Last August Fractal introduced there new Meshify product lineup with the Meshify C and it was extremely popular. For years now Fractal has had just one main style and the Meshify managed to keep the clean look while doing something different. It was also a departure from Fractal’s noise focused designs with a design focusing on cooling. Well, they are back at it again and this time around I’ve been testing the new case out. Today they are introducing the Meshify C Mini, a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX variation of the Meshify C. It is just a smaller version of the original, but because I didn’t get a chance to check out the original this will give us a look at the new design with the smaller more compact Mini version.

Product Name: Fractal Design Meshify C Mini

Review Sample Provided by: Fractal Design

Written by: Wes Compton

Pictures by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Case Material

Steel, Tempered Glass

Case Color

Black

Fan Color

Black

Power LED color

Blue

Disk Activity LED Color

Blue

Motherboard Compatibility

MicroATX, Mini-ITX

Power Supply Type

ATX

External 5.25” Drive Bays

0

2.5"/3.5" Universal Drive Bays

2

Dedicated 2.5" Drive Mounts

3

Expansion Slots

5

Front Ports

2 x USB 3.0, Audio I/O

Max PSU Length

175 mm or less recommended

Max GPU Length

315 mm with front fan mounted

Max CPU Cooler Height

172 mm

Cable Routing Space

15-35 mm

Case dimensions (LxWxH)

409 x 217 x 412 mm

Case dimensions without feet/protrusions/screws

395 x 212 x 399 mm

Left Side Panel

Tinted tempered glass

Right Side Panel

Steel

Cable Routing Grommets

Yes

Fixed Velcro Straps

Yes

Captive Thumbscrews

Right Side panel

SSD brackets

Fan Positions

Fans Included: 2 x Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm

● Fans Supported: 7

● Front: 3 x 120 mm or 2 x 140 mm (1 x 120 mm preinstalled)

● Rear: 1 x 120 mm (1 x 120 mm preinstalled)

● Top: 2 x 120/140 mm

● Bottom: 1 x 120 mm

Water Cooling Support

Front: 280/240/140/120 mm radiators (max 144 mm width)

● Top: 240/120 mm radiators (max 40 mm motherboard component height)

● Rear: 120 mm radiators (max 125 mm width)

Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm Fan information

● Sound level - 19.4 dBA

● Airflow - 52.3 CFM

● High-grade LLS (Long Life Sleeve) bearing

● 100,000 hour MTBF

● Counter-balanced magnet reduces axial tension on

the bearing

● Aerodynamic stator struts reduce noise and turbu-

lence

● Blade edges with strategically placed notches elimi-

nate fan hum

● Trip Wire technology increases blade efficiency and

decreases noise

 


Packaging

Fractal might be changing things up with the Meshify lineup but they didn’t make any changes to their boxes. You still get a brown box with single color (black) print. The case has a line drawing on the front along with the model name up in the top right corner. They always include a specification listing on the side of the case for anyone shopping in a brick and mortar shop. Then on the back, they have a blown apart line drawing of the Meshify C Mini with each of its individual components and a list of some of its features.

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Inside the box, the case comes wrapped up in plastic with plastic covering the tempered glass panels as well. Then you have the standard Styrofoam pieces that keep it all away from the outside edges of the box in case it gets banged around. Also in the box down under the case, I found a zip log style bag with the Meshify C Mini user guide inside.

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Outside

Unlike the original Meshify C, the Mini doesn’t have a model with and without the tempered glass side panel. Fractal went with a tempered glass side panel on the left side by default. It takes up the full side panel and is a little thicker than the side so if you look closely they have beveled the edge to help it meet up on the edges. It is attached with four thumbscrews with rubber washers that keep the panel from being damaged. Tempered glass gives the case a little more longevity because a standard side panel will eventually start to get scratched up, not to mention the additional reflectiveness of the panel. This, of course, makes it a LOT harder to get photos of for me, but I think its worth it in the end. The panel has a tint by default but Fractal also painted the edge on the inside to make sure to hide any of the weird areas that the panel goes over metal framing and mounting.

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Let's be honest, the main thing different about the Meshify C Mini is the front of the case. Unlike in the past where Fractal would have solid front panels that limit airflow but help keep noise levels under control. They went with a full mesh front panel. But in a truly Fractal way, they managed to do what everyone else has been doing forever and make it completely unique by adding 3-dimensional angular design to the mesh. It is just enough style to make the Meshify stand out without being over the top. Also on the front panel is a brushed aluminum Fractal Design nameplate but to get it to work they had to angle the mount so that it would be flat, a nice touch.

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The top is also mesh, but not the same angular design. The top mesh is actually a removable magnetic filter over top of larger perforated holes with mounting slots for fans to allow adjustment. It should also be noted that the slots are as far over as they can be to keep any fans or radiators away from the motherboard for clearance. Also on top, up at the front edge, is the front I/O panel. You get two gold-plated USB 3.0 connections, I’m a little surprised they didn’t include USB Type C as well. Then over on the other side, you get audio and microphone front panel connection. On the far left the reset button kind of blends in with the audio jacks. Then in the middle is a square power button. I don’t really like the power button very much, an aluminum button or similar with a solid feel would be a big improvement here.

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Now the right side of the case has nothing special going on. This is the back side of the motherboard so Fractal used a standard steel panel to hide any of our bad wiring.

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Around on the back of the case, the Meshify C Mini has a mostly normal configuration. You have a rear fan mount next to the rear I/O but it has slotted mounts for the fan that gives about an inch of movement up and down to help depending on your setup. There is ventilation next to the PCI brackets as well as vented brackets. Being a Micro-ATX case there are five brackets in total. Then down at the bottom is the power supply bracket. Rather than an internally installed PSU, you remove this bracket and then can install it through the hole. The bracket has two thumbscrews attached for quick installation and removal and then it has four screw holes to be attached to the PSU itself.

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Last but not least we have the bottom of the case. The two big things going on here are the feet and the fan filter. The four case feet have a nice custom look with their polished finish with large rubber feet on the bottom. Then the fan filter runs the full length of the case and has a handle on the front side. This way you can remove the filter for cleaning without having to pick the case up.

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Inside

The most immediate thing that stood out to me what I opened up the Meshify C Mini is actually the lack of the white trim that Fractal likes to use. This case is completely blacked out inside and out. The other thing that I really dug was the power supply shroud down at the bottom. It is metal, not plastic like a lot of the other cases and it even has the Fractal Design logo stamped on it. That combined with the four rubber grommeted holes up top and to the right should help a lot with clean wire management.

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From the inside we can get another look at the 240mm radiator support. The offset layout helps give you 40mm of space between a fan or radiator and your motherboard so most motherboards should fit even though the radiator does hang over the motherboard. Fractal includes two fans, one exhaust on the rear that is all blacked out just like the rest of the case. Under the motherboard there is a large access hole for getting at the back of the CPU with the board installed. Then as I mentioned already there are four rubber grommeted holes for wires. The two up top are nice, there is normally just one on the left. The two holes should help with weird wire layouts on some boards. Then the two on the right run the full length of your board and should cover everything else you need to run including the large 24 pin and video card power as well.

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The front of the case has another dual fan configuration. This is where you will find the second included fan. In the front, you can fit a 240mm or 280mm radiator so this is your only option if you need 140mm dual fan cooling. For long radiators, you will need to remove the top plate from the PSU shroud. This is a nice touch that can allow even more cooling if needed. You do have to drop hard drive mounts to do that though.

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Around back Fractal has left a lot of room to work with. From the back, you have full access to the power supply compartment but I should point out as a reminder that the PSU doesn’t install from this direction. There isn’t enough space to slip it in. The PSU compartment has ventilation on the bottom for the fan to face down. Beyond that, you have a few inches of room in front of it for wires before getting to the hard drive cage. If you have a PSU installed and need to hook up another modular cable, you may have to pull it out slightly to get your hand back there.

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While there is a good amount of space behind the motherboard tray, there is even more over on the left side past the two long passthrough holes. That section also has Velcro straps to help run wires up and down this area.

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The two hard drive mounts are plastic and require screws but they slide into the cage like other toolless designs. The cage itself is unique in that it can be removed to gain access for long radiators or fans or you can slide it forward and back. If you want you can also remove it and just mount a drive on the bottom of the case as well. Each tray supports 3.5 and 2.5-inch drives.

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Partially covering up the back of the CPU access is another drive bracket. This one is installed with one thumb screw and it supports up to three 2.5 inch drives. All together you can fit five drives with two being 3.5 or 2.5 not counting M.2 drives. Not bad for an M-ATX case.

