Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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doveman
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Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by doveman » Thu May 20, 2021 2:58 pm

I've got a Define R5 at the moment housing my old i5 4670k system, with a 1070ti and several SSDs and HDDs.

I'm going to keep this system for general stuff and gaming (even though it's a bit outdated, I've never had any problems playing games with it) but I'm building a new system which will primarily be more music production, using:

MSI MEG x570 Unify motherboard
Ryzen 3850x CPU
Noctua NH-D15s cromax.black (with an extra Scythe 120mm fan on the front)
64GB DDR4 3600Mhz

I've currently got this on the bench. As the 3850x doesn't have any onboard GPU, I'm using my 1070ti as it's the only card I have and my i5 is just using the onboard GPU for now, which is fine as I'm too busy for gaming at the moment anyway and I've got my Xbox if I get some free time. Obviously I don't really need a 1070ti in a music production PC but its impossible to get even a basic dual/triple output graphics card at the moment. Hopefully sometime I'll be able to get a more modern GPU for gaming for a decent price and stick that in my i5 (which will no doubt bottleneck the GPU but I'll probably upgrade that machine to an 8 core CPU like the 5800x sometime), so I may just end up leaving the 1070ti in the new PC.

So, I'm trying to decide between the Define R6 (probably the USB type-C version) or the Define 7 for my new PC. Both have some improvements over the Define R5, such as:

sound dampened panels on both sides (only the left one on the R5);
slightly higher CPU cooler space (185mm vs 180mm);
vertical GPU mounting (won't be visible because I'd be using the solid panels but it will take the weight off the motherboard, which can only be a good thing);
space for 3x120mm front fans (only 2 on the R5 and if using 140mm fans the R5 and R6 both support 2, whilst the Define 7 supports 3);
swappable solid or filtered top panel (I'll probably use the solid one for maximum sound reduction but it's nice to have the option to try the filtered).

Things I don't like about the R6 and/or Define 7 include:

the PSU shroud. That seems to only make sense if you're using a windowed panel and want to make things look nice but with a solid panel it doesn't really serve any purpose and means the HDD rack has to sit above the shroud instead of reaching all the way down to the bottom of the case. Whilst there's space for a couple of drives under the shroud, they're going to get hotter there and if you're using a front fan at the bottom, the shroud cuts across the middle of that which isn't good for airflow. Can the PSU shroud be removed in either the R6 or Define 7?

on the Define 7 the highest front fan is also cut across, as shown here
https://static.tweaktown.com/content/9/ ... w_full.jpg

and it isn't aligned with the CPU, which results in worse thermal performance. Is it possible to move both fans down, so that the highest one is aligned with the CPU and neither are cut across by the frame or the PSU shroud? Presumably this picture shows the two included 140mm fans, so if its impossible to lower them to achieve this, maybe replacing them with 120mm fans would fix that problem but then of course they'd have to run faster and louder to produce the same amount of airflow, so that wouldn't be ideal.

despite being 14mm and 24mm higher than the R5 and only having one 5.25" bay vs two on the R5, the R6 and Define 7 only support six 3.5"/2.5" drives, plus two 2.5", although you can buy extra 3.5"/2.5" brackets for the Define 7 for £10/two trays, up to a maximum of 14, and an extra two dedicated 2.5" brackets (the R5 is 8+2 out of the box). To be honest though, with a couple of NVMes on the motherboard, plus a couple of SSDs, I'll probably only need 2-3 large capacity HDDs for archiving projects.

So my main concern with the Define 7 is the front fan arrangement. If I can rearrange them so that two 140mm fans sit lower down and aren't blocked at all by the frame or the PSU shroud, then I can put up with the PSU shroud. If that can't be done, I guess I'll have to get the R6, which is about £50 cheaper and a bit more compact in all three dimensions.

The R5 is 521 x 232 x 451 mm
the R6 is 543 x 233 x 465 mm
the D7 is 547 x 240 x 475 mm.

I'm not sure how the R6 is only 1mm wider than the R5 yet it fits a 185mm CPU cooler vs a 180mm one and it's still 185mm for the D7, despite being 7mm wider than the R6 but hey ho. I don't really need any extra depth or height over the R5. I guess the extra depth is either to accommodate longer GPUs (I don't know if modern ones are much longer) or thicker radiators but I'm not planning to use either with this build. I suppose it might make sense in future, if I get a longer GPU, to move my gaming PC into the new case and put my music production PC in the smaller R5.

Anyway, that's all I can think of. Are there any other pros or cons with the R6 vs the D7 that I should be aware of before making a decision?

Japanese Capacitor
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Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by Japanese Capacitor » Fri May 21, 2021 1:00 am

Year ago I was making that decisions and clear winner was 7, because I just couldn't find anything better in R6 and it improved few things I find worse executed in R6. Generally with R5 Fractal reached next level of designing cases, so they differ in little details, which can make a difference or not.

What I don't like about R6 and find better done in 7:

-worse executed 5,25 slot. Thanks to it you don't have an option to add third 140 mm front fan. The fan grill construction doesn't look like its even possible due to its shape. That I'm not 100% sure, but even then this fan would be mounted with two screws and partially unfiltered.

- not full length PSU shroud. Mostly front fans bring the dust to the case, so it's less job to wipe it from 7's full shroud with removable plastic covers on front. Almost no dust accumulates on the bottom if no fan blowing below shroud's top.

- top panel cover everything. Removing system of top cover, which not always works great. They are people complaining about top cover not being perfectly aligned with it's frame. I generally see here possiblity of it resonating, especially with HDDs in the case, but this is only my suspicion.

- location of fan controller. I just find it better in 7. Also to me it's easier to unplug the fan pulling it down and keeping the connector with secound hand in case of not breaking it.

- lack of bottom hdd cage (movable and removable in 7)

- worse cable menagement. No channels and - if I'm not wrong - less velcro straps.

- no that much ventilated PCIe slot covers as in 7. That's possibly an advantage, which reduces the amount of noise escaping from the case, but can affect GPU temps-noise needed to cool it. GPU fans suck air thru these holes (I can see, how dusty they get). Hard to say, what works better, but for some reason Fractal removed with 7 such, let's say, iconic detail of the Define serie.

- honeycomb back fan grill. Generally not known for being the quietest. I remember multiple reports on reditt of people complaining about resonance sound caused by this grill with Noctua's NF-A14 fans, but maybe with stock fans it works fine, maybe that's just A14's thing - you never know.

- no USB C, but you can buy replacement panel, there's also more expensive option of R6 with it. And you probably have some on back panel of your mobo.

- I don't like blue led and also lighted power button of R6 and generally I find 7 visuals much better and more timeless, but it's relative.

It looks like a lot of bad said about R6, but honestly both are great cases. Better one is to me obvious, but R6 can be considered if found in some amazing price. Keep in mind that this case can serve you longer than you think, so I personally wouldn't care too much about such savings.

About your questions:

- No, PSU shroud can't be removed in Define 7, I don't know if it can be in R6, but rather not as no info in manual - you can always ask Fractal and they respond really fast.

- It's possible to install two 140 mm fans below 5,25 drive in 7. Both fans will perfectly fill the space between the drive and shroud's top cover. If you concerned about HDD's temps put into bottom HDD cage, there are two removable shroud's top covers above them, which should do the job. Additionaly with having two 140mm fans even below the 5,25 drive, you can mount here some 80 mm fan (be quiet! and Noctua have some), but only on two screws (using one rail). If no 5,25, you can also install on the front three 140mm, but that doesn't make much sense in terms of temps and noise - you would do it mostly for these HDDs on the bottom.

- The difference between R5 and R6 width and cooler tolerance can lay in space for cable management (didn't check this, my suspicion).

I have 7 for a year, build here computer, so ask whatever you're curious ;)

doveman
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Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by doveman » Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm

Thanks. Of course it makes sense that the D7 should be better than the R6, because it would be a bit daft if they made a newer model which didn't improve on the previous model, or was even worse, but that's not unheard of in computers and electronics in general.

IMHO having a PSU shroud, certainly a fixed one, is worse but clearly some people think it's an improvement. It just seems like it will make it harder to connect/disconnect leads to a modular PSU, as you can only access it from the right-hand side whereas in the R5 you can access it from both sides and above. I can understand why people using a windowed panel would want a PSU shroud to make things look tidy but it should be removable for those of us who are using the solid panel because we prefer silence over looks. I mean, silence is the Define series' USP after all.

