The Front Panel

The front panel of the Fractal Design Define XL R2 has a door with a magnetic latch. This door opens from right to left in an unchangeable configuration. One of the main concerns with cases that have a door is regarding the position of their buttons and connectors; some manufacturers place them behind the door, which is a major nuisance. On this case, the buttons and connectors are located on the top panel; however, the case has a three-speed fan controller on the top right-hand side of the front panel, and thus behind the front door.

Fractal Design Define XL R2Figure 5: Front door

The door comes covered with a sheet of foam to reduce the level of noise generated by the computer. See Figure 6.

The Fractal Design Define XL R2 comes with four external 5.25” bays, all using meshed covers. The previous version of this case allowed a 120 mm fan to be installed on the 5.25” bays, a feature that was removed on the R2. An adapter for installing an external 3.5” device was also removed.

Fractal Design Define XL R2Figure 6: Front panel

As mentioned, the case comes with a single-channel, three-speed fan controller located on the upper right corner of the front panel. See Figure 7. The original Define XL had an analog fan controller (which is better than a three-speed fan controller), but it had to be installed behind the case, on a perpendicular expansion slot that was available. Being available on the front panel makes the access to the new fan controller much easier. This device can control up to three fans.

Fractal Design Define XL R2Figure 7: Fan controller

The front panel comes with a 140 mm fan installed (Fractal Design Silent Series R2, 1,000 rpm, 66 cfm, 18.5 dBA), and there is a place for installing a second 140 mm fan. There is an air filter for these fans, and you can easily remove them, as they are installed without the use of screws or tools.

Fractal Design Define XL R2Figure 8: Front fan

Fractal Design Define XL R2Figure 9: Front fan

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.