Fractal Design Arc Mini Review

Written by Paul Goodhead

June 22, 2011 | 12:04

Tags: #air-cooling #arc #best #case #components #coolest #lan #lan-gaming #m-atx #micro-atx #portable

Companies: #fractal-design

Internals Continued

The cable-routeing options available in the Arc Mini are plentiful, with copious amounts of rubber grommet-lined routeing holes dotted around the motherboard tray. The case also has adequate room behind the motherboard tray for routeing or hiding even thick PSU cables.

Meanwhile, the roof of the case has two 120/140mm fan mounts, one of which has a fan attached. Interestingly, you can use these mounts to attach a dual 120mm-fan radiator internally, although it will be very close to the motherboard once installed and fitted with fans.

Fractal Design says that the mount can accept half-height radiators with a depth of up to 50mm with relatively little fuss, as long as you don’t have ostentatious heatsinks on your memory modules. A radiator of this size isn’t going to be able to cool an overclocked CPU and graphics card, but it should keep one or the other in check quite admirably.

Fractal Design Arc Mini Review Arc Mini Performance Analysis and Conclusion Fractal Design Arc Mini Review Arc Mini Performance Analysis and Conclusion
Click to enlarge

Helping the 140mm roof exhaust fan is a rear-mounted 120mm exhaust fan and a single 120mm intake fan, located at the front of the case in the upper front panel mount. This arrangement provided good cooling for our test hardware, but if you feel that you need more cooling, the Arc Mini can take up to seven fans in total if you fill all the mounts.

Performance Analysis

The case proved to be adept at cooling our hot-running, overclocked components. After an hour at full load, the CPU delta T peaked at 54˚C, a result that’s just 2˚C behind the Antec Mini P180 at its noisy maximum fan speed setting, and 7˚C warmer than the more expensive FT03.

In terms of graphics card cooling, the Arc Mini matched the FT03 with a peak GPU delta T of 46˚C. The honours were split again when it came to PSU temperatures, though, as the Arc Mini cooled the PSU to the same 4˚C delta T as the FT03.

Fractal Design Arc Mini Review Arc Mini Performance Analysis and Conclusion Fractal Design Arc Mini Review Arc Mini Performance Analysis and Conclusion
Click to enlarge

The Arc Mini is also impressive when it comes to noise, despite the case being labelled as a high-airflow model. This good result is largely down to Fractal Design using the same excellent Silent Series fans in the Arc Mini as it does in its Define cases. They run faster in the Arc Mini, but they still remained very quiet.

Conclusion

The Arc Mini is one of the most user friendly micro-ATX cases we’ve seen to date. It was very easy to assemble a tidy PC inside, due to its thoughtfully placed routeing holes and large gap behind the motherboard tray.

The Arc Mini also provides good cooling, looks smart and is relatively quiet during operation as well. As a result, it’s the most balanced micro-ATX case we’ve tested. Granted, the FT03 may have more wow factor and the NZXT Vulcan is smaller, cheaper and more portable, but for a micro-ATX case that you want to use every day, the user-friendly Arc Mini is a cut above the rest.
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  • Cooling
    26 / 30
  • Features
    17 / 20
  • Design
    28 / 30
  • Value
    18 / 20

Score guide
Where to buy

Overall 89%
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