Temperature And Noise
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 V||Case Fans 5 V|
|Ambient Temperature||20.2 °C||20.5 °C|
|CPU (Core i5-4430) TCore Ø||52.2 °C||55.4 °C|
|Radeon HD 7950||63-64 °C||68-69 °C|
|(Fan 47% = 1835 RPM)||(Fan 54% = 2188 RPM)|
|Hard Drive||25 °C||30 °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.
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)|