Thanks for confirming that the two 140mm front fans can be lowered so that they clear any obstructions, compared to the stock position. It seems a bit daft that they chose that stock position, as it resulted in higher temperatures in some reviews I've read, which will put some people off without investigating any further. The D7 is a bit louder than the R6 in the same reviews but that may also be because of the bad stock positioning of the front fans and the obstruction causing some noise but also the resulting higher temperatures making the other fans (CPU, GPU) run faster.

As you say, with the R6 you can only have 2x140mm front fans (or 3x120mm), even though the single 5.25" bay is removable. There's less fan space on the top panel compared to the R5 as well, with only 3x120mm or 2x140mm vs 3x120 or 140mm on the R5 (and the D7).

I agree if I've got to have a PSU shroud it might as well be full length for the reasons you say. I won't be using a third front fan, so there won't be one blowing below the shroud.

I don't think I've ever used the fan controller on my R5, maybe just to test when I first got it but then I found it better to just connect the fans directly to the motherboard. I can't recall exactly why, maybe it was because I could control the speeds better that way, or maybe I wasn't able to monitor the speeds in HwInfo when using the fan controller.

When you say the R6 lacks the bottom HDD cage, which is movable and removable in the D7, are you talking about a cage that sits under the PSU shroud or above it? I probably wouldn't put any drives under the shroud because they might get a bit warm there but maybe I'd put an SSD or two there as they don't generate as much heat.

As you say, it's hard to know whether the less ventilated PCIe slot covers on the R6 vs the D7 will make much difference to the amount of noise escaping. Obviously there's a great big hole above them where the fan sits, so any noise would probably escape that way even if the PCIe slot covers were completely solid and the GPU would just get hotter and make the fans spin faster, thus making more noise, so it probably balances out.

Good to know about the potential resonance issue with the rear fan grill on the D6. I may be happy with the stock fans but obviously it's preferable to have the option to change them without running into problems.

Re. the USB type-C on the front, I've seen the R6 with that for £104 (vs £158 for the D7). I don't think I've seen the R6 without it for less than £104. As you say, there's one on the back panel of my mobo anyway, so it's not that important but it's always nice to have a handy port at the front.

One thing I was concerned about with both the R6 and D7 is the fact that the side panels aren't secured with thumbscrews, unlike the R5 which has thumbscrews on both sides. Doesn't that make them less secure and thus more at risk of rattling/vibrating?

It sounds like the D7 will probably be the best option, even if it costs me £54 more, just to avoid running into a few potentially annoying issues but I really wish I had the option of no PSU shroud (or at least one I could temporarily remove whilst building), as it annoys me to be forced to have something that doesn't benefit me and just gets in the way.

Japanese Capacitor
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Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by Japanese Capacitor » Sun May 23, 2021 4:10 am

doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
Thanks. Of course it makes sense that the D7 should be better than the R6, because it would be a bit daft if they made a newer model which didn't improve on the previous model, or was even worse, but that's not unheard of in computers and electronics in general.
It's usually like that, but my point was more about typing all differences I find possibly important to help you decide, if they make a difference to you. As you can see, you don't like some new additions as shroud, but in the end of the day you want from your case just to cool your rig well, make things quiet and away from dust. Level of engineering Fractal's cases represent and progress they are still able to make are amazing, but it's not a big deal from the perspective of typical user, who needs to open his case not more than few times in few years.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
IMHO having a PSU shroud, certainly a fixed one, is worse but clearly some people think it's an improvement. It just seems like it will make it harder to connect/disconnect leads to a modular PSU, as you can only access it from the right-hand side whereas in the R5 you can access it from both sides and above. I can understand why people using a windowed panel would want a PSU shroud to make things look tidy but it should be removable for those of us who are using the solid panel because we prefer silence over looks. I mean, silence is the Define series' USP after all.
About role of shroud and PSU cables I have different feelings. I've never had modular PSU, it's ofc easier to plug leads without shroud and I assume you prefer to first plug them to connectors/devices and then to PSU. I install PSU first (we can assume, that I plug into it modular cables before), straighten all cables to see, how long they are and it shows me, how to guide them the best in terms of cable management, so doing it opposite way is to me unnatural.

