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Thread: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

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    Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    Hi Guys,

    As some of you may have noticed a little while ago I was asking questions in the forum about building a WHS and after much deliberation I have taken the plunge and decided to write up a little build log incase anyone else was interested. Basically there's a very limited range of decent cases in this area of the market still. I needed something quiet, with a high HDD capacity that looked quite nice. In the end I took the plunge with this case despite some poor online reviews.

    Components:

    Fractal Design Mini Array R2
    Zotac GeForce 8200 Mini-ITX Wifi
    AMD Athlon X2 4850e
    2x1GB DDR2 667mhz Corsair XMS2 RAM
    Scythe Shuriken B CPU Cooler
    Seagate 2TB LP HDD





    First impressions taking the case out of the box are that it feels very light but solid and the brushed aluminium finish is excellent. The power button is plastic which feels a bit cheap in comparison but it didn't bother me as its well fitted and study.



    Four screws later and the lid is off showing some sound absorbant padding over the HDD cage which is no doubt a good thing.



    First look inside the case and you can see the cage which should allow 6 HDDS to be mounted on the rubber grommets and also the top of the microATX form factor PSU. This model is 300W and made by FSP.



    A quick shot of the back of the case shows the PSU again and also two full height expansion cards, obviously mini-ITX boards only have one slot so the second would allow you to fit a fan controller or something.



    Now here I came across my first stumbling block. Removing the HDD cage is not the worlds most simple of tasks unfortunately. The cage unscrews with 2 screws on each of the side panels. But with that box underneath it is outright impossible to get it out. Please note the worlds biggest cable tie attaching the two .



    The solution was these cutters, but i litterally had to nibble the cable tie 10+ times to cut all the way across. This was something of an unnecessary chore. Putting the box inside the drive cage would have saved me a hell of a lot of time at this stage.



    And after all that this is the way you have to get the HDD cage out, might I warn you this does cause significant scrapping and that horrible screeching noise when metals rubs on metal.



    So with the cage finally out and the PSU removed we can see the blank canvas of working space and the 140mm front intake fan. At this stage I feel ive made some progress.



    This what was in the dreaded box of bits and bobs, screws for the mobo and HDDs, a US power cable (a lot of use to me that was :S) and a cable tidy. No instructions anywhere to be seen.



    No further hiccups getting the mobo, CPU and memory in the case, place the IO shield as usual and four screws.



    A quick shot of the cooler, worthy of mention because I was particularly impressed with the build quality and the excellent method of swapping from one socket type to another, so simple and easy I've consequently bought another scythe cooler for my HTPC.



    CPU cooler mounted without issue.



    HDD mounted up in the cage, again straightforward without issues once you get the right screws out of the packet.



    Now this pic shows just how tight the space is to get the HDD cage back into the case, as things stood it did just fit between the case intake fan, the CPU cooler and the RAM sticks, but if the cooler was any bigger, if the CPU socket was nearer the front of the case, or the RAM for that matter then there would be no way the cage would go in. Something to be weary of if your planning on using this case.



    Quick shot of the PSU, cables are the perfect length to reach everything in the case 7xSATA, 1 molex, 1 20+4pin and 1 4pin mobo connector.



    Everything back in and wired up, getting the SATA cable and SATA power in with the HDD cage mounted up was a bit of a bugger, but a little patience sorted that out.





    Final snaps with everything back together.

    Total build time about 45 minutes, which is pretty acceptable. The only particularly frustrating thing with the build was working out how to get the HDD cage out for the first time. Otherwise it was smooth and without issue. Others may need to be careful with their choice of CPU cooler incase it encroaches on the space needed to get the HDD cage in.

    In terms of its operation and quietness. The front intake is entirely inaudible to me with it on the desk near head height, as is the CPU cooler with it set to quiet in the BIOS. Temps are very good, CPU 50oC load and HDD topped out at 30oC. There is some vibration from the HDD and the PSU fan is a little loud. Will update when I put it under the table in the living room, I suspect there I will never notice these things.

    Overall im very happy indeed, the case fits my needs and a lot of the negative reviews ive heard I feel are unwarranted.

    Hope you all enjoyed.

    Hawker
    Media Centre: C2D E5300@3.6Ghz : Gigabyte G31M-ES2L : 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR21066@1106mhz : Sapphire HD5450 : Haupaggue WinTV Nova-T 500 : Seasonic 380W : Corsair X32 32GB SSD : WD 250GB HDD : LG Blu-Ray/HDDVD ROM DVD-RW : Scythe Shuriken BIG Quiet : Lian-Li PC-C37 :
    WHS: Zotac 8200 M-ITX WIFI : AMD 4850e : 4GB G.Skill DDR21000 : 6x2TB : Scythe Shuriken Rev.B Quiet LP : Fractal Design Mini Array R2 :
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  2. Received thanks from:

    Biscuit (12-09-2010)

  3. #2
    Late Night Ninja! CrazyMonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    Thats a sexy looking case, was thinking about getting the large fractal r2 but got one in my spec instead.

