Fractal Designs have been in the business for some time now. They have some impressive products on the market through their desire to provide a minimalistic design coupled with well-built units that are always competitively priced.
Back in February of this year we reviewed the Arc Midi V2. This case was an improvement over the previous incarnations and deservedly received the OC3D Gold award - can its big brother, the ARC XL, continue the journey along the golden path? Let's find out.
The Fractal Arc XL is a well thought-out case at a great price, featuring a larger-than-normal internal layout than most cases at this price point supporting up to XL-ATX motherboards and a total of 9 PCI express slots. It also has room for up to a 40mm thick 360mm radiator in the roof and you can easily get an 80mm thick monster 240mm in the front in push pull if you remove or relocate the HDD bay. We were slightly disappointed that there is no 60mm thick 360mm long radiator support in the roof of the case and we think this is a bit of an oversight by Fractal. Giving end users options is never a bad thing when trying to sell a product to the mass market and there is room to be able to get it in there should they move the motherboard or PSU down.
If you're not water cooling, you have the option of two 140mm fans on the front panel, three 140mm fans in the roof, one rear 140mm fan and a 140mm fan in the bottom of the case - again, so many options with cooling thanks to the very generous and well though spacing design.
The smoked side window is a nice touch as we feel it adds to the stealthy approach to the overall design. The case is extremely sturdy and very well built with no awkward movement in the chassis - it's a solid piece of kit.
The cabling options are good with good sized and well placed grommets and cable anchor points meaning routing isn't a frustration. We like the specified SSD drive retaining spaces located on the back of the motherboard tray - these are a nice addition and together with the cable management, you can easily keep the interior visibly clean.
All-in-all, this equates to a great case for a little over £100. It's very well positioned for its pricing model and has all the features and build quality of a case that would normally cost a lot more. It's this point that the watercooling option in the roof could have made such a big impact, if there was support for that magical 60mm radiator we would be saying this is one of the best budget water cooling cases around at the moment. Sadly it doesn't, so we can only say its one of the good ones.
You do need to consider your options when deciding on what case to buy as with any type of purchase for your hard-earned. We at OC3D want to help you make the best decision for that money and as such, we can recommend the Fractal Arc XL as a great future purchase. It's a brilliant case that continues on the path led before it earning itself the OC3D Gold Award.
We would like to thank Fractal Designs for sending the Arc XL in for review discuss your thoughts of the case in our forums.