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Thread: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

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    Senior Member SUMMONER's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

    Better late than never, here is my review of the Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 case that I won in a competition here on the Hexus forums.

    Thank you to the Hexus gang for making the forums such an awesome place and Fractal Design (as well as all the other sponsors) for allowing for all those brilliant competitions.

    First of all I would like to say that I already own a Fractal Design Define R3 with USB 3.0 in black and am a huge fan of their various products. So yes, this review will be totally biassed.



    Parts used:

    AMD Athlon II X3 445 processor
    OCZ Gladiator heatpipe cooler with a new Fractal F12 PWM fan
    3 x 2GB Kingston Hyperx PC2-8500 (overclocked speed) memory modules
    Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Micro-ATX motherboard
    GeForce GTX 460 DirectCU TOP graphics card with 768MB GDDR5 memory (factory overclocked)
    generic PCie USB 3.0 card with internal USB 3.0 header
    128GB Kingston SSDNow V200 2.5" Sold State Drive
    200GB Seagate 3.5" SATA II hard drive
    extra Fractal 120mm front in-take fan (nabbed from my Define R3)
    new Antec VP450P 450W '80 Plus' power supply
    fan splitter cable
    molex to 6pin PCIe video card adapter cable
    Last edited by SUMMONER; 13-09-2014 at 09:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SUMMONER's Avatar
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    • SUMMONER's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0
      • CPU:
      • AMD FX-8320 with a Cooler Master Nepton 280L cooler
      • Memory:
      • 4 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1866
      • Storage:
      • Samsung 850 Pro/830 SSDs, Western Digital Green HDDs and a rather large stack of HP MicroServers
      • Graphics card(s):
      • PNY Geforce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB DDR5
      • PSU:
      • Cooler Master G550M Semi Modular 80+ Bronze
      • Case:
      • Thermaltake Core V71 with 4 x 200mm fans
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7, Windows 10, OSX and Ubuntu
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2 x 23" LG IPS234V monitors mounted on Jetmaster arms
      • Internet:
      • 38Mbit VDSL Broadband via Talk Talk

    Re: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

    The case arrived very well packaged. In fact it was packed twice, once in it's retail box and then into a huge transit box on top of that.



    I love the clean/simple look of the case. While the side window is nicely made, it doesn't actually do anything for me (you are welcome to call me boring).



    The front panel ports/buttons being located at the top/front edge of the case are in just the right place for me to shove the case under the table (just like on my Define R3). On my Define R3 the knob for the fan controller is located on the back of the case, while on the Arc Mini it is very conveniently located next to the power button/USB ports at the front, good thinking Batman!



    The accessory box contained the usual assortment of screws, cables ties etc, just as expected from a mid range product. Notice the nifty little tool to install the standoffs for the motherboard.

    In case that anyone has difficulty identifying the motherboard screws, they are the shiny ones. The matt ones are for the hard drive trays.



    Long gone are the days of my old Antec P160 case with its removable motherboard tray. None the less the Arc Mini R2 proofs spacious and without any sharp edges, that it makes for a very easy installation. Proof being the fact that I did not need the 1st Aid kit after installing the motherboard assembly into the case.



    When I first looked at the new Antec PSU that I had bought for this build (thank you very much to Overclockers UK for the free delivery voucher! ), I was predicting the 2 x 4pin motherboard auxiliary power cables to be way too short. However it turns out that the Arc's cable cut outs are in just the right place to allow for the short cables to be routed around the back with 3-4cm to spare.

    It is also worth noting that unlike on my Define R3 the rubber grommets that cover the edges of the cable cut outs don't constantly come off when you try to stuff a cable through them.



    Talking about the back, I want to make a point of saying how easy it was to put the side panel on after all the cables had been tied down. I still remember what a nightmare it was on my Define R3, involving lots of force and swearing.



    There are 2 x auxiliary 2.5" drive trays located on the back as well. It is worth noting that unlike on previous incarnations installed drives can now be taken off without the palava of having to remove the motherboard assembly first.