    It run cool/quiet?

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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    Yeah ive got an FT02, beautiful case. Not a fan of the red interior on yours but its all personal taste in the end ...and....

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawker1986 View Post
    In terms of its operation and quietness. The front intake is entirely inaudible to me with it on the desk near head height, as is the CPU cooler with it set to quiet in the BIOS. Temps are very good, CPU 50oC load and HDD topped out at 30oC. There is some vibration from the HDD and the PSU fan is a little loud. Will update when I put it under the table in the living room, I suspect there I will never notice these things.
    Hawker
    Media Centre: C2D E5300@3.6Ghz : Gigabyte G31M-ES2L : 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR21066@1106mhz : Sapphire HD5450 : Haupaggue WinTV Nova-T 500 : Seasonic 380W : Corsair X32 32GB SSD : WD 250GB HDD : LG Blu-Ray/HDDVD ROM DVD-RW : Scythe Shuriken BIG Quiet : Lian-Li PC-C37 :
    WHS: Zotac 8200 M-ITX WIFI : AMD 4850e : 4GB G.Skill DDR21000 : 6x2TB : Scythe Shuriken Rev.B Quiet LP : Fractal Design Mini Array R2 :
    Laptop: Packard Bell EasyNote BG45-U-300 : 12" : Dual Core T2390 1.87Ghz : 2GB DDR2800 : Corsair X32 32GB SSD : Intel GMA X3100 :


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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    been looking at this myself.... doesn't seem to justify the pricetag

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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawker1986 View Post
    Yeah ive got an FT02, beautiful case. Not a fan of the red interior on yours but its all personal taste in the end ...and....



    Hawker
    Nice.

    Yeah i wasnt entirely sure on the red myself but it came up on scan today only £40 off... couldnt really miss it. Was cheaper than the black one and the ltd edition comes with air penetrator fans (the black doesnt as of yet i believe).

    I was going for a red/black theme and am using red cathodes and i must say the red interior is really well done looks the part.

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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    I'm hoping they release a more gaming oriented mini-itx case. Their larger cases seem really well designed and I'd like to see that applied to a smaller box

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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    @Biscuit: I know what you mean £150 is a lot, but it does come with a reasonable PSU. The only other thing with a 6 HDD capacity in M-ITX is the Lian-Li Q08 which is about the same price once you have a reasonable modular PSU added to the price. I also dont think the Lian-Li looks anywhere near as nice and is actually a bigger unit.

    @CrazyMonkey: Yeah ive seen those offers, you cant argue with that, i also have had this suspicion that the pics on scans sight make that red look really bright and it might not be so leary in real life?

    @Tarqueen: Yeah that would be cool, tbh you could easily mod this case to take one if you were in the mood and handy with your Dremmel. Theres room for a GFX card if you lose space for 2 HDDs from the cage. If they wanted to sell it all they would need was to alter that slightly and give you a slightly more powerful PSU with some PCI-E connections. Maybe a better intake fan

    Thanks for the interest guys.

    Hawker
    Media Centre: C2D E5300@3.6Ghz : Gigabyte G31M-ES2L : 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR21066@1106mhz : Sapphire HD5450 : Haupaggue WinTV Nova-T 500 : Seasonic 380W : Corsair X32 32GB SSD : WD 250GB HDD : LG Blu-Ray/HDDVD ROM DVD-RW : Scythe Shuriken BIG Quiet : Lian-Li PC-C37 :
    WHS: Zotac 8200 M-ITX WIFI : AMD 4850e : 4GB G.Skill DDR21000 : 6x2TB : Scythe Shuriken Rev.B Quiet LP : Fractal Design Mini Array R2 :
    Laptop: Packard Bell EasyNote BG45-U-300 : 12" : Dual Core T2390 1.87Ghz : 2GB DDR2800 : Corsair X32 32GB SSD : Intel GMA X3100 :


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    Re: Fractal Design Mini Array R2 Build Log (56k beware!!)

    I think your horrid scraping metal-on-metal sound was caused by you unscrewing the wrong part of the hard drive cage ;-)

    The cage is unscrewed from the top of the supporting struts and it just lifts out - you've unscrewed the support struts themselves it seems.

    But, that does in fact answer a big question of mine! The struts are screwed in, not riveted!

    Optical drive mod here we come...

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