Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Review: Improving On A Classic Case

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f-14

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Solution: buy some rubber toilet grommets or faucet washers from your local hardware store price will range from 25 cents to a little under a dollar and the problem is solved.

Some Notes and Recommendations about Replacing the Fans

Let's say everything else about the Arc Midi R2 is ideal for you, and you simply want to replace its fans.
 

dish_moose

Splendid
I think a fan that vibrates when pointed down is an inferior product. I had to replace the fan on my Antec 302 for the same reason - drove me crazy. As for beauty over function - I would much rather keep my GPU cool that have a "pretty" side window.
-Bruce
 

SchizoFrog

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Who puts a fan in the roof of a case to blow downwards? Surely the roof is best used as an exhaust and it was specifically mentioned about the fan blowing downwards. Personally I think I would be likely to buy a full set of fans so that I can fill all the fan mounts with the same design range and then keep the stock fans as emergency spares.

As for keeping the GPU cool, I don't that is an issue with 2 the fans in the front creating perfectly adequate airflow to keep the GPU cool unless you are using multiple GPUs. Although in time I would probably mod the window and inserting an extra fan there as that isn't a hard job to do.
 

cjny71

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Regarding the change from a side panel with a mesh vent to a window, I am not sure if this would make much of a difference to GPU cooling. I have the original Fractal Midi and I wanted to isolate noise a bit more, so I swapped the side panels so that the vented one is on the back of the mother board side. I had also installed 1 extra 140 mm fan in the bottom of the case blowing up to draw in cool air underneath. I did this before swapping the side panels. All of my 140 mm fans are turning at 700 rpm. Surprisingly I noticed that in this configuration the GPU was slightly cooler (1-2 C) at idle and under load with the solid panel on the right / GPU side, and the noise seemed a little lower. CPU temps did not change. I would have to guess that the mesh hole provides an escape port for air and the GPU fan has to work harder.
Heat Sources: i5-3570K @ 4.4 GHz, Hyper 212 EVO, EVGA GTX 560Ti @ 900 MHz, 3 WD Cavier Black HD
 

RazberyBandit

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The Arc Midi 2 and Define R4 use an identical core case design. The only design differences are found in the front and top panels. (Both are mesh in the Arc Midi 2, while the Define R4 has a front door and sound-proof material fan opening covers for the top fan openings.)
With Define R4's often available for roughly $85 (on sale) and Arc Midi 2's typically about $65 online, I find the $20 additional cost for the sound-proofing included in the Define R4 models a very worthwhile investment.
 

InvalidError

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Does your GPU have its fan at one end of the card and exhaust directly outside through the rear bracket? If it does, the reason you see lower GPU temps is likely that the slightly more positive (or slightly less negative) pressure in the case from going solid makes the GPU's HSF a little more efficient at shoving warm air out of the case. Cards with "mid-mount" fans may also benefit from this due to slightly increased vertical airflow between the GPU's top edge and case panel carrying warm air up through the case faster.

That is what I like to call structured airflow. Placing fans in the most effective places and shutting off meshed areas that allow air to escape without contributing to net cooling can achieve superior results with much less meshed area and fewer fans.
 

basketcase87

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Side fans don't always help GPU temps, they can even hurt temps in some cases by interfering with the airflow from the GPU fan. It really depends on the case and GPU (and whether or not the front intakes do anything for the GPU), but saying categorically that having an intake there will improve GPU temps is certainly not true.
 

fat_panda

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It deserves a "Smart Buy" Award. Arc Midi R2 offers much more for the price than the competition while often being on sale for $65.
 

dudewitbow

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in an idealist situation, the top panel fans should indeed be exhaust, but there are people in the rare occasion who want to focus on CPU cooling rather than the rest of the build, this generally calls for Watercooling with top intakes instead of top exhales. There's a moderately large temperature change when alternating the fans directions, the negative impact would be directly adding dust into your system, which can be cured by a decent air filter and regular maintenance.
 

SirGCal

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I actually have this case and a 280mm radiator will not fit even though the fans themselves will fit just fine on the top. (Corsair H110) For a fact, it does NOT fit properly. I had to get really creative to mount it to the top. (hoses won't fit to the front for this unit and also I couldn't see how to mount it there honestly). In the end the radiator is held up in the center of the top area, not the 'mounting' area, with only three screws through the metal mesh area. Fans are on the bottom of the radiator blowing up. It would not fit any other way. Rather PITA honestly. Other parts of the case cause the unit to not fit. Also this is with better (stock fans for this unit suck) and slimmer fans also.

