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Fractal Design Arc Case Review

Dark Mantis

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Fractal Design Arc Case Review
« on: September 26, 2011, 02:05:29 pm »
Fractal Design Arc Computer Case Review

by Dark Mantis








Fractal Design is a Swedish computer hardware manufacturing company that has a very modern outlook and an active approach to making sure that their products fill the right niche and are well advertised  so that the market in general is well aware of the components they are offering. It is nice to see a company that has the proactive approach to marketing and not just sitting there waiting for business to come to them. This is obviously of great benefit to their marketing partners.







As already mentioned Fractal Design doesn't believe in letting the product lines get stale and this is one of their new lineup of cases and is aimed at the business and home user that wants a little bit more in the way of options even if not required right at this moment. Even though compact the upgradability is still there if you need to add more devices or components to your original setup. This case will take a total of eight hard drives each catered for with their own slide out tray and soft silicon rubber mounts to help cut down on vibration that would be otherwise transmitted through the case. This is something that Fractal Design are accutely aware of and do their best to keep it to a minimum level.







This matt black case with white highlights has nice clean lines and has a business like look that is unassuming but powerful. This is a good thing for the intended market. It will fit in  with any decor, business or residential. The main case is slightly larger than the standard oblong box at 230 x 460 x 515mm and weighing in at a reasonable 10Kg, this is heavy enough to be solid and stable but not too heavy as to be practically immovable. The front is designed to look like aluminium but is in fact injection moulded plastic mainly covered in dust filtered, perforated steel. The top third is plain and at the very top is a section with the company logo stamped in negative relief. Directly below this are two external drive bays with the same plain aluminium look as the rest of the front section. Underneath this is an area that will take two(one is supplied) 140mm fans behind that just clip in and has a fixed dust filter attached to the front panel. This doesn't remove for cleaning though.







On the left hand side panel is a perforated  square area made to house an 120 or 140mm fan internally. This would blow directly onto the graphics card part of the motherboard which is especially usefull. This fan is an optional extra. The opposite side of the case is totally plain as would be expected. On the top there are two more fan housings that join together and will accept two 120mm or 140mm fans with a seperate 120 or 140mm fan slightly offset. This would have to be taken into account if you wanted to fit a triple radiator at the top. This could also take a dual radiator on the inside or outside but if fitted internally and one of the thicker (60mm) style of rads used it could impact on the size of CPU cooler etc that could be used.







At the very front of the top panel are the controls and ports. There is the usual power button with status light(which doubles as a HDD light) that has a really solid feel to it, reset button that has good travel to stop accidental use, microphone and headphone jacks, three USB.2.0 ports and one USB3.0 port. I must say it is nice to see that this manufacturer has actually included one of these latest spec ports as they have been around for months now and are still being ignored by many makers. Not only that but they have actually supplied a motherboard connection for it here as one case I reviewed recently still expected you to use a flying lead to an external USB port, DOH!







Going round to the rear of the enclosure now there is the cutout for the PSU at the very bottom which helps to keep a low centre of gravity and stops the computer from toppling over easilly. This again has decoupling taken into account. A silicon rubber gasket is fixed onto the inside of the PSU mounting hole and rubber feet to keep it off the floor. Above this are the seven white painted covers for the expansion card slots. There is also a seperate expansion slot cover at 90 degrees to the main ones that is usefull if you have a card that doesn't require a motherboard slot or indeed the bundled fan controller that Fractal Design includes. Next up is the standard space for the rear panel I/O cover with a 140mm fan(included)next to it. This has white blades as are standard with all Fractal Design fans. At the very top are two rubber grommitted holes for the watercooling pipes if that is chosen as the cooling method. On the underside of the case there are two perforated areas adjoining one another. They have a slide out dust filter to help keep the debris out of the intake of the power supply and the machines internals.







Once opened, the case has a box of fixings and screws with pictures of each on the cover. There is also a drive bay cover designed for a smaller 3.5" drive. Probably the only device now to use this size of fitting is a card reader as there are few people who still use a floppy drive. As previously mentioned there are eight slide in drive mounts that will accept 2.5" SSDs as well as the older 3.5" magnetic hard disk drives. There are special screws that enable the silicon grommets to work best in stopping vibrations too. The driver bays are split into two sections and the uppermost is totally removable or able to be rotated through 90 degrees. This gives some more space for fitting large cards. Maximum size of graphics card that could be fitted once the hard drive tray is removed is 420mm or 16.5"! This is bigger than any graphics card currently on the market at the moment so there shouldn't be any complaints from that side of the business. Even without removal of the top drive bays the chassis will accept graphics cards up to 290mm or 11.5". Right at the top are the two 5.25" external drive bays usually filled with optical devices. There is an optional tray here for the fitting of smaller width devices if required.







The cables from the front panel are all sleeved and cleanly bundled. All the wires for the fans are covered with braid and then finished at each end with heat shrink sleeving. This makes a nice finish and is much better to look at than bare wires. The fan cables all terminate in three pin plugs so will connect to motherboard headers or a dedicated fan controller. In this respect Fractal Design do include a single controller for three fans that will mount in a spare free expansion slot. It comes with a four pin Molex adapter for connection to the the PSU for power. The manufacturer has included a motherboard tray(not removable) so that good cable management can be adhered to. It also means that CPU changes or swap outs of the cooler can be done without removing the motherboard  because of the huge access opening. There are plenty of built in cable tie anchor points in the motherboard tray to fasten the cables in situ. The accessories pack is very extensive and even includes such extras as re-useable cable ties, a motherboard buzzer and a special allen key that is a standard key one end and a crosshead screwdriver the other. This enables getting into tight spots even when the build is completed. All of the edges are nicely finished and there are no dangerous or sharp areas that I could find.







This case is certainly a good buy and as such is highly recommended. Considering the very reasonable price it is very well designed and equipped. I think that Fractal Design has a winner on it's hands here. I award this Arc midi tower case 9/10.



Supplier: Fractal Design      Website: http://www.fractal-design.com         Price: Circa £79.95 dependant on retailer
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
HX850
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
Blu-Ray
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
HCP1200W
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy

Grozdan

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Re: Fractal Design Arc Case Review
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 12:31:43 pm »
Excellent review! I must say I'm a big fan of Fractal Design cases...
AMD PII X4 955BE feat. CM 212+ Push Pull, GB GA-790XTA-UD4, 2*2 GB Mushkin Silverline Stiletto, GB GeForce GTX 460 768MB Windforce 2, 2* WD 640 GB Black in Raid0, Seasonic SS-620GM, Silverstone Precision PS-05B Black, Samsung P2450H, Logitech G510 + G9 + Z2300 + X-530

Dark Mantis

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Re: Fractal Design Arc Case Review
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 12:37:05 pm »
Glad you liked it Grozdan. I must say I was impressed by this case and it was similar although much better all round than the Core 3000 which is like a smaller brother. The quality of the design and build for the price was excellent.  8)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 01:29:48 pm by Dark Mantis »
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
HX850
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
Blu-Ray
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
HCP1200W
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy

Re: Fractal Design Arc Case Review
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 09:38:04 am »

I really appreciate that you took all this time to try and help us. Keep up the good work. Post very nicely written and it contains useful facts.

 

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