Fractal Design Arc Midi Case Review

Below is my detail review on Fractal Arc Midi (mid tower case). It’s much more thorough than most Fractal Arc Midi reviews video out there since I personally used it for half a year which includes customizing and maintenance.

Fractal Arc Midi Specifications

Model
Brand Fractal Design
Series Arc
Model ID Midi
Case Specifications
Dimension 51.5 x 23 x 46 cm (LxWxH), 97.5 litres
Form Factor Mid Tower Chassis
Material(s) Stunning Aluminum look Front Panel design but made of plastic, Steel Chassis
Motherboard Compatibility mITX, mATX and ATX
Front I/O 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, and Audio I/O ports
Side Window No, but has grilled fan holes (140/200mm)
Expansion & Drive Bays
Expansion slots 7
Power Supply Slots 1
External 5.25″ 2 (1)
Internal 3.5″ 8 (2 HDD cages x 4 slots, Compatible with SSD)

Pros:

  1. Made of solid steel very sturdy: The steel add some weight to this product, making it very sturdy and stable. The side case panel isn’t flimsy at all similarly to my older current rig which is also made of steel but thinner.
  2. Removable Hard Disk Trays: Even without the screws to secure the hard disk tray in place, it is stuck inside the Hard Disk cage like a glue! Very sturdy and does not fall off easily when the case is tilted from 45-90 degree angle!
  3. Good Foam Dust Filters: One of the reason I purchased this case is due to the in-built dust foams! It keeps my internal components free of dust. As we know, dust trapped in CPU fans and GPU obstructs air flow and this results in generating more heat. The fan have to work extra harder to push in more air to keep temperature low. Unfortunately this indirectly increases the noise level of fans when running on load. The foam keeps out even the finest dust I have seen. Very nice!
  4. Minimalist case: The case is in a box shape! Hi five to that, keep it that way and the philosophy of Fractal Design where you strive for minimalist design! Having bulges on the side panels is a no-no since it will require the users to remove that side panel so they will have a stable flat side to work with when they place the case on its side to work on the motherboard tray to install either motherboard, ram, gpu or heavy heatsinks.
  5. Plenty of space behind the motherboard tray: I could barely fit all the non-modular cables behind the motherboard tray. It was a miracle I could place all of those cables instead of stucking them in front where the hard disk cage is located but this in return blocks the air flow of the front air intake.
  6. Easy removable roof top dust filter: It was easy to remove it since its light and just snap into place. But there is a little downside to it since if its easy in, its also easy out unless secured with those 2 screws behind it.
  7. Rubber case stands: To absorb any vibrations produced by the case. It’s around 1 CM from the floor. It would be nice to extend another 1 CM more to easily fit in our fingers. Having said that, it will prevent sucking dust from the floor especially carpets with pillow or pet furs laying around.
  8. Nice plastic filter for the bottom air intake fan and PSU: Since the power supply is mounted on the bottom, it gives some weight to the case for stability. The dust filter can easily be washed. I hope in future Fractal Design builts incorproate this method for their roof and front dust filter – easy to remove and clean (with vacuum or water – preferrable) is what most users want! This filter has kept the finest fur dust out from my case – a big thumbs up.
  9. Nice color design (white and black) Purely white or purely black is kinda plain. Matches with NZXT Fan White/Black which also uses this color scheme
  10. Fan Size 140mm: Say no to 120mm fans. Bigger fans like 140mm fan would produce the same or more air intake as 120mm fans but more quieter. Silence is best if you have the case sitting next beside you. For me, its within arm’s length so silence is important! But when you overclock it with an Intel Stock Cooler, its noisy as hell. So might want to consider a third party CPU heatsink cooler such as Cooler Master 212+ or 212 Evo or Noctua NH-D14 the king of silent air cooler!

