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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 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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on 21 September 2014
Lots of pros, very few cons.

It's cheap to buy, it's subtle and stylish.

It's pretty small but can hold quite a lot.

It's nice and quiet, assuming your PSU and other internal components are not too noisy.

The quality of the materials is very reasonable for the price. They are completely ok and acceptable even next to full aluminium cases etc.

I've managed to route cables and make it all look nice and tidy inside.

I've built my own computers and ones for my family since the mid 90's, and this was a pleasure to work on. You can do a quick build and get great quick results, and be happy. Or you can really spend some time doing cable management etc and get a really nice result that would make any enthusiast happy.

Any short-comings can be completely ignored when you then view the price of the case. It really is hard to beat or ask for anything more.

I'd buy another but I want to build a mini ITX system next, and am very tempted by the Node 304 also by Fractal Design. Another case that seems to get completely universal praise and fit the wide and varied needs of almost any one who buys one.

Fractal Design just seem really good at these products and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one or buy again.
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on 16 November 2015
A stunning PC case. Very understated design, and mine ends up being nearly silent. With the front LED deliberately disconnected, it's actually pretty tricky to determine whether or not the PC is even on. Always runs pretty cool, and the removable filters are good at keeping most (but not all) ambient dust out of the innards. The case is very roomy inside, easily accommodating the massive Noctua NH-D15 cooler, and an MSI GTX 970 video card. Provisions for cable routing are excellent and, if you have the know-how and/or patience, you can get a system that ends up looking great (without really trying to), being highly upgradeable, runs quiet and cool, and is full of practical considerations for the PC builder/modder.
Very, very happy with this purchase.
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on 7 January 2015
There's just too much good to say about this case.

The Define R4 is sturdy, silent, has good airflow and is a wonder to work with. There is so much room in the case to work - especially if you remove one or both of the optional HDD/SSD bays - that you'll be giddy to get in and fiddle with it.

The case is fitted with rubber feet, soundproof material and lots of other soundproofing such as anti-vibration for the HDDs. At the front of the case there is a cage that can fit two intake fans and a normal screw-in fan for the rear output. There are additional fan spaces on the side, top and bottom. The side fans may be blocked by a large GPU if you purchase large fans. The bottom fan may be blocked if you have a large PSU.

The case also features a large amount of space for routing wires and plenty of routing holes making cable management simple even for newcomers. There is also a fan controller in the case which can connect up to 3 fans allowing you to switch between 5V, 7V and 12V.

Be you a new builder or a seasoned veteran, I can't recommend this case enough as it's got it all. Good quality, low price and sweet, sweet silence.
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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 10 February 2014
This case hardly needs another review, but here's another take on it:

The Define R3 was already a nearly flawless case, with its beautiful, understated design, gorgeous finish and spacious interior. The only real flaw was the cable well behind the motherboard, which was simply inadequate, except for perhaps the most minimal of modular power supplies. My friend's non-modular Thermaltake power supply, with eight bulky, unused molex power connectors, two unused PCI-e power connectors and two unused floppy drive connectors would simply not fit in this cable well without the side panel bulging and without a struggle to get it back on, made harder by the fact that there were no cable tie mount points to keep everything in position.
The other shortcoming was the frustrating ease with which the grommets would come out of their sockets when pushing a cable through, and the frustrating difficulty with which you would eventually get them back in position.

The Define R4 remedies this with the cable space depth increased to 26mm, 6 cable tie mount points, and grommets made of a thicker rubber, with much wider rims.

Other improvements include:
- a reset button (absent on the R3)
- two USB 3.0 sockets on the front panel, in addition to the two USB 2.0 sockets
- a nicer finish (not a finger print magnet, like the satin/rubber like feel of the R3)
- a fan controller with support for three fans built into the case, supporting 5, 7 and 12V
- the ability to use the front LED as a hard drive activity indicator instead of a power LED; you don't need an LED to know whether the PC is on, do you?

Having said that, this case is so incredibly quiet, I may need that power LED after all to know whether the PC is on or not!

The case comes including two of Fractal Design's own 140mm case fans, one fitted at the front (intake) and one at the back (exhaust). I've always been a big fan of Scythe fans, so I was expecting having to replace these 'free' fans with Scythe equivalents, but I find them to be at least as quiet as my Scythe Kama Flow2 120mm 1400 rpm fans, so I have since ordered another Fractal Design Silent Series 140mm case fan and fitted it in the second slot in the front to keep my seven hard drives cool.

I can't hear an audible difference between running these 3 fans at 5V and 7V, unless I put my ear right next to them (and even then!).
At 12V there is a noticeable increase in noise, but this is the increased air flow rather than the fans being noisy, and while loud compared to 5/7V, it is considerably quieter than my old case, with the same seven hard drives, same Zalman CNPS9500A CPU fan, same Corsair TX650w Ultra Quiet power supply.

