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Build Report: Fractal Design Define R6

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Oct 18, 2018
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#1
Hey folks. Though this build is nothing special I've seen a few folks posting about this case so I thought I'd provide a quick writeup of my build to help others get an idea of what a build in this case looks like.

tldr: The Fractal Design Define R6 easily holds 12HDDs, 4 SSDs, and 9 case fans. It is well-protected against dust, quiet, and keeps my drives cool. The drive trays are somewhat less than ideal, see below.

The Build:
Case: Fractal Design Define R6 White
  • Included with the case
    • Fan Controller: 6 x non-PMW headers + 3 PWM headers
    • 3 x 140mm fans
    • 6 x HDD trays
    • 2 x SSD trays
Motherboard: SuperMicro Motherboard X11SSM-F mATX Board
CPU: Intel Core i3-7100
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper RR-T4-18PK-R1
Memory: 32 GB of 2x16GB Crucial CT16G4WFD8266 DDR4-2666 ECC
PSU: Seasonic Prime 650 Titanium
HBA: LSI/Broadcom SAS9207-8i HBA
Storage:
Additional Accessories:
Case selection
The R6 has a few variants. I picked whichever color was cheapest at the time of purchase and made sure to get the solid-sided variant because those side panels have the ever-desirable noise-dampening panels. The only modifications I made to the case were to remove the top and front panels. This increases airflow significantly.

20190311_194813.jpg
Removing the front panel involves removing a few small screws. The top panel consists of an outer panel with a noice dampening layer attached (screw-less) to a removable fan filter. These two parts simply pull apart; you can store the outer panel and place the fan filters back into the case. Note the black noise dampening paneling; this is the same paneling on both sides of the case and contribute significantly to keeping the case quiet.

20190311_194638.jpg

20190311_194708.jpg

Fans

The case holds 9 fans just fine. 3x120mm up front, 2x140mm on the bottom, 2x140mm + 1x120mm up top, and 1x140mm in the back. Do note that the fans are a tight fit. The bottom most front fan was so tight I had to remove the rubber anti-vibration pads that ship with noctua fans. These fans keep the drives nice and cool. Only my 7200rpm drives climb into the mid to high 30s during heavy use. I did remove the front and top panels to improve airflow and even so the case is quieter than expected. I also took care to move cables such that they do not block airflow.

The case comes with 3 x 140mm fans. I had a few extra 140s and 120s lying around and purchased a few extra to give myself a total of 5 x 140mm + 4 x 120mm fans. Do note that my CPU cooler came with a fan as well for a total of 10 fans inside this case. Because the fan controller only contains 9 (6xnon-PWM|4xPWM) headers I opted to plug one case fan into a fan header on the motherboard.

Note that the two fans touching on the bottom and the missing rubber anti-vibration pads. These had to be removed to make space and doing so did not increase noise noticeably whatsoever.

20190228_202529.jpg

Storage:

The R6 ships with 6 HDD trays but supports 5 additional trays. Annoyingly, Fractal Design sells 2-packs in either black or white. Thus, I purchased 3 2-packs and have 1 spare/wasted. For the 12th HDD I added a PCI Slot to 2xSSD + 1xHDD Bracket. I selected this bracket because it was all-metal, supported 2 SSDs in addition to the single HDD, and does not block PCIe cards or Fractal Design SSD trays.

The case also ships with 2 SSD trays but has 4 convenient mounting points. If you grab the bracket I described above and a pack of 2xSSD trays the case supports 6 SSDs just fine. Do note that the 2 of the SSDs mount on the bottom of the main chamber between the PSU and motherboard chamber. This will reduce airflow from the bottom intake fans somewhat; though I do not imagine it would be too significant.

You'll note here that I have one of the trays SSD trays on the lower right removed. Behind each tray in this location is a very small hole. I had more need of that small hole for cables than I did the tray so I removed it.

Also note the custom SATA power cables. These saved a lot of space in the case by limiting excess cabling.

20190228_202512.jpg
Here you'll note that the HDD/SSD bracket I selected not only does NOT block the placement of the SSDs in this location; it also would not block the use of full-height cards such as NICs or HBAs in any of the PCIe slots on this motherboard.

20190311_202632.jpg


This is a strange angle, I apologize. This image shows that the rear bracket I purchased has space for 2 additional SSDs and will not block any of the PCIe cards.

20190311_192507.jpg

CPU Cooler
It's one I had lying around; and it does not block any of my memory slots. It DOES block one of my PCIe slots, so when I add a 10G NIC I'll be replacing this CPU cooler.

