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4.7 out of 5 stars162
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 15 February 2013
I bought this Fractal case for a new PC build to sit behind my TV in the living room, my main goal was to replace my existing rig with a near silent machine because although my last one looked great, it was extremely noisy and the sound whilst watching films was rather distracting.

Build quality is very high, there's plenty of room inside to make installing new components easy, with lots of places to route cables. I have a 'Gigabyte GTX460 Super Overclocked' graphics card which is certainly one of the larger cards and it fits with ease, should you have something even bigger, the upper hard drive tray is removable for more space and better ventilation.

Regarding sound levels; the two supplied 140mm fans are incredibly quiet, there's a switch behind the door which switches between 5, 9 and 12 volts depending on your requirements I have them running in 5V mode. I have an 'Arctic Cooler Freezer 13' CPU heat-sink and an 'OCZ CSX500W PSU'. I borrowed a sound meter from work to measure sound levels, my living room has an ambient noise level of between 22-25dB (a tropical fish tank produces most of that) and with the PC turned on there was no increase in sound level at all, none. If you listen, you can hear a tiny hum but it is very quiet indeed. For comparison, turning on an Xbox 360 and the sound level jumped to just under 40dB.

Two minor quibbles are the top mounted USB ports are not perfectly vertical in orientation, they're offset by around 5-10 degrees, this makes putting USB devices into them surprisingly tricky as you fumble to get it lined up straight. And the side panels are difficult to get on in a confined space, my previous case had a solid lip running the whole length of the bottom panel, you just dropped it on and slide it around until it locked into place. The Fractal R4 has several hooks so you have to align the panels perfectly whilst holding their weight. It's not a big deal but can be frustrating when you're trying to get the thing on in a tight space!

Those two minor points aside, the case is well built, beautiful, easy to work with, flexible and above all silent, it is a perfect choice as far as my needs are concerned.
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on 22 February 2014
I have had this case for a few months now. It is extremely well built and feels very solid. Ample room inside the case so perfect for building your computer, it will take any size graphics card (and I know some are quite large), along with custom CPU coolers if you wish. I did purchase an additional front fan (140mm, around £10 currently) so it has two for intake instead of the one. I also removed the side panel cushion just so it had improved air flow. There is a front filter (covering the front fan/s) and a filter underneath. Both filters simply slide out and can be cleaned very easily. Even after a few months, there is little to no dust inside the case, which is quite impressive. I took out the middle hard drive rack as I didn't need it - the bottom one housed 3 hard drives, which is the exact number I had. Either of these racks can be removed though, which increases air flow.

The case has a very sleek look and even though I didn't specifically require a 'quiet case', it is still quieter than any case I've had previously, even at the highest fan setting (there's 3 to choose from, I just leave it on the highest for best intake). Yes this is a more pricier case but when you compare it with ones like Corsair Carbide 400R, it is not only cheaper but much better quality too. Obviously, if flashy LEDs are your thing then this probably isn't the case for you. Only the power button is illuminated blue.

Overall I am extremely happy with this case - it is minimal, perfect to build in and extremely well built. It should last me a long time which is great.
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on 13 May 2013
I have had several different configs in the R4 including SLI GTX 580's and currently a GTX690 both watercooled and air cooled

Positives

- At idle(with the right config) this case is silent, I cant hear it at all, my Sky+ box makes more noise. When my monitors go to sleep I sometimes have to check the computer is still on by checking the LED light on the front

- Both windowed and non windowed panel are very good at keeping noise at bay(I own both). The non windowed panel is quieter due to increased sound dampening material. With a side fan installed on the non windowed panel my Gfx card temps dropped 5 degrees at load

- Loads of hard drive space. The mounts are very good at keeping the noise of these down with rubber feet

- Loads of room for cable management. I have 3 SSDs mounted in the back, 2 of which are stacked with double sided tape and I can still close the case

- The look of the case, very slick, understated look. Reminds me of something Apple would make tbh(apologies if you hate them )

- Fits high end hardware, have an ATX motherboard, GTX690 and 1200w PSU. Ive tried both a Corsair AX1200(which is one of the biggest PSU's out there) and a Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold

- The inbuilt fan controller is very useful. When I was aircooling as I wanted to keep noise down I only installed 3 fans, 2 in the front and 1 in the back and used to crank up the voltage only when gaming. This way everything was silent at other times

- There are Spacers which come preinstalled in the Roof fan slots and side panel. There is a thick foam on these spacers which really keeps the noise at bay

Negatives

- This case is definitely hotter than others when gaming and as a result your graphics card fan will spin up to max and you will most definitely hear it although it was `slightly' less audible than some of the other cases ive owned in the past

- Radiator space for Watercooling limited

- Not much else, buy it!

Watercooling

- Ive mounted two radiators a 45mm 120 alphacool in the back and an 80mm 240 alphacool in the front. The sacrifice I had to make was to remove the all hard drive bays.
- There is space for a skinny rad in the roof but it is very tight! And you may need to offset the radiator slightly. Ive seen several videos of people mounting a H100 or other 240 radiator
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on 3 September 2014
Very nice case. Quite heavy and bigger (wider) than my old aluminium Coolermaster case which was too narrow to accommodate the Coolermaster EVO 120cpu cooler I bought to use with my new system. Make sure you have plenty of light to work with when putting your system together.. It's all black including the screws.. if you drop one inside it'll be hard to find ! Very flexible case.. which can be pulled apart very easily. 2 dust filters, plenty of room to hide cabling behind the mobo mount.. cutout behind the cpu so that you don't have to take the mobo off to change the cooler. Fan controller is neat.. three fan speeds available. Check out You Tube to see the various videos. Watch out when you pick the case up to move.. the front panel with fan and filter comes off quite easily.
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on 9 September 2013
I bought this case for a development machine for work. First off, the case is really really big--if you're planning on hiding this in a corner, it won't work. This is definitely more of a specialist case for someone that wants lots of room. This means, however, that there's tons of space. There 9 3.5" hard drive bays (compatible with 2.5" SSDs as well, but not tool-less for either) and two optical drive bays at the top. Only need 2 drives? That's fine--6 of the hard drive bays easily remove to allow for better airflow. Speaking of airflow, the case comes with 2 140mm fans, one in the front and one in the back. It has space for a LOT more, too. All case fan ports support either 120mm or 140mm fans. The front fans are tool-less for 140mm only, however. Easily removable dust filters are included for the front fans and bottom fans.

This case is very, very quiet. When I turned it on the first time, the ambient noise completely blocked the case running with 3x 140mm fan (one on the CPU, one in the front, one in the back). Since then, I've added another 140mm to the front, and the noise is still barely audible. The case includes an onboard fan controller on the front that controls up to 3 fans, allowing you to modify the voltage to either 12v, 7v, or 5v. When I set the fans to 7, I can't hear a thing. I usually keep it at 12 due to the general quietness of the case. Unused fan spaces are covered with a noise-dampening foam. The front cover is also covered with foam.

The case looks great, too--very minimalist. A windowed side panel is available for separate purchase.

Overall, this isn't a case for grandma. But if you want a quiet case for a powerful PC, and you need a lot of storage space, you can't go wrong with this one.
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on 30 August 2015
It is a very plain looking case, but not in a refined way. What you are getting is basic, functional and not too showy. The case is well designed and benefits from noise dampening features like foam panelling and rubber grommets for hard disk drives. It has plenty of fan grills, most of which are blocked off, but which can be opened up. It has drive trays that slide out. In fact, the two stacked drive bays where the drive trays sit can be completely removed, which helps if you are installing a graphics card around 30cm (12") long. Cable routing is possibly the strongest point of the case. There are numerous holes to enable you to run cables down the far side of the motherboard, and even a mounting point for an SSD back there. Dust filters on the front and underside of the case are easily removable for cleaning. There are two USB3 sockets on top by the power button, which is accessible from both sides, naturally. The fact that the door is hinged means that depending on which side of the case you sit, the door may get in the way of drive bays (if you still use optical media frequently).

The thing that annoyed me about the case was that one of the screw holes was badly set at an angle. I managed to cross-thread several of the others. Overall, it is a very well designed case, but the quality of the materials used is somewhat inferior.
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If you like a case to look good, not lit up like a Christmas tree and to be quiet; you've just found it. I thought that my previous case was large and quiet (fanless video card), but the R4 is bigger and quieter. It's also heavy due to the thick sound absorption material on the removable case sides. It looks impressive with it's 'piano' black gloss front cover, like a mini version of the monolith in the film "2001 A Space Odyssey".

It's quiet due to the two push / pull 120mm case fans that are controlled by a 5-7-12 volt selector switch inside the front door / cover. The switch is fed by a 4 pin Molex connector, so this method of connecting means that the fans won't be monitor or controlled by the BIOS. However, the plugs on the fan cables look to be suitable for plugging into a motherboard if BIOS monitoring and control is important. I leave the switch on 7 volts and with the computer against a wall I can just about hear the PSU fan; it's silent in free space. My system is an i5 3570K CPU and Triple Copper Heatpipe cooler, nVidia GT 640 graphics card, SSD, a WD Caviar Black HDD, and 450 watt PSU; I've uploaded an image with notes of the interior to the product page so that you can gauge the space for components; click on "see 1 customer image".

