When we reviewed it nearly three years ago, the Fractal Design Define R5 won itself an Editor's Choice award thanks to the incredible care and thought that went into its design. Fractal Design has now announced the Define R6, an update to one of our favorite cases that accounts for current trends in PC building.
New features for the Define R6 include a fully-shrouded power supply compartment, vertical expansion slots to show off fancy graphics cards, and a highly-modular internal design. By moving what Fractal calls a modular storage plate, builders can swap the Define R6 between the standard Define layout of six universal 3.5"-or-2.5" storage trays and a new "open" layout that skips some storage brackets for improved airflow and liquid-cooling accommodations.
In the standard layout, the six storage trays can be independently repositioned in the front portion of the case. If you prefer the open layout, you can still mount two 3.5" drives on the back side of the modular storage plate. Either way, you still have room for two 2.5" drives behind the motherboard tray, or on top of the power supply shroud. If that all sounds pretty confusing, check out Fractal's video.
The Define R6's cooling accommodations are similarly customizable. Fans of silent computing will prefer to keep the sound-dampening steel covers in place on the intakes, but folks who need more airflow can swap them out for filtered grilles. You can mount three 120-mm or two 140-mm fans in the front, and three of either size in the top. You can also mount two 120-mm or 140-mm fans in the bottom, and another one in the rear.
Every fan mount supports liquid-cooling radiators, too: as large as 420 mm in the top, 360 mm in the front, 280 mm in the bottom, and 140 mm in the back. To hook up and control all of the fans such a setup might require, Fractal Design provides its Nexus+ fan hub with the Define R6. Hook the hub up to your motherboard, and it can control six three-pin case fans and three four-pin PWM spinners.
The modularity doesn't stop there. The standard front-panel layout for the Define R6 has a pair of USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and the usual audio jacks up front. If your machine supports a front-panel USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connection, Fractal Design is offering the Connect D1—a drop-in replacement for the front panel buttons and ports that includes a Type-C connector.
The Define R6 comes in eight varieties. You can have your choice of black, white, gunmetal grey, or "blackout," which is a black case with black parts. Any of the four colors can be had with or without a tempered glass window. Aside from the colors and presence or absence of a glass side panel, all four models are identical.
Fractal Design's latest Define hasn't shown up at e-tail in the US yet, but the company expects it to go for $150 when it does.