Fractal Design Define R6 Review
Since reviewing the Fractal Define series, we thought it was about time to visit the chassis that was essentially refreshed for the new Vector RS, the Fractal Design Define R6. Now, with the release of the more recent R7 and XL you may wonder, what’s the point? The fact is, the Fractal Design R6 is still one of the best PC cases on the market.
The successor to the hugely popular R5, the R6, is yet another case in Fractal Design’s locker that is built for silence. This PC case has an exceptional build quality and is expertly manufactured to bring you a hassle-free building experience and impressive cooling.
Let’s take a closer look at what this sound dampened mid-tower can offer.
|Dimensions (mm)||543 x 233 x 465 (L x W x H)|
|Available Colours||Blackout, Gunmetal, White, Black Tempered Glass, Gunmetal Tempered Glass|
|Front I/O panel||2 x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0,1 x USB Type-C, Microphone, Headphone, Reset Button, Power Button|
|Drive Bays||Up to 11 3.5" drives (6 included) and up to four 2.5" drives (2 included).|
|Motherboard support||E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Cooling (Front/Rear/Top)||3 x 120/140mm (2 x 140mm included)/ 1 x 120/140mm (1 x 140mm included)/ 3 x 120/140mm (with cooling bracket installed)|
|CPU Max Height||185mm|
|Maximum GPU length||440mm with front fans mounted|
Packaging & Contents
- Fractal Design Define R6 Computer Case
- User Manual
- Accessory Box
The Define R6 is a very simplistic looking case, there are barely any noticeable design features. If you were on the hunt for fan vents and RGB then you are looking in the wrong place with this PC case, as it is built for stealth.
You obviously spot that classic Fractal Design look and the front features the same hinged door we saw on the R5. The door feels sturdy and also features the same dampening material that is on the side panels, but we will touch upon that a little later. Behind the door is a 5.25” drive bay slot and removable fan vent.
There is ventilation on either side of the front panel to suck in the air from the two pre-installed Dynamic X2 GP-14 fans. You can, of course, swap these out for three 120mm fans if you fancied.
At the back of the case, we see the button to release the top panel and a space for a 120/140mm fan (1x Dynamic X2 GP-14 preinstalled). There are seven expansion slots plus two vertical, giving those who plan on modding something extra, although there are limited reasons to have a vertical GPU in a case like the R6.
The top of the case is what Fractal Design calls “ModuVent” and it pops off revealing the radiator bracket if you needed that space. This is a great touch from Fractal, leaving the config of your case up to you. But, bear in mind that removing the sound-dampened top panel will result in an increase in noise.
If you swap the top out for the vent and plan on extra cooling then you can install up to three 120mm fans in the standard layout or two 140mm fans. With the open layout, you can actually fit a third 140mm fan on the top. Furthermore, there is room for radiators up to 360mm and 420mm respectively.
Of course, the top is where we see the I/O ports and it’s fairly generous.
The I/O ports consist of:
- Power Button
- Reset Button
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x USB-C
- Microphone & Headphone Jack
The front panel ports are modular too and you can buy a replacement on Fractal Designs website if they ever end up damaged, which saves you replacing the whole case. The Connect D1, as it’s known, is very easy to install and is relatively cheap.
To The Side
The push to lock mechanism on the side panels is a great feature, as mentioned, there is no need to screw in those thumb screws unless you plan on taking your PC on a little journey. No glass panels, RGB or funky design here, it is purely functional.
The interior on the Fractal Design Define R6 is absolutely excellent. There is no wasted space on the inside, and while motherboard installation can feel a little cramped at times, you can remove the HDD cages if needed.
The grommets are a great size, like pretty much every Fractal Design mid-tower case we have tested, giving you plenty of room for the CPU connector too. One thing that can sometimes upset people with the rubber grommets is the fact they pop out when you are trying to install your PSU power. But, you needn't worry, thanks to Fractal's zig-zag design keeping these firmly in place.
The steel panels on either side look and feel like the rest of the case, only they sport the sound-dampening material on the inside. This material does a superb job of blocking the noise from your internal fans and while the system is running at stock configuration you can expect to keep those acoustic levels under 35 dBA.
Fractal Design cases come with a plethora of features that many others just don’t. Of course, with this line of cases, the main talking point is the silent operation, however, there are a few other key features that could certainly sway you in the R6’s direction.
- Silent Computing - The R6 has been optimized for silent operation and this line of cases are some of the best out there for PC users who hate the noise of fans. Fractal Design uses high-density industrial dampening on the panels (front, sides, and top). The case also comes with three silent dynamic X2-GP-14 140mm fans that are optimized for airflow without sacrificing the acoustic performance.
- Modularity - Fractal like to focus on the modularity of their cases and give you the option of the open layout case. The top ModuVent gives you a few options to play with when it comes to cooling VS acoustics and the drives can be repositioned depending on your cooling/ cable situation too. The door on the front panel has also been well thought out and can actually be reversed, with the dual mounting system.
- Nexus Fan Hub - The preinstalled fan controller situated on the back panel offers fan control of an additional six fans plus three extra PWM devices via the MOBO. This is a feature I enjoy, as it really tidies up the front of your build, plus, no need for those pesky fan splitters if your motherboard can't handle the fan setup.
At the bottom of the interior sits a high-quality PSU shroud, blocking the untidy mess that lies beneath. The shroud has the necessary cutouts for your front panel cables and HD audio plus there is another rubber grommet here, again, enhancing the visual appeal.
Fractal Design has been opting for this modularity inside their cases, giving you a bit more from the premium-priced chassis. As mentioned, the HDD trays are removable and the cage its self can be removed for an open layout inside. The R6 comes with six universal drive brackets and two dedicated SSD brackets, giving even the odd data hoarder a solid amount of options. If you were planning on having this as an open layout or wanted to water-cool your system, you are likely to lose the use of the HDD area.
The Back Panel
There is nothing really to note at the back but you can quite easily leave the thumbscrews out of this case thanks to the clip-in style mechanism.
The R6 oozes build quality and this case is yet another triumph off the factory line. The interior is once again superb, following on from the R5’s logical layout. The case comes with the removable dust catchers and they are some of the highest quality you’ll find. Furthermore, the included fans are actually really good for airflow and there is simply no need to replace them.
This might not be the best case Fractal Design has released for cooling purposes but form a silent operation standpoint, it is one of the best on the market, even now. Those looking for the perfect balance between acoustic and thermal performance, you are going to love the Fractal Design R6, it’s the full package.
At the back, the first thing you notice is the high-quality front panel cables. These cables are a dream to manage and really make your life simple. There is a great amount of length to the FP cables and several spots to tie these down. Furthermore, there is plenty of room (23mm) at the back for cable management.
One of the best silent PC cases on the market, with uncompromised airflow and build quality.