Inside The Define R4
Fractal Design divides the Define R4’s eight internal drive trays into two drive cages. The top cage holds five drives, while the bottom holds three.
The R4’s upper cage easily pops out, extending card length to 17”. The lower cage is screwed in place from the bottom, and leaving it in place limits the use of cards over 12” to motherboard slots one through six. Most two-way SLI motherboards use slots two and five for graphics, though. Moreover, cards longer than 12” are pretty scarce.
Grommets in the drive trays only dampen vibration from 3.5” drives, but not 2.5” drives. This design follows the realistic expectation that 2.5” drives in desktops are primarily vibration-free SSDs.
The space behind the R4’s motherboard tray is wide enough to support almost any cable configuration, allowing SATA and PCIe power cables to easily cross over the motherboard’s main power lead. There's even enough room for a pair of 2.5" drives, with mounting holes visible below the CPU support plate access hole in the photo below.
With drive cages in place, the Define R4's 12" internal width supports nothing larger than mildly-oversized ATX motherboards (such as the P9X79 WS in our test platform). That space is further reduced when employing its front-panel radiator option. A total of five grommet-covered cable access holes appear along all three internally-facing sides of the motherboard, making show-grade cable management a snap for even novice builders.
The Define R4’s external fan grilles are blocked from the inside by plastic covers, which themselves are covered in foam. This foam serves a dual purpose, dampening the plastic covers, and reducing the amount of noise they reflect.
Side panels are dampened with cloth-covered asphalt mat, while the left-side intake fan is covered with the same foam-backed, medium-density plastic as the two found on the top panel.