Fractal Design Define R2
Fractal Design's Define R2 is a low-noise case that looks brilliant, both inside and out. Its discretely understated styling is miles away from the garish design of many similarly priced premium cases. A door on the front panel opens to reveal two external drive bays - one 5 1/4in and one interchangeable 5 1/4in or 3 1/2in. The door itself is covered in sound insulating foam. Below the bays are two more doors, which open to reveal two dust filters positioned in front of the internal 3 1/2in bays. There's a 120mm fan behind one, and space for another fan behind the other.
Inside, drive bays and fans are picked out in white amid the smooth black interior. There's a 120mm fan at the back and loads of additional fan mounting points. Most of the unused fan mounts are blocked by removable bitumen sound-damping panels, except the bottom intake mount, which just has a dust filter. One side of the case is completely covered by another sound-damping panel. There are a whopping eight internal 3 1/2in drive bays, each of which has vibration damping mountings. Even the PSU bay has anti-vibration pads.
Building a system into the spacious case was a pleasure. Even our longest graphics card had plenty of room. Rubber grommets on the backplane allow you to thread cables around so as not to obstruct airflow, while a hole at the back provides room for large heatsinks with bolt-on backplate fittings.
If you're building a powerful system that's likely to run hot, you'll probably want to add more fans; there are plenty of places to mount them. The Define R2 is simply one of the best cases we've ever reviewed. It wins our Ultimate award.