Fractal Design has been in the chassis market for some time now, and those familiar with the name should instantly relate it with the words “minimalistic” and “professional”. The Swedish company has always strived to make more of less, while keeping their products aesthetically pleasing.
The shear elegance of the Fractal Design Define XL R2 Black Pearl chassis then, makes it a truly unique case for those consumers who require space. Like its predecessor, the Define XL R2, a second generation XL case, is an attempt to further develop the chassis line by the ability to re-adjust, add, or remove select components of the XL case to better suit a wide range of consumer needs.
This is just another great example of how the computer case industry, specifically Fractal Design, are opting for a multi-use case design approach to target a majority of consumers. The main question is if the $125 price tag will yield you all of the advertised positives, and more importantly, if the chassis is worth the premium.
SPECIFICATIONS AND PACKAGING
- ATX, Micro ATX, mini-ITX, E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboard compatibility
- 4 – 5.25″ bays
- 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs
- A total of 9 expansion slots
- 3 – ModuVent™ plates – two in the top and one in the side
- 7 – Fan positions (3 fans included)
- Filtered fan slots in front and bottom
- CPU coolers up to 170 mm tall (when no fan is installed in the side panel)
- PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 190 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 345 mm deep) can be used
- Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 330mm in length with the top HDD cage installed – With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 480mm in length may be installed
- 26 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
- Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
- Colors available: Black Pearl, Titanium Grey
- Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 559 x 560mm
- Net weight: 16.4kg
- Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 637 x 655mm
- Package weight: 19kg
- Front: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included); 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included)
- Rear: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
- Top: 2 – 120/140mm fans (not included) – positions also support 240/280mm slim radiators
- Bottom: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
- Side: 1 – 140mm fan (not included)
- Fan controller: 1 – integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)
- Water cooling compatibility:
- Front – 240mm radiator when HDD cages are removed or repositioned
- Top – 240 and 280mm when using slim radiators
- Bottom – 120mm radiators
- Rear – 120 and 140mm radiators
Key facts to note are the size and weight – the Define XL R2 is a full-tower chassis, and it is extremely heavy due to its aluminum finish, not to mention the soundproof layers in the front and on the side.
The case packaging is basically a cardboard box left in a natural tan color. Black lettering and picturing of the Define XL R2 case are the only defining features on the packaging, leaving it much to the consumers’ imagination:
Further details are labeled on the sides of the packaging to further entice the consumer and promote the cases features, like Moduvent™, but more to come on that later in the review.
The case packaging includes the Define XL R2 chassis, case accessories (screws, zip-ties, rubber feet), and user manuals: