Fractal Design’s speciality is delivering stylish, fully featured cases that are as pleasing to look at as they are ready for some serious tech. We were quite fond of the Define R2 Black Pearl, and while it wasn’t perfect, it certainly wasn’t a case we’d kick out of the bed for farting.
Is that okay to say?
The Array R2, however, is a wholly different kettle of fish, built to do one thing – and do it very well.
Storage is sexy
The Array R2, a slightly improved version of the previous Array design is a storage box, pure and simple. It could be made to fit in as a very stripped down media box, but ultimately Fractal Design’s aimed the chassis at the DIY NAS crowd.
Externally, it’s a neat piece of kit. The all black brushed aluminium exterior manages to both be subtle and sexy at the same time. Only a single power button mars the front fascia, while the side panels house meshed vents for both the single case fan, and to help airflow over the motherboard area.
The rear is similarly simple, featuring the built in PSU, a slot for mobo IO ports, and two expansion slots. To get to the interior you remove six screws from the top panel.
The simplicity theme follows internally – there’s really not a lot to write home about. There’s a single 140mm fan on the front interior, which draws air from the mesh on the side panels – which at least means you’re not sucking up dust directly from the floor or whatever surface you’re resting on, as none of the mesh is filtered.
Behind the fan is a single six-bay HDD caddy which unscrews to reveal the rest of the interior. The caddy is placed to get direct airflow from the 14mm fan, and features silicon grommets to reduce any vibration noise – the caddy itself also sits on rubber-coated metal brackets, so, combined with the large fan, this should be a pretty quite solution. There’s even a pad of sound dampening material on the inside of the upper plate.
The Array R2 also boasts its own built-in power supply, a Fractal Design branded 300-watt jobbie which should just about be able to handle the six drives you might want to throw at it; to be honest, though, it could be a near run thing.
The motherboard, either a Mini ITX or DTX, goes onto offsets on the case’s bottom surface. You could, if you really want, install video card into the expansion slots, but the best choice would be a RAID card to make the most of the many drives the case can handle.
The Array R2 is a pretty plain offering, but it’s perfectly suited to the task it’s designed for. It almost looks too good for a device that’s likely to be tucked into a cupboard, but at the same time we’d be glad have it there.