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

Power Supply Installation and Cable Management

The power supply is decoupled via four small pads on the bottom of the case and a frame around the PSU screw holes in the back. PSUs up to 29 cm-long can be accommodated. That number goes down to 16 cm if the bottom case fan is installed, or increases to 43 cm if the hard drive cage is removed.

There are more than enough cable management options for a system this small. They come in the form of rubber-framed holes and built-in cable clips. There are also two openings at the top for fan and EPS power cables, should your motherboard need some auxiliary CPU power. The space for cables in the back is only 1.9 cm, though, which is rather tight.

As a result, you need to use a lot of precision when it comes to routing wires, and making good use of the built-in cable clips is necessary. Creating room for tall CPU coolers was clearly a priority for Fractal Design.

Optical Drive and Hard Drive Installation

The 5.25-inch bay covers are removed by pushing them out from the inside. Optical drives can then be screwed securely into place.

The Arc Mini R2 offers six bays for 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives. The hard drive cage features a modular design and can be removed completely if you desire.

The drives are screwed to the white retention frames from the bottom. Decoupling is only available for 3.5-inch drives, though that's fine, since 2.5-inch storage devices are typically SSDs anyway.

Two additional SSDs can be installed on the back of the motherboard tray. Due to limited space, though, it's best to first take the frame off the motherboard tray, attach the SSD, and then reattach the frame with the SSD in place.

Consequently, for those who can live without mechanical disks, the Arc Mini R2 offers a configuration option for a small but powerful system. Removing all hard drive cages and using two front fans should improve airflow.

Motherboard, Graphics Card, and CPU Cooler Installation

It's becoming common for case manufacturers to include a bit that allows motherboard spacer installation with a normal screwdriver, and the Arc Mini R2 is no exception. CPU coolers up to 16.5 cm in height fit, which is quite generous for a mini-tower.

A large opening in the motherboard tray should make switching CPU coolers with a backplate easy.

Graphics card options are somewhat limited. Our Radeon HD 7950 with HIS’ IceQ cooler design fit just so. Graphics cards up to 28.5 cm-long definitely fit. Beyond that, it might be necessary to remove both hard drive cages, depending on the position of the slot on your motherboard and the size of your graphics card’s cooler.

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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.
  • -1 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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