Sunday, August 25, 2013

My new Fractal DEFINE R4 PC Chassis: part 2

After months and months (if not years) of looking for a nice PC chassis that isn't too expensive, but also high enough quality, I finally decided on getting myself a Fractal DEFINE R4 Titanium PC Chassis. I've had my current case for waaay too long now, so it was time for an upgrade...

See? That's enough to make anyone depressed. Besides, the chassis fans were really starting to annoy me, going all krrrrrrrrrrrrr every few minutes... (I actually disconnected the one) - plus this one is really quite crowded. And yes, the dust doesn't help either...

(also note that my DVD drive isn't connected - when my motherboard failed in December 2010, the new one I got didn't have any IDE connectors! So it's been there the whole time, but I haven't used it since. Thank goodness for an external DVD writer that I have...)

And here's the new case :)

And I even bought (finally!!!) a new DVD drive (don't have the cash, or need, really, for a Bluray drive at the moment, will maybe make a plan for something like that in the near future).

Pulling off the plastic was a good feeling :D

Here are some more shots of the case from more angles:

(I had to show off my Marshall in the 3rd pic above :)

And, in the toolbox you get a bunch of screws and some cable ties:

First order of business was to install the DVD drive. Behind the front cover, there's room for two drives, and these brackets that you can easily remove and put back again:

And the switch you see there on the side is to control the speed of your fans, but I didn't have anything to really connect the connectors to, so I won't be using that one:

In goes the drive (the cheapest LG one I could find...):

Fit very nicely. Screwed it in place with some of the included screws...

So far, I haven't really started at all... The first order of business was to disassemble everything from my old chassis, and to clean it a bit.

First came the graphics card, my trusty old Asus GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 1 GIG of GDDR5 memory. Still very happy with the card, for those who care, here are the rest of its specs:

CUDA Cores: 384
Graphics Clock: 830 MHz
Processor Clock: 1660 MHz
Memory interface: 256-bit
Memory bandwidth: 128.26GB/s

Yes I know, I should be ashamed that it's that full of dust. Anyway, I did give it a good clean...

Next came my awesome Corsair TX650W PSU, also shockingly dusty:

And here's the "after I cleaned it" pic:

It looks like something out of a horror movie hehe!

Here's my old case with what's left inside:

I took out the hard drives too as you can see, and here they are:

That's a 1TB Western Digital that acts as storage, my OCZ Solid State drive (240gig), a 500gig Samsung Drive and a 320gig Seagate - yes, I support them all! hehe

Finally I took out the motherboard, didn't remove the CPU and RAM though:

Also did a good clean, and here's the underside, just to show you the bracket for my tiny little cpu cooler:

Alrighty, everything's out of the old, and now to start installing it into the new. I started with the PSU. Used some of the provided screws, and the rubber washers:

Yup I know it's upside down, but there's a huge fan on the thing, and I didn't want to sit at the bottom:

And now, for the one bit of complaining I have to do for this case. The screws that go into the chassis to secure the motherboard to, they give you a "key" that you can fasten them properly with. There's 9 in total. After securing them all, I pretty much used up the little key. Yes, it's stripped after 9 uses - not cool Fractal!

Anyway, that will be the final complaint, other than that, I'm super happy... Onward shall we?

Next I fastened my hard drives to the brackets... First, I did it wrong, with the SATA and Power connectors pointing up, where I should have actually made them point to the back for better cable management...

The brackets are really cool, and each one has screw holes for regular 3.5 inch drives, as well as SSD's. And I really like how easily they slot it and can be removed again:

And here's how I did it first, which was wrong (remember that, it's not in the manual hehe):

See, you want them pointing away from you, which makes for a much neater arrangement...

So, I took all 4 my drives out again, and turned them around. I then mounted the motherboard:

Next I started connecting all my hard drives, and the power to the motherboard. Now the sweet thing about this case is it's wider than other cases, meaning there's room behind the motherboard area for your cables and stuff. That also improves airflow if that's important for you ;)

The only thing is the one cable that plugs into the motherboard isn't long enough for the same treatment, so it, unfortunately, has to still sit at the top of everything. But, as you can see, the main power cable, which is a nice and thick one, always in the way, is routed through the whole at the bottom and enters at the one at the top again.

Here's the back so far:

The untidiness doesn't bother you when you don't see it! :P

Last but not least, I installed the graphics card, some extra external USB port thingies, and of course the chassis power switch and reset switch connectors (which I had to download the manual for to see where they need to go hehe). 

Now scroll to the top and compare to my previous one - huge difference!

At the back I still had this:

I folded the cables in as neat as I could, and finally closed the case.

Now, if you've ever built a PC, you'll know that you also leave the case open until you've tested it. Luckily that wasn't necessary this time, everything worked perfectly when I booted up, and the case is MUCH MUCH quieter than my previous one, so that by itself is a huge bonus!


If I were to give this case a rating, it would get a solid 9 out of 10. I would have given it more, maybe a 9.5, if the screws weren't so soft, that's really the only issue I had through the whole experience. I look forward to one day finally upgrading the old thing, knowing that my new components will have a great place to call home once I do!

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