As a person more interested in pc enclousures topic, some time ago I bought a case especially to conduct few experiments with it. One of these experiments was removing PSU shroud to see, what difference it makes and it noticeably worsened acoustics adding annoying turbulence to sound of air movement from case fans. Like the air started bouncing around the case. Ofc case and fans differ, but it's something, what I discovered with tested ones, so may happen with others.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
Thanks for confirming that the two 140mm front fans can be lowered so that they clear any obstructions, compared to the stock position. It seems a bit daft that they chose that stock position, as it resulted in higher temperatures in some reviews I've read, which will put some people off without investigating any further. The D7 is a bit louder than the R6 in the same reviews but that may also be because of the bad stock positioning of the front fans and the obstruction causing some noise but also the resulting higher temperatures making the other fans (CPU, GPU) run faster.
It's always worth to experiment with position and speed of case fans. With 7 in default closed configuration (and other similar cases) fan having the biggest impact on temps is rear one. Maybe Fractal put these fans higher in case of exposing space for third fan to encourage you to buy it from them :> You can see the same with Meshify 2 cases, where default fan positioning affects badly GPU temps - it just works like that and even some reviewers moved them a little down to show it.

I haven't seen many thermal/noise comparisons of both or remember them, so don't know if R6 is quieter, but if it's like 1 dBA, it doesnt matter. Especially if 7 cools anything better.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
I don't think I've ever used the fan controller on my R5, maybe just to test when I first got it but then I found it better to just connect the fans directly to the motherboard. I can't recall exactly why, maybe it was because I could control the speeds better that way, or maybe I wasn't able to monitor the speeds in HwInfo when using the fan controller.
I should be more precise as it's not fan controller, but fan hub. Usually we call ,,controllers" devices with manual switch as you have on R5. It's connected to fans and PSU and usually gives you three speeds to choose. With R6 and 7 Fractal changed it to hub connected to PSU, but also motherboard. You can plug to hub anything you want and control speeds of all with one signal. This thing is just splitter. Keep in mind, that you still won't be able to see rpms and one singal means one percent of rpm for everything plugged. Mixing fans e.g. working between 300-1000 rpm and 800-2000 rpm and setting them to, let's say, 50% will result in completely different speeds-rpms. Ofc you can always plug default case fans to motherboard headers as most of them allow to change speed of 3-pin fans - then you will control each individually and see their rpms.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
When you say the R6 lacks the bottom HDD cage, which is movable and removable in the D7, are you talking about a cage that sits under the PSU shroud or above it? I probably wouldn't put any drives under the shroud because they might get a bit warm there but maybe I'd put an SSD or two there as they don't generate as much heat.
Cage for two HDDs, which sits in PSU shroud, not converting the case to storage layout. I would try your HDDs there. If not the best temps, then you can remove plastic covers of PSU shroud above it, which should do the job, then you can try anything other. Generally don't mount your HDDs vertically on the wall above the cage, because it's unhealthy to them.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
As you say, it's hard to know whether the less ventilated PCIe slot covers on the R6 vs the D7 will make much difference to the amount of noise escaping. Obviously there's a great big hole above them where the fan sits, so any noise would probably escape that way even if the PCIe slot covers were completely solid and the GPU would just get hotter and make the fans spin faster, thus making more noise, so it probably balances out.
It's just hard to say, how much noise R6's exection blocks, it's hard to say, how much cooler your GPU would run with 7's more open vents. It seems to me, that 7's approach is better, but nothing for sure :]
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
Good to know about the potential resonance issue with the rear fan grill on the D6. I may be happy with the stock fans but obviously it's preferable to have the option to change them without running into problems.
I suspect, that's the thing with Noctua's fans. I haven't heard anything similar from R5/R6 owners or don't remember anything like that from reviews. Generally resonant noises happen with anything with fans on various rpms and from my experience it weakens or completely dissapears after removing case's side panel - I'm not acoustiscs expert, but maybe that's just a nature of closed spaces?

