Fractal Design ARC MIDI – Test and Review

Official technical characteristics:

  • 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 of 180mm
  • Supports PSU’s with a depth of maximum 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

Despite a lot of headaches and some issues concerning the shipping agency, the case finally arrived in a good black cardboard box, where on the front panel you could see a picture of the product and on the back – a picture of the inside of Fractal Design ARC MIDI.

Also, all technical characteristics are written on the side panel.

The first thing I noticed about the box is its size, which meant that the carefully wrapped product inside would be with similar size. And this turned out to be the case – after opening the box and taking the case out, the first thing that came to my mind was: “WOW, I thought the case was smaller!”

The case has a simple design, as a whole, and the front panel is made of plastic, imitating aluminium. The company logo is engraved into the top part of the front panel and there are two 5.25” slots for optical devices, and beneath them, at the lower part of the case, there is a net with an in-built dust filter and right behind it you can mount the fans for blowing fresh air into the case.

As you can see from the two pictures, the top panel is made of plastic too but about 80% of it has holes cut in, and beneath it there is again a dust filter. All in/out connectors, the turn-on and restart buttons and the microphone and headphones connectors are situated in the front part of the top panel.

The side panel is purely standard but is made of quite a thick sheet of metal and has slots for a 140mm or 180mm fan. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with a mounted fan, which would significantly improve the cooling of the components inside the case.

As you can see from the pictures above, the case is painted black and through the back panel you can see the real colour pattern of the case – all black, except for the white propellers, the HDD brackets and the PCI slots brackets. The case offers 7+1 slots for PCI, whereby the additional is used for mounting the fan controller, included in the packaging, which regulates 3 fans and is powered via a 4-pin connector directly from the power supply:

:

You can mount up to 8 fans in the case, and there are 3 x 140mm fans included in the standard assembly.

  1. 2 x 140mm on the front panel, only one is included in the standard assembly.
  2. 3 x 120/140mm on the top panel, only one is included in the standard assembly.
  3. 1 x 120/140mm on the bottom panel, not included.
  4. 1 x 120/140mm on the back panel, included in the standard assembly.
  5. 1 x 140/180mm on the side panel, not included.

After taking a look at the outside of the case, it was time for me to look inside.

As you can see from the pictures, the PCI slots brackets, the fans and the HDD brackets are white. The HDD slots are metal and have additional rubber strips to reduce vibration and noise. The brackets themselves are mounted to two chassis via black bolts, whereby the bottom chassis is fixed and the upper one can be removed when necessary for mounting a longer video card. In the case you can mount up to 8 x 3.5” or 8 x 3.5” SDDs, 2 optical devices or hard drives.

 

Despite the name – Factal Design ARC MIDI – you can mount video cards which are 290mm long when all HDD chassis are mounted and up to 470mm long when you remove the middle HDD chassis. Also, inside the case you can also mount CPU coolers up to 180mm high and a power supply at the bottom up to 170mm deep, if there is a fan mounted at the bottom of the case. The case is certified for motherboards of the Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX standards.

After looking at the case from the inside, I decided to remove all parts from the case and the skeleton of the case looked like this:

As you can see from the pictures, the entire case is painted black, and even the bolts are black. Also, almost all elements are mounted via bolts that do not require a screwdriver or other instruments. After taking the entire case apart, here is how all the accessories look like:

  1. Both panels entirely painted in black.
  2. The top and bottom panel, again painted in black and made of plastic with a net.
  3. 3 x 140mm fans for mounting at the front, top and back of the case.
  4. A huge number of the bolts needed.
  5. 8 HDD slot brackets.
  6. A chassis for 4 HDDs.
  7. 5.25” to 3.25” plate.
  8. Fan controller painted in white for the eighth PCI slot.
  9. Zip ties
  10. Dust filters
  11. A manual booklet

After taking a detailed look of all aspects of the case, I think it is time to see how it will perform with hardware inside and with the appropriate tests.

