My avid readers will likely remember when I was looking for a chassis for a build I had in mind for the lady of the house. With this build I went with a Micro-ATX motherboard, which will go in a lot of cases, but my real struggle was to find a chassis that would take an H220 with a push/pull fan configuration. Some cases will offer this possibility, but the reality is that most at that time would only allow this if you had low profile memory, and even then the water cooling would block the view of the top of the motherboard as well.
This is when we caught wind of the ACR Midi R2, a mid-tower that offers enough flexibility, that even though I had to give up the HDD bays, I was able to get the H220 into the front without any issues. It also filled my desire for something rounded in the front, and while I was looking for an aluminum chassis initially, the look of aluminum used on the bezel was close enough for me to move to steel and plastic.
So where does that leave us today? Well, wishing that the chassis we are about to see had released first, as we get much of the same design the ARC Midi R2 offers, in a much more compact form. Of course, there were original incarnations of these designs that have since been discontinued, but at that time we were not sampling from Fractal Design yet. Without actually seeing the original designs, I had to do a bit of homework to figure out exactly what the changes were.
What I am finding is that there is a new fan controller in the new design, and there is now a thumbscrew to remove the top. Also, not only are the storage drive bays completely removable, but the ODD bays are also installed with screws this time around for easy removal, and maximizing space inside for a chassis that can now house a pair of 240mm radiators in the top and front of the chassis.
Not much has changed when looking at things in a broader sense, but we can say this: Fractal Design is offering a chassis that we not only think will be a huge success to air coolers who prefer to use smaller motherboards for a gaming system, but will also open doors to a lot of those users who wanted to add water cooling, but can't fit their needs in a small form factor chassis and also do not want to step up to a mid-tower chassis. In today's offices, space is a premium commodity, so why have a chassis with twenty-five percent of its space that is virtually unused, when you could opt for the Fractal Design ARC Mini R2, and solve all of your needs at once.