R6/7 stock fans are great - they cool well and are quiet. I haven' noticed any resonance issues with them in 7. If we talk about swapping them, from my experience I can reccomend you be quiet! Silent Wings 3. They are stronger, but even quieter and to my ear sound nicer. With 1000 rpm version also no resonance issue on any rpm. But the difference they make is to my taste small enough to not let myself reccomend them to anybody, but ones, who don't look at the cost and just wants better.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
One thing I was concerned about with both the R6 and D7 is the fact that the side panels aren't secured with thumbscrews, unlike the R5 which has thumbscrews on both sides. Doesn't that make them less secure and thus more at risk of rattling/vibrating?
I love, how it works and no problems with it. The case is sturdy and evenly built, so panels don't move even a little, when attached. But I don't use HDDs, which would be the real test for it. Maybe ask owners on PCPartpicker.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 5:08 pm
It sounds like the D7 will probably be the best option, even if it costs me £54 more, just to avoid running into a few potentially annoying issues but I really wish I had the option of no PSU shroud (or at least one I could temporarily remove whilst building), as it annoys me to be forced to have something that doesn't benefit me and just gets in the way.
All I said about these differences are to my taste small things, which if you don't mind, don't make R6 worse. It's just not that perfect as 7 ;) Adding here the price difference, only you can decide, which one calculates better. Normally I would reccomend in such situation Antec P101 Silent and Nanoxia Deep Silence 8 (Basic and Pro), but I doubt you would find these cases in price that low compared to mentioned R6 to even consider them. And they are nowhere near to Fractal's ergonomics, flexiblity and intelligent engineering. They are just decent ,,normally built" cases, where the most bad thing I could say is bottom dust filter removable from the rear. But in terms of important in daily use: cooling, surpressing the noise and filtering they according to reviews represent the same level as Fractals. Check them, it doesn't cost, maybe something would convince you to them.

doveman
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Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by doveman » Sat May 29, 2021 9:14 am

It's usually like that, but my point was more about typing all differences I find possibly important to help you decide, if they make a difference to you. As you can see, you don't like some new additions as shroud, but in the end of the day you want from your case just to cool your rig well, make things quiet and away from dust. Level of engineering Fractal's cases represent and progress they are still able to make are amazing, but it's not a big deal from the perspective of typical user, who needs to open his case not more than few times in few years.
Yeah, you have helped me decide thanks. As you say, the most important thing is that the case cools my rig well and makes it quiet. Keeping it dust free is nice too but if I had a choice of a case being significantly quieter but I'd have to clean out the dust more often, I'd probably choose the quiet.

Before I bought my new motherboard, etc. I was thinking of trying to build a more compact, micro-ATX system, to have a shorter case sitting on top of my R5 with just a couple of HDDs and a couple of SSDs but I found there's too many compromises trying to do that. Even the D7 Compact, which is a full ATX case, has a reduced width so it can only accommodate CPU coolers up to 169mm.

I'm still thinking of building a cabinet with two slide out drawers, one for each of my systems, as I like having them horizontal as it's easier to work on them and it takes the weight off the motherboard. I had a HAF XB EVO https://www.coolermaster.com/catalog/le ... haf-xb-evo a few years ago, which was nice but having the HDDs and the PSU on a separate level underneath the motherboard made it difficult. With a custom made cabinet I'd be able to make the drawers wide enough to have everything on the same level. It's probably going to be difficult/impossible to make a DIY cabinet that will be as quiet as the Fractal cases though.

I did look at some proper rack mount PC cases but they're quite expensive and a lot of them only accommodate 80mm fans, so they'd definitely be too noisy for me.
About role of shroud and PSU cables I have different feelings. I've never had modular PSU, it's ofc easier to plug leads without shroud and I assume you prefer to first plug them to connectors/devices and then to PSU. I install PSU first (we can assume, that I plug into it modular cables before), straighten all cables to see, how long they are and it shows me, how to guide them the best in terms of cable management, so doing it opposite way is to me unnatural.
With modular PSUs, I just fit them in the case first without any leads connected, as it's a lot easier without them flapping about, getting in the way, then connect the leads to the PSU and run them to the components. I guess with a shroud I'll just have to decide which cables I'm going to need and connect them to the PSU before I fit it in the case. Obviously it will be possible to connect some leads later, if they plug in on the right-hand side but it's probably impossible to plug any in on the left-hand side without taking the PSU out again.
As a person more interested in pc enclousures topic, some time ago I bought a case especially to conduct few experiments with it. One of these experiments was removing PSU shroud to see, what difference it makes and it noticeably worsened acoustics adding annoying turbulence to sound of air movement from case fans. Like the air started bouncing around the case. Ofc case and fans differ, but it's something, what I discovered with tested ones, so may happen with others.
That's good to know. I guess I'll feel a bit happier about having the shroud knowing that it's helping to make the case quieter, although I still wish it was removable, so I could take it out when necessary to access the PSU.
It's always worth to experiment with position and speed of case fans. With 7 in default closed configuration (and other similar cases) fan having the biggest impact on temps is rear one. Maybe Fractal put these fans higher in case of exposing space for third fan to encourage you to buy it from them :> You can see the same with Meshify 2 cases, where default fan positioning affects badly GPU temps - it just works like that and even some reviewers moved them a little down to show it.

