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Fractal Design Define XL R2 Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Feb 26, 2007
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Fractal Design’s original Define XL design was one of the most highly regarded full tower cases on the market and it perfectly followed the success of their initial Define R2. You see, to this day Fractal is one of the newest entrants into the case and cooling market but they’re one of a scant handful of companies which consistently release high quality products. They’ve accomplished this by sticking to a basic formula: don’t reinvented the wheel, simply improve upon existing designs until perfection is within reach.

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With their design philosophy firmly in place, gamers have been greeted to a successive series of case revisions from Fractal. The iconic Define R2 series quickly went through two revisions and now stands at R4 status while their Arc Midi is now in its second iteration. The latest case to undergo this evolution is the Define XL which is now aptly named the Define XL R2.


The differences between the original Define XL and this version aren’t too apparent from the outside, though subtle differences can be seen. While the exterior design still maintains a distinct resemblance to Antec’s monolithic yet legendary P180, a top fan mount has been added, there are larger feet to improve stability, ventilation options have been significantly expanded and USB 3.0 support is now standard and the finish quality has improved.

In short, the Define XL R2 is more capable and about a kilo lighter than its predecessor yet retains an understated design which will surely appeal to those wanting to avoid visual clutter. It also happens to be quite inexpensive as these things go with a price of about $130.


There are some major changes going on within the Define XL R2 in order to bring it up to current expectations. Gone is the multi zone interior and in its place is a less restrictive layout which is more conducive to airflow and radiator support has also been improved. Meanwhile, the hard drive cages have a myriad of mounting options, three Silent Series R2 high performance fans are included, fan filters abound and massive graphics cards are supported. As an enthusiast case, there’s very little here not to like.

One of the main focuses for Fractal Design has been the incorporation of high end acoustical dampening materials into the Define XL R2. Nearly every conceivable space has been padded with high density noise reducing material, giving the whole setup a high quality feel.

Fractal is well regarded within the gaming community and the XL R2 won’t change that. If anything, this new case will expand their influence within the budget-focused full tower market.

Make sure to view our full review above!
 
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