20190311_203336.jpg

Criticism:
all right, here is my only real criticism of this case. You'll note that the HDD trays mount in only three corners; two against the back of the HDD cage and once on the right of the near side. This means the fourth corner sags. Two pairs of my drives seem to be in contact with the tray above them. I can't say how much of an impact on longevity this will have on my drives. All of the trays contain silicon anti-vibration washers which likely helps but the point of contact is in fact the primary screw which threads through this washer and goes directly into the drive above. My plan is to buy some very thin silicon and glue it to these screws to mitigate vibration. I will use the smallest piece possible so as to not block any airflow.

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Cost:
I did not spend a ton of time optimizing for cost. Thus, I won't bother quoting what I paid here. If I get time I'll do some research on good prices for these parts (used where appropriate) and update.


I hope this was helpful to someone. If something is not clear please let me know. I'm also happy to answer any follow up questions folks may have. I do reserve the right to edit this post for clarity.

EDIT: I've retired this build and now use a Supermicro CSE846. The primary reason was that I needed this R6 case for a flight sim build.
 
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#2
Oh, I almost forgot; here is a nice size comparison.

From this you see that this case is a bit shorter than 1 standard pooch.
20190311_211253_1080x.jpg
 

racielrod

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#3
The Build:
Case: Fractal Design Define R6 White
  • Included with the case
    • Fan Controller: 6 x non-PMW headers + 3 PWM headers
    • 3 x 140mm fans
    • 6 x HDD trays
    • 2 x SSD trays
Motherboard: SuperMicro Motherboard X11SSM-F mATX Board
CPU: Intel Core i3-7100
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper RR-T4-18PK-R1
Memory: 32 GB of 2x16GB Crucial CT16G4WFD8266 DDR4-2666 ECC
PSU: Seasonic Prime 650 Titanium
HBA: LSI/Broadcom SAS9207-8i HBA
Storage:
Additional Accessories:
Man, this is a great build! I'm glad you decided to share it. I'm working on a similar one, but half the number of HDDs and older hardware.. some components are similar thought.
I was debating whether to buy a 650W vs a 550W Seasonic Focus Plus Gold. After seeing how much hardware you are powering with a 650W I think I will be good with a 550W with some room to grow :)
What made you go to Titanium vs Focus+ for instance? I get they are over 90% efficiency all the time -based on the curve. I'm not questioning your decision, just try to understand whether I should go this route as well or stay with Focus+ Gold.


Case selection
The R6 has a few variants. I picked whichever color was cheapest at the time of purchase and made sure to get the solid-sided variant because those side panels have the ever-desirable noise-dampening panels. The only modifications I made to the case were to remove the top and front panels. This increases airflow significantly.

I'm between the R6 and R5 at the moment, by the time I need to pull the trigger I will check what is available and go with the most cost effective options. I don't think I can go wrong with either.
I'm planning to keep the top and front panels on mine - but again I'll be running with 6 hdds only to "I think" between the front and back fans, and good separation between the hdds, I should keep the temps at a good level.
How much extra noise are you getting by removing these panels?
The microcenter next to me has the tempered-glass panel version. I was thinking on grabbing that one since they price-match Newegg. I have seen videos where the noise difference is really close to nothing. Thoughts?

Also note the custom SATA power cables. These saved a lot of space in the case by limiting excess cabling.
Where did you get these?
I see you are using straight SATA cables. Any issues with the side panel putting pressure on those? I was considering 90 degrees SATA cables for this reason.

Thanks again for sharing!
 
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#5
Man, this is a great build! I'm glad you decided to share it. I'm working on a similar one, but half the number of HDDs and older hardware.. some components are similar thought.
I'm glad it was useful!

I'm between the R6 and R5 at the moment, by the time I need to pull the trigger I will check what is available and go with the most cost effective options. I don't think I can go wrong with either.
If you go with the R5 post a build with pictures! I'm particularly interested in how hard it might be to cram 12 drives in it.

I'm planning to keep the top and front panels on mine - but again I'll be running with 6 hdds only to "I think" between the front and back fans, and good separation between the hdds, I should keep the temps at a good level.
How much extra noise are you getting by removing these panels?
That sounds totally reasonable. I took mine off because I wanted the drives to be as cool as possible. I've got 12 drives in there, some of them are 7200rpm drives, and my case sits in a rarely-used spare office so noise was not an issue. That being said, when I do work in that office the noise is very minor. You can always remove the panels later if temps are an issue for you.

What made you go to Titanium vs Focus+ for instance? I get they are over 90% efficiency all the time -based on the curve. I'm not questioning your decision, just try to understand whether I should go this route as well or stay with Focus+ Gold.
To be honest I was not very sophisticated when I selected the PSU. It had good reviews and the Titanium was only slightly more when I purchased it due to a sale so the cost bump was not a deterrent. Lastly, when I looked for build advice on the forums folks advised 650W was good if not slightly more than I needed. Knowing relatively little about PSUs I opted to stay in the "slightly more than I need" group than risk being in "slightly too little" category.

