Fractal Design Define R2 - Follow Up
Posted on 25th Jan 2010 at 10:51 by Harry Butler with 31 comments
This is something we usually try to avoid, as we believe a review should be an assessment of a product as you buy it, rather than what you can do it to it- otherwise we could simply argue that any case or CPU cooler will perform great as long as you slap in half a dozen noisy cooling fans.
However, this time the voices were so many that we've decided to make an exception and have rebuilt our test rig into the Define R2 one more time, this time with the addition of three Sharkoon Silent Eagle 120mm 1,000rpm fans. And the results can only be described as extraordinary.
We knew adding extra fans into a case will obviously improve cooling performance, but were amazed at the result of combining the R2 and the trio of superb Sharkoon silent eagles. At idle the GPU temperature from our passively cooled GPU dropped 8°C to a lowly 16°C above room temperature and under CPU load our 130W TDP test CPU dropped a healthy 3°C to a delta T of only 24°C - on par with the Antec 902!
It's the GPU temperature that benefits from the improved airflow the most through, with our passively cooled Radeon HD 3850 running an incredible 33°C cooler with the addition of the three 120mm fans around it. The resultant GPU load Delta T of just 29°C is simply awesome and isn't too far off the temperatures we recorded with an Antec 902 at full speed.
All this makes the Define R2 looks an even tastier proposition so long as you don't mind adding in the £30 cost of the three Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1,000 cooling fans. Even then, at a combined price of £110 a kitted out R2 not only remains impressive with its range of noise deadening and vibration reduction features, but can also keep your hardware as cool as the very best cases too.
However, the same could be argued for any decent modern case - strap enough high quality cooling fans to a system, even one with poor stock cooling and you're going to see temperatures drop by similar margins. While the results with the Define R2 are no doubt superb with the extra investment in cooing fans, we still feel reviewing cases as they come out of the box is the fairest way to judge their qualities.