Friday, February 13, 2015

Fractal Design Define R5 Black - Optimal Silent Computing

Fractal Design - Home

Designed and Engineered in Sweden
"All Fractal Design products have been carefully designed and tested in our Swedish headquarters. The well-known elements of Scandinavian design can be found throughout all of our product lines; a minimalistic, elegant and simple design, embracing the motto of 'less is more'."


"The DEFINE series of cases focuses on delivering the perfect balance between silent and minimalistic Scandinavian design. The understated look and feel allows for a natural fit into your home or office while never compromising on quality, performance or configurability."

The Fractal Design Define R5 

Define R5 Black - Home

"... is the next evolution in the widely popular Define Series. Packed with intelligently designed enthusiast-oriented features delivering a silent case with powerful and expansive air and liquid cooling support, presented in a stunning Scandinavian inspired construction.
The Define R5 case reaches the highest level of silent computing through strategically placed dense sound-absorbing material, ModuVent™ fan vent covers and finely tuned Dynamic Series fans.
The Define R5 was designed with configurability in mind, accommodating up to 8 hard drives and all modern graphics card. Should you wish to expand your system with water cooling components or more fans the layout can easily be configured to meet your demand."


  • 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)
  • Filtered fan slots in the front and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 180mm in height
  • ATX PSUs up to 190/170 mm with a bottom 120/140mm fan installed; when not using any bottom fan location longer PSUs up to 300mm can be used
  • Graphics cards up to 310 mm in length with the top HDD cage installed; with the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 440 mm in length may be installed
  • 20 - 35 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Velcro straps included for easy cable management
  • Front door can switch opening direction via dual mounting system
  • Left side panel features Quick Release System for easy access and provides a secure closure of side panel
  • Right side panel features smart captive thumbscrews so no thumbscrews are lost
  • Colours available: Black, Titanium (black case, titanium front panel), White
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 451 x 521mm
  • Case dimensions - with feet/screws/protrusions: 232 x 462 x 531mm
  • Net weight: 11.2 kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 327 x 615 x 540mm
  • Package weight: 12.8 kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 2 – 120/140 mm fans (included is 1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140 mm fan (included is 1 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 3 - 120/140 mm fan (not included)
  • Bottom: 2 – 120/140 mm fan (not included)
  • Side: 1 – 120/140 mm fan (not included)
  • Fan controller: 3 step fan controller for up to 3 fans
  • Dust filters: Bottom and front intakes

Water cooling compatibility

  • Front – 360, 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm radiators of all thicknesses (requires removal of drive bays)
  • Top – 420, 360, 280, 240, 140 and 120 mm radiators. (A thickness limitation of 55mm for both radiator + fan applies on 420, 280 and 140 mm radiators) (420 and 360 mm radiators require removal of the ODD bay)
  • Bottom – 120 or 240 mm radiator (Use of radiators in the bottom position limits the PSU length to 165 mm)
  • Rear – 120 or 140 mm radiator


Seems the cardboard box had received quite a few hard knocks which tore into it in more than one spot, fortunately the case itself emerged unscathed. Both the specifications and exploded view of the case makes the packaging very informative indeed

Do click on the pics for the full res views for reading the box printing..


Ah, someone had in haste forgotten to replace the protective plastic bag which was lying folded at the bottom of the box instead (& the user guide is also MIA). As you can see, this quickly showed up the finger print magnet the case finish can be.


Showing the 3 top ModuVent™ positions - the flaps pop out with ease showing the sound dampening layer.

The front portion sports the beautiful Power, tiny Reset buttons, Power/HDD LEDs (blue), audio and USB 2/3 ports - very functionally and tastefully done.


Note one of the 2 bundled 140mm exhaust fans (FD Dynamic GP14) present, white fenestrated I/O plates and the use of a spring loaded sliding lock for securing  one of the side panels with thumbscrews for the other.


Lovely AV deck inspired chrome case feet surrounding the large bottom removable dust mesh


Sports the remaining ModuVent™ flap, last pic demonstrates the metal folding.


Demonstrating (more finger prints &) the captive thumbscrews, no more losing them now.  Note the generously large noise dampening layer.


Noise dampened front door (with even more f... ) which swings to show the removable front fan mesh and bundled 140mm fan. The swing door can be cleverly rotated 180 degrees to swing open in the opposite direction by undoing 2 screws.

Placed flat to show the noise dampening layer on the swing door as well as the 3 fan/speed controller circled in yellow.

The ODD face plates are easily removed from the front by pulling on the catch as shown.

Next photo shows the whole front panel being popped open (via its plastic catches) and lifted over to the top to show the reverse view.

Stripping Time

Both side panels are removed to reveal the interior views, love the large CPU rear access and central mobo mounting guide.

Mobo Mounting

Space aplenty even with a full sized ATX model!

White Accessory Box

Woah, screws overload!

Initial Impressions

Aesthetic Scandinavian minimalist looks
Largely tool-free interior access
Noise dampening
Meshed intakes
3 Fan controller
Good panel fitting
Flexible front door orientaion
Rubber grommets & Velcro ties for cable management
Flexible water cooling support
Potential for high end components and abundant storage

Can be improved...
Finger prints and more f... (yeah, for now it comes down to mostly this so just wipe regularly)
Heavier than usual due to noise dampening features

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