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Fractal Design Define R4 Review: An Enthusiast PC Case Minus the Extreme: Page 4 of 5

Cooling and Noise

Out of the box cooling duties are handled by two Silent Series R2 fans (one mounted front and rear), which I have to admit, were very quiet in operation even at full speed. Together they move a sufficient amount of air for stock builds, although you'll want to add at least another intake and a top exhaust if you're running a few heavy graphics cards in SLI or doing serious overclocking.

These can be connected directly to your motherboard or the three position switch included on the front of the case. I found the switch a bit cheap feeling, but the real downside to it is all fans will run at the same speed. If you like to tweak individual fans, you'll want a more robust solution.

Fractal includes the traditional assortment of screws, standoffs, and zip ties, but Fractal was kind enough to put them all in individual baggies rather than toss them all together - something I wish everyone did.

One of Fractals selling points is their "ModuVent™" system, which is nothing more than a fan sized piece of insulation that attaches over the side and top grilles. The idea is that if you want maximum noise suppression, leave them on. If you want maximum cooling, remove them and put in fans. Hardly rocket science, but one of those details that other case makers will often overlook.

In our testing, noise was reduced by approximately 6db with the door closed and the case side panels on (with vent panels installed, although either way didn't make a dramatic difference when testing from the front).  With quiet enough fans for the intake and exhaust, like the fans provided, the case walls do a relatively good job at suppressing internal noise.

About the Author

Matt Whitlock's picture

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

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