Noise and Thermal Testing, Overclocked

While I'm certain the R3 could handle our overclocked testbed with aplomb if its cooling system were modified, its stock configuration, geared more towards silence, does make things a bit more complicated. Still, modification to the cooling is an allowance Fractal Design offers that the NZXT H2 and to a lesser extent the Antec Solo II have trouble competing with.

CPU Temperatures, Overclocked

Chipset Temperatures, Overclocked

GPU Temperatures, Overclocked

DIMM Temperatures, Overclocked

SSD Temperatures, Overclocked

CPU thermals are pretty poor and at least a little troubling (nobody wants to see cores running north of 90C), but again, the middle-of-the-road thermal performance elsewhere is justified by the silent running. A key point worth noticing, too, is the SSD temperatures recorded: the SSD is sitting behind an intake fan, and it's pretty clear that the R3 is able to pull in plenty of cool outside air through the ventilation in the sides of the front panel. Fractal Design dodged the bullet that mortally wounded NZXT's H2. I suspect a pair of SilverStone AP120s would go a long way towards improving thermals while still keeping a pretty quiet noise profile.

Overclocked Noise Levels

Unfortunately, while the R3's able to keep things quiet at idle, under load the case and CPU fans have to work overtime and the Solo II and H2 steal the lead. Still, performance isn't necessarily that bad here and again, the R3 has room to grow.

Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock Conclusion: An Awful Lot to Like
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  • magnetik - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    This might be just the case that I use for my new Sandy Bridge-E build
  • sharpless78 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    They have already upgraded the Define R3 to USB3, and there's also a upgrade kit available.
  • tzhu07 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Do they offer it for free to existing R3 owners or you pay a small cost?
  • sharpless78 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Sorry to say, it is not for free.
  • darckhart - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    typical. early adopters get the shaft while drumming up sales.
  • lesbaer45 - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Thus life's lesson #1034: Don't be an early adopter. You'll get the shaft.

    V3.0 owns V1.0. Every. Damn. Time.
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Well, the people who bought the case earlier and like it got to use the case and enjoy it sooner, so I wouldn't exactly call that "getting the shaft".

    If you wait to buy something until it's perfect, you'll never buy anything, and do without. Do you want it, or not? If it serves your purpose when you buy it, it's a good thing, no matter how much better the improved version is that comes along afterward.

  • piroroadkill - Monday, November 14, 2011 - link

    Oh no, a first world problem! I have to reach around the back to plug my USB 3 device instead of having a port at the front! OH NO!
  • icebox - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    I need to upgrade my home nas from an aging socket A shuttle PC. I was looking at this case for the new machine.

    Since you tested it how do you feel it will behave with all the drive bays occupied? Will it have space for intake fans if I fill all the drive bays?

    Cooling will be important for the drives and less for the motherboard / video card because it will obviously be a low power fusion / atom board.

    Thanks for the great review!
  • slacr - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    I use the R2 (previous generation) of this case for a HTPC/NAS/webserver/voicechatserver setup based on my old intel Q6600, currently stocked with 4 harddrives, an aging Seagate 250gb and 3 2TB samsungs.

    Temperatures are currently 39, 33, 33, 32

    Other components run at:
    CPU Temperature: +43.0°C (high = +60.0°C, crit = +65.0°C)
    MB Temperature: +36.0°C (high = +45.0°C, crit = +55.0°C)
    SB Temperature: +50.0°C (high = +65.0°C, crit = +95.0°C)
    NB Temperature: +55.0°C (high = +65.0°C, crit = +95.0°C)

    In my case i use 2 of fractals fans in the front, one hanging askew over RAM/CPU/NB/GPU and one in the back all running at 5V for a really quiet setup.

    I won't hesitate to add more drives when i need them, the only issue is the older 7200 rpm 250gb drive that is running slightly on the hot side.

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