Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 MicroATX Tower

Cases|Damping
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TEST RESULTS

System Measurements (ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
5V
7V
GPU Fan
Speed
1660 RPM
(auto)
1660 RPM*
1570 RPM*
CPU Temp
31°C
69°C
66°C
HD Temp
30°C
31°C
31°C
GPU Temp
39°C
90°C
90°C
GPU VRM Temp
46°C
92°C
92°C
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
21~22 dBA
24 dBA
System Power
64W
270W
268W
*set as low as possible to maintain a GPU temperature of ~90°C on load.
CPU fan at 9V.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Sitting idle with the case fans set to 5V, our test system was relatively cool and quiet, with the CPU hovering around the 30°C mark and the GPU below 40°C, with a total noise output of 21~22 dBA@1m. As we mentioned previously, hard drive vibration was an issue with this case due to the loose drive trays. In our case, if we positioned the tray just right, it would produce a moderate amount of vibration noise audible at close proximity. If it wasn't positioned just so, the drive would cause an obnoxious buzzing. A screw can be inserted through the side to brace the tray against the cage but this didn't help in our case. In the end we resorted to placing some foam above and below the drive to keep it steady. You can also try adding tape to the drive trays for more friction.

On full CPU and GPU load, our methodology dictates we balance the noise and heat by adjusting the video card fan speed manually to keep the GPU at or around 90°C as a reference point. For the Arc Mini R2, no fan speed change was required from what the card was using at idle. Increasing the case fan speed to 7V took some of the pressure off the GPU, allowing us to slow the fan by about 100 RPM. This produced a net noise gain of 1~2 dB but helped the CPU cool down by 3°C. It's not an acceptable tradeoff in our opinion, but if the video card fan had less admirable acoustics we would consider doing it just to make the system sound a bit more pleasant.


ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU Test System: Comparison (Load)
Case
Fractal Design Arc Mini R2
Fractal Design Define Mini
Silverstone Sugo SG09
SS Temjin TJ08-E
System Fans
3 x 5V
2 x 9V
2 x 5V, 1 x 9V
1 x 10V/low
GPU Fan
1660 RPM
1670 RPM
1680 RPM
2330 RPM
CPU Temp
69°C
65°C
69°C
59°C
HD Temp
31°C
31°C
34°C
25°C
GPU Temp
90°C
89°C
90°C
89°C
GPU VRM Temp
92°C
90°C
86°C
87°C
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
22~23 dBA
24 dBA
24~25 dBA
CPU fan set to 9V.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

The Arc Mini R2's performance was similar to that of the Define Mini, with a 1 dB improvement in SPL but a 4°C deficiency in CPU temperature. These are the two best performing microATX cases we've tested. The larger than average size paired with a traditional layout produces superior results than the smaller Sugo SG09 and Temjin TJ08-E from SilverStone.

AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.



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