Fractal Design Arc XL Case

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Assembling a system in the Arc XL is fairly straight forward. Our usual ATX case test system was used: An Asus 790GX motherboard with Phenom II X4 955 CPU cooled by a ZEROtherm FZ120 heatsink with a Nexus 120 mm fan, a WD SE16 hard drive, a Cooler Master 700W modular power supply, and two Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards (see full system details on the next page).

For an ATX system, the Arc XL is overly large, with plenty of space around the motherboard and ample room for longer graphics cards. According to our measurements it can fit cards up to 33.2 cm long with the upper drive cage installed in its default orientation, and an additional 13.6 cm is opened up if the cage is removed.

We installed our test hard drive in one of the upper bays so it could be cooled by the front fan which blows directly toward the video cards. Compared to the Define series, the individual trays don't fit as snugly, and while a screw from the side can be inserted to help steady the caddy, it didn't really help in our case. The upper cage is also somewhat looser than the more structurally stable bottom cage which is bolted to the floor.

There was 29 mm of space above our CPU cooler, making the maximum height 18.5 cm.

While our system doesn't have much cabling, keeping things tidy was relatively effortless.

We didn't have any difficulty closing the right side panel as there's more than sufficient space behind the motherboard tray for thick, overlapping cabling. The hinge design of the panel certainly doesn't hurt either.

The power and hard drive activity LEDs are not particularly bright and too small to cause annoyance.

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