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

Benchmark System And Conditions

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 CoolerAlpenföhn Brocken 2
MotherboardASRock B85M Pro4, B85 Express PCH
Memory1 x 4 GB G.Skill DDR3-1333 F3-1333C9S-4GNS
Graphics CardHIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo
Hard DriveSamsung HD322GJ (System Drive)
Power Supply Unit (PSU)550 W Enermax Triathlor
Operating SystemWindows 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.

  • blackmagnum
    What's up with the white case fan? Won't it turn yellow once time and dust have a go at it?
    Reply
  • Luay
    Which case is in the first photo on the first page sitting next to the Mini R2? MIDI R2 or XL?
    Reply
  • DookieDraws
    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.
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    12901060 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!
    Reply
  • vertexx
    Looking forward to a review of the new Node 804 uATX cube.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Au_equus
    The top panel can support a 280mm radiator also, albeit a slim one due to the proximity to the motherboard.
    Reply
  • QuietPC
    Boring
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply