Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Review

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