Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
The installation process was extremely straightforward with the Fractal Design Define R6. For the most part, it was very easy to work with as far as a standard mid-tower is concerned. Out of preference, I installed my Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK motherboard first, followed by the rest of my components. However, it does not matter what you install first, since they will all work out just as well in the end.
Executing a good cabling job was also very easy on the Fractal Design Define R6. There are two large openings adjacent to the motherboard on the right, so choose your half. They are all appropriately placed for routing cables through, whether they are from your power supply or your hard drive, with proper rubber grommets for both looks and vibration dampening. The rubber grommets are clipped onto place, but they stay reasonably secure unless you use excessive force. Meanwhile, HDD and SSD installation was extremely simple as well; simply align it with the proper holes at the bottom of each drive tray and attach four screws. The trays can accommodate both 2.5" and 3.5" drives, as discussed earlier in this review. After all the necessary screws are attached, slide it back into the rack, make the proper connections on the opposite side, and you are good to go. You can install your SSDs at the back of your motherboard as well, as shown in our photo above.
The rest of the installation process came and went just as smoothly as I continued to install the rest of my components like the Seasonic PRIME Ultra Titanium 850W. The only exception was the cable that connects the Nexus+ Smart Hub to your motherboard. It was a bit short, so I had to run it between the motherboard and the tray to get it to reach the nearest fan header. If it was two inches longer, life would have been a lot easier.
Unless you count thumbscrews as tool-free, installation of most components will require you to keep your screwdriver handy. This includes all add-on cards as well as your optical drives. I do not have much beef against this though, since it is usually much more secure, and it is not like I will take my computer apart occasionally anyway. The Define R6 will give you no surprises.
Thanks to the cable management section behind the motherboard tray, organizing the modular cables from my Seasonic power supply was a breeze. Pushing all the case I/O cables through the large bottom opening adjacent to the motherboard on the PSU shroud delivered excellent accessibility to anything that requires a connection to my Z97X-UD3H-BK. The large motherboard tray cutout also made the installation of my Noctua NH-D15S as smooth as possible.
After plugging in everything, our system configured inside the Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG was ready to roll. I hit the large power button at the top, and my computer came to life. The BitFenix Alchemy Connect LED Strips in white definitely added a bit of style to the build. It is too bad the Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG did not come with a built-in RGB lighting system.
On a scale from 0.0 to 10.0 where 0.0 is silent and 10.0 is the loudest, the stock Dynamic GP14 fans would come in at 2.0 subjective sound rating at full blast. That is very impressive. Slowing them down will keep it at around 1.0 in my personal opinion. I am quite sensitive to perceived sound volume, and as a quiet PC enthusiast, the Fractal Design Define R6 is extremely impressive by any metric. The hydraulic bearing fans have a smooth-running motor with no annoying noise during operation; combine that with thick insulation material simply keeps the noise in and the heat out. I am also quite impressed at its ability to eliminate certain types of noise. While it does not magically cancel out noise made by very fast moving fans, the Fractal Design Define R6 does a fine job and keeping my already very quiet parts even quieter. The Define R6 is matchless in this regard. This is truly the case to choose for quiet PC enthusiasts who makes no compromise in power and performance.
The Define R6 Blackout TG continues the tradition of what made Fractal Design great for the last decade: Clean and inoffensive design, relentless attention to detail, high emphasis on performance, and uncompromising attitude towards quality. The Define R6 is still quiet with extensive water cooling support, and with the Blackout TG model we are reviewing today, you get modern amenities like tempered glass and a PSU shroud. The interior is redesigned from the ground up, too. What you will get is an excellent layout that can either accommodate lots of drives and an easy conversion procedure to the open layout for those who need more airflow than storage space. There is a small compromise for this though: The old sliding HDD/SSD tray design is vastly superior compared to the ones found in the R6. But what you will not get in previous iterations is the brilliant new ModuVent design at the top and the Nexus+ Smart Hub PWM fan controller, both of which are considerable upgrades in my opinion. I found the overall installation experience easy and smooth, although I have a few small suggestions for improvement. Firstly, the Nexus+ Smart Hub cable should be at least a couple of inches longer to better reach motherboard fan headers. Next, while the ball and socket panel attachment mechanism is easy to use, I find the latch system in the Define R5 to be much more secure. The included fans should be PWM rather than voltage-based for better speed control, even if it was connected to the built-in PWM-based fan controller. USB 3.1 Type-C and RGB LED lighting system should be included out of the box; at least for tempered glass variants in the latter. Fractal Design should include two more SSD trays as well. All in all, will the Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG carry the company's "APH Recommended" streak rolling into a four? My answer to you is yes. I agree it is not perfect. Nothing is. But nitpicking aside, the Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG is still one of the best cases available in the market today for a very reasonable price of $150 at press time.
Fractal Design provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Recommended Award | APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that are not likely going to matter to the end user.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 8.0/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Fractal Design Define R6 Blackout TG continues the tradition of excellence with a thorough interior redesign and modern amenities you expect from a high-end case.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion