Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case Review

Posted by on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 8:00am

So, jumping into the first product, we will bring to you will be the new Arc Midi R2. This particular case is an improvement over of an older R2 case or a revision it. The mid tower is geared for individuals looking for style on the outside but able to build the essence of a gamer rig on the inside. Designed with unparalleled cooling, space and various other aspects, we have a feeling that the Arc Midi could be one of the best cases out today.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case Review

Introduction

For the first time we are about to review a product coming from Fractal Design. What's the reason why we are excited about this? Well, Fractal Design is one of the most talked about brand on most forums when it comes to cases. Being somewhat of a newer company, this is saying a lot especially when you have companies like Corsair, Lian Li and others out there which are larger as they are also experienced.

Once we got the call from John at Fractal Design about starting a review partnership, one of the first things I did was run over to their website and took a look at their entire lineup. Next was a big fat YES, we would love to review some Fractal Design gear. Take a look at their products yourself. You will see nothing but style, sleekness, classy and simplistic cases.

So, jumping into the first product, we will bring to you will be the new Arc Midi R2. This particular case is an improvement over of an older R2 case or a revision it. The mid tower is geared for individuals looking for style on the outside but able to build the essence of a gamer rig on the inside. Designed with unparalleled cooling, space and various other aspects, we have a feeling that the Arc Midi could be one of the best cases out today.

Fractal Design's take on the Arc Midi R2

The Arc Midi R2 is developed with high-performance computer systems in mind. Featuring three high performance Silent Series R2 fans and ample water cooling options, the Arc Midi R2 layout maximizes airflow throughout the case and keeps even the most demanding systems at cool temperatures. Designed to house even the thickest radiators in both the top and front panels without extensive modifications, the Arc Midi R2 offers all this within a mid size case.

The chassis comes complete with a stylish window side panel, fan controller, easy to clean dust filters, high level of workmanship, flexible hard drive mounting system and plenty of space for cable routing.


Specifications

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 - 5.25" bays
  • 8 - 3.5" HDD trays - all compatible with SSDs
  • 2 - 2.5" additional SSD positions behind the mothboard plate
  • 7 + 1 expansion slots
  • 7 - Fan positions (3 Silent Series R2 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front, top and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 180 mm tall
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 170 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 270 mm deep) can be used
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 290mm in length with the top HDD cage installed - With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 430mm in length may be installed
  • 26 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 230 x 460 x 515mm
  • Net weight: 10.7kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 320 x 610 x 560mm
  • Package weight: 12kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 1 - hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included); 1 - 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Rear: 1 - hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
  • Top: 1 - hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included); 2 - 120/140mm fans (not included)
  • Bottom: 1 - 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 - integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)
  • Water cooling compatibility:
    • Front – 240 mm radiators (thick and slim) when HDD cages are repositioned or removed
    • Top – 240 mm radiators (thick and slim)
    • Bottom – 120mm radiators
    • Rear – 120mm radiators

Front Interface

  • 2 - USB 3.0
  • Audio in/out
  • Power button with LED (blue)
  • HDD activity LED (red)
  • Reset button
  • Fan controller

Features

  • Designed with high airflow in mind while consistently holding a minimalistic, sleek look and feel
  • Featuring a window side panel to show off your set up in style
  • Extensive water cooling support, designed to support thick radiators in the front and top positions
  • Three Silent Series R2 fans with integrated fan controller included
  • HDD cages are now split 5 + 3 and are both rotatable and removable for maximum configuration and airflow
  • Support for up to 8 hard drive bays with accommodation for an additional 2 x 2,5” inch drives behind the motherboard
  • Easy installation and configuration with ample cable routing space making it simple for everyone to make a very tidy looking computer build
  • Removable fan filters for easy dust maintenance and washing

Closer Look at the Exterior

To begin our review, we will give you the basic aspects of the Arc Midi R2 before heading into the visual appearance of the case. To start with, the case stands just 18.1" tall and from this point you can see the case isn't very tall. But at 20.2" in length, a lot of the room is recaptured. Weighing at 23.6 pounds, the case isn't light but it's sturdy and should last you a long while.

Looking at the front panel you see why we say the Arc Midi R2 is sleek and classy. The appearance is minimal just like how many like it. This could put the case in the class of some Lian Li and Silverstone cases as well as others more like it. But the rounded edges do add to gracefulness of the case. Don't let the image fool you this panel is made of plastic and not aluminum.

