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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 Temperature20.2 °C20.5 °C
CPU (Core i5-4430) TCore Ø52.2 °C55.4 °C
Radeon HD 795063-64 °C68-69 °C
(Fan 47% = 1835 RPM)(Fan 54% = 2188 RPM)
Hard Drive25 °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 Only7 V, Case Fans Only5 V, Case Fans Only12 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)
  • 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