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Benchmark System And Conditions

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

We settled on a benchmark system based on Intel's Core i5-4430 and HIS' Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo that comes slightly overclocked from the factory. This was supposed to challenge, but not overwhelm, a mini-tower’s cooling capacity. Because the graphics card exhausts its waste heat out of the case, it presents a much less demanding load than a lot of the boards with axial fans, which negatively affect ambient temperatures inside the enclosure.

We removed the middle hard drive cage to allow for more air to reach the CPU cooler. The Alpenföhn Brocken 2 offers good performance at low noise levels and fits perfectly.

It goes without saying that we also wanted to take a look at how much we can slow the fans down using Fractal Design's integrated controller. Do the coolers need to be left at 12 V, or can we get ample airflow from 7 or 5 V?

Benchmark System: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4430 (Haswell), Quad-core, 3 GHz base, 3.2 GHz maximum Turbo Boost, 6 MB shared L3 cache
Processor Cooler
Alpenföhn Brocken 2
MotherboardASRock B85M Pro4, B85 Express PCH
Memory1 x 4 GB G.Skill DDR3-1333 F3-1333C9S-4GNS
Graphics Card
HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo
Hard Drive
Samsung HD322GJ (System Drive)
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
550 W Enermax Triathlor
Operating System
Windows 7 Home Premium

We applied a load to the system using a combination of Prime95 (Small FFTs) and MSI Kombustor (Furry and Tessy Test), then measured the temperatures after 60 minutes.

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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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