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Fractal Design Arc Midi Tower

Posted

Pros: Amazing W/C potential (240mm native at the top, 240mm at the front,120 at the rear), Build quality, innovative layouts, removeable HDD cage, quiet

Cons: Hard to remove the side panels, not exactly dust filtered, instead its more like a sponge (keeps out noise I guess)

This is a comparism of the Arc to Define I did in a post. between the Define and the Arc.

Aesthetics: The Fractal Arc is obviously different from the Define. The Define takes a more literal approach to sleekness and places a gloss door onto the front. This makes a very eye-catching on any table, and is really nice to look at. The Arc is sleek yes, but differently. It uses a more subtle design, using a large mesh front and round edges, being understated, appealing, yet telling the world "This case is owned by a guy who doesn't like childish designs". It looks good But, appearance isnt where the Arc shines in.

Building in it:

It is very spacious tbh. Removing the upper HDD cage allows me to move my arm abit more inside and the width of the case allows more freedom as well. BUT, there are a few niggles. For my case (yours might differ), the side panel (with the fan) is extremely tight. Secure it definitely it, even without the thumbscrews holding it in, I dont see how the panel can fall off by itself. So, tough that it is requires a very strong tug to pull out. Next is the PCI slot covers+screws, I installed my mobo fine (missing 1 mobo standoff under it but it is fine), and then my GPU. The GPU is somehow not very well aligned to the screw holes in the Arc. I tried to use the thumbscrews that was orginially there to screw it in, while pushing the GPU towards the end, but it will just not go in. After 15 mins, I had to use another screw (non-thumbscrew) to get the GPU secured. I believe this problem is exclusive to my unit as none of the reviewers or other users reported this issue.

The rubber gromets are very secure, compared to the Define, The HDD cage even without the thumbscrews are amazingly secure, so I didnt screw them in. I literally pulled at the HDD cage without the screw and it still wouldnt budge. The cable management is like the Define amazing, with tons of holes to route your cable through. Your 24pin cable to thick to make a sharp angle turn from the rubber gromet to the plug? Simple, route it through the gigantic hole between the mobo tray and the HDD cage. One huge difference between the Define and the Arc is that there is essentially two times more space behind the mobo tray in the Arc over the Define. which is a huge plus. Even adding a noise insulating foam by yourself on the Arc's panel would still provide a ton more space than the Define.

Features:

This is where the Arc shines and shines again. The case allows for a native 240mm rad that is 60mm thick without modding at the top. This only applies if your RAM isnt taller than the Corsair Vengeance. Why is this amazing you might ask? The more expensive 500r doesnt allow for such set-ups, the 650d doesnt as well (some people say it hits the side of the RAM). The Arc also allows for another 240mm rad at the front. This means that you essentially have enough space for a full dual 240mm loop INSIDE a case that is smaller than the HAF 932 with very little modding. However, this means that you will need to mount your HDD/SSD behind the HDD cage and you will lose the usage of optical bays if you are using sth like a XSPC Rasa kit. But who cares? A dual 240mm setup inside a mid-tower? Epic Win. Air flow is also pretty good with the stock fans. Keeping my GTX 580 Lightning Xtreme only 3 degrees higher than my HAF-X without a side fan. However, the anti-dust fan mesh isnt something I like. It covers the white front fans from being seen, and in theory allows less air to flow through them. What I am planning to do is to remove the mesh completely, while adding 140mm dust filters to the back of the front fans.

In contrast, the Define R3 doesnt allow for such W/C setups and also only allows shorter GPUs to be installed as it doesnt come with the removeable HDD cage. Well, it is targeted for silent computing, so it is fine. But such freedom should be present, as having a silent PC doesnt mean you need to be limited to shorter GPUs. This also due to the fact that much of its length is lost to the door, even though it is as long as the Arc (which allows a 580 Lightning Xtreme to fit in WITH the HDD cage on)

Value:

It is cheaper than the other mid-towers on the market by quite a bit, the 500r, the 932, the 650d, while providing very good build quality with plastic that looks identical to real aluminium LOL, and while allowing very big W/C setups in a small package. The only other case that exudes as much value in this price range is the 690 Advanced. But I prefer the styling of the Arc. So, if you wanna go with silent computing with a limit to how long the GPUs you have are and very little W/C potential as a trade-off, then the Define is good.