Cons:

  1. Very Heavy: This steel case with side panels on is 10 kg, which is much more heavier than my old rig which includes the essential components that is PSU, CPU, Motherboard, 2 RAM Sticks and 1 Hard Drive. When this Fractal Arc Midi is loaded with the essential components listed above, its around 14KG! As heavy as my old CRT Monitor (The big box type). Moving it from my workstation to another workstation in a different floor is painfully difficult. Females would have a hard time moving this around where trolley isn’t accessible. With its massive size and weight (more severely if packaged within the case box), it makes it very hard to transport all together.
  2. Difficult Removable Hard Disk Trays: This case consists of removable Hard Disk cage, which I have removed for better air flow. Since I’m adding and removing my SSD and Hard Drives, I noticed that its very difficult to remove those trays! For SSD, I have to use some strength but alot more strength for HDD. The steel tray made some scratches on the Hard Disk Cage since I had to use lots of force to pull it out but a bit strength used to placing it in back. I have tried other cases hard disk tray and it was fairly easy to pull in and pull out.
  3. Difficult to clean filters: I have tried mounting fans on many areas, moving all 3 x 140mm fan to the top as air intake fans to create a super positive airflow vs 1 x 140mm exhaust with 2 x 140mm intake. After using for 1 week, I can see a white fine patch of circle dust around the area of the intake fan. Blowing the dust out was super difficult, so I decided to wash with water. This is done for the top dust filter. It was super clean but the problem is drying it out. The top The dust foam is locked in between the aluminium honey comb mesh and the plastic bay. The dust foam can only be removed if you remove the honey comb mesh! I decided to remove the honeycomb mesh and able to remove the dust foam to dry it out quickly. Putting the honeycomb mesh back in place was a little difficult but this requires rebending the side pins which in return made the black paint came out of it. This might make it rust if its not truly aluminium.
  4. Screw Design: This case uses tons of screws! I removed most of the screws and I couldn’t count it no more. One of the technician who installed the components for me dropped some the screw and lost it… Best to make it at least 80% screwless (in other words, tooless design case) for the essential component parts where users usually interact, for instance the hard disk cage and the fans. Might want to apply Noctua NH-D14 type of rubber stands that allows user to fit fan while reducing the vibration of the fan when loaded. I had to keep a Philip head screw driver with me on my desk just to handle this scenarios.
  5. Rubber Gourmet: Very hard and not as flexible as it seems. Difficult when pulling through power supply cables through them, especially NON-modular PSU. A temporary fix to this was to reroute the extra cables from the side hollow panel (without going through the rubber gourmet)
  6. Very hard to remove and put back side panel: It takes lots of efforts to just get it inside or pulling it out takes strength, much more than my older rig. Have to place the case side ways to put in back easily.
  7. Be careful with the root dust filter honey comb mesh!: If the honey comb mesh is not properly bend, it will cause scratches to your metal case! It already has scratches with the preinstalled honey comb mesh when slidding in and out of the roof case. Had to put some plastic to avoid it getting more scratches or bend the aluminium mesh pin more.

Other Thoughts

I bought this based on the reviews on Newegg Video and a little of my checking at my local store where it has this Fractal Arc Midi. One lesson I learnt is to never just purely based on people reviews as they might not have tested it thoroughly (and this includes loading up the empty case with components and testing it the cooling of the rig + noise level + portability/weight + easy maintenance to dust filters etc) There are a number of ways where Fractal Design can improve this case while keeping the good points intact.

