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Fractal Design Arc Midi Review | Enthusiast Reviews

Hot! Fractal Design Arc Midi Review

Arc Midi Featured

Preface

Fractal Design’s concept of “less is more” shows throughout their entire lineup of cases, in the best way possible. The computer case market emerged filled with corny over the top designs and only until recently you really didn’t have any other alternatives for a quality “gaming” case. Fractal Design answers this problem by subtracting the corny and adding a coat of brushed aluminum.

Design & Features

I said it and I’ll say it again, Fractal’s “less is more” inspired design truly does bring aggressive and bold styling while keeping it simple and efficient. The Arc Midi is based on a wide body at just a hair over 9 inches, making it one of the widest cases available. While no true disadvantages arise with having a wider case besides it being just a hair bigger, it really expands your options as far as layout, cooling, and accessibility. I’ll go into detail on all three of those later, but for now I want to look at what they’ve done to the outside. The face or better known as the front of the case has adopted only two 5.25” drive bays and left the rest of the space for a huge front intake that supports up to two 140mm fans. Dropping in an alternative size fan is impossible due to the reliance of fan mount, not screws. The face stands out from the rest of the case with its brushed aluminum like paint job, which does a great job of masking the slab of plastic its on. Along the left side you’ll discover a massive hole supporting a 140 or 180mm fan, and like most cases the right side is a blank slate.

Spinning the case around we get to the back which resembles a fairly standard layout, 2 water cooling inlet/outlets at the top, a spot for a 120 or 140mm fan, 7 vented motherboard expansion slots, and an additional one on the side for fan controllers or “non-input expansions”. The bottom will house any power supply you throw at it but extended ones will cover up the bottom slot for a 140mm fan. Both are filtered through a single long dust filter that easily slides out of the bottom without removing anything, which in our ideal case design is definitely the route we’d go. We’re going to save most of the top portion for our cooling section, but I can tell you that there is; 1x headphone and microphone port, reset button, power button integrated with LEDs (Blue power sign for power, and Red rectangle for hard drive activity), 2x USB 2.0’s, and lastly 1x USB 3.0 that is powered via an internal motherboard connector. Popping off the side you’re greeted with a great deal of features; semi tool-less drive installation for 3.5” drives, rubber mount pad for the power supply and drives to siphon out vibrations, removable and rotatable drive cage, cable management holes with grommets that don’t suck (won’t fall out when pushing cables through), large CPU cutout for retention plates, and probably a few more I’m forgetting. Definitely amongst the best cases we have ever seen the case is not perfect. For starters the 5.25” bays could use some work; our DVD Rom required a serious amount of finagling for it to slide in, they skipped tool less installation, and our DVD rom sat a hair bit recessed but that could’ve been just that drive. Although the issues are minor it did cause some frustration and I don’t look forward to ever having to swap DVD drives. Our last complaints were with the front panel, it required an unnecessary amount of force to pop off to the point where I thought I might break it and its dust filter had been locked in. I couldn’t figure out why Fractal Design and most manufactures make the bottom filter removable but lock in the front and top, especially with the large 140mm fans bringing in tons of air. Besides the minor issues, Fractal Design has crafted a near perfect case and its greatness doesn’t stop just at its design and features.

Cooling

The Arc Midi’s backbone gives it an advantage over most other cases. Its wide skeleton allow for 140mm fans to be mounted both in the front and back slots, which means generally quieter fans spinning at less RPM (revolutions per minute) and roughly the same CFM (cubic feet of air moved per minute). The case by default comes with 3x 140mm fans all running @ 1000rpm, which you can manually adjust using the included fan controller that will mount in the extra expansion slot. In our test bed we mount our i5-2500K equipped with an Corsair H60 in a push / pull config, this means we have 1 fan sucking air from inside the case pushing air through the radiator and another mounted against the back of the case blowing out or pulling air through the radiator. So we took off the back 140mm and attached it to the front and after removing one of two hard drive cages we saw some very impressive results.

Idle

Load

Intel Core i5-2500K OC @4.2ghz

32 (°C)

56 (°C)

On top of the lowered idle temps, our cool down rate was drastically better than any case we have used. Our max temps we’re roughly the same, but after running Prime95 and reaching a stabilized max temp our CPU would cool almost instantly after the test had stopped. I wanted to save the top section because it really separates itself from other cases. The Arc Midi supports up to 3x 120 or 140mm or 180mm + 120 or 140mm or lastly a 240mm Rad + 120 or 140mm. If that’s not enough options to satisfy your cooling preference then you’re probably best off looking for a custom solution. With fans at 100% the case remained fairly quiet, although not silent. Due to the very large openings on the front and top of the case fan noise did escape, but unless you’re in need of a dead silent case you’ll be absolutely fine.

Conclusion

Equipped with subtly aggressive looks, versatile cooling, and next gen features and compatibility the Arc Midi doesn’t just compete but ranks amongst the top mid tower cases. The case takes advantage of its unique wide body to hurl itself ahead of others in cooling performance and doesn’t flinch at the thought of water-cooling. The Fractal Design Arc Midi ships with its gloves on and is ready to jump in the ring with other big manufactures; so bring your cameras because we expect a lot of early round knockouts.