Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Case Reviewhornybluecow - December 17, 2013
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Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Introduction:
Today we take a look at the Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 micro ATX tower. Fractal Design is a Swedish-based company that has popped up in North America this past year. It has been steadily growing while moving into the power supply and computer case markets. Currently priced at $89.95 MSRP, it is the smallest chassis under the Fractal Design ARC series. The Mini R2 falls under the mid range of the competition compared to other micro towers price-wise. In that case, the price has its advantages by adding more features. At this point in my career as a reviewer and prior experience dealing with chassis, I have come to the realization the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" holds true more times than not. This chassis has some hidden gems, so let's dive into this review and see what it has to offer.
Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Closer Look:
Looking at the chassis right away, you can see the similarities to the Mini's big brother, the XL I reviewed earlier this year. Before I get too far into this review, let me clear up the naming scheme that will save some confusion when buying this chassis. When I originally received this chassis for review, I mistakenly thought this was the Midi (not Mini), which supports a full ATX motherboard. While taking pictures, I realized that something did not fit quite right with only four PCI expansion slots. In fact, this is the Mini chassis and not the Midi (surprise). So just be aware that the Mini is for Micro ATX and ITX motherboards.
Alright, now with that cleared up, onward to the review! Looking at the pictures below, the left side panel includes a large tinted side window without a fan mounting option. The right side panel is solid without a window. Next, the front side has two exposed 5.25" bays with a removable mesh covering a 120mm fan, while the back has four expansion slots, a 120mm fan, and space for a bottom mounted power supply.
The top of the case has some of the best features. These features include a removable cover, a built-in fan controller, audio jacks, and a power button. The top also houses two USB 3.0 ports, which have a USB 2.0 connector attached. This is just in case the motherboard only has USB 2.0 ports and is something I haven't seen in anything else so far. Moving along, once you remove the top mesh, you can see the bare bones. The top comes off by removing two thumb screws at the back. After that is done, you are able to install an assortment of fan options all the way to a full 360mm radiator. By default, a 140mm fan is installed as the rear fan.