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Fractal Design Arc Preview

Fractal Design Arc Preview

Manufacturer Fractal Design
Expected on sale in mid-January, 2011

Update, 10:23 GMT: Fractal Design has contacted since we originally posted this article at 8am GMT with new images of the forthcoming Arc case. The images are more shiny, but only significant change seems to be with the roof fan mounts, which now appear to be in a 2 x 4 configuration. We’re unsure of what size these mounts are, but water-coolers might have good reason to get salivating!

We’ve had mixed reactions to Fractal Design’s cases so far – from being seriously impressed with the Define R3 but underwhelmed by the Define XL – but this is hardly a surprise. The Define range was intended to be for quiet computers, meaning that the XL was trying to do too much at once by housing a large, high-end system quietly. Rather than continue with this strategy, Fractal Design will launch a new Arc case that’s ‘optimised for cooling and airflow’. We got a sneak peak the other day.

Fractal Design Arc Preview Fractal Design Arc Preview
The new Fractal Design Arc should be out in mid-January

At first glance, the Arc might not look all that impressive – the curved corners and minimalist looks are typically Scandinavian in design, just as Sweden-based Fractal Design intends. Looking a little closer reveals a zillion options for cooling: there are two 140mm fan mounts at the front of the case, one 120/140mm fan mount at the rear, three 120/140mm fan mounts in the roof (or, alternatively, just one 180mm fan mount) eight fan mounts in the roof (we’re unsure of the size at this moment), a 120/140mm fan mount in the floor and a 140/180mm fan mount in the side panel. Fractal Design didn’t confirm how many of these fan mounts would be filled in the final design.

The Arc will include a fan controller as standard, which will presumably come on an expansion bracket and fit in the oddly positioned expansion slot at the rear of the case. We’d rather it was up front and always usable, thanks.

Fractal Design Arc Preview Fractal Design Arc Preview
Internally the layout looks similar to the R3

Intriguingly, there’s the possibility of fitting up to a dual 120mm-fan radiator into the roof it looks like you might be able to fit two large radiators in the roof. We’re unsure as to how much room there is in the roof of the case to accommodate a radiator and fans.

Fractal Design highlights that the front fascia panel is easy to remove, and it looks as if two 120mm fans will live here, both protected by dust filters. The case has two hard disk caddies, with three of the familiar slid-in drive bays in one and four in the other. The four-bay caddy can be removed, presumably making way for a long graphics card or somewhere to house a reservoir or pump. Above these are two 5.25in bays – possibly on the skinny side if you want to use a bay reservoir, optical drive and large front panel device. If not, there’s a 5.25in to 3.5in bay adapter.

Fractal Design Arc Preview Fractal Design Arc Preview
The familiar white, slid-in drive bays make a reappearance

Above the 5.25in bays there are four USB ports – we’re unsure how many of these will be USB 3, but none have the blue connector that typically denotes the new SuperSpeed standard. This might change by the time the case is released.

So, what do you make of the new design – do you like the looks or do the many fan mounts make you more happy? Post your thoughts in the forums.

Related Reading

Fractal Design Define XL Review
Fractal Design Define R3 Review
Fractal Design Array R2 mini-ITX case review
Fractal Design's future cases