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

Temperature And Noise

Temperature

The temperatures under full load show that, even with the built-in controller set to 5 V, the case fans have no problem keeping our specific configuration cool. At this voltage, the 14-cm fan spins along at 500 RPM, while the 12-cm fans run at 600 RPM. We kept the Alpenföhn Brocken 2 at a constant 1000 RPM throughout, since it’s very quiet anyway.

Temperatures under Full Load: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2
 Case Fans 12 VCase Fans 5 V
Ambient Temperature
20.2 °C20.5 °C
CPU (Core i5-4430) TCore Ø52.2 °C55.4 °C
Radeon HD 7950
63-64 °C68-69 °C
(Fan 47% = 1835 RPM)(Fan 54% = 2188 RPM)
Hard Drive
25 °C30 °C

The reduced airflow that results from lowering the fan speed warms the Core i5-4430 by only 3 °C. This difference increases to 5 °C for the idling hard drive. HIS' Radeon HD 7950 is impacted most, though. Its Tahiti GPU's temperature increases by 5 °C, and its fan runs at 2200 RPM instead of 1800. Again, a graphics card that uses an axial fan, recirculating waste heat back into the enclosure, is going to cause platform components to rise more significantly, particularly at low fan rotational speeds.

Noise

Under full load, the graphics card contributes most prominently to system noise. With that said, the acoustics aren't as bad as we've heard from other cases due to the Arc Mini R2’s closed side wall. Enclosures with mesh sides typically far worse in this metric. Fractal Design's fans are quite noticeable at 12 V, generating up to 42.0 dB(A), but they get a lot quieter once the voltage is reduced to 7 V. This setting seems to provide the best compromise between thermal performance and noise for heavier loads. A sound pressure reading of 37 dB(A) isn't what we'd call annoying, or even distracting. The results would be almost perfect if the case included higher-quality fans. The 14 cm fan in particular generates noticeable vibrations, and its rotor doesn’t run quite as smoothly as it should.

Noise: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2

12 V, Case Fans Only

7 V, Case Fans Only

5 V, Case Fans Only

12 V, Whole System Under Full Load

Front (50 cm)

42.0 dB(A)

36.6 dB(A)

35.7 dB(A)

44.3 dB(A)

Top-Left Diagonal (50 cm)

41.5 dB(A)

36.6 dB(A)

35.4 dB(A)

42.4 dB(A)

Top-Right Diagonal (50 cm)

41.4 dB(A)

36.4 dB(A)

35.4 dB(A)

42.6 dB(A)

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22 comments
    Your comment
  • blackmagnum
    What's up with the white case fan? Won't it turn yellow once time and dust have a go at it?
    0
  • Luay
    Which case is in the first photo on the first page sitting next to the Mini R2? MIDI R2 or XL?
    1
  • DookieDraws
    Quote:
    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.
    0
  • Lutfij
    Anonymous said:
    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.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8rDDyDW0yA#t=143

    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.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brominated_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!
    1
  • vertexx
    Looking forward to a review of the new Node 804 uATX cube.
    0
  • daglesj
    Nice looking mature case. Just get rid of the awful side window (really, no one is impressed by whats inside) and its a deal!
    -2
  • ubercake
    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.
    3
  • Au_equus
    The top panel can support a 280mm radiator also, albeit a slim one due to the proximity to the motherboard.
    0
  • QuietPC
    Boring
    -1
  • user 18
    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
  • zeph_yr
    Quote:
    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.
    0
  • chuckydb
    After seeing the display Fractal made earlier this year, this thing is build for watercooling with some thick rads.Look at this beauty: http://pics.computerbase.de/5/0/0/4/2/7.jpg 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!
    1
  • jvhbca
    I have the arc midi r2 with a regular side panel+intake fan.. best case i ever owned.
    0
  • kdk_warhead
    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:
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article6-page1.html
    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=372297
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3917
    http://www.ithinkibrokeit.co.uk/arti...vmod/page1.php

    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:
    http://www.sweclockers.com/forum/74-chassin-och-nataggregat/1283945-newton-600w-define-trasig-4770k/#post14450237
    0
  • jvhbca
    What 7v mod? my CPU runs fine.. I just keep all fans on 12v with the fans they provided.
    0
  • kdk_warhead
    The load used with the 7-volt mod vas pump: Phobya DC12-220 (6.5W @ 12v)
    0
  • kdk_warhead
    Quote:
    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
  • jvhbca
    Ah, i see.. i dont fuss with changing the fan speeds at all. just keep them at 12v all the time..
    0
  • kdk_warhead
    testtest test
    0
  • Lutfij
    You might want to cut that out now. Please post constructively.
    0