If you want, watercooling potential, "silent-enough" air cooling, allow for more GPUs, while having a sleek, doorless look, then the Arc is your go-to choice.

Personally, I am going to mod in a side-window, removing the side fan holes which I think is a great trade-off, considering the fact that, the case is also beautiful and the Arc just deserves one. Or maybe just cutting a CPU-exclusive acryllic window at the top. which will be great for a CPU-only loop.

Verdict for me in the end: Arc
This is a pretty long post, but I hope I did a pretty good comparism, If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this post or PM me about these cases.


Posted

Pros: Dust Filters, Cable Management, Rubber Grommets, Price, Case Feet, Ventilation, Fan Quality, Fan Speed Controller, Quiet

Cons: Only 2 Optical Drive Bays

Working with this case has been a dream! When I first took the case out of the box, I was amazed by the sturdiness of this case compared to how light it was. Almost everything that was meant to be taken apart (side panels, PSU Bracket, Top) used nice Black thumbscrews. The side panels come off very easily and the interior is very spacious. From the looks, it can accommodate watercooling fine. It comes with a whole bag full of screws and extra that you most likely won't even use. It also comes with a cool fan controller that slips right into the vertical expansion slot in the back. It takes up to four fans and it's powered by a four pin molex connector. Installing the brass standoffs and the motherboard was a breeze (I used the Asrock Extreme 4) and everything went very smoothly. I only had to troubles/ confusions with the case: 1. When I tried to install the HDD (3.5"), The rubber anti vibration feet on the HDD cage mounts made the hard drive to far away from the actual hole to mount with the screws that came with the hard drive. Thankfully, in that bag of endless screws, it included what looked like screws meant to be used for that, so I used them, and had no trouble. 2. The Rubber Cable Grommets above the top of the motherboard used for the 8 pin CPU power connector were slightly covered behind the MOBO tray because of the way that the side panel is put on, there is a metal rail partially covering it up which made it a tad harder to get to. Installing the optical drive was not tool-ess, but there were thumb screws for it which I didn't mind. All the front panel plugs, buttons, and lights are on top of the case which was great because for most people who are sitting next to their PC, it is much easier to access them from the top rather then having to lean over. The cooling capability is great, I have my 3570K idling at 29.5 degrees with the stock cooler! It comes with three fans which I am using with the fan controller, and on full speed... barely noticeable, so I've never kept them on a lower speed. It also comes with a 5.25" inch to 3.25" adapter optical drive cover. The fans are 140 mm Fractal design fans at 1000 RPM. I would highly recommend this case to anyone doing any type of ATX build. I know I'll be using it again in the near future to build an office computer!thumb.gif

Posted

Pros: Lots of Space, Good Cable Management, Adaptable Internals, Can support a large radiator

Cons: Plastic Front, Can't Remove Front Filter, Fan Compatability Issues

Overall, this case is amazing and I recommend it to everyone who is looking for a large case with great airflow. I'll leave the description of the case to other reviewers who've done a great job of it so far. Insteand, I'm going to focus on some negative aspects that haven't been pointed out so far.

The great part about this case is the amount of space that is available for use. Not only can you use the largest of heatsinks available, but you can also change to a complicated radiator setup with no modification. The fact that the top can support 240mm with room to spare for 140mm radiators on the back and bottom of makes this case very flexible in regards to cooling options.

The one sad thing is the front intake. The front fan mounts are "snap in" plastic clips with peg mounts to keep down vibration and add stability. While this setup is convenient for installation purposes, it limits fans to box style housing. Although many quality fans fit (I'm enjoying 2 Yate-Loons) it does limit things as some of the highest rated 140mm fans use rounded frames that cannot be held in by the clips. This arrangement also precludes using radiators on the front without major modifications to the case.