I haven't seen many thermal/noise comparisons of both or remember them, so don't know if R6 is quieter, but if it's like 1 dBA, it doesnt matter. Especially if 7 cools anything better.
Yeah, I'll experiment with the fans and the fan hub to see what works best, although it's probably easier to just use the motherboard fan connectors and they're closer to the fans so it makes things a bit tidier, rather than having cables from all the fans running to the hub (it's a minor thing but when there's loads of cables running to the drives, having a few thin fan cables getting in the way can be annoying).
Cage for two HDDs, which sits in PSU shroud, not converting the case to storage layout. I would try your HDDs there. If not the best temps, then you can remove plastic covers of PSU shroud above it, which should do the job, then you can try anything other. Generally don't mount your HDDs vertically on the wall above the cage, because it's unhealthy to them.
OK, I'll try that and see what the temps are like.
It's just hard to say, how much noise R6's exection blocks, it's hard to say, how much cooler your GPU would run with 7's more open vents. It seems to me, that 7's approach is better, but nothing for sure :]
Well you can be sure that nothing is for sure ;)

I found the D7 on Scan for £145, £15 less than Amazon so I've ordered it from there now. I wanted to get the white one, because my R5 is black and I thought it would be easier to have the two systems different colours so that I don't get them mixed up! I don't think I would have got a black D7 any cheaper anyway.

Japanese Capacitor
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Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by Japanese Capacitor » Sat May 29, 2021 11:37 am

Tell me, what you want to achieve with cabinet and drawers? I don't know, how you plan it to look like, but, if its something rather closed and meant to reduce the noise further, I suspect that would be bad in terms of temperatures, so fan noise - the higher power your build, the bigger possibility of missing the point and ending with computer hot and louder than it would just stand on open air.

About your worries of keeping pc horizontal in case of taking weight off mobo - don't worry. Nowadays motherboard are built well enough to not worry, even PCIe slots are commonly armoured as you have on your Unify board. Heaviest GPUs in type of Strix or Suprim have optional support included. If you felt better having such thing with current GPU, you can buy something called ,,GPU brace support". You don't want to mount your GPU vertically, because way higher temps, so noise. Also hard to say how bad vertical mount would be for GPU fans bearings due to them being rather unknown in terms of type and quality.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:14 am
I did look at some proper rack mount PC cases but they're quite expensive and a lot of them only accommodate 80mm fans, so they'd definitely be too noisy for me.
Such tiny fans can happen to be not so bad, if decent ones. The smaller the fan, the quiter it is on given rpm compared to bigger sizes of the same fan. Also the speed increase is less noticeable. The thing is, tiny ones don't move a lot of air, but every config has it's border, when pushing more airflow start to result in diminishing returns, so such fan can be hit or miss. You will have such on your mobo, so you will see.
doveman wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:14 am
With modular PSUs, I just fit them in the case first without any leads connected, as it's a lot easier without them flapping about, getting in the way, then connect the leads to the PSU and run them to the components. I guess with a shroud I'll just have to decide which cables I'm going to need and connect them to the PSU before I fit it in the case. Obviously it will be possible to connect some leads later, if they plug in on the right-hand side but it's probably impossible to plug any in on the left-hand side without taking the PSU out again.
Few months ago I built computer for my friend and it was my first contact with modular PSU. I just plugged the leads before installing PSU in the case, but I understand, that everybody has favourite approach. No problem with plugging more ones even with the shroud - you won't have that many cables with basic configuration and few drives and some PSUs have nice flexible cables. Question is only, how helpful will be your cable management :D
doveman wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:14 am
Yeah, I'll experiment with the fans and the fan hub to see what works best, although it's probably easier to just use the motherboard fan connectors and they're closer to the fans so it makes things a bit tidier, rather than having cables from all the fans running to the hub (it's a minor thing but when there's loads of cables running to the drives, having a few thin fan cables getting in the way can be annoying).
I use the hub, because I like one signal for all three fans. Mostly because I keep them on constant (0-100C) inaudible speed when webbrowsing and switch them to constant 100% before load. I use my mobo's Windows app to do it, so thanks to hub I only move one dot to change speeds of all instead of doing it three times. I just use it like manual fan controller and hate nowadays tendency of not including such. To my taste any case, which even a little aims to be premium must have it - fan controllers are super awesome :]

