Fractal Design Arc XL Full Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design are one of the coolest component manufacturers around and over the years they’ve gone on to win countless awards for their chassis, power supplies and fans. I’ve seen a fair few Fractal Design products in the eTeknix office and I’ve never been anything less than stunned at their flawless design and rock solid build quality. This is especially true of the Arc chassis series and the one I’ll be taking a look at today is supposed to be the biggest and best one yet.

The Arc XL offers solutions for the extreme end of the PC market and with its large size and high specifications comes an equally high price tag of just over £100 here in the UK and around $130 in the US. This is obviously not targeted at your average consumer, but at this price we’ll be expecting high build quality and plenty of features to justify the investment.

As you can see from the specification below, there isn’t much the Arc XL can’t handle, with support for all major motherboard form factors including Mini-ITX all the way up to XL-ATX, plenty of room for 5.25″ drives or similar devices, loads of room for hard drives with 8 storage bays that can hold either 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives, as well as two stealth mounts for 2.5″ drives behinds the motherboard.

Specifications

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, E-ATX, XL-ATX motherboard compatibility
  • 4 – 5.25″ bays
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs
  • 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD positions behind the motherboard plate
  • 9 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 190 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 345 mm deep) can be used
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 330mm in length with the top HDD cage installed – With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 480mm 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
  • Window side panel included
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 572 x 552mm
  • Net weight: 13.8kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 625 x 635mm
  • Package weight: 16.3kg

Three 140mm fans are included, and they’re all high quality Silent Series R2 fans and that certainly adds value for money to the Arc XL. On top of that there is also a fan controller integrated to the case which can run up to three fans.

Cooling system

  • Front: 2 – 120/140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 3 – 120x140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • 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 – 240mm radiators (thick) or 280 and 360mm radiators (slim)
    • Bottom – 120mm radiators
    • Rear – 120 and 140mm radiators

The case comes nicely packaged in a large box, with a clear high contrast image on the front on the box that shows the general design of the case.

Around the back there is a tear down image of the case that shows all the major components and fittings.

In the box you’ll find a nice component box filled with all the screws, bolts and cable ties you’ll need to install all major components as well as an easy to follow installation guide / owners manual.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Micro ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal make some of the best looking chassis on the market, they’re known for their desirable designs and they’ve always done well to back that up with rock solid build quality and premium quality features. It is because of this that we have very high expectations of the ARC Mini R2, Fractal Design have set their own standards incredibly high with ever product they’ve released and we’ll expect nothing less with this new chassis.

Smaller form factor chassis are very popular right now and while micro-ATX isn’t exactly tiny, not everyone wants a 3 foot tall super tower next to their desk, nor does everyone even have the space for such things. Small and mighty is the popular choice these days and that’s exactly what Fractal Design are promising here. Keeping with the theme and style of the rest of the Arc range and priced at £69.99 it looks like a great mid to high-end solution for a compact gaming build and as you can see from the specifications below, it isn’t exactly lacking in features and components support either.

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 motherboard 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 is going to be a big factors for the Arc Mini R2 and with room for four radiators and plenty of fans, this is already sounding like one of the coolest little cases around.

Cooling system

  • Front: 2 – 120/140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 3 – 120/140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • 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

The packaging is a fairly standard box and features a clear representation of the chassis design on the front.

Around the back we have a break down of all the major features and components of the chassis. This details the fans, filters, hard drive bays and more, all of which we’ll be taking a closer look at in a moment.

A small component box contains all the major fittings and fixtures for the chassis.

In the box there was a components bag with all the major screws, bolts and a few cable ties, as well as a simple to read user’s manual, pretty much everything you need to install all major components.

The front panel, was well packaged, with securing tape keeping everything in place and a layer of plastic to protect both sides of the side panel window.

Computex: Fractal Design Show Off Three New “Arc” Chassis Designs

Fractal Designs make some of the best build and designed chassis on the market and from the Node 304 to the Define XL R2 they’ve won many awards not only from us here at eTeknix but from many other reviewers. There are so many reasons why I was looking forward to checking out their new product ranges and it’s safe to say they didn’t disappoint one bit and with the white Node 304 adding some new colour schemes to their range, they also pushed three new Arc chassis which you can see in the image above.

The daddy of the bunch is the Arc XL, which as you can see is a real beast of a case with plenty of radiator suppport, modular storage, plenty of room for extensive water cooling and multi GPU’s and of course the award winning high build quality that Fractal are renowned for.

Behind the motherboard we also find that there are a few stealth mounts for a few extra 2.5″ SSD’s, handy if you took all the HDD docks out to fit a large radiator!

So long as you don’t need all the optical bay you can even fit a 360mm radiator in the top.

A further 240mm radiator in the front too and that’s more than enough cooling for today’s high performance gaming systems.

Next we have the smaller, friendlier and by no means less competent Arc Mini R2 which as you can see still packs the same radiator configuration as the XL, Incredible! Finally we have the system in the middle, the Arc Midi R2 which sits in the middle of the image at the top of this article, literally a mix of both the mini and the XL, offering the same features with a full ATX motherboard support.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex