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Review: Fractal Design Define R5

by Parm Mann on 24 November 2014, 12:00

Tags: Fractal Design

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A good number of upgrades are small and seemingly trivial, but put them together and you have an overall package that's a noticeable step-up from the 2012 model.

How do you build on the solid foundations of the Define R4? That's the question that Fractal was faced with, and we're pleased to see that the company has taken the logical step: rather than attempting to build a revolutionary successor from the ground-up, it has taken a tried-and-trusted solution and improved it in numerous meaningful ways.

A good number of upgrades are small and seemingly trivial, but put them together and you have an overall package that's a noticeable step-up from the 2012 model.

With the Define R5, the front door can now open in your preferred direction, the side panel is latched for easy access, rad-mount opportunities are better than ever thanks to a removable optical cage, and the top mounts are offset to counter any compatibility issues. Factor in the improved dust filters and the Velcro straps, and you have a successor to the Define R4 that's better in more ways than one.

These upgrades do come at a cost - the Define R5 will fetch £10 more than the older variant - but considering the improvements, that may be a small price to pay. Looking for a case that's sleek, quiet, easy to build into and able to accommodate high-end hardware? Fractal Design's Define R5 is well worthy of consideration.

The Good
The Bad
Decent performance
Keeps noise levels in check
Integrated fan controller
Quick-release side panel
Front now opens either way
Highly flexible storage stack
Dedicated SSD trays
Many rad-mount opportunities
Noise-dampened throughout
Very easy to build into
Velcro straps aid cabling
Top ModuVents are fragile
Exterior might be too subtle
Storage bays aren't tool free
Not as affordable as Define R4


Fractal Design Define R5


The Fractal Design Define R5 is available to purchase from Scan Computers*.


At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.

*UK-based HEXUS community members are eligible for free delivery and priority customer service through the forum.

HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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It took Fractal Design five iterations to finally equip the case with four identical feet instead of the larger pair of feet at the front versus the smaller pair of feet at the back. Hurrah! :) Too bad they went for four smaller feet.

I'm also liking the reversible door. I for one have my case sitting on my desk to my right. Which brings me to my only real gripe, top-mounted buttons and inputs. Pretty useless when your case is not standing on the floor.

Runs hotter than my Corsair 450D, temptation to change chasis averted. :)

nice looking case a crazy Swedish minimalist kind of way.
Huzzah! More radiator places!
Some nice upgrades but I will stick with my R4 for now. Only just bought the thing for petes sake.
I really wouldn't class the fractal design drive tray system as a bad feature.
Yes the drives are held into the trays with screws, however they use some good thick rubber grommets, the trays are metal not plastic and getting the trays into and out of the cages is tool less.
It's a far better system with better vibration absorption than almost any other tray or rail system out there, where the rubbery pads are really not thick enough, the only one that's as good/better is the zalman/lian li system where you screw in thickly grommeted screws that then slot into the cage in place of rails.