Fractal Design ARC XL Reviewhornybluecow - October 8, 2013
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Fractal Design ARC XL Advanced Features
Normally a chassis does not require a page dedicated to all its extra features, but this time I felt it was necessary. Fractal Design has made it very clear on its box, website, and manual that a big selling point is the assortment of water cooling and fan support. First let's start with the basics, which are the removable hard drive cages. Removing the top cage was a simple matter of two thumb screws and then it slides out. Both cages can be oriented in different directions to suit your needs. The bottom cage requires you to move two screws from the front after you pop the plastic cover off, then on the bottom is four more screws to remove. I suggest, unless you really need to reorient the bottom cage, it may not be worth the effort.
The top has a wide support for fans and radiators. Installation of the Corsair H100i didn't cause any problems. The ability to install push/pull configurations or thick 60mm radiators is great! Unfortunately you cannot have it all. The only way to use push/pull is with a 240mm radiator, because Fractal Design added mounting holes higher up to avoid hitting the motherboard. If you use a 280mm radiator or Corsair H110, it will be a close fit and then using 25mm fan will be the only choice.
Here you have it! I have set up custom water cooling in the past and I have spent half my time looking for a chassis that fits my needs. Using parts laying around, I installed a thick 360mm radiator on top and a slim 240mm on the side. This only represents one of the many configurations possible. Yet certain configurations could cause potential problems. On the box and in the manual, Fractal Design states it only supports slim 360mm radiators. While you can technically install thicker ones, you can run into a fan mounting problem where the fan won't fit between the radiator and the motherboard. Be warned: either use a slim 360mm radiator or prepare for some modding. Aside from a triple radiator, the options to mount a 240/280mm is a better and easier option.
Lastly, to place a 240mm radiator on the front requires you to relocate both hard drive cages. This was also a breeze to accomplish but a bit of an odd looking setup. If you have an E-ATX motherboard, expect some troubles. The motherboard pictured below is a standard ATX with the hard drive cage barely clearing USB and I/O connectors at the bottom right. Anyone with a larger motherboard will either have to give up the hard drive bay or use a radiator on top, rather than the front.