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Cooling And Dust Protection

Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Case Review: For Your MicroATX Build

Air Cooling and Dust Protection

Dust filter effectiveness has always been one of Fractal Design's strengths, and the Arc Mini R2 benefits from the company's experience. It employs a tried-and-true approach in that the front filter is held by a latch mechanism on either side, which is released and snapped back in by pushing on it. There's a 12-cm fan (FD-FAN-SSR2-120) right behind it, with space for a second one immediately underneath.

We also find a familiar sight at the bottom of Fractal Design's Arc Mini R2. A long dust filter that can be pulled out the back covers the openings for the power supply, and an optional fan can be installed on the middle of the case's floor.

The top cover is held in place by two thumb screws, just like we’re used to from the larger Arc cases. There’s a dense filter protecting a 14-cm fan (FD-FAN-SSR2-140), found inside. A second fan of the same size can be installed without blocking the top 5.25-inch drive bay.

Around back, another 12-cm fan rounds out the Arc Mini R2’s stock thermal setup.

The integrated fan controller provides 12, 7, or 5 V to the fans. As a result, the large FD-FAN-SSR2-140 runs at 1000, 700, or 500 RPM, and the smaller FD-FAN-SSR2-120 spins at 1200, 800, or 600 RPM.

Water Cooling

Small 12-cm radiators can be installed in place of the rear case fan, or at the bottom of the case if you use a sufficiently short PSU.

The top and front of the case host more interesting options for water cooling. Under the enclosure's top, space for a radiator installation is well thought out. Screw holes for the radiator are located at the outer edge of the case to avoid collisions with any tall parts of the motherboard.

Consequently, 24-cm radiators should fit without any problems. Thirty-six centimeter radiators only fit after removing the 5.25-inch drive cage, which can be achieved by unscrewing it. Push/pull configurations aren’t possible due to the top cover being too close. The fans have to go below the radiator.

There’s enough space for a 24-cm radiator in the front of the case once you remove its hard drive cages. To accommodate radiators that are more than 27.2 cm in length, the 5.25-inch drive cage needs to be unscrewed and removed as well.

We actually recommend radiators with a length of 3 to 4 mm less than the 27.2 cm maximum, since an exact fit varies by model and how far it extends beyond the screw holes.

As word of warning, radiators installed up front have to be attached with the help of fans. The radiator can’t be pushed all the way to the front cover’s screw holes because it touches the case's internal steel structure. Unfortunately, the screw holes have the same flaw we found in the Arc Midi R2; screws with a large head might be too thick to fit into the opening. Instead, the head sits on top, making the screw too short to reach its intended destination. We solved this problem for our Cooler Master Eisberg 240L Prestige review by foregoing the rubber grommets that are supposed to go between the fans and radiator.

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  • 0 Hide
    blackmagnum , March 17, 2014 1:46 AM
    What's up with the white case fan? Won't it turn yellow once time and dust have a go at it?
  • 1 Hide
    Luay , March 17, 2014 2:18 AM
    Which case is in the first photo on the first page sitting next to the Mini R2? MIDI R2 or XL?
  • 0 Hide
    DookieDraws , March 17, 2014 2:44 AM
    Which case is in the first photo on the first page sitting next to the Mini R2? MIDI R2 or XL?
    It's the Arc XL. I've been looking at it and the Arc Midi R2 cases. They're nice looking cases.
  • 1 Hide
    Lutfij , March 17, 2014 2:57 AM
    What's up with the white case fan? Won't it turn yellow once time and dust have a go at it?

    Fractal's signature theme is a monochrome theme. Black over white or white over black. The only exceptions in their lineup will be the Blackout Edition case where(as the name gave it away) is going to be completely black - all the way down to having black drive sleds and fans with black blades.

    With advancements of manufacturing, all things tech that is white such as white PCB'd products and plastics won't turn yellow which apparently happens when exposed to UV radiation due to bromine in the plastic to act as a flame retardant.

    Now due to various issues, the process has been changed, that's why you now see alot of white products NOT turn yellow within a few months.

