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

Introducing The Fractal Design Arc Mini R2

Our German team recently reviewed Fractal Design's Arc Midi R2 and Arc XL cases, finding them to be solid offerings at their respective price points. Their main critique was of the stock cooling fans.

The Swedish company is now offering a mini-tower version of its Arc cases, built to accommodate microATX motherboards. Despite more compact dimensions, though, it's supposed to offer similar features as the larger versions. This includes modular hard drive cages, an integrated fan controller, spaces for SSDs to be installed on the back of the motherboard tray, and different options for mounting radiators and compact water coolers.

So, does the company make any compromises in the process of introducing its $100 Arc Mini R2?

Packaging and Accessories

As we've come to expect, the Arc Mini R2 ships in a no-frills cardboard box sporting schematic drawings.

Also as expected, the case’s accessories can be found in their own box with a list of their descriptions and a quantity for each printed on it. There are some cable ties, a number of black screws for installing various components in the case, and the motherboard spacers, which are the only pieces that aren’t black. Noticeably absent is a piezo speaker.

Technical Specifications and Control Panel

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ManufacturerFractal Design
ModelArc Mini R2
Dimensions (HxWxD)40.5 x 21 x 48.4 cm
WeightApproximately 9 kg
Plastic (Front and top covers)
Form FactorMicroATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays2 x 5.25" (External)6 x 3.5" or 2.5" (Internal)2 x 2.5" (Internal, back of motherboard tray for SSDs)
PCI SlotsFour
Row 9 - Cell 0 3-Level Fan Controller (12 V, 7 V, 5 V) for 3 Fans
FansThree-level fan controller (12, 7, and 5 V) for three fansFront: 2 x 12 cmIncluded: 2 x 12 cm (1200 RPM, blue lighting)Top: 2 x 12/14 cm Included: 1 x 14 cm (1000 RPM)Rear: 1 x 12 cmIncluded: 1 x 12 cm (1200 RPM)
Optional Water CoolingFront: 24 cm Radiator Top: 24/36 cm RadiatorRear: 12 cm RadiatorBottom: 12 cm Radiator
CPU CoolerUp to 16.5 cm
Graphics CardUp to 28.5/42.5 cm (Both hard drive cages need to be removed for cards longer than 28.5 cm)
Power SupplyUp to 29/43 cm, including protruding cables (With/without bottom hard drive cage)
Cable ManagementUp to 1.9 cm
PriceApproximately $100 (Street price, model with side window)Approximately $110 (Street price, model without side window)

Compared to the two larger models in Fractal Design's Arc family, the front control panel loses two USB 2.0 connectors, leaving a pair of the more modern USB 3.0 ports. There are also HD Audio connectors, a power and (tiny) reset button, and a three-level fan controller that allows the fans to run at 12, 7, or 5 V.

  • blackmagnum
    What's up with the white case fan? Won't it turn yellow once time and dust have a go at it?
  • Luay
    Which case is in the first photo on the first page sitting next to the Mini R2? MIDI R2 or XL?
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

    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!
  • vertexx
    Looking forward to a review of the new Node 804 uATX cube.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Au_equus
    The top panel can support a 280mm radiator also, albeit a slim one due to the proximity to the motherboard.
  • QuietPC
  • 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.