EXTERIOR AND CLOSER LOOK
If you are familiar with Fractal Design, the Define XL R2’s exterior will not be a surprise. As usual, it follows the company’s sleek, minimalistic approach. The black pearl and titanium gray finishes make it a pleasure to look at, especially when the entire case is surrounded by one uniform colour.
The front panel I/O has a nice mix of inputs. Starting from the right we have the headphone and microphone jacks, reset, power (with a nice blue LED indication strip), two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. An eSATA port and extra fan-controlling switches would have been nice additions here, as well as an accompanying LED strip for HDD activity.
Moving to the top we have room for two 120mm/140mm fans, or radiators if you wish. Keep in mind these, like the rest, also have sound-dampening coverings.
On the bottom we have four disc-stylized rubber feet stands, excellent for vibration control. The air filter here is quite unique as, due to the PSU mounting area, it captures dust for both the power supply and the accompanying 140mm bottom fan next to it. The front panel handle is also here for easy detachment:
One of the side panels has a solid, clean brushed aluminum finish without any markings or cut-outs. The other houses a 120mm/140mm fan-mounting area, and behind it is the always-present soundproof coating. This makes the side panels, alongside the rest of the case for that matter, incredible heavy and sturdy.
The rear has yet another 140mm fan which can be downgraded to a 120mm if you wish. There is also ample room for a radiator mount. Below we have nine PCI expansion slots, with perforated ventilation grills to the right, as well as at the very top. The PSU installation area is in its usual spot at the very bottom.
Going back to the front we have a nice swivel front door for access to drive bays, which has a push-locking mechanism. Here we have four 5.25″ ventilated drive bays with an excellent snap-in/snap-out design, allowing for easy exterior installation.
A three-setting fan controller is also present, with presets of 5v, 7v, and 12v. Right below that we have a removable fan mount housing a single 140mm fan, with room for an additional 140mm below. Both can be substituted for 120mm fans, or a radiator.
To either side of the front there are two grill strips running from top to bottom, allowing for extra ventilation:
Overall as we can see, the build quality is exceptional. Keep in mind again that the case is quite heavy and slippery, but it is built like a tank.