Fractal Design Arc Midi: The Mid Tower You've Been Waiting For?by Dustin Sklavos on October 7, 2011 12:45 AM EST
- Posted in
- Fractal Design
Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
Given that the Fractal Design Arc Midi is capable of producing a fairly wide "wind tunnel" effect that channels air through both the CPU fan and the GPU's intake fan, I felt like it had a pretty good shot at unseating some of our other big winners in this price bracket. For previous cases that included fan controllers, I've included the results that I felt were the most balanced between noise and thermal performance. Most of our more expensive cases are also removed for the sake of simplifying the charts, though the Rosewill Thor v2 remains as a representative.
Honestly this is the first time I've seen such a wide gap between fan settings. I get a strong sense that more fans and/or better fans could probably really make the Arc Midi sing. That said, all the fans running at full bore produce some excellent thermal results. Be sure to look at the stellar idle temperatures.
Unfortunately, the Arc Midi has to run pretty loudly to get the job done. At the "low" fan setting it's among the quietest, but once a load is applied to the system the lack of sound dampening takes its toll along with the middling airflow. This is one of the few cases I've tested where I'd recommend just running the fans on "high" (although replacing them entirely with better fans would probably be extremely effective).
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lwatcdr - Friday, October 7, 2011 - linkHow about a case shoot out with a difference.
How about the Fracal Design Arc Midi vs the BitFenix Merc Alpha?
Except spend $60 on upgrading the Alpha. Use the money to put in better fans and such.
Now hear me out before people jump on me.
For a lot of builders they enjoy the act of building and improving. So it would be interesting to see if a hobbiest would be better off modding the Alpha vs buying the Midi.
You can do the same thing with the Midi vs a more expensive case
Death666Angel - Friday, October 7, 2011 - linkI like the case. I might recommend it or the smaller brother, Arc Mini.
However, I personally don't understand the obsession with:
a) tool less installation in general and
b) tool less installation of drives especially.
I don't assemble / tear apart my cases that it is a big concern. And having actual screws to tighten gives me a better feeling. Depending on the approach, tool less drive assembly might also inhibit my ability to install non-drive stuff in the cages, for example water cooling equipment, fan controllers, back planes etc., when they use non-standard holes.
This stuff may be important for big OEM who assemble millions of PCs. But for me as someone who assembles PCs for myself and friends and family, I see no reason to go with tool less, if I can avoid it. :-)
But a good review overall! And I like that you guys are tackling a lot of normal-budget cases. I don't see the appeal in huge 200 to 300USD cases that can house 10 HDDs and 4 GFX cards. :D
bhima - Friday, October 7, 2011 - linkI'm sort of glad the noise levels were only OK, it makes my purchase of an Antec 902 feel I little bit more justified.
bunnyfubbles - Friday, October 7, 2011 - linkplenty of space for a mid tower build and was easily one of the most pleasurable experiences I have ever had when actually putting the computer together, I can't really recall any instance where I was stumped or struggled on how or where i was going to route my cable management
moved the top 140mm fan to the front to have dual 140 intakes and make room for the 240mm rad of the H100, and added an aftermarket NZXT 140mm to the bottom as an intake
right now my biggest gripe is the side panel which allows for either at 140mm or 180mm fan could be improved as the 200mm round fans have mounting holes that are actually in between the 140mm and 180mm dimensions they provide and thus are simply not an option to install without some sort of mod.
A filter would also be nice for the side panel otherwise I'm more inclined to use it as an exhaust but that would likely upset positive pressure
all in all it has easily been one of my absolute favorite cases to work with thus far, I'm tempted to buy another and convert some old systems
cjs150 - Monday, October 10, 2011 - linkThat is one very nice clean build. I think I can spot my favourite Gentle Typhoons on the Rad.
Do you need that many intake fans? Personally I would be tempted to pop in a thick 140mm rad at bottom (or front if you are not using the drive cage) a cool the GPU and CPU. But that is the problem with water cooling - once you start it is difficult not to tinker
Malih - Friday, October 7, 2011 - linkI finally swing to Fractal Design after reading this review and seeng the build quality of the Arc Midi, and reading several other reviews,
but I was looking to build a silent system, and I also think about microATX system, so I decided to get the Define Mini, there's a "bug" in the case regarding multi-GPU setup, but since I'm not thinking of going multi-GPU (budgetwise), I decided to get the Define Mini.
radium69 - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - linkWhen are you guys going to review the Xigmatek cases?
They a lot of midi towers that are very sleek and considered to be big value.
Zebo - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - linkJust another el cheapo paper thin case. I have not seen a good case since wave master had like 3mm thick aluminum everywhere.
snapdrag0n - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - linkCM Storm still the best pound for pound at this price range.
Bazzatron - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - linkThe Fractal Design Define R3 is about the same price here in the UK. (About £75)
Weighs a ton - combined with a "Be Quiet" PSU is the most silent PC I've ever built
Very impressed with this case