Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

 

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Final Thoughts:

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Motherboard tray cut out could be taller
  • Fans/Radiators mounted to front panel

Modability:

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).

Rating:

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.

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28 thoughts on “Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

  1. Very nice review Jesse. I’d love to play with one of these. I’ve still got ideas for a Fractal case that one day I want to do. Love the fact that they put the SSD mounts on the back of the tray.

  2. Another win from Fractal!!!
     
    It will take a shrouded front and backed 240 Monsta rad in the front easy; my only criticism is it would be further improved if it could accommodate a 45mm or 60mm thick 360 radiator in the roof.
     
    Great review Jesse.

  3. Another win from Fractal!!!
     
    It will take a shrouded front and backed 240 Monsta rad in the front easy; my only criticism is it would be further improved if it could accommodate a 45mm or 60mm thick 360 radiator in the roof.
     
    Great review Jesse.

     
    Agreed, but I will say its nice to see the ability to install thick rads up top. Specially 45mm. But for the price, I don’t think I can complain much.

  4. A 240 45mm deep radiator in the roof is certainly a win mate I agree, further the Fractals are a really well built chassis (I had one of the original Arc Midi’s).
     
    The thing that sets Fractal apart from other manufacturers IMHO is that they actually listen to what the modding/enthusiast market wants from their products.

  5. A 240 45mm deep radiator in the roof is certainly a win mate I agree, further the Fractals are a really well built chassis (I had one of the original Arc Midi’s).
     
    The thing that sets Fractal apart from other manufacturers IMHO is that they actually listen to what the modding/enthusiast market wants from their products.

     
    The top on this case does support a monsta 240, just not a 360 rad more than 30 ~ 35 mm thick. 
     
    There are 2 sets of 120mm fan mount holes on the top that are offset to allow for a thick rad installation. 

  6. Great job Jesse! Very Proud to be part of a hardware community review site that doesn’t do generic case reviews. Jesse remains the only reviewer to include liquid cooling loops in the case reviews.  
     
     
    *will be sharing VERY exciting news regarding Fractal and exclusive opportunity they may be giving our community.

  7. Another great review Jesse. Great read.

     
    Thank you sir, glad you guys like it.
     

    Great job Jesse! Very Proud to be part of a hardware community review site that doesn’t do generic case reviews. Jesse remains the only reviewer to include liquid cooling loops in the case reviews.  
     
     
    *will be sharing VERY exciting news regarding Fractal and exclusive opportunity they may be giving our community.

     
    I try my best to include water cooling in my reviews. I approach them the way I would build my own system. And I know I would water cool everything lol.

  8. Fractal has confirmed that they would like to do a new cooperative promotion with their cases and members of the mod zoo, I will be posting all of the details soon!

  9. Fractal has confirmed that they would like to do a new cooperative promotion with their cases and members of the mod zoo, I will be posting all of the details soon!

     

    Very intriguing, looking forward to hearing more about this.

  10. Excellent review Chris (as always).
     
    The finest MATX case available for it’s price bracket IMO, it puts to shame some of the more expensive offerings on the market that’s for sure.
     
    As you’ve stated a few minor niggles but on the whole a modders blank canvas with the versatility on offer.
     
    Keep doing what your doing Fractal!! 

  11. Hey Mos, is the front mesh panel and the drive bays the same width? Or is there a slight difference? I can’t really tell in the pic. Jesse may be able to answer that as well assuming that the ARC XL is somewhat similar.

  12. Thanks guys :) It’s definitely a nice case.

    Zophar, I’ll take a look tonight, and give you some measurements. My gut is no (not the same width) for the case opening, based on my knowledge of the Define Mini I modded, but that’s just a guess at this point. If you’re asking just about the front panel, then I don’t know, but will check both :)

  13. Nice review Jesse!  Love the way you show all the details of the case. 
     
    Fractal do make great cases.  Have a Define R2 and R4. 

  14. got the case in and i love it! got it monday night here are some pics. ill post better ones when i have a bit more time. family stuff and all   
     
     
    1525095_10151789250411644_1702089880_n.j
     
    1504024_10151789917966644_655681373_n.jp

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