  • Reduce the case weight: Since steel makes this case so heavy, use a mix of plastic or carbon fiber material to have it below 5-7KG. The material should be able to absorb noise and vibration from moving parts within the case especially the fans. When its loaded up with the components, it should reach around 10 KG. The lighter the better for portability (best for LAN PARTY) but don’t over compromised the stability and durability. The HDD Cage tray should use plastic to reduce weight as well. There is a reason why other notable companies that produces their case using plastic is due to this reason and also reduces the cost of the rig, below $100 USD to make it affordable for many customers who wants a bigger space inside their case to fit large air heatsinks and long graphic card.
  • Removable Filters and Honeycomb Mesh: Have it tooless, no need for screws. The front dust filter fan clip was very difficult to remove. Have it so that it just slide in place and automatically lock and press a button to remove the secure lock. Check how DELL applies this locking concept to your case. DELL IPS Monitor U2312HM/U2412HM 24 inch uses this locking concept to hinge the monitor to their steel stand frame, easy to remove and install! This can same applies for fan mounting to create a tooless design. Each honeycomb mesh must be easily removable just like a snap (within 5 seconds at most). Some users who does modding will cut out the honey comb grill at the rear for better air exhaust from their heat sink. In my opinion, have it removable. Maybe the grill by default is locked with screws but can be removed without cutting/damaging it.
  • Removable plastic front panels: The front panel should not need the additional steel protection in front, just make it hollow and have the front plastic cover to cover the hole. If you check other cases here (the ones around $100 USD), they have it easily removable and can clip it on back whenever you removed your CD/DVD-RW Optical Hard Drives.
  • The side panel is very difficult to put back into place. Most of the time, I have to place my case flat on its side to mount back the side panel. Check Newegg’s Review on NZXT Phantom 410 side panel design where Joanne (Newegg Staff) review it. She is really happy on how its design and how easy to remove the side panel!
  • Might want to consider to have the hard disk tray removable from the back of the case instead of front just how NZXT 410 does it. Its very practical, only remove 1 side panel should the need rise to install more Hard Disk or SSD for additional storage. For me, I had to open both side panel just to execute this activity.
  • Location of Front Panel USB 3.0 and Power Button – Might want to consider placing it on the front instead of the top. Dust can go into those holes easily. Also should implement a plastic cover to hide those USB ports like how NZXT 821 Full Tower implements it.
  • Total Fans: This case has 8 fans in total (3 x 140mm top fan + 1 x 140mm rear fan + 2 x 140mm front fan + 1 x 140mm side fan + 1 x 140mm bottom fan). Best to have at least 6 in my opinion to do a postive air flow where 4 are intake and 2 exhaust OR 2 intake and 1 exhaust. The intake air fans are with dust filters whereas exhaust should not need any obstructions like dust filter. The side panel can use some Acrylic Plastic to let some light in for viewing your components and also reduce the weight of the steel side panel.
  • If I were to choose another PC for my new build, I would personally go for NZXT SWITCH 810 (but mid tower size). This would be in my wishlist. Having a white case makes it easier to do cable management when lighting is poor and routing black mesh cables would be easier. It suits all my needs but the price tag is around $170 USD, which is out of my budget. Hopefully, NZXT can sell it around $100 USD with the same design but mid tower! Phantom 410 is great but not minimalist at all, all those weird bulges on the top and front simply put me off. It seems out of place when placing inside corporate office but no issues if you are the boss of the company :)
  • Color Scheme: I would definitely go for a white Fractal Arc Midi but there isn’t one manufactured yet. A white one is preferably easier to look inside but I’m wondering whether the white plastic will fade into yellow tint color unless the paint job is really bad.
  • Details

    Model

    Brand: Fractal Design
    Series: Arc High Performance Cases
    Model: Arc Midi

    Spec

    Type: ATX Mid Tower
    Color: Black
    Case Material: Steel
    With Power Supply: No
    Power Supply Mounted: Bottom
    Motherboard Compatibility: Mini ITX, Micro ATX and ATX
    With Side Panel Window: No

    Expansion

    External 5.25″ Drive Bays: 2 (with one 5.25 > 3.5 inch converter included)
    External 3.5″ Drive Bays: 1 (Convert from 5.25″ bay)
    Internal 3.5″ Drive Bays: 8 (Compatible with SSD)
    Expansion Slots: 7 x Fractal accent white painted brackets. 1 x Additional Bonus Slot for fan controller or other applications.

    Front Ports

    Front Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, and Audio I/O ports

    Cooling System

    Included Fans: 3 x 140mm Fractal Design Silent Fans (front, rear and top)
    Total Fan Placement: 1 x 140mm – front, 1 x 120/140mm – bottom, 2 x 120/140mm top 1 x 140/180 mm in side panel (optional)
    Side Air duct: Yes

    Physical Spec

    Dimensions: 20.28″ x 9.06″ x 18.11″
    Weight: 22.05 lbs (10kg)

    Features

    1. Stunning Aluminum look Front Panel design.
    2. Optimized for performance, massive cooling and liquid cooling support.
    3. Removable and rotatable upper HDD bay to enhance cooling characteristics and accommodate extremely long graphics cards.
    4. Sleek black interior with Fractal black and white signature colors. Fan Controller for 3 fans included.
    5. Support for dual 120 mm radiator in top, even thicker radiators up to 60 mm in thickness.
    6. Removable and Washable air filter below PSU.
    7. Intelligent cable management system.
    8. Extra, vertically mounted expansion slot, suitable for fan controllers on non-input expansion cards.
    9. Easily removable front panel with clip on fan slots
    10. Supports graphics card lengths up to 290mm when removable HDD cage is in place and up to 470mm with upper HDD cage removed.
    11. Larger opening in M/B tray to support large CPU coolers
    12. Supports CPU coolers with height of 180 mm
    13. Supports PSU’s with a depth of 170mm when using bottom fan. When not using bottom fan, supports longer PSUs, typically 270mm.

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