REVIEW: Fractal Design Define R3

This post is a copy of an email which I sent to Fractal this morning.  After reading over it, I decided that it made a pretty good review too, so here’s me sharing it with you!

Hi there,

I just wanted to take some time out to provide you with feedback for one of your products which I recently purchased.

I was in the market for a new case, and was looking for something which would reduce the amount of noise produced by my machine.  My previous build was ridiculously loud, with noise coming from all the fans, hum of the hard drives and occassionally a random clicking which I never figured out where it was coming from…needless to say this was very frustrating and so I decided to start looking for a new case.

Looking back over the years, my average budget for a case is £30, sometimes I spend less (I’ve had a £10 case which was perfect for me and lasted years) and sometimes I spend a little bit more; I bought an Antec 300 which lasted about 2 months before the power button broke off.

This time I was so desperate to get a case that would be as close to silent as possible, that I decided that I’d be willing to extend my budget significantly to pretty much double what I usually pay.  Whilst looking around on the eBuyer website I came across a couple of your cases and what drew me in to find out more about your brand and to take a closer look at your products was the simplicity in the design of your cases.  After reading more into it, checking out out some reviews and quite a long time debating with myself whether I was ready to part with so much money for a computer case, I chose to purchase the Fractal Design Define R3.

From what I’d read, this case has been just optimised for noise reduction, from Hard Drive pads, absorbing material, ModuVents and I’d even heard good things about the fans included.  On top of all that, it had plenty of space to house all the components that I have in my PC.

When I received it, I was thoroughly impressed by the build quality, the looks and just from the amount of space inside, not to mention how well organised it was!  After putting it all together, getting the cabling all nice and tidy I turned my PC on for a test drive.

Unfortunately, this was the point when I became so disappointed with it that I honestly wish I’d just stuck to the cheap cases! At least when I pay less for something, I’m not really surprised when it has issues, but I had so great expectations from the Fractal case which I was happy to spend £80 on for its features it was a massive let down and feels like a great waste of money.

The noise coming from the PC was almost as bad as what my previous case sounded like.  After investigating the source of the noise, I found that whilst the hard drive pads had eliminated the hum, the noise was actually coming from the rear fan included with the case.  When I realised then I was very surprised considering that most reviews say that the fans with this case are supposed to be superb, but after verifying that the fan was causing the noise by temporarily disconnecting it..well I knew better at that point.

For the time being I’ve left the fan connected but from the amount of noise it creates it’s only a matter of time before I give in and end up spending even more money on a new fan.

I’ll end up keeping the case, other than the noise it’s pretty much perfect and the build is incredible.  With the fan disconnected, I’ve found that the computer makes pretty much no noise, so well done on the noise reduction techniques.  The only thing which let the entire case down is the fan which creates such a racket that it renders the rest of noise elimination features useless.

Regards
A very disappointed customer.