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Fractal Design Define R4 Review

Assembly:

Fractal Design provides all the screws and stuff needed for the complete assembly of a computer; all you need is a Phillips screwdriver. The installation of PSU is as easy as it can get. Just place the PSU on the four foam feet and secure it in its place with the provided screws. There is a huge cable management hole present near the PSU area through which you can route your cables to the back of the motherboard tray.

Next part is the hard drive installation, all you need to do is slide out the hard drive caddy and place your HDD/SSD in it and tighten it in its place with the help of provided screws. The screw holes for HDDs are mounted with vibration damping washers to minimize the overall vibration in the case. All the eight drive caddies can either be used to HDD or SSD.

Optical drive installation is also pretty simple though we didn’t install one (We don’t use one anymore, they are history now) but we’ll tell you how to install one. Just take off the 5.25” cover from the front bay, slide the optical drive in and secure it with the provided screws. I quite liked the fact that Fractal Design hasn’t gone those cheap and fragile plastic mechanisms for mounting the drives.

Define R4 comes with 9 motherboard standoff which are enough for mounting the motherboard up to the ATX size. We installed out GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H which is an ATX motherboard without any issue. Just tighten the standoffs in their place according to your motherboard’s size. Place your motherboard on these standoffs and secure it with provided screws.

Mounting the cooler in the Define R4 isn’t really an issue due to the large CPU retention cut-out. We installed the motherboard without mounting the cooler but I would recommend mounting the cooler before installing the motherboard since it’s a little bit convenient.

The cooler we mounted, Thermalright Venomous X, fairly large and we didn’t face any clearance issue. If you want to go the watercooling route, the top spot might be a little tight for a 240mm rad. One might be able to fit a slim 240mm rad with slim fans but it’ll be a tight fit.

Next comes with graphics card installation which is completely toll-less in Define R4. Just take out the PCI bracket by removing the thumbscrew, place your card in and use the thumbscrews to secure it. You can also tighten them up with a screwdriver if you want to be on the safer side.

Cable management is a breeze in the Define R4 because there are enough cut-outs for routing the cables. All the cables were tucked in to their place with the provided zip ties. Like I mentioned earlier there is enough space on the back of the motherboard tray to hide all cables. One thing I would like to mention is that front panel cables could be a little short for some motherboards but in our case they were long enough.

This is how the interior looks with everything installed and all the cables routed properly. We opted to keep the top drive bay out of the case which wasn’t really serving any purpose in our case; actually it was a hindrance in the airflow of front fan. Closing the side panels wasn’t an issue since all the cables were tucked properly and there is enough space between motherboard try and right side panel.

Upon powering up the PC, a blue LED lights up on the front of the chassis. This LED is red in the white version of Define R4. The first thing you’ll notice after powering up the system is that how Define R4 supresses all the noises and vibrations.

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