Having had 2 products from Fractal Design in quick succession and after the Newton R3 800w power supply did so well in the testing, I had high hopes for the ARC Mini R2 but how did it actually perform? Did the 3 fans that were included keep the i7 4770k cool enough to warrant top spot in our cooling chat? Let’s get started…
Starting with the performance, both thermal and acoustic, the Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 proved to be one of the better cases we tested and in my opinion, coming with 3 fans as standard was always going to make this case a strong contender. The fans themselves are pretty quiet and push quite a bit of air to boot. Speaking of quiet, as the graphs show, the ARC Mini R2 was the quietest so far, even with 3 fans making this case cut the mustard. It was also roughly on par with Aerocool GT-S which won our performance award and for such an M-ATX case, that is a really good showing.
Moving onto the aesthetics and overall design, the ARC Mini R2 is one of the nicest sleek looking Micro-ATX cases you can currently get in my opinion. The side panels are of good quality, the black and white contrasts very well, it has oodles of cable management and can fit pretty much the biggest air coolers on the market inside; that has got to be a massive plus point for a M-ATX case. The subtle design and the ability to house graphics cards up to 11” without removing drive bays shows that this case might be on the small side, but it is big on features.
Given its small stature, it is an absolutely monster for water cooling given its 240/280/360mm radiator support in the top and ability to accommodate a thick 240mm radiator in the front. That is more than ample to cool 1 x CPU and 2 x GPU’s meaning that this rig will have you covered no matter what you put inside. It is rather spacious inside and you could probably get away with 19/13mm tubing if you route it properly and plan accordingly.
Price wise, it isn’t the cheapest M-ATX case on the market and comes in at a costly £70. When you take into consideration its main rival (Corsair 350D), it technically has better water cooling support and is a good £20 cheaper if you plan on buying the windowed case. £20 is quite a difference when it comes to buying a case and could go a long way in helping towards an upgrade on another component. In saying that, £70 for a case with such support, good looks and fantastic performance it wouldn’t be fair to mark it down too much on price, given its price point in comparison to its main competition on the M-ATX market.
Overall the Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 has pretty much every box ticked, good water cooling support, great design, fantastic build quality and top class performance. The only thing that lets it down really is the price and if it were £10 cheaper, it would probably need a brand new award specifically to suit it: it’s that good.
Big thanks to Fractal Design for the sample and I look forward to seeing more in the near future!
The Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 ticks all the boxes for the enthusiast looking for an M-ATX case. It has fantastic water cooling support, amazing air cooling performance and feels like it was built to stand the test of time. 3 word sum up my final thoughts on the ARC Mini R2….Quality, Design and Performance!
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