Fractal Design Define R4 Review: An Enthusiast PC Case Minus the Extreme

As a PC builder, it's refreshing to see a wide variety in enthusiast desktop cases. For a long while it seemed like case makers used the term "enthusiast" and "gamer" interchangeably, and believed every gamer wants a case loaded with great features, but with neon lights, aggressive designs, and wild colors. Everyone else wanted a plain box. There's certainly a market for extreme designs, but there's also a large crowd who appreciate a well made, understated, case with clean styling and all those great features that make building a PC enjoyable.

Fractal Design is a Sweden-based company that designs and builds PC cases, power supplies, and case fans. If you've read our Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC case review, you should recognize their style here. I'd call it simple, yet distinctive. Fractal has a way of taking clean lines and solid, industrial colors and really making it their own. Make no mistake, distinctive isn't necessarily unique in this market these days. There are a lot of clean, elegant case styles to choose from. What makes a case really stand out to me is what you don't see on the outside, and that is where Fractal really delivers with the R4.

The Specs

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 7 + 1 expansion slots
  • 2 - 5.25" bays
  • 8 - 3.5" HDD trays - all compatible with SSDs, 2 - 2.5" extra SSD positions
  • 3 - ModuVent™ plates - two in the top and one in the side
  • 7 - fan positions
  • CPU coolers up to 170mm tall (when no fan is installed in the side panel)
  • ATX PSUs up to 170mm deep when using the bottom fan location, when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 270mm deep) can be used
  • Graphics cards up to 295mm in length with the top HDD cage installed, 430mm when not.
  • Colors available: Black Pearl, Titanium Grey, Arctic White
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 464 x 523mm
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 320 x 535 x 610mm
  • Net weight: 12,3 kg
  • Street Price: $120

About the Author

Matt Whitlock is online director and technical editor for ChannelProSMB.com.