Fractal Design Arc
The exterior design isn’t much different from the Core 3000. The Arc is somewhat larger, has a different front and features a meshed decorative panel above the chassis. These small changes make the Arc much more serious and imposing visually than the Core 3000.
We must confess we felt somewhat disappointed when we took the Arc out of its box. Its front looks as if made of brushed aluminum in the photos, but it’s actually plastic. Fortunately, this small and rather subjective disappointment is in fact the only downside we can note about the Arc. It’s definitely better than the above-discussed Core 3000 otherwise and free from most of the latter’s shortcomings.
The selection and position of the I/O connectors are generally the same although there are some differences from the Core 3000.
The Reset button can now be pressed without special tools. The activity indicators have both moved into the Power button. There are only three USB ports now, but one of them is USB 3.0. The ports are still very close to each other, so you may have problems plugging in several thick USB flash drives simultaneously. The good news is that the Arc is the first system case we've ever tested whose front-panel USB 3.0 is connected to a mainboard’s header rather than to a back-panel port.
We must also note that, according to the manufacturer’s website, every Fractal Design product, except the Core 3000, comes with a front-panel USB 3.0 port. However, the Arc was the only one of our samples that actually had it. The rest of them must have come from earlier production batches.
The accessories are almost the same as you get with the Core 3000. Instead of half a dozen single-use plastic ties there are two reusable ones. There are more fasteners for disks because the Arc has more disk bays.
There’s a list of accessories right on the box that contains them. Although similar to those included with the other Fractal Design products, this set of accessories seems to be the best of all. There is even a wrench designed like a hex key for furniture among them. It is handy for fixing an expansion card in the upright back-panel slot.
The regulator knob of the fan speed controller is larger here.
The knob is longer because the controller is designed for the upright back-panel bracket which is sunken into the case. With the Core 3000’s controller, it would be difficult to turn the knob around.
Besides its external advantages, the Arc is superior to the Core 3000 in its internal aspects. It is roomier, particularly wider, and features a more powerful cooling system.
The Arc stands on solid-looking composite feet with metalized coating.
Each of the two disk racks available in the Arc can accommodate up to four HDDs or SSDs. As opposed to the Core 3000, the gaps between devices in the fixed bottom rack and the detachable top rack are the same size.
Like in the Core 3000, the detachable rack can be installed in two positions, with the devices oriented lengthwise or across the chassis.