Fractal Design Arc XL Full Tower Chassis Review



/ 8 months ago

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Introduction


fractal design arc xl featured

Fractal Design are one of the coolest component manufacturers around and over the years they’ve gone on to win countless awards for their chassis, power supplies and fans. I’ve seen a fair few Fractal Design products in the eTeknix office and I’ve never been anything less than stunned at their flawless design and rock solid build quality. This is especially true of the Arc chassis series and the one I’ll be taking a look at today is supposed to be the biggest and best one yet.

The Arc XL offers solutions for the extreme end of the PC market and with its large size and high specifications comes an equally high price tag of just over £100 here in the UK and around $130 in the US. This is obviously not targeted at your average consumer, but at this price we’ll be expecting high build quality and plenty of features to justify the investment.

As you can see from the specification below, there isn’t much the Arc XL can’t handle, with support for all major motherboard form factors including Mini-ITX all the way up to XL-ATX, plenty of room for 5.25″ drives or similar devices, loads of room for hard drives with 8 storage bays that can hold either 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives, as well as two stealth mounts for 2.5″ drives behinds the motherboard.

Specifications

  • ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, E-ATX, XL-ATX motherboard compatibility
  • 4 – 5.25″ bays
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs
  • 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD positions behind the motherboard plate
  • 9 expansion slots
  • 7 – Fan positions (3 Silent Series R2 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front, top and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 180 mm tall
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 190 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 345 mm deep) can be used
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 330mm in length with the top HDD cage installed – With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 480mm in length may be installed
  • 26 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
  • Window side panel included
  • Colors available: Black
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 572 x 552mm
  • Net weight: 13.8kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 625 x 635mm
  • Package weight: 16.3kg

Three 140mm fans are included, and they’re all high quality Silent Series R2 fans and that certainly adds value for money to the Arc XL. On top of that there is also a fan controller integrated to the case which can run up to three fans.

Cooling system

  • Front: 2 – 120/140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 3 – 120x140mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Bottom: 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – Integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)
  • Water cooling compatibility:
    • Front – 240 mm radiators (thick and slim) when HDD cages are repositioned or removed
    • Top – 240mm radiators (thick) or 280 and 360mm radiators (slim)
    • Bottom – 120mm radiators
    • Rear – 120 and 140mm radiators

The case comes nicely packaged in a large box, with a clear high contrast image on the front on the box that shows the general design of the case.

DSC_2238

Around the back there is a tear down image of the case that shows all the major components and fittings.

DSC_2239

In the box you’ll find a nice component box filled with all the screws, bolts and cable ties you’ll need to install all major components as well as an easy to follow installation guide / owners manual.

DSC_2271

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  • Skidmarks

    It’s a really good looking chassis, I wouldn’t hesitate to commandeer one. It still puzzles me why manufacturers still equip some chassis’s with USB2 ports. Even if the user has a USB2 only mobo, USB3 ports are still backward compatible with an adapter. I don’t know how it’ll affect cost though but in a case (no pun intended) like this one, does it really matter?