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Fractal Design Define R6 Tempered Glass Case Review

Manufacturer: Fractal Design

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!

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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.

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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.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define R6 case!


Specifications

  • Left side panel:
    • Black/Blackout/Gunmetal versions: 33% tinted tempered glass
    • White version: Clear transparent tempered glass:
  • Right side panel: Industrial sound-dampened steel
  • Motherboard compatibility: eATX (up to 285mm wide), ATX, mATX, ITX
  • Expansion slots: 7 + 2 vertical
  • 3.5"/2.5" Universal drive brackets: 6
  • Dedicated 2.5" drive brackets: 2
  • Power supply type: ATX
  • Front ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
  • Total fan mounts: 9
    • Front: 3 x 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm, 2 x Dynamic X2 GP-14 included
    • Top: 
      • Standard layout: 3 x 120 or 2 x 140
      • Open layout: 3 x 120/140 mm
    • Rear: 1 x 120/140 mm 1 x Dynamic X2 GP-14 included
    • Bottom: 2 x 120/140 mm
  • Dust filters: Bottom fan + PSU Front fans Top panel
  • Radiator Support:
    • Front: 120/240/360 mm, 140/280 mm
    • Top:
      • Standard layout: 120/240/360 mm (max 35 mm motherboard component height)
      • Open layout: 120/240/360 mm - 140/280/420 mm (max 35 mm motherboard component height)
    • Rear: 120 mm
    • Bottom: 120/240 mm, 140/280 mm
  • Component Clearance:
    • PSU max length: 300 mm
    • GPU max length: Max 440mm with front fan mounted
      • Standard layout: Maximum width 155 mm (including power connectors) for graphics cards longer than 300 mm
    • CPU cooler max height: 185 mm
  • Cable routing space: 23 mm
  • Cable routing grommets: Yes
  • Fixed velcro straps: Yes
  • Tool-less push-to-lock: Both side panels
  • Captive thumbscrews: HDD brackets, SSD brackets
  • Case dimensions (LxWxH): 543 x 233 x 465 mm (21.38 x 9.17 x 18.31 inches)
  • Net weight:  12.4 kg (27.34 lbs)

The tempered glass version of the Define R6 releases on 01/15/2018. Pre-orders are available at Newegg.com for $149.99.

First Impressions

Other than the tempered glass side panel, this case looks almost identical to the previous Define R5 when you take it out of the box. But a closer look will reveal some external differences.

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The front of the case is that classic Define look, and as before the solid panel is actually a door.

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Behind this acoustically-insulated door panel is a pair of 140 mm intake fans with a removable filter, and a single 5.25-inch drive bay. Yes, the Define R6 is down to just one 5.25-inch bay, but it has one!

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Top I/O offers the basics, with two pairs of USB ports (2.0 and 3.0), 3.5 mm audio, and power/reset buttons.

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The tempered glass side panel is new with the Define R6

Around back we see a couple of other differences compared to the Define R5, with a pair of vertical PCIe slots for alternate GPU mounting.

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There is also a button on the upper left, which is the release for the new 3rd-gen “ModuVent” top vent panel.

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This panel lifts up and out easily, and can be converted from a solid to an open panel (with full filter).

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The bottom of the case still offers a full filter, and the case sits on four rubber-tipped chrome feet.

Next we'll look at the new interior of the Define R6.


January 23, 2018 | 11:37 AM - Posted by Rocky123 (not verified)

Great review it was short & sweet and got right to the point without a lot of extra fluff.

I agree this is probably one of the best cases I have researched so far it has everything even us old timers want on a case such as some actual hard drive bays to support more than 1 SSD or 1 HDD this is great to see.

The only real complaint I have with it is the use of plastic trays for the 2.5 & 3.5 drives it seems like they could fail over time as the plastic ages and gets a bit brittle. It is nice that they do include the extra drive add ins mind you so I can let that plastic drive trays slide I guess.

This may be my next case if something better does not come along between now and the fall of 2018. It is time to retire my Antec 900 case that I have done a few mods to that really improves it's cooling and air flow.

January 23, 2018 | 11:39 AM - Posted by Rocky123 (not verified)

I forgot I actually had a question as well. What would you consider to be the best all around AIO water cooling setup that works well & is also cost effective. I am thinking of installing one into my current setup and then just moving it to my new case when I do my upgrades in the fall.

January 25, 2018 | 01:52 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Corsair is always a safe bet for AiO liquid coolers - but there's a lot out there. Honestly, at it's current price the value of a Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240 (my review here) is really hard to beat. Fractal Design's own 240 mm liquid cooler - the Celsius S24 (my review here) - is a really good value, too.

January 23, 2018 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Ryan Kerschner (not verified)

The drive trays are actually metal. The plastic that Sebastian mentions is only a small portion of the tray that fits into the frame of the case.

January 25, 2018 | 01:49 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Thanks! I am trying to keep these case reviews concise since I generally have a lot of them to get through :)

All of the storage trays are metal, actually - though the 3.5/2.5 combo trays behind the partition have a plastic bracket on the back that holds them in place, with the thumbscrew holding most of the weight.

Overall I'm very impressed with the case. Fractal's Define cases are always good, and this did not disappoint!

January 23, 2018 | 01:16 PM - Posted by Rob Sluban (not verified)

No issues installing a full size GTX 1080ti ?

I guess the back end of the card would tuck under the drive trays ?
Not sure what that would look like ?

January 25, 2018 | 01:43 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Full length reference-size GPUs (like the Radeon R9 290X I use for these reviews) don't reach the storage partition, but it is a little in front of the leading edge of the card so longer aftermarket cooler designs extend behind the partition (you just have to keep hard drives above/below the GPU - same configuration as shipped).

January 23, 2018 | 04:29 PM - Posted by Brett Hood (not verified)

Good write up Sebastian the fractal design cases are high quality and I would have no hesitation recommending them for a new system build. Excellent noise reduction built in too.

January 24, 2018 | 07:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous pc (not verified)

I will buy one when it's actually in stock and they make the type c a standard i/o instead of making u buy one.

January 25, 2018 | 04:01 PM - Posted by razor512

Is there a way to get Fractal Design to modify the define R5 side panel to work with the R6?

I would really want to get the R6 but also have a side panel fan that will provide direct airflow onto the VRM heatsinks on the motherboard.

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