Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

Consistent with its exterior, the interior of the Fractal Design Define R6 is also well furnished with all surfaces painted matte black. To further accentuate its Blackout color scheme, the back expansion slot covers and hard drive trays are painted black as well, as shown in our photo above. If you want white colored pieces, non-Blackout version are available. The conventional layout has the power supply mounted at the bottom, hard drive rack is present to the right, one externally accessible 5.25" drive bay on top, with the rest of the room allocated for the motherboard. New to the Define R6 is a power supply shroud; a feature becoming quite ubiquitous in midrange to high end chassis. Generally speaking, everything is quite traditional as far as ATX computer cases are concerned. Fractal Design claims the Define R6 was designed from the ground up. There is quite a bit changed inside. Let us take a look at what has changed.

The Define R6 is able to accommodate mITX, mATX, ATX, and eATX motherboards up to 285mm wide. The riser mounting holes are labeled for users who are not familiar with building their own computers. One 140mm pre-installed rear exhaust fan is situated around the CPU socket area of a standard ATX motherboard. The stock fan is a 1000 rpm Dynamic GP14 from Fractal Design, and features a 3-pin motherboard header. I am surprised the fans in the Define R6 are not PWM fans, considering the built-in fan controller has PWM support. Two 140mm fans, three 120mm fans, or a radiator of equivalent size can be installed at the top of the case. If you want to install a third 140mm fan, simply remove the 5.25" drive bracket. As mentioned on the previous page, the upper vent is sealed off by default by what Fractal Design calls the ModuVent. Normally, putting noise insulating foam here may cause undesirably high temperatures. Fortunately, according to our tests, the soundproofing material has little detrimental effect to the case's cooling performance. Additionally, because the covers are completely flat, it makes a lot of aerodynamic sense -- low airflow impedance. I have no complaints with Fractal Design's excellent design in this area.

As shown in our photo above, we can also spot a large rectangular opening on the motherboard tray for easy aftermarket heatsink backplate installation without removing the motherboard itself from the chassis. The opening is actually large enough to accommodate pretty much anything. I mean, with something this big, unless you have some wacko motherboard, it is hard not to get it right. The perimeter of the opening is not lined with rubber, but the edges are well rounded off, so you do not need to worry about your cables being stripped accidentally.

Because the Fractal Design Define R6 features a bottom mounted power supply bay, the chassis platform is raised about two centimeters off the ground to accommodate units with fans at the bottom. Inside the Define R6, metal bumps with rubber toppings at the top elevates the power supply up a further half centimeter just to ensure enough air is made available to your PSU. A plastic bracket is designed to be attached to your power supply, and is held on by two captive thumbscrews. The honeycomb grille has an externally removable dust filter pre-installed, so you will not need to worry about nasty stuff clogging your fans down the road.

There is only one thermal zone inside the Fractal Design Define R6, since the shroud separating the main chamber and the power supply chamber is fully ventilated. Cables can be routed through the large opening on the shroud adjacent to your power supply. Other cables can go through the two large openings on the right side of the motherboard tray. As always, rubber grommets are present on all openings to keep everything looking neat and tidy. For unused cables, it can stay underneath the shroud. Two SSDs can go on top of the shroud should you choose to relocate the two trays from the back of your motherboard here. Fractal Design should have included two more SSD trays out of the box, since these locations are not mutually exclusive.

One of the biggest updates to the Fractal Design Define R6 is the drive rack design. The new design is made for easy conversion from the standard layout to the open layout. In the standard layout shown in our photo above, it can technically accommodate up to nine 2.5" or 3.5" hard drives, but Fractal Design included only six removable hard drive trays. Each removable drive tray is placed in perpendicular orientation to the chassis, and are designed to be taken out the right side rather than the left side. Each hard drive rack clips on to the mounting panel and is secured down by a captive thumbscrew towards the outside. I personally like sliding trays found in the Define R5 as well as its predecessors more, but this new design is a reasonable trade off for quick conversion and airflow optimization in my opinion. After all, you cannot have both, and the fact the Define R6 has a drive rack at all in 2018 is already a rare find.

If you want to convert to the open layout, simply remove all drive trays and the 5.25" optical drive mounting bracket. Next, take the mounting panel out and screw it to the back of the chassis. This will create a layout with unobstructed airflow and additional space for large graphics cards and even more fans. In the open layout, the mounting panel can accommodate two vertically oriented 3.5" hard drives. I find this convertible design to be well-executed in ease of use as well as functional. After all, the more choices the better.

Two 3-pin Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans draw cool air over the hard drives and into the system from the front. Out of the box, both fans are installed as high as possible, but you can relocate them to your heart's desire. The two 140mm fans can be swapped for three 120mm fans as well, or of course, a radiator of equivalent size. The longest video card you can fit in the Define R6 is 17.3" in the open layout. Obviously, no graphics card is that long, so with the standard layout, you can have components measuring in at 11.8".

One 5.25" externally accessible drive bay is present on the Define R6. As I have discussed on the previous page, I do not even have an optical drive installed in my latest build, so having one in this day and age is already one more than anyone else should you still need one.

Here is a look at other side of the Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG. The back of the motherboard tray is quite fundamental to good cabling. This is especially held true with the Fractal Design Define R6, since it is normal practice to cables through this section. With the latest iteration, the company kept gap wide; the amount of room between the side panel and motherboard tray is a decent 23mm. Users will generally not experience problems if you own a power supply with thick cables. There is room here for two SSD installations. Also new to the latest revision is an integrated cabling guide; two Velcro straps allow for easy organization in this area. Other than that, lots of openings can be found so you can fish your cables through, and they are large and wide to carry everything you need. Rubber grommets are found at all openings, which is a very nice touch. I have actually had cases in the past where cables started rattling against the metal panels, and trust me -- that could be annoying. The rubber grommets are clipped on pretty well, but if you rip your cables through these holes during your build, they may become loose, although it is not a significant problem.

The built-in Nexus+ Smart Hub three-speed fan controller that can control up to six voltage-controlled fans and three PWM fans via your motherboard. It is not as advanced as the one found in the NZXT H700i, but this also means additional software is not required. Two bottom 120mm or 140mm fans or a radiator of equivalent size can be installed into the Define R6. Depending on the number of bottom fans installed, Fractal Design claims the Define R6 can take power supplies up to 300mm long. Of course, this is just a trivial fact, because I do not believe something of such a size exists in the world, haha.

Before we close off this section, there are just two more things I want to talk about. Firstly, the Define R6's I/O connector cables are top notch, as I have always expected from the company. While most chassis manufacturers provide a bunch of colorful wires that looks like it came straight from an electronics lab, Fractal Design took the effort to bundle them up into nice black cables. Secondly, fabric coated sound insulation material is placed over almost every panel for improved acoustic properties. Because they are so thin, it occupies little physical space; and knowing they are generally flat, it will not affect airflow inside the case. With all this in mind, it is clear why the Fractal Design Define R6 tips the scales at over 27 lbs. Dust filters in every opening. Sound proofing material on every panel. No corners cut anywhere. There is so much that went into the build of this chassis, making it impossibly even more refined than the Define R5.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion