The Fractal Design Define R4 has a simple design with sharp lines. From a distance you barely see any differences with the Define R3, but they're there. We put the two chassis side-by-side here, so you can clearly see the differences. The Define R4 is available in Arctic White, Titanium Grey and Black Pearl. Our test model came in black.
A noticeable difference is the width, the Define R4 is almost 3 cm wider at 23.2 cm than the R3. This added space is used for cable management behind the motherboard plate, according to Fractal Design. The height and depth has also slightly increased. The total volume of 57,84 dm³ is quite a bit more than the 49 dm³ of the R3.
The weight has also gone up, with 12.8 kg is the R4 is almost 3 kg heavier than the R3. The frontal connectors have been upgraded from two USB 2.0 and eSATA ports to two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports.
The R4 has a door on the front, that opens towards the left. It's not possible to mount the door differently, so it's something to keep in mind when you place the chassis.
On the front there are covers on the two 5.25-inch slots. The front also features a grill, with a dust filter and fan behind it. The plastic it's made of is thinner than in the old chassis.
The top of the Define R4 on the front has the USB port, the power and reset buttons, and audio jacks. You'll also find two grills on the top, which are closed off but you can open them and put fans there. This will of course increase the noise levels. The same concept is applied in the left panel, with a single grill.
In the back there is a vertical slot for an expansion card, good for extra USB ports via an internal header for example. Interestingly, the traditional openings for water cooling tubes are absent from this chassis.