Thursday, 26 April 2012

Fractal R3 & Fractal XL Overview!

Fractal are gaining great favourism from the PC community for its solidly built and elegant cases. So i thought i'd open up a few and take a closer look to see what the big fuss was about and if it really lived up to the hype.

The Fractal XL
Let's first take a look at its spec sheet:

Cooling system
  • 2x 140mm fans (one 140mm included, one optional) with removable and washable filters, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 1x 120mm fan optional with removable and washable filter, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 1x 180mm fan included in the top of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
  • 1x 140mm fan included in the rear of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
  • 1x 120/140mm fan optional in the side of the case. Recommended for intake of air.
  • 4x 5,25" bays, 1x 5,25" to 3,5" converter included
  • Mini-itx, micro ATX, ATX and E-ATX motherboards
  • 10x HDD trays. 4x HDD trays in the HDD cage in the main chamber. This HDD cage is removable and rotatable.(Space ~330mm with HDD Cage and without ~480mm) 6x HDD trays in the lower HDD chamber. These HDD cages are fixed.
  • A total of two 140mm fans and one 180mm fan included. Front 140mm fans are mounted with removable, washable filter. A fan controller is included, for mounting in one of the rear expansion slots.
  • Pre-fitted with dense noise absorbing material in both side panels.
  • ModuVent™ feature, allowing the user to choose between an optimal low noise level, having the cover mounted or optimal airflow by removing the cover and mounting a fan for intake.
  • Maximum PSU length: Supports PSU's with a depth of maximum circa 180mm
  • Maximum Graphic Card lenght: Supports graphic card lengths up to 330mm when removable HDD-Bay is in place
  • Maximum CPU cooler height: Supports CPU coolers with height of 180mm
  • Expansion slots: 7+1
  • On top of front panel: 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 and Audio I/O
  • Case size (WxHxD): 232x560x561.3mm
  • Net weight: 17.95kg
The XL is your full sized ATX case and as expected the case is pure elegance. Slick corners coupled with soundproof material which makes this case a must for those looking for a truly silent computer set up. Most of its internal walls is covered with sound insulating pads, which in some places is removable to install optional fans. But they have done it so well that you don't have to remove an entire sheet of insulated padding. Instead they have already precut the padding to perfectly sit in the place of a potential fan. all you gotta do is remove the screws and the padding slips straight off. The case provides many of these spots to add in extra fans.

Looking around the insides i must say the build up of its build quality was seriously lacking. few of the edges had the metal sticking out, the hard drives moulds had bent handles and the side panel was distorted and didn't fit in perfectly with the rest of the case.

The Fractal R3

Cooling system
  • Fan controller for 3 fans included
  • 1 rear Fractal Design 120mm @ 1350rpm included
  • 1 front Fractal Design 120mm @ 1350rpm included
  • 1 front 120mm fan (optional)
  • 1 bottom 120mm/140mm fan (optional)
  • 1 side panel 120mm/140mm fan (optional)
  • 2 top 120mm/140mm fan (optional)
  • 8x 3,5 inch HDD trays, compatible with SSD
  • 2x 5,25 inch bays, with 1x 5,25>3,5 inch converter included
  • On top of front panel: 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 and Audio I/O
  • No PSU included (removable filter below PSU)
  • M/B compatibility: Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX
  • 7x expansion slots with sleek white painted brackets
  • Supports graphic card lengths up to ~290mm
  • Supports CPU coolers with height of ~165mm
  • Supports PSU's with a depth of maximum circa 170mm, when using bottom 120/140mm fan location. When not using the bottom 120/140mm fan location, the case supports also longer PSU's, typically 200-220mm.
  • Case size (WxHxD): 207.40x442x521.2mm
  • Net weight: 12.50kg
This mid sized tower is almost identical to its full sized counterpart, the XL. The interior is reshuffled a bit to fit in the smaller area but almost packs the same punch as t he XL. Yet again however the quality in its build was lacking. It suffered the same issues with the XL with its distorted panels, dodgy hard drive caddies and bent edges. It's hard to think these things would have happened during transit because both cases fit very snuggle in thick foam padding.

Overall, even though they do lack that fine touch, they are quite nice cases and those looking for silence will really appreciate the insulated interior. Sound insulation pads are generally quite expensive so getting a case with such things already built into the case with such elegance, is a big big bonus!

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