Fractal gives great options of cable management and you will see it even in damn fan topic. When you look at back fan, you will see little piece of metal placed on top of motheboard external panel's frame to keep fan's cable. Then you will see special 0,5-0,5mm hole for you to drive fan header instead of using near rubber grommet for CPU cable. Next above motherboard's cutout you will see special rail to cleanly drive fan cable thru it straight to fan hub. That's mentioned here few times Fractal's engineering :D
doveman wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:14 am
I found the D7 on Scan for £145, £15 less than Amazon so I've ordered it from there now. I wanted to get the white one, because my R5 is black and I thought it would be easier to have the two systems different colours so that I don't get them mixed up! I don't think I would have got a black D7 any cheaper anyway.
Great decision. Maybe it's pricey, but feel like you bought yourself the best case on the market, because it is :] Not only from silent ones, but generally - thanks to this case's modularity allowing it to balance airflow and silence plus everything being great by default. That good, that I don't know, what they could improve with next iteration. To my taste it all full justifies it's price and I was just happy it wasn't even more...

Maybe the white one would get beige one after some time like 90's computers tended, maybe white things are better today...

Two tips for you:
- if you decide to use fan hub, plug into it only case fans, plug hub to PSU and motheboard. If case fans run 100% then and you can't control them, go to bios and find something like ,,control mode" of connector you plugged hub into. It would be probably on Auto, switch it to PWM and then you will be able to change speed of these fans.
- if you use solid top, remove filter below. To my ear computer is even quiter then.

doveman
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Location: London

Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by doveman » Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:44 pm

Tell me, what you want to achieve with cabinet and drawers? I don't know, how you plan it to look like, but, if its something rather closed and meant to reduce the noise further, I suspect that would be bad in terms of temperatures, so fan noise - the higher power your build, the bigger possibility of missing the point and ending with computer hot and louder than it would just stand on open air.
There's a few things about the cabinet and drawers idea that appeals to me. Firstly, just the ease of working on the PCs by pulling out a drawer and looking down at the PC, rather than having to take the side panel off and poke around from the side, either crawling around on the floor or twisting my body depending on whether the PC is on the floor or on top of a table next to my desk.

Secondly, there's the fact that it takes the weight of the heavy CPU cooler and GPU off the motherboard, although you say that's not an issue. I did consider mounting the GPU vertically in the D7 but you've advised against that.

Thirdly, it may be possible to cool the PC better as the drawer will be quite wide to allow all the components to be on the same level, so the front of the drawer could probably accommodate 3-4 140mm fans, plus one at the back and 2-3 on either side of the drawer. The holes for the fans would be cut in the wood, so the openings would be exactly the right size and unobstructed by any cross bars. I'd probably want to fit filters over any intake fans but there may be room to leave a bigger gap between the filter and the fan than on a traditional PC case, which may help with airflow/noise.

Fourthly, having a cabinet in the corner of the room with two PC's in could take up less space and be tidier and be less obtrusive than having two PC cases.

Fifthly, it helps to prevent theft as a burglar can easily pick up a PC case or two but they won't be able to lift a heavy wooden cabinet with a PC or two inside and may not even realise that it has a PC inside. Even if they do, if the drawers are securely locked they probably won't want to hang around trying to force the lock just to rip out of the memory sticks (which is probably the only valuable component they could rip out).

