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The Build

System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $2400 Performance PC

Fractal’s Arc Midi might be designed for a dual fan top-mounted radiator, but that doesn’t mean two single-fan units can fit. Though it might have been possible to position these side-by-side within the empty case, tanks on the top and bottom would have prevented motherboard and side panel installation. Generally, we like our PCs to include motherboards.

Instead, one radiator needs to be installed on the top panel and the other on the rear panel. Both are fitted with their fans blowing out of the case as exhaust, pulling heat away from memory and voltage regulator components.

The snap-off front panel comes with a single intake fan. Since our radiators have their own fans, the original rear-panel exhaust fan is snapped into the spare front-panel mount as an extra intake.

The Arc Midi’s sliding trays each hold a 3.5” drive on vibration-dampening grommets using shoulder screws, or a 2.5” drive without grommets using standard screws. Since the 2.5” drives most often found in full-sized systems are SSDs, the lack of noise dampening for this form factor is acceptable.

The top-mounted radiator is placed in the case's forward mounting position to make room for the thicker radiator on the rear panel. Had the thicker radiator been mounted on top, it would have prevented memory installation. We also like our PCs to include memory.

The finished system is particularly attractive to users who don’t like the distraction of gaudy lights.

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