Fractal Design has taken a good case and made it even better with the second revision. The Arc Mini R2 packs a large amount of potential for water cooling. With the option of a 280mm and up to a 360mm radiator in the roof, along with space for a 240mm radiator in the front, you could pack a large amount of cooling in a relatively small case; all without ever having to bust out the drill or dremel. It goes without saying that the Arc Mini R2 would be a fantastic air cooled case as well, possibly for a file server or NAS with its space for up to six(6) x 3.5” drives.
As with all the Fractal Design cases I’ve had the chance to get my hands on, the build quality of the Arc Mini R2 is nothing short of exceptional. The black finish feels durable. The front panel is plastic, and has a brushed look to it. The top panel is also made from plastic, though not brushed. The plastic used for the top and front panels does not feel cheap or flimsy at all.
I like the minimalistic design of these Fractal Design cases, but also that they don’t really cut corners. There are grommets on all the motherboard tray holes to protect cables, the hard drive trays are made of metal, and they include three(3) Silent Series R2 fans. Including the 3-speed fan controller integrated into the top I/O panel is a nice addition as well. I also like the flush mount window that has been made standard.
Some things I would like to see further improvement on, is a larger cut out for installing CPU back plates, as the current one was not useful for the Maximus VI Gene (and likely other popular boards). A little more space for cable management behind the motherboard would be nice, but 3/4″ should be enough in most cases. A little more of a stretch would be to have the ability to leave the 5.25” drive cage in place, but still be able to mount a taller 240mm radiator; Perhaps a split design to remove only the lower 5.25” bay, so the top could be used for a single bay res, or fan controller. I also prefer fans (and radiators) being mounted to the case rather than the front panel, just so I can remove the front panel without having any wires connecting it to the case.
With a current retail price at the time of review of $99.99 on Newegg, the Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 is an excellent value for the money and, in my opinion, one of the best options out there for out of the box water cooling compatibility.
- Excellent cooling potential for air cooling
- Superb compatibility for radiator options out of the box
- Easily removable 3.5” and 5.25” drive cages
- Great finish and build quality
- Nice pre-installed window
- Integrated 3-speed fan controller
- Very good value for money
- Motherboard tray cut out could be taller
- Fans/Radiators mounted to front panel
The Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 should be a great case for modding. One drawback to the large pre-installed window is that it limits the options for a user installed window, as you’d have to replace the panel or be stuck with a window at least the size of the existing one. The fans mount to the front panel, so modders may need to be careful with front panel mods, to not remove those mounting holes. The Arc Mini R2 presents a very clean look that lends itself well to being modded. The build quality should ensure that modding it won’t adversely affect the integrity of the case (baring any major material removal).
When it came time to give the Arc Mini R2 a rating, there is little doubt in my mind that it deserves a 5 Nanner rating. It is an excellent with few quirks that can easily be worked around. Combine the usual excellent Fractal Design build quality with the comparably low $99.99 retail price (at time of review), and you have an instant winner. Being the second rendition of the Arc Mini, there have been some great improvements added. I think there could be a few more minor improvements, but overall this is a very good case.