Having said all that, I doubt I'll ever get round to building a cabinet now that I've got the D7, as I never have enough time to do all the things I need to do and I'm not very good at DIY anyway!
Such tiny fans can happen to be not so bad, if decent ones. The smaller the fan, the quiter it is on given rpm compared to bigger sizes of the same fan. Also the speed increase is less noticeable. The thing is, tiny ones don't move a lot of air, but every config has it's border, when pushing more airflow start to result in diminishing returns, so such fan can be hit or miss. You will have such on your mobo, so you will see.
Yeah, I was a bit worried about the small fan on my MSI MEG X570 UNIFY motherboard but I've never actually seen it come on so far, other than during POST when it spins briefly (so at least I know it's working).
Few months ago I built computer for my friend and it was my first contact with modular PSU. I just plugged the leads before installing PSU in the case, but I understand, that everybody has favourite approach. No problem with plugging more ones even with the shroud - you won't have that many cables with basic configuration and few drives and some PSUs have nice flexible cables.
Having put my PC in the D7 now, I still hate the non-removable shroud. Whilst it didn't make it massively harder to fit the PSU, it did make it harder and I can't see a good reason why it isn't removable. The SATA ports on the PSU are on the left, so I had to think about how many leads I'm going to need and plug the cables in before fitting the PSU, as I don't think I could have added them after and if in future I needed to add another SATA cable, I'd probably have to remove the PSU to do that, which will probably mean disconnecting all the cables from the motherboard, HDDs, etc. as the PSU can only be removed by taking it out the back of the case and I won't be able to do that with the leads connected to the motherboard. I should probably just connect all four SATA cables to the PSU now, so that if I do need them in future I won't need to remove the PSU to add them.
Fractal gives great options of cable management and you will see it even in damn fan topic. When you look at back fan, you will see little piece of metal placed on top of motheboard external panel's frame to keep fan's cable. Then you will see special 0,5-0,5mm hole for you to drive fan header instead of using near rubber grommet for CPU cable. Next above motherboard's cutout you will see special rail to cleanly drive fan cable thru it straight to fan hub.
Thanks for the tips. I'd probably miss these little things if I didn't know to look for them.

I'm a bit disappointed in the front fan setup, as I've found it's impossible to adjust the two 140mm fans so that they're unobscured by the frame.

With the lower front fan moved down so that it sits just above the shroud, it has these bars partially obscuring it
D7 Lower fan 1.jpg
and with the upper front fan moved down so that it sits just above the lower fan, it's partially obscured too
D7 both fans.jpg
but the upper fan can't even go in that position, because the plastic below the 5.25" bay blocks off the fans top screw holes
D7 upper fan 1.jpg
so it has to sit a bit higher and then it's partially obscured by that plastic bar
D7 upper fan 2.jpg
D7 upper fan 3.jpg
Only by using a 120mm upper fan would it fit in the space between the bars without being obscured at all but the lower fan would still be partially obscured. I think I'll probably just move the lower fan down a bit more so that it's partially blowing under the shroud and then I can move the upper fan down a bit more so that the screw holes are accessible but still both fans will be partially obscured by the bars. I'm not sure why those horizontal metal cross bars even need to be there, if I had the tools I'd probably be tempted to cut them out.

So there's a couple of things they could improve on. Sort out the front so the fans aren't obscured at all and make the shroud removable!
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Japanese Capacitor
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Re: Fractal Design Define R6 or Define 7

Post by Japanese Capacitor » Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:26 pm

I still have trouble to imagine, how this cabinet would look like, but if you like this idea, go for it. My case just stands on the floor and it fully satisfies me. I don't feel the need to make things even better and in terms of acoustics I have, what meets my standards - computer just silent as off during light tasks like webbrowsing and just that quiet during load to not feel the need of improving it further. Trying always improve things more and more is great, but it sometimes leads to never being satisfied.

Great, that fan on your mobo isn't noisy. I already forgot, which X570 was this quietest in terms of this bastard, but I would suspect it to be something from MSI, so possibly yours :]

You are the biggest shroud hater I ever met and I think the time of this shroud someday will come to an end :D But I understand you - it just should be removable, especially given that it's Fractal's case. With my non-modular PSU, I just rolled spare cables into ball and zip tied it. One day I was experimenting with fan placement (e.g. wanted to try one in the shroud blowing into GPU), so decided then to remove HDD cage and do something with this ball - I just found a place for these cables on cable management wall and even without mixing them with ones my pc uses. So you have some inspirations or just kill this damn shroud :D

I also wonder, what these horizontal bars are for. I suspect that can have something with reducing vibrations from fans and it's hard to say if it cuts much airflow. Rather bigger enemy for fans is amazingly efficient front filter and to some point - different for every configuration - nature of closed front panel and need to fight it.

I'm curious about your impressions of using pc in 7. Especially how it feels compared R5. I suspect, that new case will store completely different configuration, so make it rather uncomparable, but maybe you will have something to share :]

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