Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Review

Cooling options

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

Cooling options

Although the Mini is badged as a small case you'll still be able to fit any tower cooler up to 165mm in height which should be fine for most needs.  As usual for comparison we've shown it here with the NZXT Havic 120, which as you can see looks perfectly proportioned in there. 

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2     Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

 

And so to water cooling.  Fractal say you can fit a "thick or thin" rad in the roof of either 280 or 360, but let's look at exactly what will and what won't fit and why.  The first critical measurement to look at is the distance from the edge of the motherboard to the roof.  In the case of the Mini R2 this is 50mm.  At first view this isn't enough to fit in any of the decent 240 or 280mm based AIOs on the market as both the Kraken X60 and the H100i both come in a few millimetres over this minimal distance.  Ok you could say that few millimetres won't make any difference and you may well be right but as it happens you're not going to have to worry because as we observed earlier the roof mounting holes are actually off-set to bring the Rad and fan assembly away from the motherboard, and as such the X60, H100i should fi just fine.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2     Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

 

The amount of space available is not however unlimited, being determined mainly by the height of motherboard attached hardware and components.  Below we've popped in our trusty XSPC RS240, which at 35mm thick is about average for a thin radiator.  It's certainly entirely possible to put a 360 of this thickness in but remember you will need to remove the 5.25" bays to do so.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2     Fractal Design ARC Mini R2

 

With the roof mounting holes being off-set there's another critical measurement that needs to be taken into account when calculating just how thick a rad you can get away with, and that's the off-set distance of the holes from the surface of the motherboard, in other words the maximum height of a component on or attached to your motherboard that lies within the plane of the radiator. Remembering that all motherboards vary and that rads also have varying widths, as a guide we'd say if you're using a 120mm rad based system the max height of motherboard hardware allowable is 50mm.  Tall RAM is the item most likely to cause interference so to help we've shown some more ordinary stuff below. along with a few measurements.  This RAM is 32mm tall, protruding  35mm from the motherboard surface when inserted.  As you can see the measurement from the top of the RAM to the edge of the fan/rad is 15mm, so anything taller than 50mm on your mobo in the area of the Rad/fans is going to cause a conflict.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2     Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 

 

The roof isn't the only place a rad will fit in this case though.  Removing both sets of HDD racks and the plastic plinths opens up a considerable space up front, in fact you've got 155mm to play with so a huge thick rad in push pull is an option.   As always though there are a few provisos.  If you don't want to lose your 5.25" bays the  maximum length of the radiator mustn't exceed 272mm.  The Radiator must be based on the 120mm fan and must also have 15mm screw spacing as there's no slotted holes up front.  The 272mm max length might seem quite an arbitrary figure, that is until you look at the lengths of the 240mm AIOs and rads out there, most of which come in just above that magic number.  So if you're looking to put a rad in the front it's pretty much garunteed that the 5.25" bays are coming out.

Fractal Design ARC Mini R2     Fractal Design ARC Mini R2  

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Most Recent Comments

28-10-2013, 07:20:19

superlattice09
A good case but still too large for a m-ATX class IMO Quote

28-10-2013, 07:42:29

Rastalovich
I kinda agree. There is a need for these ones just that much bigger tho.

Good positives for any case manufacturers, is the design that allows the installer to more or less strip the case down to an empty frame. Sure you can still get the elcheapo cases that have all the insides riveted - but the likes of Fractal cases aren't elcheapo. They're decent/great looks, quality construction in the main, and easy to work with in my experience.

Those have been the deciding factors for me choosing Fractal; good price; easy to work with; good design.

This case looks a nice option.Quote

29-10-2013, 14:10:16

Nurf
I actually already have the case, but my build isn't completely ready yet.
If you keep the ODD bays, there is actually a few mm more space than what fractal says. A XSPC RS240 will fit and a EK XT 240 might (hopefully) fit without removing the bays. I still think they should have added 5mm more height so more rads would fit. I pretty sure they tried a H100 and called it a day.
As for the size of the case, a case that can fit 360+240 rads without modding and is this small is quite rare.
I found fans that will be perfect for the fan controller, but I hate having useless things on a case so if I wouldn't use the controller, I'd be annoyed at having it there. Then there is the looks of the case, which I like, but I understand if someone doesn't.
So not a case for everyone, but a good case nonetheless.Quote

29-10-2013, 18:32:36

dalewakelin
Sweet they sorted the plastic looking grill out Quote

30-10-2013, 05:14:16

G-Dubs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurf View Post
I actually already have the case, but my build isn't completely ready yet.
If you keep the ODD bays, there is actually a few mm more space than what fractal says. A XSPC RS240 will fit and a EK XT 240 might (hopefully) fit without removing the bays.

a case that can fit 360+240 rads without modding and is this small is quite rare.
.
Thanks for your comments. You don't need to remove the Optical drive bays to fit a 240mm rad. The EK XT 240 is 47mm thick so although it will fit length ways a lot will depend on the height of you RAM and other mobo attached devices.

Re fitting 360 and 240 without modding. If you want to put a 240 in the front and a 360 in the roof you're going to have to take out all your HDD and ODD bays so although you haven't had to get the dremmel out you have had to modify the interior of the case to accept them. Strange really as had the drives been riveted in you could call it modding but as they can be unscrewed....Well....Quote
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