In reality, mounting all the accessories back into the case and moving all the components into Fractal Design ARC MIDI took no more than 15 minutes.

After mounting the hardware inside the case, I decided to measure temperatures in idle mode at standard and overclock frequency and at full load of the CPU and the video card.

CPU: AMD Athlon X4 620 with standard frequency at 2611 MHz and overclocked at 3640 MHz (at 1.5V) per core for the tests.

Motherboard: GigaByte 790X-UD3

Video card: Sapphire 5830 Extreme 1GB DDR5 256bit

RAM: x 2GB Apacer 800 MHz

Hard disk: Kingston SSD SV100S264G

Case: Fractal Design ARC MIDI

Power supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro 60

Cooler: Noctua NH-L12

Thermal compound: Noctua NT-H1

My working environment looked like this:

The hardware temperature tests in Fractal Design ARC MIDI were conducted as follows:

  1. Test in idle mode of the CPU at 2611MHz, the video card at 800/1000 MHz and the SDD.
  2. Test with load of the CPU at 2611MHz, the video card at 800/1000 MHZ and the SDD.
  3. Test in idle mode of the CPU at 3640 MHz, overclocked video card at 900/1000 MHz and the SSD.
  4. Test with load of the CPU at 3640 MHz, overclocked video card at 900/1000 MHz and the SSD.

After conducting the tests, here are the results I measured.

Test in idle mode of the CPU at 2611MHz, the video card at 800/1000 MHz and the SDD.

Test with load of the CPU at 2611MHz, the video card at 800/1000 MHZ and the SDD.

Test in idle mode of the CPU at 3640 MHz, overclocked video card at 900/1000 MHz and the SSD.

Test with load of the CPU at 3640 MHz, overclocked video card at 900/1000 MHz and the SSD.

After taking a very detailed look, I would say, at Fractal Design ARC MIDI, I think it is time to share with you the impressions I got from the case.

  1. Vision: The case offers a wonderful design, with a very stylish and elegant line, and the front panel imitates aluminium. To be honest, before I got to see the real case, I thought that the front panel is actually made of aluminium. The colour pattern – black and white – is very pleasant, and the Fractal Design people have worked on every last detail, painting even the bolts black.
  2. Performance: As you can see from the pictures, the case performs quite well with cooling the components, and I noticed that after I concluded a test, the temperatures dropped quite quickly. The case comes with 3x140mm fans only, so I tested it only with them. I am sure that performance will improve once all possible fans have been added.
  3. Noise level: Despite the fact that during tests I always use the fans at maximum speed, the case is as a whole pretty quiet. Of course, using the fans at moderate speed will significantly improve the noise level.

For me the case is really nice and I can say that it is a wonderful combination of vision and performance.

I think Fractal Design ARD MIDI deserves the following reward:

I thank Fractal Design for the sample!

Dobrin Krastev is the owner, reviewer and newsman of www.DVTests.com with more than 15 years' experience in personal computers, server and storage systems, UPS, peripheral devices and software. Passionate about testing and reviewing, AMD overclocking using AM3 990FXA and AMD FM2 A85X test systems and building modding projects.
3 Comments
  1. Reply rumbeza 23.04.2012 at 16:01

    Отлична кутийка, особено за тези, които не си падат по милитъри дизайн.

  2. Reply Shad0whunter 23.04.2012 at 15:53

    Ревюто е както винаги на ниво, отново си се занимал с всевъзможни тестове. 🙂 За кутията – много елегантна, ненатрапчива визия тип Волтрон…едва ли и почистването би било нещо трудно. Честно казано само от 3х140 мм вентилатора съм впечатлен от температурите. Определено качествена изработка от Fractal!

  3. Reply PepiX 23.04.2012 at 11:53

    Много стилно изглежда.. и резултатите изглеждат приятно.. :THUMBS UP:

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