Introduction and First Impressions
The Define R6 marks the sixth generation of the Define series, and Fractal Design’s flagship ATX case now sports a cleverly-designed tempered glass side panel and a redesigned interior. Does the new R6 again define the ATX mid-tower market? We’re about to find out!
Looking at the front panel alone it would be very difficult to tell the Define R6 from its predecessors, as it still has the trademark solid front door panel, nicely finished here with aluminum. 5.25-inch drive support is down to a single bay, but it is there if you need it for an optical drive or fan controller - though the Define R6 also includes a new PWM fan hub (more on that later on).
The most obvious change to the design is the tempered glass side panel, which makes sense considering that has been the biggest industry trend of the past couple of years. Fractal Design does it a little differently than you’ll see elsewhere, however, with a pop-in design that makes screws optional. The Define cases were already very clean and simple externally, and this implementation of a glass side panel fits that aesthetic perfectly.
Improvements such as the third-gen ModuVent top panel and additional storage and cooling capacity from the redesigned interior make this release a bigger upgrade than it might at first appear, and in this review we’ll go over the case inside and out to see how this latest Define enclosure stacks up in this ever-crowded market.
Introduction and Case Exterior
The Define Mini C is the micro-ATX variant in Fractal Design's excellent Define series, and this compact chassis is nearly as small as some of the mini-ITX cases we've looked at in recent months. The advantages of micro-ATX for a small form-factor build are undeniable, including added expansion slots (and multi-GPU support), and more robust power delivery for greater CPU flexibility including AMD socket AM3/AM3+ support.
I freely admit to being a small form-factor enthusiast myself, and as much as I like mini-ITX, there are times when micro-ATX just makes sense. I mentioned AMD compatibility above, but even if you're building with Intel there are reasons to consider mATX. One of these is Intel's enthusiast platform, as X99 requires at least a micro-ATX board for quad-channel memory and greater PCIe flexibility. (Naturally, at least one mITX X99 board is available, but this is limited to a pair of memory slots and - of course - has just one PCIe slot.)
As soon as I unpacked the Define Mini C, I knew it would make a perfect home for the EVGA X99 Micro2 motherboard I had on hand. This micro-ATX board makes a compelling argument for the smaller form-factor, as very little is lost vs. full ATX. The Mini C (which sounds like the name of a mini-ITX product, but Fractal's mITX variant is the called Nano S - which I reviewed a few months back) should make a great home for a powerful compact system. Let's get started!