The fan filters provided are lightweight and do a good job of filtering the larger dust particles. I don't get dust bunnies, but I do get a thin coating of dust; however it is easy to remove with compressed air. The top and bottom filters are removeable. Unfortunately, if you remove the top filter, you expose the fan support grills underneath and the case definitely looks as if it is "missing something". (Yes that also means that the top fans must deal with both a filter and a grill!) The front fan filter also has a honeycomb grill and a filter, but the grill is the front protection that you see on the outside of the case.

Fractal has designed a wonderful case that targets high-end users with a mid-range cost. The airflow through the case is outstanding due to the number of fan options and the quality cable management system. If you're looking for a new case, you can't go wrong with this one.

Posted
Fractal Design Arc Computer Case Review

by Dark Mantis


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Fractal Design is a Swedish computer hardware manufacturing company that has a very modern outlook and an active approach to making sure that their products fill the right niche and are well advertised so that the market in general is well aware of the components they are offering. It is nice to see a company that has the proactive approach to marketing and not just sitting there waiting for business to come to them. This is obviously of great benefit to their marketing partners.

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As already mentioned Fractal Design doesn't believe in letting the product lines get stale and this is one of their new lineup of cases and is aimed at the business and home user that wants a little bit more in the way of options even if not required right at this moment. Even though compact the upgradability is still there if you need to add more devices or components to your original setup. This case will take a total of eight hard drives each catered for with their own slide out tray and soft silicon rubber mounts to help cut down on vibration that would be otherwise transmitted through the case. This is something that Fractal Design are accutely aware of and do their best to keep it to a minimum level.

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This matt black case with white highlights has nice clean lines and has a business like look that is unassuming but powerful. This is a good thing for the intended market. It will fit in with any decor, business or residential. The main case is slightly larger than the standard oblong box at 230 x 460 x 515mm and weighing in at a reasonable 10Kg, this is heavy enough to be solid and stable but not too heavy as to be practically immovable. The front is designed to look like aluminium but is in fact injection moulded plastic mainly covered in dust filtered, perforated steel. The top third is plain and at the very top is a section with the company logo stamped in negative relief. Directly below this are two external drive bays with the same plain aluminium look as the rest of the front section. Underneath this is an area that will take two(one is supplied) 140mm fans behind that just clip in and has a fixed dust filter attached to the front panel. This doesn't remove for cleaning though.

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On the left hand side panel is a perforated square area made to house an 120 or 140mm fan internally. This would blow directly onto the graphics card part of the motherboard which is especially usefull. This fan is an optional extra. The opposite side of the case is totally plain as would be expected. On the top there are two more fan housings that join together and will accept two 120mm or 140mm fans with a seperate 120 or 140mm fan slightly offset. This would have to be taken into account if you wanted to fit a triple radiator at the top. This could also take a dual radiator on the inside or outside but if fitted internally and one of the thicker (60mm) style of rads used it could impact on the size of CPU cooler etc that could be used.

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At the very front of the top panel are the controls and ports. There is the usual power button with status light(which doubles as a HDD light) that has a really solid feel to it, reset button that has good travel to stop accidental use, microphone and headphone jacks, three USB.2.0 ports and one USB3.0 port. I must say it is nice to see that this manufacturer has actually included one of these latest spec ports as they have been around for months now and are still being ignored by many makers. Not only that but they have actually supplied a motherboard connection for it here as one case I reviewed recently still expected you to use a flying lead to an external USB port, DOH!

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Going round to the rear of the enclosure now there is the cutout for the PSU at the very bottom which helps to keep a low centre of gravity and stops the computer from toppling over easilly. This again has decoupling taken into account. A silicon rubber gasket is fixed onto the inside of the PSU mounting hole and rubber feet to keep it off the floor. Above this are the seven white painted covers for the expansion card slots. There is also a seperate expansion slot cover at 90 degrees to the main ones that is usefull if you have a card that doesn't require a motherboard slot or indeed the bundled fan controller that Fractal Design includes. Next up is the standard space for the rear panel I/O cover with a 140mm fan(included)next to it. This has white blades as are standard with all Fractal Design fans. At the very top are two rubber grommitted holes for the watercooling pipes if that is chosen as the cooling method. On the underside of the case there are two perforated areas adjoining one another. They have a slide out dust filter to help keep the debris out of the intake of the power supply and the machines internals.

