Results: Fan Speeds, Temperatures, And Noise
Since the bundled Fractal Design FD-FAN-SSR2-140 fans run at almost exactly 1000, 700, and 500 RPM when they're attached to the integrated controller, we also ran the Thermalright TY-145 fan on our CPU cooler at these same speeds, manually dropping the voltage to get it down to 500 RPM.
The following table shows the measured temperatures of the components we benchmarked at the different fan RPM levels.
|Temperatures at Full Load|
|1000 RPM||700 RPM||500 RPM|
|Ambient Temperature||19.8 °C||19.8 °C||19.9 °C|
|Core i5-2500K (TCase)||48 °C||56 °C||65 °C|
|Core i5-2500K (Average Core Temperature)||56.9 °C||63.3 °C||72.4 °C|
|Nvidia GTX 470||76 °C||76 °C||78 °C|
|3038 RPM (58 %)||3457 RPM (64 %)||4122 RPM (77 %)|
|Hard Drive||25 °C||27 °C||30 °C|
|SSD||34 °C||36 °C||38 °C|
At 1000 RPM, the temperatures of each installed component indicate effective airflow in Fractal Design's Arc Midi R2. The stock fans are very much audible at this RPM level, to the point that we had to give noise level its own dedicated page. Considering that the thermal limit of Intel’s Core i5-2500K is 72.6 degrees Celsius (Tcase), the numbers we see are very good.
The temperature rises by 8 degrees to 56 degrees Celsius when the fans drop to 700 RPM, which is still very much acceptable. Stepping down to 500 RPM, the temperature rises to 65 degrees, which is starting to cut it close. Remember, though, that we were setting the CPU fan to match the case coolers. If we hooked it up to a motherboard fan header instead, the CPU's thermals would have been a lot better. Again, this was done to try balancing noise.
Fractal Design's Arc Midi R2 features a side window, which certainly looks better than a lot of mesh. But it does affect graphics card cooling in a negative way. Then again, sharp, clean looks are one of this case's main features. The temperatures are still acceptable for a GPU in the 200 W range. The GeForce GTX 470 can’t really be heard over the noise of the other fans spinning at 1000 or 700 RPM. It does spin up when the other blowers drop to 500 RPM, though, hitting speeds as high as 4122 RPM.
Our storage devices maintain reasonable temperatures throughout testing. Even though the SSD is positioned in such a way that we thought we were punishing it, our readings suggest it's fine. Fractal Design does point out that those same temperatures wouldn't be good for a 2.5" mechanical drive, and we'd concur. Stick to SSDs around back on the motherboard tray.
There is plenty of room to install additional fans in the Arc Midi R2, which would be good for its thermals (particularly at lower rotational speeds). We purposely limited ourselves to the fans supported by the integrated controller, though.
|Noise Levels at Full Load|
|1000 RPM||700 RPM||500 RPM|
|Noise Level from Front, 50 cm||41.9 dB(A)||41.2 dB(A)||44.5 dB(A)|
|Noise Level from Top Left Diagonal, 50 cm||42.6 dB(A)||41.8 dB(A)||44.7 dB(A)|
|Noise Level from Top Right Diagonal, 50 cm||42.3 dB(A)||41.7 dB(A)||44 dB(A)|
The graphics card is the main variable affecting the Arc Midi R2’s noise level under load. It gets enough fresh air at 1000 and 700 RPM and doesn't really stand out in any jarring way. At 500 RPM, however, the GeForce GTX 470 has to rev its fan up so high that the overall noise level is worse than the measurements at the other settings.