case dimensions - with feet/screws/protrusions: 232 x 462 x 531mm
  • Net weight: 10.7 kg

External

The Fractal Design Define R5 case is available in three colors: Black, Titanium (black case, Titanium front panel) and White.

Fractal Design Define R5

White has an elegant high-gloss piano finish door with matte finishing throughout. The enclosure door has the same sound dampening material (high-density foam) used on the side panelling and opens to a 95 degree angle with dual mounting options for either left or right orientation.

Present are two optical bays and a three speed selector switch for fan control. Said controller no longer uses Molex connectors, but powered via SATA connector. Front grill has slated airflow intake with dust filter, also included is a bottom chassis dust filter that is conveniently front accessible.

Fractal Design Define R5

Top panel has three clip-on ModuVent fan-slot covers that can be removed or added based on build configuration - when doing so, be careful as the clips are made of plastic and potentially could break off.

Fractal Design Define R5

Front edge of the case houses an Input/Output for standard headphone and mic jacks, recessed reset button and power button which illuminates blue while on. Additionally 4 USB ports (2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0) are present too.

Fractal Design Define R5

This enclosure comes in both a steel side panel or window version. As seen, our evaluation unit is windowed. This shows off internal components, but may offer less noise absorption as there is only a small amount of sound dampening material along the outer edge of the acrylic glass in comparison to a steel panel with sound dampening material along entire backside.

Fractal Design Define R5

Regardless of which option you choose, left side panel is easily removed and has a latch mechanism to hold it in place while you secure it with the removable thumb screws. If you're frequently swapping hardware in/out of this case the latching will be appreciated.

Fractal Design Define R5

Unlike the left panel, right side has captive thumbscrews which eliminates the chance of them being misplaced as they're affixed. Just an observation, because really, how often do you need access to the backside of your case?

Fractal Design Define R5

Internal

Front side

Interior of the Fractal Design Define R5 has the same white finish inside which gives it a nice uniform appearance - appropriate seeing as this is a windowed case.

Fractal Design Define R5

Engineered to house ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboards, mounting has been made easier thanks to labelled stand-offs on the motherboard plate. These case markings indicate location of mount points based on form-factor, A for ATX, M for micro ATX and I for mini ITX.

Fractal Design Define R5

While on topic of installation, when assembling a PC, few things are more frustrating than having to remove the motherboard to install a CPU cooler. The Define R5 motherboard plate has a cut-out (window) in the area behind the CPU socket to aid in installation and removal of CPU coolers. CPU coolers up to 180mm in height are supported.

Fractal Design Define R5

To accommodate large graphics cards, increase airflow or provide support for a liquid cooling solution of your choice, the two harddrive cages (5 & 3 bay) holding up to eight 3.5” or 2.5” drives and can be rotated or removed based on your requirement. The optical drive cage (2 bay) is also removable. Graphics cards up to 310mm in length can be installed with the top HDD cage present and with the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 440mm in length may be installed.

Fractal Design Define R5

For cooling, included are two Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans - one in front and the other located at rear of the chassis. Enthusiasts looking to move beyond the cooling basics will be excited for the wide variety of 120/140mm fan placements and versatile mixture of water cooling compatibility options: Front - 120/140/240/280/360mm , Top - 120/140/240/280/360/420mm, Bottom/Rear - 120/240mm. Limitations on radiator thickness are applicable, so please confirm your build plan with Fractal Design product page specifications prior to purchase.

Back side

Out-of-box cable management is already neatly ran and tied down with velcro strapping. Pass-through holes for cabling and hoses are all outlined with rubber grommets, this provides protection from sharp edges and chafing when routing.

Fractal Design Define R5

There is plenty of physical space (20mm vertical / 35mm horizontal) behind the montherboard plate for clean cable routes and recessed mounts for two removable Solid-State Drive brackets.

Fractal Design Define R5

Gallery

Conclusion

The Good - Pros
  • Contemporary design
  • Solid construction with sound dampening
  • Motherboard plate is labelled and windowed
  • Modular drive cages can be rotated or removed
  • Excellent cable management & spacing
  • Includes two 140mm fans
  • Dual mount front door
  • Diverse cooling options
  • Dust filtered intakes
The Bad - Cons
  • ModuVent clips are thin plastic and could break easy
The Ugly - Problems
  • N/A
The Verdict - Opinion
  • The Fractal Design Define R5 Window Case is quallity product suited for any build. It's minimalist, yet contemporary design is aestitically pleasing and well engineered to accomidate nearly any hardware configuration, ventilation or cooling system expansion. This case is great value at current price point and a worthy purchase which will have you covered for years to come.

Innovation: 
5/5
Performance: 
5/5
Compatibility: 
5/5
Cost / Value: 
4/5

19/20

Overall score


Category: