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Old 01-08-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Default Fractal Design Define R4 & cooling suggestions for setup

Hi all,

new to this forum but not to anandtech but figured I'd drop a message and see if people had any thoughts, comments or ideas.

Picked up a Fractal Define R4

I've gotten the case up and running and love it but so far have had/have 2 "minor" issues..I don't know if it's design flaws, me or what the deal is per say:

- First off: The wires to the "control panel" on top tends to stick down abit, essentially blocking the top 5,25 inch slot. I was installing a dvd burner there for the occational use it does have and found myself having to use alot of force to get it in...and gave up out of fear of ripping the cables.

- Second off: The jack for headset on top seems to have issues accomendating headset jacks. I'm sporting a standard 3,5 mm jack for sound n speaker, but the casing around the jack seems to be too thick for the plug...doesn't fit in, but can just barely make it in enough to establish contact.

Does anyone have the same experience or any thoughts on this?
( Besides me possibly complaining or pondering over trivial and minor things )

In addition to that I'm considering additional "sound/temp" reduction options as well as general sys. optimization ( know that's not for the case forum )

I'm running with an older ASUS RoC Maximius III GENE mATX P55 mobo with a i5-750 w std cooler and 2x4GB Corsair XMS3 mem on and then a new Gigabyte NV 660 OC GPU along with a OCZ Vertex 3 256gb

I'm considering throwing a Hydro H80i on the CPU allthough it might be overkill, but it seems to strike a nice balance between temp and noise.

Is there any other "relative" low cost suggestions that'd be worth taking a stab at?
( I know changing mobo would be a good idea maybe..given it's a 6gb/s ssd on a 3gb/s interface ).

Looking forward for feedback ( and flaming as long as there's still some constructive part in it )
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:52 PM   #2
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welcome to the forum Akorth!

I can't comment on the front panel or the headphone jack, but I can suggest some CPU coolers for you.

For a low cost, good performing cooler look no further than the CM 212 Evo, currently at $25 with rebate at newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103099

If you're looking for a better performing / quiet cooler, this $39 after rebate Zalman should help: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118074

Are you overclocking your processor?
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Remove the front panel connector cables first, then push the DVD drive in. The slack in the cable should allow you to apply more force without the risk of damaging the connectors. The cable should be long enough to reroute it elsewhere should there be a need.

The jack is new, hence its still a virgin. Give it some time to loosen up after multiple insertions. It always hurts the first time.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:54 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips.
And nope, not OC'ing it yet.
Allthough I was contemplating it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:45 AM   #5
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I didn't have any trouble installing a top-slot DVD drive on my R4. Maybe your cables are slightly different than mine.

The headphone jack on mine is very stiff, but it works fine. With the recessed design, I can see how it could plausibly not work with a very fat headphone connector.

My cooling setup is as follows:

AMD Thuban with mild overclock (125W stock TDP) cooled by a Hyper 212 Evo. I'm using an excellent Scythe fan (120mm, 4 pin) off an older down-blower heatsink, because the Evo's fan is kind of loud. Idle fan speed is about 350 RPM, load fan speed is 1000-1200 RPM.

The rear fan (right next to the Evo) is, as far as I can determine, one of these. The design has changed a bit since I bought them, and I paid almost double that price, but I think it's essentially the same fan. I'm running that at full speed: those fans don't like starting from lowered voltages.

The front fan (top slot, top drive cage removed--installed in another case actually) is one of these. That fan was something like $3 AR on Black Friday, so I took a chance on it, and it's quite reasonable. I have it running at 5V, and at that voltage it's almost the same airflow and loudness as my other fan at 12V--it does have a very slight ticking from the bearing, whereas the magnetic-bearing fan makes nothing but air movement noise. (In either case, you have to put your ear right up next to the fan to hear much difference, and they're both very quiet.) If you want the option to run a bit more airflow, the Zalman fan does give you that option, whereas the Enermax does not. I'm sure there are plenty of other good fans out there too--these are just the ones I used. I did not use either of the 140mm stock fans with this build, but I did shoehorn one into my HTPC build (running at ~7V). They're okay fans, but not quite as quiet as I wanted.

