Fractal Design introduced the latest chassis in its Define series of PC cases, the Define R5. The case comes in two flavors, with a solid side panel for $109.99 and a windowed side panel for $119.99. The cases are also offered in Black, Titanium and White.
The new PC case is compatible with ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboards. The case also provides eight 3.5/2.5-inch hard drive bays, two 5.25-inch ODD bays, and two 2.5-inch bays dedicated to SSDs. The ODD bays can actually be removed so that the system builder can use water cooling or increase the air flow.
The chassis has seven expansion slots. With the top cage installed, customers can add graphics cards measuring up to 310 mm in length. Take the cage out, and video cards measuring up to 440 mm can be used. Builders can purchase an external optical drive and focus on using that empty space for something like Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan or AMD's Radeon R9 295X2.
On the cooling front, there are nine "ModuVent" slots for adding fans, two of which already sport Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 fans (one front, one rear). These include two slots on the front, one on the rear, three on the top, two on the bottom, and one on the side. The slot on the front has a removable filter as does the slot on the bottom. System builders also have enough room to mount a cooler on the CPU up to 180 mm in height.
Wanting to use water to cool the components? The front (without drive bays) can accommodate a cooler from 120 mm to 360 mm, the top up to 420 mm, the bottom between 120 mm and 240 mm, and the rear between 120 mm and 140 mm.
On the front/top, the new case provides two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports, audio output, a reset button, a blue Power On light, and a blue HDD activity LED. The front door has a dual side-mounting design and is made of "dense sound absorption material" for silent computing. On the bottom, there's a tray that can slide in and out, which plays host to the bottom fan's dust filter. Also on the front is a three-speed fan controller that can handle up to three fans.
In addition to the cooling features, the new case uses a Quick Release System that allows the left side panel to be opened and closed easily. There are also Velcro straps for managing the cables, and 20 mm to 35 mm of space behind the motherboard plate for running cable from one end to the other out of sight. The right panel provides "smart captive" thumbscrews for easy access.
All in all, the case seems pretty solid for the money. Users can rip out all drive cages, mount three fans on the front, and mount two SSDs behind the motherboard tray. That would increase both the air flow and presumably the system speed. Paying $10 extra for a windowed side seems like a steal, but if you're not keen on showing the desktop's innards, the $109.99 model should be for you.