Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on March 1, 2013


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Fractal Design is releasing a new version of their Arc Midi mid-tower case, dubbed the Arc Midi R2. The first version received our “Golden Award.” Let’s see what is new and if the revamped model also deserves our recommendation.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 1: Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 case

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 2: Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 case

The left panel of the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 has a tinted window, and it doesn’t support the installation of fans. On the previous version of this case, this panel didn’t have a window but had a mesh supporting the installation of a fan.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 3: Left panel

The Front and Top Panels

The front panel of the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 is similar to the one used on the previous version of this case. It looks like it is made of aluminum, but it is actually made of plastic. It has two external 5.25” bays with solid covers and a big mesh with an air filter for the front fan.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 4: Front panel

The case comes with one 140 mm Silent Series R2 fan (1,000 rpm, 66 cfm, 18.5 dBA) on its front panel, and it supports the installation of another 120 mm or 140 mm fan. 

Access to the front fan is much easier on the Arc Midi R2 than on the original Arc Midi. You just need to press the air filter to release it and have access to the fan, whereas on the original Arc Midi you had to remove the whole front panel.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 5: Front fan

The top panel of the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 is completely meshed and has an air filter. It comes with another 140 mm Silent Series R2 fan (1,000 rpm, 66 cfm, 18.5 dBA) installed, and it supports the installation of another two 120 mm or 140 mm fans. The top panel supports the installation of 240 mm radiators. 

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 6: Top panel

The case comes with two USB 3.0 ports and the traditional audio jacks located on the front portion of the top panel. The USB 3.0 ports use an internal connector, which has a USB 2.0 header, so you will be able to use the USB 3.0 ports as USB 2.0 ports in case your motherboard doesn’t have USB 3.0 ports. The case also comes with a three-speed, single-channel fan controller, which supports up to three fans. This is a great addition to this case; the previous version didn’t have a fan controller.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 7: Buttons and connectors

The Bottom and Rear Panels

The bottom panel of the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 has a single air filter that covers both the power supply and the bottom fans.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 8: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 are painted in black.

On the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case.

The product comes with another 140 mm Silent Series R2 fan (1,000 rpm, 66 cfm, 18.5 dBA) installed on its rear panel. This fan can be replaced with a 120 mm model, meaning that you can replace it with a 120 mm or 140 mm radiator of liquid cooling solutions.

There are seven expansion slots, plus one transversal slot for the installation of an I/O bracket or blower (fan to remove hot air from inside the case). Slot covers are meshed and painted white.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 9: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2.

Inside the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2

Both panels are attached to the chassis using black, metallic thumbscrews. The motherboard tray has a huge cutout for you to access the backplate of the CPU coolers without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and several clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties. Another highlight of this case is the clearance of 1” (26 mm) between the motherboard tray and the right panel, allowing you to easily route and store thick cables behind the motherboard tray.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 10: Overall look

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 11: A view behind the motherboard tray

In Figure 12, we get another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using black, metallic thumbscrews. The Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 supports video cards up to 11.4” (290 mm) long on its default configuration or up to 16.9” (430 mm) if the top hard drive cage is removed. The case supports CPU coolers up to 7.1” (180 mm) tall.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 12: Overall look

The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. 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. As shown before, there is an air filter for the power supply fan.

The case supports the installation of a 120 mm or 140 mm fan on its bottom panel. As previously shown, the bottom air filter also covers the mesh for this optional fan.

On the case’s default configuration, you can install power supplies up to 10.6” (270 mm) deep. If you install a bottom 120 mm fan, this clearance is reduced to 7.1” (180 mm), whereas if you install a bottom 140 mm fan, you can only fit power supplies up to 6.7” (170 mm) deep.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 13: Power supply compartment

The Disk Drive Bays

The Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 has two external 5.25” bays and eight internal 3.5”/2.5” bays in two cages. The case doesn’t have tool-less installation mechanisms for storage devices.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 14: Default configuration of the disk drive bays

The Arc Midi R2 provides a very flexible configuration for its hard drive cages. You can remove the top cage to allow the installation of video cards longer than 11.4” (290 mm), or you can rotate it 90°.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 15: Top hard drive cage rotated 90°

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 16: Top hard drive cage removed

The bottom cage can also be removed, but it is attached to the case using regular screws (the top cage is attached to the case using thumbscrews).

Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a small drawer, and they come with rubber rings to reduce the vibration and noise produced by 3.5” hard disk drives.

Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case
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Figure 17: One of the 3.5”/2.5” bays

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 include:

Conclusions

The Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 is even better than the original Arc Midi, and it is a very good choice if you are looking for a well-built case with lots of additional features.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Fractal-Design-Arc-Midi-R2-Case-Review/1744


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