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Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 FD-CA-ARC-R2-BL-W Computer Case With Side Panel Window

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #93 in Computer Cases

Posted

Pros: Lots of Room, Quiet Running, Attractive Design

Cons: Broken Latch on Front Dust Screen Panel, Mediocre Manual

This is an update of the original Fractal Design Arc Midi. The solid left panel has been replaced by a panel with a plexiglass window and the top USB ports are now USB-3.0. Let me state at the outset that I'm not a gamer (haven't played a computer game since the Tex Murphy franchise ended some years ago) so I don't need to overclock. My computer is principally used for photo editing and sits on top of my work desk about 18 inches away. Thus, I want a machine that is understated in looks (no bright flashing fan lights) and runs quiet. I also need storage options to add more drives as necessary.

Components:
CPU - i5 Ivy Bridge 3470
Motherboard - Ausus P8Z77-V LGA
CPU Cooler - Enermax ETS T40 (really easy to install and is quiet)
Video Card - MSI GeForce GTX 660 (I'm stcking with NVIDIA chips because of my bad experience with ATI; it's also worth noting that Adobe Lightroom which I use for 95% of my editing does NOT require a GPU at present, only certain Photoshop features do)
SSD - Samsung 840 128GB (just after I did my build Amazon had the 256GB Samsung 840 for less than I paid for 128!)
HD - Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB (my case has room for 5 more drives if I ever need them)
Memory - 4x4GB Crucial DDR3 PC3-12800
PS - SeaSonic X650 Gold (get a modular power supply so you don't end up with wires you are not using in your build)
Optical Drive - ASUS DVD/CD RW (I don't watch Blue Ray movies on my computer so I don't need that feature)

Anyone who is a first time builder will be disappointed in the manual that comes with the case but fortunately there are ample resources on the Internet that provide some key information such as the coding for the installation of the motherboard standoffs. I like the removable drive cage which I don't need at this point in time so it's out sitting on my bookcase right now. There is no issue with component installation since there is plenty of room for a standard ATX board to go in with lots of clearance between the edge and the two external bay holders. Cable management is a breeze with grommeted holes in all the right spots and plenty of tie off pins on the back of the motherboard tray to lock down the cables so that the right side panel goes on without a hitch. While purists might object, I ran the PCI power cable to the GPU directly from the PSU without routing it behind, leaving a length of cable exposed for all to see through the window.

Fractal have a three speed fan controller on the top panel that can be used for the three installed case fans. I elected to use this rather than the fan controllers on the ASUS motherboard. I have been running this at the middle setting (7V) and the fans are just barely audible. I cannot hear the Enermax CPU cooler fan at all (but of course under my operating conditions the CPU isn't really stressed all that much). My CPU runs at 27C at this setting (I plan to see how it works at the lower setting). The only really audible noise is from the WD hard drive when it runs but that's not really all that objectionable since it's not used all that much other than running backups or downloading images from my camera.

I only encountered two issues with the case. Since I only installed two drives, I used the lower three drive bay. The bottom drive bay is right on the floor of the case and since ASUS only provided right angle SATA cables, there was stress when I connected the bottom SSD drive. Maybe this would not have been a long term issue but I thought that I would just move everything up a level to alleviate this problem (I didn't have any spare straight SATA cables sitting around). After the build was finished I discovered that one of the latches on the front fan filter was broken and it could not be removed. I contacted Fractal Designs and they sent me two replacements out right away. I haven't done the repair yet as this requires going back in, disconnecting the front fan and removing the optical drive so that I can pull off the front cover. It may be that periodic vacuuming of the filter will work just fine for dust control.

I'm extremely satisfied with this case and would strongly recommend it to others. For those into gaming there is plenty of room for all the components you might need including water coolers if you go that route.
Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 FD-CA-ARC-R2-BL-W Computer Case With Side Panel Window
Description:

Power Supply Mounted: Bottom With Side Panel Window: Yes External 5.25"" Drive Bays: 2 Internal 3.5"" Drive Bays: 8 Front Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out Expansion Slots: 8 180mm Fans: 1 Dimensions: 9.06"" x 18.11"" x 20.28""

Details:
DetailValue
ManufacturerFractal Design
ConditionNew
Model NumberFD-CA-ARC-R2-BL-W
ClassificationCases (Computer Cases - ATX Form)
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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