Fractal Design Arc review
Fractal Designs’ previous cases have done well in previous labs tests, but the Arc is a bit of a departure. The noise-reducing foam and sealed fan mounts are gone, having been replaced by mesh for improved airflow. If the Define R3 is a little too toasty for your components then the Arc seems a great compromise.
From the front, the brushed metal chassis looks simple yet refined. There are only two 5.25in drive bays, and you’ll have to sacrifice one to install a 3.5in drive using the bundled adaptor, but this does leave room for the two preinstalled 140mm front intake fans. The I/O panel, which consists of one USB3 port, two standard USB2 ports and two 3.5mm audio jacks, is located at the top of the case, putting it within easy reach.
Inside, eight 3.5in drive bays are mounted sideways for easy installation. Each disk caddy can hold 2.5in drives as well as 3.5in drives, which will please SSD users no end. Three pre-cut cable routing holes and a large motherboard cut-out should make it easy to build a tidy system.
As we expected, the Arc’s well thought out when it comes to cooling and as proof of this the expansion port backing plate has been installed vertically to let you install the bundled fan controller. This gives you full control over the three preinstalled 140mm fans, albeit from the back of the case. It’s not as quiet as the excellent Define R3, but the Arc range is geared more towards cooling performance than noise reduction.
For £70, the Arc’s a great case with which to build a cool and quiet PC, but its build quality isn’t quite on the same level as the superb Corsair Carbide 500R.