Otherwise I very much like the case.
 

dish_moose

Splendid
Basket - there will always be exceptions - In many instances getting cool air from the side - not passing over any HHDs etc, will result in cooler GPU temps. In my case with SLI GTX 460 it is critical if I want to max out my cards. I was just stating my opinion - and I still think vents in the side are a must for any mid to High Performance gaming system.
-Bruce
 

Alan_G

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This is my workstation case and I've not tinkered with the case fans and have not seen the need to run them above the medium (7V) setting. In fact, when the weather is cool, I turn it down to the low (5V) setting. For photo editing and routine work, I've not seen CPU temperatures rise more than about 5C above ambient RT. I have only one game, Metro Last Light, that came with my NVIDIA GPU and when playing it temps seem to be OK as well (though a little higher obviously). CPU is an i5 Ivy Bridge cooled by an Enermax ETS-40 which also runs quiet. Personally I think this is a great case and if I do any ATX builds in the future it's the case I'll pick. Good cooling and runs pretty darn quiet even though it doesn't have any special padding inside. It's also really easy to build in.

I did have a defective release clip for the front fan filter and an email to Fractal Designs support was answered right away and they sent me a replacement free of charge.
 

RedJaron

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If they had to change the side panel, I would've preferred a solid panel for noise isolation and to retain the minimalist looks.

Very happy to see the thumbscrews on the 5.25 bays. Most snap locks now still have some give when you hit the eject button on a DVD drive. I don't like that so you still have to use screws anyway. Easy thumbscrews gets major points from me.
 

Alan_G

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This is my workstation case and I've not tinkered with the case fans and have not seen the need to run them above the medium (7V) setting. In fact, when the weather is cool, I turn it down to the low (5V) setting. For photo editing and routine work, I've not seen CPU temperatures rise more than about 5C above ambient RT. I have only one game, Metro Last Light, that came with my NVIDIA GPU and when playing it temps seem to be OK as well (though a little higher obviously). CPU is an i5 Ivy Bridge cooled by an Enermax ETS-40 which also runs quiet. Personally I think this is a great case and if I do any ATX builds in the future it's the case I'll pick. Good cooling and runs pretty darn quiet even though it doesn't have any special padding inside. It's also really easy to build in.

I did have a defective release clip for the front fan filter and an email to Fractal Designs support was answered right away and they sent me a replacement free of charge.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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Yes, except the define cases still have a fan grill on the side walls. I mean a completely solid side wall, no mesh, no grill, for extra quiet.
 

TheBigTroll

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there is like a massive block on the inside that covers the mesh part. i know what you mean, but still, it was meant so that some people could change around the acoustics of their case with that option
 

RazberyBandit

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Windowed models have no side-fan opening, and they are almost just as quiet as their standard brethren.
 

Phillip Wager

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Who puts a fan in the roof of a case to blow downwards? Surely the roof is best used as an exhaust and it was specifically mentioned about the fan blowing downwards. Personally I think I would be likely to buy a full set of fans so that I can fill all the fan mounts with the same design range and then keep the stock fans as emergency spares.As for keeping the GPU cool, I don't that is an issue with 2 the fans in the front creating perfectly adequate airflow to keep the GPU cool unless you are using multiple GPUs. Although in time I would probably mod the window and inserting an extra fan there as that isn't a hard job to do.
Who puts a fan in the roof of a case to blow downwards? Surely the roof is best used as an exhaust and it was specifically mentioned about the fan blowing downwards. Personally I think I would be likely to buy a full set of fans so that I can fill all the fan mounts with the same design range and then keep the stock fans as emergency spares.As for keeping the GPU cool, I don't that is an issue with 2 the fans in the front creating perfectly adequate airflow to keep the GPU cool unless you are using multiple GPUs. Although in time I would probably mod the window and inserting an extra fan there as that isn't a hard job to do.
i bought mine and it was delivered with the top fan blowing up to exhaust this must have either been a defect or a review peice that tom's has to share with other jurnalists and the last jurnalist flipped the fan
 

Phillip Wager

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i bought this case and my only complaints are fairly small, number one is that my case came with no instrucitons and by reading this review none do. i had to visit website to find some info but the instrucitons are very short (i had to look up how the front panel comes off i just couldent figure it out by looking at it) also having to remove those good looking covers on the 5.25 bays was a real let-down for me i did not know this before purchasing however it is not a total dealbreaker considering the many other good qualities.lastly with the "smoked" side panel it is very hard to see your components so it would be good if the case came with some sort of lighting or had a more transparent window. My fans did not have any vibration issues and while the case fans are slightly noticeable when the pc is turned on it is easilly livable for me coming from a cheap case with cheap 120mm fans that were loud. if you want absolute silence then you either are going to to with very little to no fans or you are probably going to change out all of your case fans anyways. lastly, this thing is pretty big it is wider than any case i have ever seen (due to the top fans being offset to fit wide radiators up top) also its height is really stretching the definition of the term "mid-tower" the full size fractal is not much larger and also there are a few "full towers" that are close to the same size such as the nzxt source 530 that offer a bit more internal room. overall i got my case on sale and purchased it for around $70 dollars new so i honestly can't complain considering i paid 60 for my old case and it is a real crap box. the removeable front hard drive rack (i mounted my HDD in one of the external 5.25 bays useing a cheap adaptor) and the space for so many fans radiators was a huge bonus i just wish that the case came with some sort of lighting and they somehow was able to make the case a bit smaller (maybe they can do another case just like it only with 120mm fans to save on space)
 
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