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Once opened, the case has a box of fixings and screws with pictures of each on the cover. There is also a drive bay cover designed for a smaller 3.5" drive. Probably the only device now to use this size of fitting is a card reader as there are few people who still use a floppy drive. As previously mentioned there are eight slide in drive mounts that will accept 2.5" SSDs as well as the older 3.5" magnetic hard disk drives. There are special screws that enable the silicon grommets to work best in stopping vibrations too. The driver bays are split into two sections and the uppermost is totally removable or able to be rotated through 90 degrees. This gives some more space for fitting large cards. Maximum size of graphics card that could be fitted once the hard drive tray is removed is 420mm or 16.5"! This is bigger than any graphics card currently on the market at the moment so there shouldn't be any complaints from that side of the business. Even without removal of the top drive bays the chassis will accept graphics cards up to 290mm or 11.5". Right at the top are the two 5.25" external drive bays usually filled with optical devices. There is an optional tray here for the fitting of smaller width devices if required.

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The cables from the front panel are all sleeved and cleanly bundled. All the wires for the fans are covered with braid and then finished at each end with heat shrink sleeving. This makes a nice finish and is much better to look at than bare wires. The fan cables all terminate in three pin plugs so will connect to motherboard headers or a dedicated fan controller. In this respect Fractal Design do include a single controller for three fans that will mount in a spare free expansion slot. It comes with a four pin Molex adapter for connection to the the PSU for power. The manufacturer has included a motherboard tray(not removable) so that good cable management can be adhered to. It also means that CPU changes or swap outs of the cooler can be done without removing the motherboard because of the huge access opening. There are plenty of built in cable tie anchor points in the motherboard tray to fasten the cables in situ. The accessories pack is very extensive and even includes such extras as re-useable cable ties, a motherboard buzzer and a special allen key that is a standard key one end and a crosshead screwdriver the other. This enables getting into tight spots even when the build is completed. All of the edges are nicely finished and there are no dangerous or sharp areas that I could find.

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This case is certainly a good buy and as such is highly recommended. Considering the very reasonable price it is very well designed and equipped. I think that Fractal Design has a winner on it's hands here. I award this Arc midi tower case 9/10.

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Supplier: Fractal Design Website: http://www.fractal-design.com Price: Circa £79.95 dependant on retailer
Fractal Design Arc Midi Tower
Description:

Cooling system Fan controller for 3 fans included 1 front mounted Fractal Design 140mm fan @ 1000rpm included 1 rear mounted Fractal Design 140mm fan @ 1000rpm included 1 top mounted Fractal Design 140mm fan @ 1000rpm included Additional 5 fan slots available for optional fans; one 140mmin front, one 120/140mm in bottom, two 120/140mm in top and one 140/180mm in side panel Top panel can mount either 3x 120mm fans, 3x 140mm fans or 1x 180mm + 1x 120/140mm fans Specifications 8x 3,5 inch HDD trays, compatible with SSD! 2x 5,25 inch bays, with 1x 5,25>3,5 inch converter included On top of front panel: 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 and Audio I/O No PSU included (removable filter below PSU) M/B compatibility: Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX 7+1 expansion slots with sleek white painted brackets Supports graphic card lengths up to 290mm when removable HDD-Bay is in place Supports graphic card lengths up to 470mm without removable HDD-Bay Supports CPU coolers with height of 180mm Supports PSU's with a depth of maximum circa 170mm, when using bottom 120/140mm fan location. When not using the bottom 120/140mm fan location, the case supports also longer PSU's, typically 270mm. Case size (WxHxD): 230x460x515mm with front and top bezel in place Net weight: 10kg

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