The SDD and HDD cages are mounted across the front of the case; however there is only provision for two external bays behaind the front cover. Things to note:

* there is provision for side mounted fans but the separate sound absorption tends to come unstuck; I've used black Duck Tape tape to hold it in place;

* there are two removeable fine mesh filters : one in the base for the case interior and PSU fan intake, and the second at the front fan intake. Ideally the case should not be mounted on carpet;

* the blue LED by the on/off button at the top of the case can be either connected to show on/off, or SDD/HDD activity; I've connected mine for on/off but wired a small LED for the HDD activity inside the front cover so that I can check if the system has hung;

* the two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 sockets next to the on/off button are ideally placed for young hands poking them with a screwdriver, or as a handy drain for spilled drinks! these should have been behind a robust flap;

* lifting the case by holding the base at the front and rear is likely to detach the front with a possibility that 12kg or more will be heading floorwards (not good for toes and large CPU coolers!;

* the front cover / door only hinges on the left.

Despite those minor moans, I'm really impressed with this case.
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on 1 April 2014
I have purchased this case recently and can say it ticks all my boxes except the quality at the front there is a fascia that has a push and release system 2 of these and on mine both don't latch, also the front is very easy to remove so as long as you don't keep moving the case you should be fine other than that excellent space for cables at back very nice and tidy enough room for the largest of air coolers, case appears very strong excellent sound proofing great value for money even with the minor faults I would mark this as a 4 star it loses a star for the minor issues that I have opened a ticked on with fractual directly bit of a pain to send back to amazon as quite heavy I hope this review helps someone
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on 19 October 2013
Good case lots of hard drive bays. can be very quiet. I've got a three hard drives which spin at 7200rpm. If there all running and you can hear the vibrations even though there's rubber attachment which separate them from the metal mounting trays. If your just mounting a SSD then it will be very quiet. You can also fit a corsair H100 inside with the fans blowing out its just a little bit tight though. One bad thing is that this case only comes with 2 140mm fans. This case has the potential to have 6 140mm fans and should at least supply you with 3. bottom mounted power supply unit also benefits from the filter underneath. Great case for the price!
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on 26 May 2016
I bought this case to build a home server in, using existing components i had form previous builds. Therefore needed a full atx case. I was also looking for a case that, as standard could hold a minimum of 8 HDD's.

Although the Fractal Design Define 4 case is not the latest in the the Define series, (the Define 5 can be seen here: Fractal Design Define R5 Window Side Panel - Titanium Grey), unless you need the front door to hinge on the right, there is no great reason to buy the R5 instead.

The build quality of this case, is on par with much more expensive cases. The entire chassis of the case is metal, with only the front panel, consisting of the IO panel (headphone/microphone jacks, reset button, power button, 2xUSB 3.0 and 2xUSB 2.0), side vents and door being made of plastic. (Please note there is a blue LED ring round the power button that can either be used as a power indicator or HDD activity indicator but not both.) The plastic used is off a high quality and feels very sturdy. The door is held closed via a magnet which gives just the right amount of resistance. The front of the door has a brushed aluminum finish, that looks great. (Real brushed aluminum is a pain to clean, as it is near impossible to completely remove fingerprints from, this plastic replica does not suffer from this.)

Inside of the front door is the filter for the front 2 x 120mm or 140mm fan mounts. The door itself is lined with a noise dampening foam. There is also two removable 5.25 bay covers and a 3 position fan speed controller, (5v/7v/12v). Up to 3 fans can be connected to this.

Both side panels are held in place by captive thumb screws and a re lined with more noise dampening foam. The right side panel gives access to the back of the motherboard tray and cable management options. Built into motherboard tray and tie loops that can be used to anchor cables using cable ties etc. Also there is plenty of gromitted wholes to pass through cables. On the back of the motherboard tray there is also 2 SSD mounting points, but note that these must be installed prior to the motherboard, in order to access the screws.

Removing the left hand side panel, reveals the main interior of the case. On the right hand side are the 2 HDD cages. The bottom of which holds 3 x HDD's or SSD's, and is not removable. The second that is stacked on top, hold up to 5 HDD's or SSD's. This cage is held in place by 2 thumb screws and can easily be removed. It can also be rotated 90 degrees to provide better air pass through for the front fans. All the HDD sleds (which are metal) have mounting holes for both 3.25 and 2.5 inch HDD's.

The fan grill on the left hand panel and the two fan grills on the top, are covered by removable metal panels that are lined with a noise dampening foam.

In conclusion, unless the look of case is not to your taste, I honestly don't think you'll find a better built case for the price (around £70 when purchased), in fact many more expensive cases i have used were of a much lower quality.
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