Fractal Design Define R5 case review - Full-on minimalism

The folk at Fractal Design sent me the much-polished Define R5, a Mid-Tower enclosure that supposedly has learned a lot from previous generations and improved upon its original minimalist design. Let's take a look, shall we?

Cases! They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some are packed with LEDs, some are sombre and monotonous, while others feature jagged edges that you could almost cut yourself in. Despite their variety, there's one thing they all have in common, or at least should, if they want to be considered decent at the very least. That is, clever design. No, I'm not talking about looks here, though they also matter at least a little bit, but the meaningful use of space, modularity, and openness in construction. 

Take the Define R5. Despite it being a black monolith borrowed from 'A Space Oddysey' it manages to draw the eye, and it does so without the aforementioned jagged edges or bright colors. Pitted against a pyramid shaped golden, LED-laden enclosure, it still might be just as striking, if only due to contrast. One should remember Fractal Design's minimalism is not a one time thing; after all the company has been improving on previous iterations for years now, always with that "stunning Scandinavian inspired construction".

Fractal Design Define R5 - Product Image 

I was talking about clever design though, and the Define R5 seems to be the best example to showcase this notion. At first glance, it looks like a metal / plastic black box, with only a blue LED atop. Yet, this simplicity hides a number of features, some tried and tested in the past, others brought anew. After all, there were 4-other Define R-case versions in the past.

So let me take apart Fractal Design's Define R5, see if it has improved on its established formula and then put its design to the test. 

Fractal Design Define R5 - FD-CA-DEF-R5-BK

Case Type




Front bezel Material


Side Panel


Body Material


5.25" drive bay (External)

2x External 5.25"

3.5" drive bay (External)


HDD bay

2.5" SSD x2 
3.5/2.5" HDD x8

Expansion Slot



ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX


Front: 4 – 120mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 120mm gp14, 1000 RPM speed);
Rear: 1 - 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 120mm GP14, 1000 RPM speed);

I/O Ports

USB3.0 x2
USB2.0 x2
Audio in/out

Maximum Compatibility

VGA Card length: 310mm  (with cage), 440mm (with front-fan)
PSU length: 190/170mm 
CPU cooler height:180mm

Power Supply

ATX (Optional)


232 x 462 x 531mm

Net Weight


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