Where did you get these?
moddiy.com There are other custom cable sites you can use but they worked just fine for me. Do note that I was very specific when ordering them that when measured center to center the SATA power plugs should be 1 3/8" apart.

I see you are using straight SATA cables. Any issues with the side panel putting pressure on those? I was considering 90 degrees SATA cables for this reason.
No problems so far. If you've got straight cables lying around feel free to use them. They do get bent but I have not had issues with drive communication. If money is an issue save on the cables and buy more ram.
 

racielrod

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#6
If you go with the R5 post a build with pictures! I'm particularly interested in how hard it might be to cram 12 drives in it.
I'll do my best to share, but I'm only planning to use 5-6 drives :)

To be honest I was not very sophisticated when I selected the PSU. It had good reviews and the Titanium was only slightly more when I purchased it due to a sale so the cost bump was not a deterrent. Lastly, when I looked for build advice on the forums folks advised 650W was good if not slightly more than I needed. Knowing relatively little about PSUs I opted to stay in the "slightly more than I need" group than risk being in "slightly too little" category.
I did my calculations and 550W seems to be plenty. If I ever want to add more drives that would be something I would need to change though - I'm still on the fence, but it looks like by going with the 650W I would be adding a couple of watts only, but I would be able to scale if I ever need to.

moddiy.com There are other custom cable sites you can use but they worked just fine for me. Do note that I was very specific when ordering them that when measured center to center the SATA power plugs should be 1 3/8" apart.
I will take a look at moddiy.com. I looked at https://cablemod.com/

No problems so far. If you've got straight cables lying around feel free to use them. They do get bent but I have not had issues with drive communication. If money is an issue save on the cables and buy more ram.
I'm starting with 32GB so I'm covered there.
I don't have SATA cables lying around, I might give the 90 degree cables a try - I think they are only a problem if you have the drives too close to each other - like in your case.
 
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#7
I'm starting with 32GB so I'm covered there.
I don't have SATA cables lying around, I might give the 90 degree cables a try - I think they are only a problem if you have the drives too close to each other - like in your case.
You should be fine with those plugs. There is space between the drives to accommodate the 90 degree plugs if you go that route.
 

adrianwi

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#8
Nice build. Will be planning something similar toward the end of the year, although with slightly less drives.
 

PhiloEpisteme

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#9
Nice build. Will be planning something similar toward the end of the year, although with slightly less drives.
Awesome! I look forward to seeing how your build turns out. :)
 

Velcade

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#10
Nice build! Do you have the front security screw in place for those drives? It's unfortunate that the sag is great enough to cause rubbing. Something to keep in mind if I ever expand from 4.
 
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#11
Nice build! Do you have the front security screw in place for those drives? It's unfortunate that the sag is great enough to cause rubbing. Something to keep in mind if I ever expand from 4.
I don't. I'm not sure if it would help with sag. TBH I'm not too worried about the sag right now. I'm going to get a bit of silicon and glue em to the bottom of the trays. Or, maybe I'll mod the case and add a little bracket to the sagging side. It is really the only glaring design flaw in the R6 but doesn't ruin the case IMO.
 

Velcade

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#12
I bet it would. I noticed it taking some of the slack out when I was screwing mine down. Could be worth the time.
 
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#13
I bet it would. I noticed it taking some of the slack out when I was screwing mine down. Could be worth the time.
Well, lemme grab my screw driver and report back!
 
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#14
@Velcade I finally got around to putting those screws in. I didn't notice any difference in their ability to hold the drives up. :/
 

Velcade

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#15
@Velcade I finally got around to putting those screws in. I didn't notice any difference in their ability to hold the drives up. :/
Hey Philo, Thanks for the update, sorry to hear it didn't help with your issue.
 

PhiloEpisteme

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#16
Update: This build is retired. I moved everything to a 4u Supermicro case to free this R6 case up for a Flight Sim build.
 

Velcade

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#17
How noisy is this bad boy? I'm filling out my home network and would love to throw my NAS into the rack however I'm worried about the noise.
 
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PhiloEpisteme

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#18
How noisy is this bad boy? I'm filling out my home network and would love to through my NAS into the rack however I'm worried about the noise.
It is quite loud. It has 2 PSUs with loud fans and 5 static pressure chassis fans. I am moving mine to my attic with an AC right in front of them. I've seen some modification builds which claim to reduce the noise significantly without trashing the cooling performance. I assume this somewhat depends on what your build looks like. The examples I saw were for NAS builds which were not running dual, high-core-count cpus.

My backup server is already in a 3u supermicro chassis so the noise was expected.

If folks are very worried about noise and are interested in my R6 build I do have cables, trays, etc for this build I'd be willing to part with. I haven't yet looked into the best way to advertise that information here on the forums. I have to say, the R6 build was extremely quiet of not sometimes a tad warmer that I would've liked.
 
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