Introduction: Defining the Quiet Enclosure

The successor to Fractal’s Define R4 is built for silence.

The Define R5 is the direct successor to Fractal Design's R4 enclosure, and it arrives with the promise of a completely improved offering in the silent case market. Fractal Design has unveiled the case today, and we have the day-one review ready for you!

We've looked at a couple of budget cases recently from the Swedish enclosure maker, and though still affordable with an MSRP of $109.99 (a windowed version will also be available for $10 more) the Define R5 from Fractal Design looks like a premium part throughout. In keeping with the company's minimalist design aesthetic it features clean styling, and is a standard mid-tower form factor supporting boards from ATX down to mini-ITX. The R5 also offers considerable cooling flexibility with many mounting options for fans and radiators.

The Silent Treatment

One of two included 1000 RPM hydraulic-bearing GP-14 silent fans

There are always different needs to consider when picking an enclosure, from price to application. And with silent cases there is an obvious need to for superior sound-dampening properties, though airflow must be maintained to prevent cooking components as well. With today's review we'll examine the case inside and out and see how a complete build performs with temperature and noise testing.

Before we begin, here are the complete specs from Fractal Design:

Drive Bay Capacity
  • 2 - 5.25” bays (removable)
  • 8 - 3.5" HDD positions (can also accommodate 2.5" units)
  • 2 - additional 2.5" dedicated SSD unit positions
Expansion Slots
  • 7
Motherboard Compatiblity
  • ATX
  • Micro-ATX
  • Mini-ITX
Cooling / Ventilation
  • 9 Fan positions (2 Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 180 mm in height
Front I/O
  • 2 USB 3.0 + 2 USB 2.0
  • 3.5mm audio in/out
Power Supply Compatibility
  • ATX PSUs up to 190/170 mm (with a bottom 120/140mm fan installed)
  • When not using any bottom fan location PSU up to 300mm can be used
Graphics Card Compatibility
  • Graphics cards up to 310 mm in length with top HDD cage installed
  • With top cage removed GPUs up to 440 mm in length may be installed
Dimensions / Weight
  • Case dimensions (mm) 232 x 462 x 531 (9.13" x 18.19" x 20.91")
  • Weight 10.2 kg (22.49 lbs)

Our thanks to Fractal Design for providing the Define R5 for our review!

Packaging and Contents

The case ships in a standard brown box with some basic information on the outside.

Inside the case receives Fractal’s usual treatment for product protection, with styrofoam padding and a plastic bag over the enclosure to prevent scratches.

An instruction guide and small boxed hardware package are included.

All screws are separated into individual bags

First Impressions

Right out of the box I was impressed with the look of the case, particularly the front panel and top I/O. Clean and uncluttered, and a nice brushed finish to the plastic front giving it an aluminum look.

The front panel is a door, which swings open to reveal an opening for intake fans as well as two 5.25” optical drive bays. (The hinge is reversable if you'd prefer to have it open left to right.) This door panel is lined with a thick acoustic treatment, the first indication of the sound-dampening qualities of the R5.

Up top the 5.25" drive bay covers are secured with a simple latch that allows for easy removal, and the intake fan features a dust screen that also pops out easily.

A 140mm intake fan is included here to provide positive airflow

There is a space for a side mounted fan if desired on one of the side panels. This is covered by default with a panel that is also lined with

Around back there isn’t much to report. Here we have 7 expansion slots and another 120/140mm fan opening (with a second 140mm quiet fan included).

The top of the R5 is interesting as we have three removable "Moduvent" fan covers, each lined with a foam material to help reduce noise when not using the upper fan mounts.

The top of the case with and without the vent covers

A look at the bottom of the case shows off some very shiny chromed plastic feet with a foam cushion at the base of each, and a long screen filter that covers the lower fan/PSU openings. This full-length filter slides out easily for cleaning and is an important feature to keep dust out.

Next we’ll take a look at the interior of the case and try out a system build with the R5.

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