The only differences between my old and new setup are:
- losing an Xilence Red Wing 80mm fan (extremely quiet case fan even at full speed, especially for an 80mm one)
- losing two Scythe Kama Flow2 120mm fans (extremely quiet case fans)
- losing a GeForce GT7900 AGP card with the very quiet Zalman VF900-Cu GPU fan (I now use an AMD A10-7850K with integrated GPU,so cooled by the Zalman CPU cooler)
- gaining three Fractal Design Silent Series 140mm case fans

You could argue that the net difference essentially boils down to losing the Zalman VF900-Cu GPU fan, with the only other difference being the case itself. Now losing the GPU fan itself does not explain the huge drop in noise, and yet, whereas with my old case it was a relief to turn the PC off, I can now have the PC running in the background all day long, and not notice it.

So, when summer comes, and ambient temperatures increase, possibly having to run the fans at 12V is not going to be a problem as it will still be much quieter than my old setup!

As with the R3, this case is primarily designed as a quiet PC case (as opposed to a high airflow gaming PC case). Should, however, the need for higher airflow ever arise, the R4 has room for an additional four case fans: one at the bottom, one in the side panel, and two more at the top of the case, all designed for 140mm but with mounting holes for 120mm fans.

Finally, this case is ideal for first time builders and enthusiasts alike. There is plenty of room for expansion, so if you are building your first PC and don't know yet how many hard drives you're going to get, or what size graphics card you might buy, this case provides enough room and flexibility. The hard drive bays are split in two, with the top one being removable so you can accommodate the larger cards, and if you need a lot of storage space, you have a maximum of eight 3.5" drive bays + two 5.25" bays. All the screws you could possible need are provided, including motherboard standoffs, rubber anti vibration rings and cable ties, all in matching black.

The only thing I could criticise is the supplied manual. While you don't really need one, with Fractal Design's phenomenal attention to detail (even the motherboard standoffs come with their own mounting tool (black, of course)), it is simply very sloppy to have an exploded PC case diagram with numbered legend, but the numbers have no reference in the diagram, leading to some confusion as to which description appplies to which part of the case. Also, Fractal Design is a Swedish company, but the level of English in the manual is what you would find with cheap Chinese knock-off products (no disrespect!). A problem? No, but surprising given the sheer quality of the rest of the product.

I could not wish for a better case, and can only join the other reviewers in highly recommending it!
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on 12 April 2014
This case was a pleasant surprise. In short, it's very good and seems well thought.

The highlights for me:
* Nice cable management, allows cables to run behind the motherboard and has enough space for that.
* Has holds for tidying the cables.
* Has a full set of screws. Really for everything.
* The disks are quiet (really). The rubbers make a huge difference.
* It has disk trays that can hold both SSD and rotational disks.
* All parts of the cage have a noise reduction material.
* It has a fan control switch that controls the fan speed. It can drive up to 3 or 4 DC fans (i.e. not PWM).
* The top holes are shut meaning that there won't be anything falling in the case if you don't install top fans.
* It has filters in most places which should reduce dust
* It's spacey
* It looks nice

The kind-of-cons:
* It looks big.
* It's heavy

If I was choosing the case again, I'd most probably be picking this one again unless I wanted something smaller.
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on 29 January 2014
Just swapped into this case today, only been using it for a few hours. The size of the case blew me away. It feels like it has doubled in size from my previous budget case sharkoon T9. Wiring was very easy as my older case had no room for wire management. If they were to bring out another of these cases i wish they would bring a real aluminium door and real chrome feet, not a big fan of plastic :P The quality of the case is very good and i am very pleased i brought it. I was expecting the case to be more quiet as my previous case was very cheap but it is only a little quieter. Excellent case!!

Edit - Found out that my optical drive was making all the noise because it had a disk in. Very silent and love the fan controller. Only thing that bugs me a little is that the front door is plastic, not a really cheap plastic but a little downfall to the overall of the case. My previous case was very small with a limit of 3 120mm fans. This case is taller and wider and you can have up to 7 140mm fans which is incredible. Very happy with the case :)
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on 4 June 2016
Not as quiet as I was expecting, but looks amazing and super easy to work inside. Everything on the inside is made of metal, giving the impression of very high quality. Lots of room for cable management. It also seems to do an excellent job of keeping everything cool, despite me only having three fans (two front, one back) in mine, and quite a low-profile CPU HSF.

The only negatives I can think of are that it's pretty big and wide, and very heavy. And also that it comes with no native support for the storage of Solid State drives other than a space behind the motherboard - which is fine for some but not suitable for everyone as you actually have to take the entire motherboard out of the case in order to access the screws to secure this in place!
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