    Last edited by SUMMONER; 13-09-2014 at 08:14 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SUMMONER's Avatar
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    • SUMMONER's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0
      • CPU:
      • AMD FX-8320 with a Cooler Master Nepton 280L cooler
      • Memory:
      • 4 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1866
      • Storage:
      • Samsung 850 Pro/830 SSDs, Western Digital Green HDDs and a rather large stack of HP MicroServers
      • Graphics card(s):
      • PNY Geforce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB DDR5
      • PSU:
      • Cooler Master G550M Semi Modular 80+ Bronze
      • Case:
      • Thermaltake Core V71 with 4 x 200mm fans
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7, Windows 10, OSX and Ubuntu
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2 x 23" LG IPS234V monitors mounted on Jetmaster arms
      • Internet:
      • 38Mbit VDSL Broadband via Talk Talk

    Re: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

    When installing the power supply I noticed a substantial rubber grommet that was glued to the inside of the case and of course there is a removable dust filter for the PSU fan. It is those little details that make this such a quality case.



    Hooking up the fans was very easy. The in-built fan controller has 3 connector cables, 2 long ones and 1 short one. I added an additional 120mm intake fan to the front and connected each to its own fan controller cable, leaving just one cable for the 2 exhaust fans in the back/top, which I connected via a simple fan splitter cable. Just a shame that there are no hooks to secure the bundle of tied up fan cables at the front.



    Notice the brilliantly easy to remove front in-take fan filter. On my Define R3 I have to remove 4 screws per fan.



    For whatever reason OCZ felt lazy when designing the heatsink mounting system, which means that on an AMD setup the fan pushes the air to the top of the case, not the back. I know that Arctic Cooling do the same. Silly people I say.




    The ancient motherboard I used in this build doesn't have on-board USB 3.0, so I added a cheap PCIe USB 3.0 card, that also provides an internal USB 3.0 header for the front panel ports.

    Antec didn't think that 2 x 6pin power connectors were needed on a budget power supply, so I had to convert 2 of the molex connectors into a 2nd 6pin connector.



    I removed the middle drive cage, as it was not needed and its absence will improve the air flow from the front in-take fans. I do rather like those Fractal drive trays, they are just like the ones in my Define R3 and fit both 3.5" and 2.5 drives. Just be sure to keep the spare 3.5" hard drive screws in a very safe place, as they are special in every sense of the word.

    Last edited by SUMMONER; 13-09-2014 at 07:36 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member SUMMONER's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Location
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    Posts
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    • SUMMONER's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0
      • CPU:
      • AMD FX-8320 with a Cooler Master Nepton 280L cooler
      • Memory:
      • 4 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1866
      • Storage:
      • Samsung 850 Pro/830 SSDs, Western Digital Green HDDs and a rather large stack of HP MicroServers
      • Graphics card(s):
      • PNY Geforce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB DDR5
      • PSU:
      • Cooler Master G550M Semi Modular 80+ Bronze
      • Case:
      • Thermaltake Core V71 with 4 x 200mm fans
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7, Windows 10, OSX and Ubuntu
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2 x 23" LG IPS234V monitors mounted on Jetmaster arms
      • Internet:
      • 38Mbit VDSL Broadband via Talk Talk

    Re: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

    I am very happy with the new rig. It was quick and easy to assemble, and looks the business. I do very much like the modular design of the drive cages (eg: remove 1, 2 or all 3 drive cages to fit large radiators) and the attention to the little details paid by the designers of the case.

    Would I buy an Arc Mini R2 case? No. Personally I don't find Micro ATX to be a very appealing platform. It is too large for small setups and too small for large enthusiast ones.

    One of the reasons it took me so long to make use of the case was that at the time I had no use for another general purpose tower PC, and it was just far too big to replace my ancient Sony Media Centre PC in the living room.

    I give this case 9 out of 10, as it oozes with quality and attention to detail. The fact that it looks rather nice doesn't hurt it either.

    The case is currently £53 delivered @ Ebuyer.com, now that is what I call a steal!

    Last edited by SUMMONER; 13-09-2014 at 08:57 AM.

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    Re: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

    Superb review thanks!

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    Re: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review (loads of pics!)

    Good review indeed!... will try it

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