PC Cases / AccessoriesPC Hardware Reviews

Fractal Design Define XL R2 ATX Full Tower Computer Case

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In Depth Look

Now let’s take a look at the features of the case itself to see what is done well and what needs improving.

This case is made of steel and weighs in at a whopping 36 lbs. You will find a built in fan controller that can support up to 3 fans controlled by a switch on the front of the case next to the 5.25″ bays. The switch determines the speed of the fans by giving the user the option to choose the voltage output. You can choose 5v for low, 7v for medium, and 12v for full speed. Very interesting concept. It would have been nice if the controller supported more than three fans, but then again, it’s only a $130 case. I should be happy that it even has a fan controller!

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Since we are already in the area of the 5.25″ bays we might as well talk about them. I really like the way that the inserts come off. The is a tab that you can click back to take it out and when you put it back in you can close the tab to lock the insert in. It’s a small feature, but it is definitely one that makes Fractal Designs cases stand out among the rest.

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Now let’s move down to the bottom of the front bezel. After opening the front door to the case that has an awesome metallic grain look to it, you can then open another small passage by clicking in the top and bottom of the hatch. Behind that door you will find a removable dust-filtered casing that can house two 120mm or 140mm fans. In it you will find a pre-installed Silent Series R2 140mm Hydraulic bearing fan. This is another great and unique feature that I thoroughly enjoy!

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Now let’s move through that little door to the inside of this case. This is one of those cases where you open it and are surprised that there is so much space inside. The HDD bays are completely modular and you can even move the bottom one further into the case to allow for a front 240mm radiator. The upper cage may be removed/rotated and the lower cage may be repositioned. In it’s original position, the upper HDD cage has been strategically placed to optimize a clean build with excellent HDD cooling and cable management. By removing the upper HDD case, the Define XL R2 supports graphics cards up to 400mm in length. When the upper cage is rotated, it acts as a guide for the front fan and directs airflow to the graphics card. The lower cage can be repositioned to provide more space in the front of the case. This extra space is useful for front-mounted water cooling radiators.

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When you look up top you will see the first example of the “moduvent” design. There is padding supported by fan screws that can stay there if you aren’t using fans in that location so that dust will not get into that unused part of the case. If you do want to use it just unscrew the padding and throw a couple 120mm/140mm fans or a 240mm/280mm radiator up there. The second example of the Moduvent design is on the side panel that can also house a 120mm or 140mm fan.

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If you look towards the back of the case you will see white PCI-e slot covers that contrast the black case. They look fantastic and have a strong powder coating on them. On the rear you will see another pre-installed 140mm fan, but it can be replaced with a 120mm fan if that is what you prefer.

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On the top panel you will find two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, a microphone and headphone input, and your power and reset buttons. All ports and buttons are clearly labeled and easily accessible.

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