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Installation and Performance

Before testing the Meshify C Mini I did have to get a system together. I grabbed our Micro ATX X299 board from EVGA and a GTX 1070 Ti from Asus to fill things up and a power supply from Corsair to get power. From there I had to dig out the small box of screws Fractal tucked away in the hard drive tray. Inside you get individually bagged but not labeled screws. You also get standoffs, a microfiber cloth, and a few zip ties. Just about everything needed to get things together. I do wish that a few of the standoffs would have come pre-installed, at least what you need for an ITX board. So plan on having to get all of those in before you can start building. They include a screwdriver adapter at least.

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From there I put our memory, M.2, CPU, and cooler altogether outside of the case. Then dropping the combo in was simple. I just had to install the video card and I could start wiring things up. The video card ended up sagging right away, not really the fault of the case at all, but that nice even line right below it for the PSU shroud helped make it more obvious lol.

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I actually ran the wires from the PSU and hooked them up ahead of time only to remember I had to install it through the back. You do want to pre-run the wires in this case as it makes it easier to get at, but make sure you run them through the PSU hole in the back after removing the bracket. Getting it back in wasn’t hard and I like how quick you can remove the PSU later with the two thumb screws. Wiring wasn’t too bad as well, the back of the case does have a good amount of room, especially up the side and the grommeted holes made keeping things clean looking easy. I ended up pulling the video card back out for room to get my hands in for all of the small wires though. I also took advantage of a small hole in the top of the PSU shroud for the front panel audio and a fan header but the USB 3.0 and front panel connections went in the side hole.

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The end result was a clean looking build, even after forgetting to install the I/O cover initially and figuring out I had the wrong M.2 drive. Once I worked those things out I started with some testing to see if the new mesh design was that much worse for noise and that much better for cooling. With just the two fans and the Noctua cooler and Asus video card both being quiet the build was quiet. Because of the mesh front, if you pack loud hardware inside you are going to hear it more though. Cooling performance in this configuration was about what I expected as well. Going with an AIO loop would have been better on the CPU but I would have been limited to the top or rear mount. As you can see while our 1070 Ti fit there isn’t enough room for a radiator there. Some cards should work though, this one just happens to stick out a little last the PCB getting in the way.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Once I finished up my testing I could finally sit down and go over the details on the Meshify C Mini and see if it is the right case for your next Micro-ATX build. So for starters, even right out of the box I loved the new angular mesh design. The rest of the case looks like old school Fractal but the new front is unique and would go really well with Nvidia’s current styling as well. Hell Nvidia built their new building with this tessellated angular look. Like past Fractal Design cases, the Meshify C Mini has easy to remove and clean filters with the magnetic one on top, the slide in on the bottom, and the front mesh panel with foam behind it. For those who dig tempered glass, you also have something to love as well. I like that with the glass Fractal painted around the edge to hide anything that might make it look unfinished and they also beveled the outside edge to help the thick glass match up with the case. There were other things I liked about the case that didn’t fit into the pro’s and con’s list as well like the clean look that the power supply shroud gives the case, the blacked out design, and the modular hard drive configuration that can hold up to 5 drives.

There was room to improve, especially with the front I/O. I felt like the power button was a little cheap looking and would match better with the case with a nice aluminum design. I would also love to see them start to move to including a front USB Type C connection as well. There were cases early last year with them and a good portion of the motherboards are starting to have the internal header for it. I also found that once I had our test setup in the case that the front is going to be tight to fit a radiator and fans in with some longer cards like our 1070 Ti Strix.

For me, though I think it was the price that really cemented how I feel about this case. You end up with a quality Fractal construction, tempered glass, and most of the features that modern cases should have at a price point that fits into budget builds. At just under $90 this is a great pickup and really you can forgive Fractal for not including that Type-C plug. I have been arguing for a long time that IT or at most Micro-ATX is really all that most people need and with a case like this that is a little smaller and lighter than a full ATX case you might not even hate yourself if you take it to a few LAN events a year as well. All while having room to expand in the future, for what I don’t know considering SKI/Crossfire has slowly faded away, but there is still room! The blacked out design is also a blank canvas that would look good in a minimalists office or let you up the style with a little RGB lighting through that glass side panel.

fv5value

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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