Home Reviews Review: Fractal Arc Midi tower PC case
Reviews

Review: Fractal Arc Midi tower PC case

Pristine finish, for a price.

Fractal have quickly established themselves as producers of some pretty fine cases over the last couple of years.  The Arc Midi is no different, it’s big enough to house some pretty powerful equipment, but not so big as to take over the room.

It’s also incredibly well built, with some professional touches that make you stop and think “why doesn’t everyone do it that way?”.

Want to know more?  Read on…

Out of the box

To call the Arc Midi a beautiful piece of kit would be an understatement.  Fractal have clearly spent a lot of time designing a case that looks elegant and stylish.  They’ve also used some premium quality materials to make it, no cheap plastics here.

The whole thing is black, inside and out, with the expansion slot covers and fan blades being white.  It’s a daring look, but it works well, I’ve seen few cases which pay as much attention to detail as this.

Of course, as soon as you add any expansion cards the look will be somewhat ruined, but you could always spray paint your card’s back plane white (just remove it from the card first).

The front panel is a little deeper than you would normally find on a midi case, but the reasoning is clear; it allows for a very cool looking arc which seamlessly joins the front panel to the sides of the case.

The front panel itself is embossed with the Fractal logo, lovingly routed into the brushed metal finish.  Just above the logo you’ll find two USB2 ports, a USB3 port as well as the usual power buttons and audio connectors.

Beneath the logo you’ll find two 5.25″ bays for optical drives, the rest of the front is taken up by a large grill designed to help cool your PC’s components.

Round to the left side is a vented fan mounting for either a 140mm or 180mm cooling fan for your graphics card, and not a lot else.  The right side is even more baron, having no marks or grills at all.

To the rear there are a couple of surprises.  I’ve covered the white expansion slots, but there’s also a further expansion slot mounted perpendicular to the rest.  The advantage of this is that you could attach a connectivity board supplied with your motherboard without rendering one of your expansion slots void.

It’s a great idea, though one that isn’t used often enough in my view.  It’s good to see Fractal including it, though it does mean the case has to be a little deeper.

On the inside.

The inside of the Arc Midi is even more impressive than the outside.

There’s the same matt black finish, complete with white detailing on the drive bays and fan blades.

Towards the front of the case are rails and mountings for up to eight 3.5″ drives.  If eight is a bit much, then the top four bays can be removed to give you more space and better airflow.

Each of the eight hard disk mounts is held into the frame by a single thumbscrew, remove this and you’ll find that the mount will slide free, allowing you to fit your hard disks without fear of damaging any other kit in your case should you slip.

Your hard disks will be held securely in place, helped in part by the rubber mounting rings which should cut down on vibration and noise levels.

In front of the drive bays is a 140mm fan, and space for a second if you choose to keep the bottom four drive bays.

It’s a great idea to allow for some of the bays to be removed; not everyone will need space for 8 drives and the lack of obstruction should help airflow greatly.

Towards the back of the case is the motherboard tray.  Not removable in this case, but with excellent cable management available, which should go further toward assisting airflow, as well as helping to keep your PC looking good.

These grommets are well protected with rubber to prevent any damage to your cables, as well as to offer some degree of protection from dust and cable slippage.  There are two such grommets available, one at the bottom of the case and another towards the top, at the edge of the motherboard tray.

There shouldn’t be problem mounting any standard equipment inside this case.  The tray will support a full ATX board, and the inside is deep enough to accommodate almost any CPU cooler.

With the full eight drive bays present, you can install a graphics card up to 290mm in length, but take it four of the bays and you’ll be able to install any card up to 470mm, which is pretty much all of them I’d imagine.

Cooling

Fractal have taken a well thought out approach to cooling on the Arc Midi.  There’s a total of eight fan mounts dotted around the case, with three fans being supplied as standard:  One at the front and two at the rear, all 140mm units spinning at 1000rpm.

As well as this, there’s mountings at the front, bottom, side and top of the case which allows you to tailor the cooling of your PC to the hardware you stick inside the case.

Each of the mounts will suit a 140mm fan, which is larger than normal, but larger doesn’t necessarily mean more noise.  Larger fans spin slower in order to move the same amount of air, and slower spinning means less noise.

The three supplied fans can be controlled by the included fan controller, which will attach cleanly to the extra slot on the back of the case.  The fans shouldn’t be too noisy at full speed, but being able to slow them down will cut noise levels to almost nothing.

Even if you don’t fit any additional fans, the Arc Midi should be able to cool your hardware just fine.  The front, bottom and top are all perforated to allow for maximum air flow, while also having washable filters to stop dust and debris getting into your machine.

All of this should keep your machine nice and cool without creating a racket.  In tests I found that the Arc Midi was among the quietest of cases I’ve looked at recently.

Full specifications

As already covered, the Arc Midi has a wealth of space available to house all of your top end kit:

  • 8x 3,5 inch HDD trays, compatible with SSD!
  • 2x 5,25 inch bays, with 1x 5,25>3,5 inch converter included
  • On top of front panel: 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 and Audio I/O
  • No PSU included (removable filter below PSU)
  • M/B compatibility: Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX
  • 7+1 expansion slots with sleek white painted brackets
  • Supports graphic card lengths up to 290mm when removable HDD-Bay is in place
  • Supports graphic card lengths up to 470mm without removable HDD-Bay
  • Supports CPU coolers with height of180mm
  • Supports PSU’s with a depth of maximum circa 170mm, when using bottom 120/140mm fan location. When not using the bottom 120/140mm fan location, the case supports also longer PSU’s, typically 270mm.
  • Case size (WxHxD): 230x460x515mm with front and top bezel in place
  • Net weight: 10kg

Conclusions

Having seen what Fractal can do, they’ve got a new fan in me.  The Arc Midi is a great example of how a relatively small case can have enough space to house all of your equipment, while also keeping it cool and not deafening you.

It’s difficult to think of a reason not to buy the Arc Midi, well, there is one reason; the price.

At around £70 it’s not cheap, but then in terms of design it could be easy to justify spending that kind of money.

If you are looking to spend this much money on a case then the Arc Midi should definitely be on your list.  The visual flare and cooling potential make it worth the money on its own, but it’s the little touches that do it for me.

The additional depth, the removable hard disk enclosure, the fan controller and the anti-vibration mounts make the Arc Midi a truly fantastic case.

Author

Matt

Leave a Reply