Fractal Design’s unbridled commitment to constructing silent, high-quality cases with a focus on good airflow has earned a great deal of respect throughout the technology sector. The Define R5 applied a number of subtle tweaks from the previous model and progressively enhanced the chassis’ sound-deadening materials. Fractal Design constantly strives for perfection and conducted a wide array of interesting noise tests in the world’s quietest room.
From the graphs, we can see the Fractal Design R5 is virtually silent at idle and reported a 14 dB figure. The majority of people would struggle to distinguish audible noise between 1-10 dB, so 14 is remarkably quiet. Even under full load, the case only ramps up to 21.2 dB and well within an acceptable range. To put this into perspective, the case when benchmarking is even quieter than a library or normal conversation.
The R5 competes exceedingly well against an open test bench and provides a much better PC experience. Under idle, the R5 and R5 windowed edition only recorded a 1.3 and 1.4 dBA acoustical noise level while the test bench hit a maximum of 16.1 dBA. The figures under 50% load remain fairly constant with an increase of approximately 1 dBA. However, notice how the gap slightly increases between the solid and windowed side panel version. When 100% load was applied, the standard R5 reached 21.2 dBA and the side-panel case only increased this figure by 0.7 dBA. Honestly, I expected there to be a much larger gap between these models. Finally, the Test Bench wasn’t ridiculously loud but enough of an increase to exemplify the R5’s excellent build quality.
This was a rather intriguing experiment and illustrates how quiet a modern, custom-PC can be. Perhaps the research conducted will allow Fractal to improve their silent ratings even further in future products.