Introduction

About a year and a half ago, I was on the reviewing end of a Fractal Design XL computer case.  Big case, great looks, more bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at.

That was then and this is now.  As in today, I have sitting here a Fractal Design XL R2 case.  It is still big, VERY big.  It looks just as great as the original XL design.  And all those bells and whistles are still there.

The question that comes to mind is the R2 version a revolutionary update or a just an evolutionary update.  Let’s find out, once we get past the

What’s In The Box?

Fractal Design seems to have abandoned consumer oriented packaging, and they now seem to be using “just-the-facts” boxes.

IMG 2562 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

Which is just fine with me since in this etailer world, it is the pictures of the contents you find on a web site that sells the product, not the box.  Moving around the box however, Fractal Design does provide the details, pix-wise, and spec-wise of what you are getting.

IMG 2564 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case IMG 2563 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

IMG 2565 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

Once opened, and the contents removed, you will find the obligatory manual and the “In case of” sheet.

IMG 2566 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

Next up is the case itself.  A once around the case,

IMG 2567 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case IMG 2569 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

IMG 2570 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case IMG 2571 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

and a peek inside the front door looks a lot like the original XL case.  As can be seen the below, the Define XL comes with four external 5-1/4 bays.

IMG 2568 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

A quick view of the top I/O and controls reveals a couple of changes.

IMG 2572 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

From from left to right, we have

  • a headphone jack
  • a microphone jack
  • a reset button, which replaces an eSATA port on the original XL
  • a power button and  LED
  • two each USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (USB 3.0 ports were an option on the original XL)

Finally, inside the case itself, you will find a box containing the motherboard hardware,

IMG 2581 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

which includes (as is typical of Fractal Design cases) a handy chart of what each screw is to be used with a particular item.

IMG 2582 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

Absent from the R2 version of the original XL case is a 5.25” to 3.5” conversion grill and a separate fan controller.  In the R2 case, the fan controller is built into the front of the case:

IMG 2585 thumb Hands On: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Case

That takes care of the contents and outside of the case.  Before we open up this case to take a look at the internals, we do need to document the full listing of