    Personally I love anything Fractal make, they are minimalist and functional!
  • 0 Hide
    vertexx , March 17, 2014 3:13 AM
    Looking forward to a review of the new Node 804 uATX cube.
  • -2 Hide
    daglesj , March 17, 2014 3:48 AM
    Nice looking mature case. Just get rid of the awful side window (really, no one is impressed by whats inside) and its a deal!
  • 3 Hide
    ubercake , March 17, 2014 4:17 AM
    I like the idea you can remove the drive cage. I can't stand cases with intakes whose air is immediately blocked by the drive cage. How effective is an intake that blows against a wall of metal?With these small cases, they need to just have one true 5.25 drive bay for optical and should adapt any other 5.25 bays to hold SSDs and HDDs. This way, the intake fans can blow freely across the motherboard. Most people don't need multiple optical drives any longer; especially not in a micro-atx case.

    Also, there is no reason SSDs can't be mounted to the back of the motherboard trays. NZXT utilizes this design on a lot of their cases. You can even do this yourself without issue by just using some velcro if you have enough clearance between the motherboard tray and the case.

    I think most people use their optical drives so infrequently, it makes sense to share a USB optical drive among all of your PCs.

    I can see internal optical drives going by the way of the dinosaur; again, especially on a microATX build. Why are case designers still including so many 5.25 bays in general? More than one is hardly necessary for the average user. The only people who need multiple 5.25s are those with disk copying/duplication stations. Most of us aren't using our PCs for this purpose and if we are, we aren't doing it in a microATX package.
  • 0 Hide
    Au_equus , March 17, 2014 5:56 AM
    The top panel can support a 280mm radiator also, albeit a slim one due to the proximity to the motherboard.
  • -1 Hide
    QuietPC , March 17, 2014 8:37 AM
  • 0 Hide
    user 18 , March 17, 2014 8:38 AM
    There are other uses for 5.25 bays than just optical drives. Hot-swap HDD/SSD, aftermarket fan controllers, card readers, front panel ports, the list goes on and on.
  • 0 Hide
    zeph_yr , March 17, 2014 4:40 PM
    What's up with the white case fan? Won't it turn yellow once time and dust have a go at it?
    I've had a fractal case with white fans for about a year now and they're still as white as they were when I first got it. Also has a white NZXT fan in there which is 3-4 years old and is still white.
  • 1 Hide
    chuckydb , March 17, 2014 7:23 PM
    After seeing the display Fractal made earlier this year, this thing is build for watercooling with some thick rads.Look at this beauty: I was planning going for a water cooled rig, and I actaully don't care for the Disk drive or even a regular HDD.I think I found my new case right here!
  • 0 Hide
    jvhbca , March 20, 2014 1:25 PM
    I have the arc midi r2 with a regular side panel+intake fan.. best case i ever owned.
  • 0 Hide
    kdk_warhead , March 20, 2014 2:19 PM
    Fractal designs fan controller can kill your CPU!

    If it is the same fan controller as R4 (very likely) then it works like this:
    12v mode: 12v from molex to ground
    5v mode: 5v molex to ground
    7v mode: 12v molex to 5v molex

    The problem is the 7-volt mod that Fractal Design used. They claim that it´s okay to force up to 15 watt of power backwards into the 5v line. It´s not a good thing to do according to these links:

    I have a R4 and FD Norton 600w PSU. When I used the 7-volt mod it destroyed my 4770k AND my replacement CPU G3225… and this is with their own PSU. The computer worked fine just up to the 7-volt mod. I contacted Fractal design about this but they can’t see a problem and they do not have the time to investigate it. I´ve wrote about it here but it’s unfortunately in Swedish:
  • 0 Hide
    jvhbca , March 20, 2014 2:28 PM
    What 7v mod? my CPU runs fine.. I just keep all fans on 12v with the fans they provided.
  • 0 Hide
    kdk_warhead , March 20, 2014 2:31 PM
    The load used with the 7-volt mod vas pump: Phobya DC12-220 (6.5W @ 12v)
  • 0 Hide
    kdk_warhead , March 20, 2014 2:34 PM
    What 7v mod? my CPU runs fine.. I just keep all fans on 12v with the fans they provided.
    It´s risky to change the fan controller from 12v to 7v or from 5v to 12v when the computer is running. Or use a pump with a delayed start as I did.
  • 0 Hide
    jvhbca , March 20, 2014 2:36 PM
    Ah, i see.. i dont fuss with changing the fan speeds at all. just keep them at 12v all the time..
  • 0 Hide
    kdk_warhead , March 21, 2014 11:13 AM
    testtest test
  • 0 Hide
    Lutfij , March 21, 2014 1:06 PM
    You might want to cut that out now. Please post constructively.
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