Fractal Design Arc Midi Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on November 10, 2011


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Fractal Design is a Swedish manufacturer, and their products are easy to find in the US. The Arc Midi is a mid-tower case that comes with eight 3.5”/2.5” bays, three 140 mm fans, and an analog fan controller. Let’s see if it is a good product.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 1: Fractal Design Arc Midi case

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 2: Fractal Design Arc Midi case

The left-side panel has a mesh where you can install a 140 mm or 180 mm fan, which doesn’t come with the product. There isn’t an air filter for this mesh.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 3: Left-side panel

The Front Panel

The front panel of the Fractal Design Arc Midi has a very sober look, with only two external 5.25” bays, which allowed more space for internal bays. The front panel looks like it is made of aluminum, but it is actually made of plastic. The external bays use solid covers, and the bottom one comes with an adapter for you to install an external 3.5” device.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 4: Front panel

Internally, the case has two hard drive cages, and it comes with a 140 mm fan on its front panel, cooling the top hard drive cage. You can install a second 140 mm fan to cool down the bottom cage, or you can move the fan to the bottom if you prefer to cool down the bottom cage instead of the top one. This fan spins at 1,000 rpm and comes with a three-pin connector, and it can be installed on the fan controller that comes with the product. There is an air filter for these two fans.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 5: Front panel

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 6: Front fan

The Top Panel

The top panel is completely meshed, with an air filter. It supports three 120 mm or 140 mm fans at the same time, or one 180 mm fan with one 120 mm or 140 mm fan. The Arc Midi comes with a 140 mm fan installed, which is identical to the front one, spinning at 1,000 rpm and using a three-pin connector. It also can be installed on the fan controller that comes with the product.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 7: Top panel

In Figure 8, you can see the top panel with the top cover removed, where you can better understand the fan configuration.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 8: Top panel

The case comes with two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. The USB 3.0 port uses an internal connector, so make sure you install a motherboard with an internal USB 3.0 header. They are located on the front part of the top panel.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 9: Buttons and connectors

The Bottom and Rear Panels

The bottom panel allows the installation of one 120 mm or 140 mm fan, and the case comes with an air filter that covers this fan and the power supply fan. This filter is easily accessible from outside the case.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 10: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Fractal Design Arc Midi are painted black.

The power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case.

The Fractal Design Arc Midi comes with another 140 mm fan installed on its rear panel, identical to the other two 140 mm fans that come with the product. It also spins at 1,000 rpm and can be installed on the fan controller that comes with the product.

There are seven expansion slots, all with white, vented covers. An eighth slot placed perpendicularly to the expansion slots can be used for installing the fan controller that comes with the product.

This case has two holes using rubber covers for hoses of liquid cooling solutions.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 11: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Fractal Design Arc Midi.

Inside the Fractal Design Arc Midi

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes protected with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and several metallic clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 12: Overall look

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 13: A view behind the motherboard tray

In Figure 14, you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using black thumbscrews. The Fractal Design Arc Midi supports video cards up to 11.4” (290 mm) long, but if you remove the top hard drive cage, this clearance is increased to 18.5” (470 mm). The case supports CPU coolers up to 7.1” (180 mm) tall.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 14: Overall look

The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. Note that it can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it.

If you install a power supply up to 6.7” (170 mm) deep, you can install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel, but if you install a power supply up to 7.1” (180 mm) deep, only a 120 mm fan will fit. As already discussed, the case comes with a single air filter for the power supply fan and for this optional fan.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 15: Power supply compartment

The fan controller, shown in Figure 16, must be installed on an expansion slot. It is a single-channel, analog controller supporting three fans, which means that all fans are controlled through a single potentiometer.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 16: Fan controller

The Disk Drive Bays

The Fractal Design Arc Midi has two external 5.25” bays and eight internal 3.5”/2.5” bays, and you can convert one of the external 5.25” bays into an external 3.5” bay. They don’t have tool-less installation mechanisms, but the case comes with several black thumbscrews for you to install the disk drives, which is terrific.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 17: Disk drive bays

The eight 3.5”/2.5” bays are available inside two hard drive cages. You can remove the top cage in case you need to install longer video cards, or in the event that you want to increase air flow inside the case.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 18: Top hard drive cage removed

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 19: Hard drive cage

Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a small drawer, each one featuring rubber rings to absorb vibrations from 3.5” devices.

Fractal Design Arc Midi case
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Figure 20: One of the 3.5”/2.5” bays

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Fractal Design Arc Midi include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Fractal Design Arc Midi provides virtually all features the savvy user is looking for on a case. It could cost a little less, but we believe that the user who buys this case will be making a good choice.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Fractal-Design-Arc-Midi-Case-Review/1423


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