Computers, News, Reviews

Review: Fractal Design Arc XL PC Case

arc_xl

Fractal Design Arc XL

Design9
Performance8.5
Features9
Ease of Use8
Value for Money10
8.9 out of 10
Summary For about $127 (or £100), the Fractal Design Arc XL is nothing less than a winner. Same outstanding Fractal Design build quality and case finish as the Define series sans the front door. My new "best" case!

Some time ago I reviewed a case from Fractal Design, the Arc Midi R2, which I described as my “new most favorite case”.  Today, I get to take a look at the Midi’s big brother, the Arc XL case.  While I really liked the Arc Midi R2, after a quick glance at the Arc XL, I may have found my successor to the Midi.

To place where the Arc series fits in the hierarchy of Fractal Design cases, we need look no further than the Define and Arc series of PC cases.  These two series share many of the same internal characteristics.  The external characteristic are the main differentiating features between the two cases.  While the Define series includes just about every bell-and-whistle feature you might want in a case, which is highlighted by the look of simple elegance, the Arc series removes a few of those features thus giving it a more basic PC look for the more functional and performance-minded computer user.

The Arc XL packaging continues Fractal Design’s no-frills look of their recent offerings.  A quick look at the box will give a decent idea of what you find inside, physical-wise,

and spec-wise.

 

Once the box is opened, you will find a case with typical Fractal Design construction and finish: flawless.  I change out hard drives quite often for various reasons, so I really prefer the front sans that cover that you find on the Define series.  While I really do like the Midi R2, I like even more the extra bays (total of four) that the XL has.

If you look real close at the picture above, you will see a 140mm fan, which brings in cool air to the case, sitting behind the lower metal grill.

On one side, you find a simple cover,

while the business side sports a window for viewing the internal contents.

The backside sports another 140mm fan, this one exhausting hot air.  I have said this on just about every Fractal Design case; I just love the white on black contrast.

A view of the top shows off the nice rounded corners on the front.  This is also where you will find the typical I/O that Fractal Design provides which is in a very convenient location for those who set their cases on the floor.  Also on the top, you will find a third 140mm exhaust fan.

For the I/O, from from left to right, we have

  • a 3-speed fan controller
  • a microphone jack
  • a headphone jack
  • a power button with integrated LED
  • a HD activity LED
  • a reset button
  • two each USB 3.0 ports
  • two each USB 2.0 ports

Also on top, the removal of two finger screws on the back side will allow you to slide off the top mesh cover. In place:

Sliding out of the way:

Removed:

If so desired, this top area can be used to install two additional fans and/or even a radiator!

Finally, you find the typical very thin User Manual,

plus an accessory box containing the motherboard hardware,

 

Typical of the attention to detail that Fractal Design employs is a handy chart of what each screw is to be used with a particular item.

That takes care of the contents and a first look at the Arc XL case.  Before we open up this case to take a look at the internals, we do need to document the full listing of

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Hello. I’m from the heartland of the U.S. Lots of corn and beans, although Iowa is a lot more than just farmland. It also has a few computer enthusiasts (no, not me!). I’ve been around PCs since I got my 1st PC XT aloooong time ago. WGS is one of the first sites I found centered around WHS. And the best. Every once in awhile, I do get away from the KB and enjoy time with and my wife and our 4 kids. And I do have a day job.
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