The Fractal Design Define series has been one of the corner stones of the chassis industry for years now. Fractal Design have always been known for the exceptional build quality, silent performance and bold looks; although this much is true of almost all the chassis’ that Fractal Design produce. With that in mind, I’m very excited to have their latest iteration at my disposal today, the Fractal Design Define R5; the latest flag-ship chassis from the legendary Swedish manufacturer.
The Define R5 has been a long time coming, it was just over two years ago that I reviewed the Define R4. As much as I love the Define R4, two years is a long time and PC hardware has already changed a lot in that time; it will be interesting to see how Fractal Design have tweaked and improves the design to reflect that.
The Define R5 comes equipped with two 5.25″ drive bays, eight 2.5″/3.5″ bays and two 2.5″ drive mounts behind the motherboard; there’s no doubt that this chassis can handle a lot of storage. You’ll find room for mini-ITX, Micro ATX and most importantly, ATX motherboards. Combine this with room for graphics card of up to 310mm with the hard drive cages installed, or 440mm with them removed, up to 35mm of cable routing space, PSUs of up to 300mm and a whole lot more; the Fractal Design Define R5 is certainly capable of housing an ultra high-end system.
The chassis keeps the bold design that Fractal Design are known for. There are a few vents on the left side of the front panel to allow air into the chassis. The case is sealed up pretty tight to help keep any unwanted noises as muted as possible, but there’s a removable side panel cover, behind which you’ll find an optional side panel fan mount.
The right side panel is a blank panel, but you’ll notice even more ventilation on the right edge of the front panel. Both the left and right side panels are held in place by a pair of thumb screws.
The I/O panel is really nicely designed, you’ve got a pair of HD audio jacks and four USB ports; so connectivity shouldn’t be a problem. There’s a small reset button recessed into the top, a nicely designed power button and the top of the front panel is cut away for a recessed power LED.
The front panel features a thick layer of high-quality sound dampening material. The front door panel has been designed with a dual hinge, allowing you to open it from either the left or the right; it’s up to you.
Tucked away in the top left corner you’ll find a three speed fan control switch; you can connect up to three fans to this. The 5.25″ drive bay covers are removable from the front for easy access.
There is large high-quality dust filter in the front that can be easily removed. Behind this you’ll find a high quality 140mm fan with room for an additional 140mm fan below it.
There is another 140mm installed in the back of the chassis, although you could swap this out for a 120mm fan if you wanted to. There are elongated screw holes to allow height adjustment of your fan or radiator; this is great for preventing conflicts with other components or the chassis itself. There are seven expansion slots, each fitted with a reusable and ventilated metal cover.
This is one of my favourite features of the Define R5. The bottom dust filter covers all the way from the back of the PSU to the front of the chassis. The thing I like most is that the filter can be slid out from the front of the chassis, meaning you don’t have to pull the chassis out from under your desk to get to the filter! It’s amazing how many chassis manufacturers do this the other way around.