Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Case Reviewhornybluecow - December 17, 2013
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Fractal Design ARC Mini R2 Closer Look:
Once you flip the chassis over, it reveals a large dust filter covering both the power supply and extra fan spot. Removing the filter was easy and intuitive; simply pushing down on the back of the filter and pulling at the same time releases the filter. Once the dust filter is cleaned off, you can insert the filter just in reverse of how you removed it.
Continuing the similarities in the ARC series, you can see a metal mesh that doubles as a dust filter while looking at the front. To remove the filter, simply press both top corners and it pops right out. The locking mechanism on the chassis itself and on the filter is made of plastic; this is something I am not fond of and disappointed to see because of the possibility of it eventually breaking. The plastic does not feel flimsy and is hard, which is a good sign of a longer lasting lock, but you still want to be gentle with it. Once the filter is removed, there is an option to install up to two 120mm fans, with one already included. The fans themselves are mounted to the front panel as opposed to being installed on the chassis.
Inside one of the hard drive bays was a long black box containing all of the screws, along with a few zip ties. After opening the box, you will find a huge bag with all the necessary screws. Fractal Design was even kind enough to include four long screws for another front mounted fan. The case also includes a paper manual and a warranty sheet explaining what to do in case of defect. Due to prior feedback, I have given manuals more of a look over. Last time my problem with the XL case was the lack of information. Once again, I have mixed feelings because only four pages were in English explaining nothing more than the outside of the box. I know a few people that this would not go over well with. I understand most people who are building a computer from scratch will not have issues with lack of information, but to some this is a huge problem. At least Fractal Design included a manual, and it does explain in detail what is covered. To me, an ultimate manual would be one that lists what each screw is used for and how to install each part briefly.
In the pictures below, we see how the case wires are routed above the top 5.25" bay, with a bit of extra room on top to spare. The fan wires are long enough to reach the built-in fan controller if you plan to use it. However, it only comes with three connectors. This covers the included fans, but any extra ones will need to be plugged into the motherboard. Usually I have mixed feelings about built-in controllers. On one hand, it is a good thing because most ITX motherboards only have one case fan port. However, the downside is that the company is spending money on a feature not being used. For a small chassis like this, it is a very welcome addition, especially if you are using an ITX motherboard.
Next, looking at the top, from right to left is the 5v/7v/12v fan controller, headphone and mic jacks, power button, and two USB 3.0 ports. The power button is built solid. I did not feel I could break it by pressing too hard or that it would fail anytime soon. This brings me to talk about the power and hard drive access lights. The lights are very bright to me and enough that I want to put tape over them. Fractal Design should dim them down a bit; if the chassis is above or out of sight these bright LEDs will not bother you like it has me.