The front consists of just two bays which are 5.25" slots. For many, this is more than enough. They could be used for a water-cooling reservoir, optical drive or some sort of digital media reader. Since many aren't using any optical drive and with the fact that most devices can be plugged right into USB ports of the PC, the two latter devices are expendable.

The lower half of the front panel is a long slender mesh grill. The grill can be removed from the case simply by pressing in on the top edge. Behind it is a single black with white bladed 140mm fan. As you can see, there is individual spacing to add another fan up to the same size.    

Turning our attention to the top of the case, we see here the case remains pretty simple. The edge of the Arc Midi R2 consist of reset button, audio jacks, power button and LED, dual USB 3.0 ports and a fan controller. The fan controller is capable of handling three fans. The available fan control modes are 5v, 7v and 12v.

The mesh screen is on a separate panel from the I/O ports and is fully removable. Underneath is another 140mm fan and plenty of room for dual fan radiators up to 240mm.

Unlike the original Arc Midi, the R2 does come with a windowed side panel.

The left panel is simple solid.

The seven white vented expansion slots is evidence that the case is designed for motherboards up to ATX sizes. There is a single vertical slot for whatever cards or fan rheostats. And like the top and front, there is a third 140mm fan included in the rear and all the fans spin at 1000 RPM.

To add to the ventilation of the case, there is a long dust filter located on the bottom of the case. Sliding it to the rear will allow you to remove it from the case and clean it when necessary.


Closer Look at the Interior

Looking at an overview of the interior you can see the layout is rather standard by today's standards. We have an all black structure with white accents which would be the drive racks. Nice touch.

In the center of the motherboard tray is a cutout for the CPU cooler. It isn't the largest we have seen in a mid-tower but should do the trick. Five rubber protected cutouts align the motherboard to route cables to the back.

Behind the motherboard tray is about an inch of clearance for the securing of any extra cables.

The optical drive bays are apart from the HDD cages.

The HDD cages are divided into two. The top one can be removed if you need space for larger video cards. The bottom HDD cage can also be removed if you decided not to use the cages at all. With the top cage in use, the longest GPU supports will be 11.4" and with it removed would support as long as 16.9".

Each white painted tray can support a single 2.5" or 3.5" drive.

You can choose to mount two 2.5" behind the motherboard if you want to do without the HDD cages.

Here we have interior shots of the rear 140mm fan and expansion slots.

The PSU is designed to be located at the bottom of the chassis. The Arc Midi R2 will support power supplies as long as 10.6". Another 120mm or 140mm can be installed in the bottom of the case as well.

Looking at the top there is plenty of room for a water-cooling radiator.


Build Images

There isn't too much to comment when it comes to building a rig with the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 case. Everything went fine as I would want them which were without any major hassles. The only thing we could nitpick about was installation of the motherboard standoffs which wasn’t as smooth as some of the other cases we have reviewed. But the socket tool that came with the case made this a real non-issue.


Conclusion

I had about as much pleasure building around this case compared to those that sells for $149, plenty enough for a case that cost half of other similar cases. Fractal Design did everything you can think so to many, the Arc Midi R2 one of the best cases on the market within such price ranges.

It all begins with the overall exterior styling. The case is simplistic and this is what appeals to most nowadays, just look at the direction other case manufacturers are headed. For a long time, it was about the rigged gamer look. Everybody did it. But in order to get something close to the Arc Midi R2, you had to spend quite a few more pennies. Now many of these same companies are trying to do what Fractal Design has been doing all along. Present the people with class and style.

Internally, we loved the looks of the case with its modest white accents. The Arc Midi R2 offers plenty of room for multiple long video cards. There is loads of space for storage drives and you can also house very large air-coolers. One particular group of people that would love this case would the water-cooling crowd. The Arc Midi R2 can support dual 240mm in the top or in the front of the case without modding. Yes, you will have to remove the HDD cages if you want to add a radiator there but who really cares.

There are many features of the Arc Midi R2 to look at and we will not discuss them all in the conclusion so you will have to read the entire article. But one more that we would like to touch on is the fan support. The case comes with three quality 140mm cooling fans and three more can be added making the air circulation and ventilation ideal. And to add to that, three of the fans can be controlled by the top mounted controller.

At $99, you get a lot for less and we would recommend this case to anyone.

{aseadnetadblock|Fractal Design Arc Midi|Fractal Design} 

Category: 

Linode VPS Hosting