Excerpt: Fractal Design is a Swedish computer hardware company that specializes in the areas of enclosures and power supplies. When I think of other Swedish companies, Ikea and Volvo come to mind, and like their Swedish brethren Fractal Design designs and engineers its products with a Scandinavian design philosophy. Following the major pillars of this style of design result in the creation of products that are functional, minimalistic and modern in style.
Summary: Despite its modest cable management capabilities, the Define R3 has been one of the best enclosures I've ever worked with. The R3's strength lies in the underlying simplicity of its design. Rather than expending energy on extra features like funky design cues, hot-swappable drive docks, and tool-less gadgets, Fractal Design appears to have focused its attention on refining proven methods and making a high-quality product above all else. This is the K.I.S.S.
Conclusion: The Fractal Design R3 is an outstanding case for those seeking to build a quiet PC. Clever design decisions also make it just as suitable for performance users who like its clean lines and minimalistic styling.
Summary: The new version of the Fractal Design Define case has a few notable improvements over its predecessor. The bitumen sheets to dampen noise has an improved look and finish. The rubber grommets that were the source of the smell that some users compained about is gone. For users who wanted a little more airflow, the updated model delivers minor improvements in ventilation and fans that are not only faster but sound smoother overall.
Summary: Overall the Fractal Design R3 is a triumph of case design. Its understated fridge-inspired looks will always polarize users but for those seeking low noise, intelligent design and good cooling the R3 strikes a near perfect balance.
Pros: - Oustanding value for money, - Great Cooling Performance, - Very low noise, - Excellent design and layout
Cons: - USB 3.0 and firewire would be nice, - Door orientation cannot be changed
Conclusion: Moving further along the top you’ll see two 120mm fans, and then another one at the back. Then there’s a hollow rectangle for the rear I/O panel on the motherboard followed by 7 removable panels for PCI slots concluding with the PSU hollow right at the bottom. It’s important to note at this point that ‘Uber’, the official distributors for Fractal Design cases in UAE, actually sell the Define R3 case with a PSU.
Summary: Update 06 Jan 2011 12pm PST: We spoke to Fractal Design, and they told us that the rectangular grommeted cable-routing holes have been improved and that all Define R3 chassis sold in the United States will have the new updated design. We plan to meet with Fractal on Saturday and will report back about the new cable routing holes at that point.
Pros: Attractive, elegant design; quiet; well-built; room for plenty of fans.
Cons: Only two fans, two optical drives, and two USB ports; heavy side panels; a side fan would be nice.
Summary: The Fractal Design Define R3 has some noticeable improvements over the Define R2 and I agree that these warrant a new revision. The only thing Fractal Design needs to watch out for is the fact that the market is not standing still. Many manufacturers offer USB 3.0 connectivity or allow graphics cards beyond 30 cm to be installed in their chassis.
Pros: Unique set of features, Sound dampening installed everywhere, Improved dampening material in comparison to the R2, Space for eight hard drives, Front drive bay covers may easily be removed now, Excellent cable routing possibilities, Plenty of areas to hide cables, Ready for 2.5" hard drives, Fan controller for three fans included, Black interior, Now with a reset button, Rear expansion slot covers have vents now, White accents look excellent, Thumb screws for the expa...
Cons: Clips of front covers won't last long, No USB 3.0 Connectivity, Graphic cards beyond 29 - 30 cm may not fit, Packaging seems too compact for safe transportation, Somewhat heavy
Summary: Das Fractal Define R3 Black Pearl ist sehr empfehlenswert und hat ein unschlagbares Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis. Es kann mit sehr vielen Eigenschaften überzeugen, die bei anderen Gehäuse dieser Preisklasse vergeblich gesucht werden. Das Define R3 ist der direkte Nachfolger des Define R2 und die Kritikpunkte des Define R2 wurden beim Fractal Define R3 Black Pearl verbessert und sogar optimiert, um das Gehäuse in dieser Qualität zu präsentieren.