The R3 is a worthy successor to the old model, improving it with much better cable management and quieter fans.
The Fractal Design R3 is a refined version of the luxurious R2 case that won our previous group test. It retains the same understated appearance and emphasis on quietness, but adds even quieter fans and improved cable management.
Behind the sleek hinged door are two 120mm front intake fan mounts, only one of which is fitted with a fan, and two 5.25in external drive bays. A 3.5in adaptor is included in case you want to add a memory card reader. The top-mounted I/O panel contains two USB ports, a single eSATA port and audio in and out jacks.
Inside the case, almost every panel has been covered in sound dampening foam to keep noise to an absolute minimum. If you need more cooling than the single 120mm exhaust fan can provide, there are mounts for a further five fans. If you’re happy with the standard cooling, covers are included for the spare vents to stop noise leaking out. Eight 3.5in internal drive bays provide ample room for hard disks, each of which uses silicone mountings to eliminate vibrations from any installed hard disks.
Several holes have been added to the motherboard tray, making it far easier to route cables around the case neatly. There was enough space to install our longest graphics card and we had ample room to install components.
It’s undeniably stylish and one of the quietest air-cooled PC cases we’ve seen. There are very few alternatives that balance noise, cooling and style as well as the R3.
|Total Firewire ports
|Total eSATA ports
|Internal Drive bays 3 1/2in
|5.25in drive bays
|3x 120mm, 4x 140mm
|Power supply wattage
|two years RTB