The rest of my build is an SSD for the system drive, a GTS 450 (108W TDP), passively cooled, and a Seasonic X650 PSU, which runs fanlessly with the loads I put on it. (At the time I bought it, it was cheaper than the X460 fanless, which is the only reason I bought such a large power supply for this build.) The only noise I had trouble muffling was coil whine from the PSU, and I have a blanket carefully draped over the back of the case to shut that up (without blocking airflow). Everything else is completely inaudible once the case is closed--except for the CD drive when it's in use. It helps that I have no hard drives to contend with.

Despite my best efforts, thermals are actually pretty reasonable with this setup. I see about 45°C peak on the CPU (if you trust its thermal diode at least), 55°C on the VRMs, and 78°C on the GPU. If both CPU and GPU are fully loaded (LinX + FurMark type load, not normal-use load), the CPU creeps up a couple extra degrees to 47-48°C because it's getting bathed in extra heat from the GPU.

Last edited by 2.71828183; 01-09-2013 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:34 AM   #6
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Both my gaming rigs are setup the same in the R-4's Coolmaster 212 EVO with stock fan pushing air over the heatsink. I totally ditched the Fractal R-2 stock fans and went with this configuration. Two Noctua NF-A14 in the front for intake and two Noctua PF-14 for exhaust, roof and rear. I messed with a side intake for the GPU but it did not benefit from it since the Nvidia blower style coolers where getting enough intake air. I removed the top drive cage for better airflow. The fronts and roof are set to 7V on the fan controller. The rear is controlled PWM from the motherboard. The only noise I hear is the GPU blowers when the its at full load at its very minimal.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback, its been helpful.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:47 AM   #8
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I had the same issue with the front panel wires, a bit of nudging, some yanking, I was able to re-work the layout to be more uniform (wire next to wire, rather than winding over/under) without even disconnecting them.

I don't use the headphone jacks, but I can see how that might be a problem.

When I got mine, I opted for a third R2 140mm (seemed odd to only have one at the front).

I don't know what the heat is like for the i5 750, seems like it should be close to the 3570K (that I have) assuming you aren't OC-ing... my cooler is the CNPS9900Max lots of free-flow surface area... and at stock speeds, I can actually just turn off the fan for it and let the pull/push of the case do the cooling, albeit safe but hot temperatures.

Definitely removing, or at least switching the top HD carrier 90 degrees helps... fun fact that may not concern you, if you remove the lower 3 bay HD carrier, you can mount an SSD to the bottom of the lowest HD tray then put it back in... that allowed me to have SSD + 3 mechanicals, and the top 5x carrier empty... downside is, that lowest tray won't come out without at least partially unscrewing that whole carrier. (could also be an anti-theft feature, lol).
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:34 AM   #9
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I have an SSD and 2.5" drive I pulled from my laptop when I installed an SSD in it. I removed both HD cages, cut off the HD sled prongs from one and mounted both in that and then Velcro on the floor of the case. Increased air flow. The bottom cage is also removable. Have to unscrew it from the bottom. If you don't need both, remove one. I have several other HDs that I pop into an external eSATA docking station as needed. Oh and I had no issue installing a DVD in the slot. I also used a SATA to molex adapter off the DVD cable for the fan controller which is also near the top of the case. I have the two fractal fans in front, the TY-140 that came with my HR-02 Macho cooler and picked up a Corsair AF140 for the rear exhaust.

Last edited by MoInSTL; 01-15-2013 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:27 AM   #10
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i don't use the 5,25inch racks on my setup.
But i do know what you mean by the front audio jacks, since i've run into the same "problem".
My pc is located in my office, and normally connected to my receiver in our living room with either spdif for just music, or hdmi for watching video.
However, when i'm in my office and want to listen some music, i simply want to plug in my headphone using the front connector.
All i get is some disturbing noise, and my Asus mb will not recognise the headphone plugged in, like it should and does when i plug it in the rear i/o.
At first i thought it was a faulty connector problem from case to the mb, i then realised how far the 3,5" jack was put in, and it just doesn't feel like it has gotten "all the way there where it should be", while on the other hand it just physically can't get any further.
I was just wondering if maybe someone has found a solution or run into similar problems.
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