Fractal Design Define R6 Tempered Glass Overview
As previously mentioned, the Define R6 is available in a few different color schemes, as well as side panel options. Our sample is nearly all black, save for white PCI slot covers and drive mounting brackets, as well as the blades on the three included 140mm fans. Our sample is also sporting a tempered glass side panel with a pretty nice mounting mechanism that beats other designs we have encountered. More on that in just a moment. The dimensions of the R6 result in a case that is longer than it is taller, with a bit of a wide stance. This extra length gives plenty of room on the inside, but also takes up a bit more desk space than some other cases.
Taking a look at the left side of the Define R6 presents us with a seamless tempered glass side panel, void of any visible mounting mechanisms. This side panel stretches from top to bottom and back to front, save for a bit of ventilation on the front panel. The sides of the glass panel feature a black border that is used to conceal the mounting solution, and keeps things super clean by also hiding a bit of the interior frame of the case.
Speaking of the mounting solution, Fractal Design has implemented the nicest looking mounting method we have seen on a tempered glass case. While most cases have four holes in the side panel that are then placed on pegs and kept in place with thumbscrews, the Define R6 uses a snap-in mechanism to secure the glass panel. On the inside surface of the glass panel, hidden via a black border, is a metal frame that is the real key to this great mounting method. At the front of the panel the metal frame slides into place and acts a bit like a hinge to allow the panel to swing in and out at the back of the case. At the back corners of the panel’s frame are two push-to-lock clips that allow the side panel to snap into place with a bit of pressure. Pulling outward from the back of the case will allow the panel to hinge out a bit, and then simply pull away from the case. This method works great and really cleans up the side panels. And when transporting the case, two thumbscrews can be inserted into the panel’s frame from the back of the case for even more security.
On the right side of the case, we see a standard black metal finish not unlike just about every other case out there. This side panel also employs the same mounting mechanism, and keeps the side panel free from any visible mounting hardware. Two thumbscrews can be inserted from the back of the case to keep the panel in place during transportation if wanted.
The front panel of the Define R6 features a nice brushed aluminum facade that opens up to give access to the front intake fans and filter. This front panel design is very similar to that which is found on previous Define cases, and includes a small slit at the top to allow the blue hard drive indicator light to be visible from the front.
Depending on your desk setup and preferences, the front panel door can be configured to open from either side with a few minor adjustments. Opening the door give access to a single 5.25″ drive bay at the top of the case, which is easily removed via a small handle. Just below the drive bay is a removable grille and filter that works to keep a bit of dust out of the two included 140mm fans found up front. The backside of the door is home to a large portion of sound dampening material to keep any errant noises from escaping the case.
All the way at the bottom of the front panel is a nicely integrated handle that is attached to a full-length dust filter. This implementation is awesome, and goes in and out of place with no issues, unlike many bottom-mounted filters that get jammed up or don’t fit into place just right.
Swinging around to the back of the case gives us a look at a pretty standard setup, save for a few nice features not always found on a case. Room for both 120mm and 140mm fans is available, and the Define R6 comes with a 140mm pre-installed. Just above the motherboar’s I/O panel cutout is a small round button that can be depressed to release the top-panel’s ModuVent configuration, which we will cover in just a bit. Further down, right next to the PCI expansion slot covers are two vertical slot covers that serve to secure a vertically mounted GPU. While the R6 does not come with the included hardware to perform this mounting by default, you can purchase the optional Flex VRC-25 for an additional $40.
The final note we want to make about the back side of this case is the removable power supply mounting bracket. This feature is one that we don’t see too often, and if it weren’t for the slightly restrictive access to the power supply area from the right side of the case, it would not really be necessary on the R6. We were happy to see it however, and it made installing a fully-modular power supply that much easier.
Moving up top gives us a good look at the provided front panel I/O ports and buttons, as well as a peek at the very versatile top panel of the case. Connectivity options are pretty standard on the Define R6, with a headphone and microphone port, along with a small Reset button to the left of a round Power button in the center, which has a glowing blue ring around it when the system is powered up. To the right of the Power button are two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports. We would have loved to see USB Type-C connectivity here by default, but this is an add-on option from Fractal. The Connect D1 will replace the existing I/O and button bracket with one that adds a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connector for a price of $30.
The remainder of the top of the case is dedicated to the third generation ModuVent system that Fractal has just started to use. By default, the top of the case is a flat plane, save for a removable metal panel, which can be released by pressing in on the aforementioned button at the back of the case. Releasing this new ModuVent panel gives us direct access into the case by way of a few fan cutouts. And while this open access would be great for exhaust airflow, it does leave the system a bit vulnerable from above. That’s where the ModuVent system shines. The metal top of the vent, with sound dampening material included, can be removed from a grille and filter system that is very similar in look and function to the panel at the front of the case. This gives exhaust fans somewhere to push warm internal air, and also gives a bit more protection from things getting into the case. We did find it quite difficult to remove the metal portion of the cover from the plastic frame, to the point we thought we might break the ModuVent system. Getting the metal cover back into place isn’t much of an issue however, and when it comes down to it, once your system is configured to your liking, there isn’t much need to adjust the ModuVent system.
Rounding out the exterior of the Define R6 is the bottom of the case, which has a very airflow-friendly design. There is room for two 120mm or two 140mm fans to be mounted at the bottom of the case, and a ventilated portion of the bottom is provided to pull in cool ambient air for the power supply. As mentioned earlier, a full-length dust filter can be removed from the front of the case, which is so much better than having to pull your case out from the wall to remove a filter from the back side. Four silver feet keep the case about an inch off of its surface for good ventilation, and the bottom of the feet feature rubber pads to keep the case in place.