Like Lian Li, Fractal Design was regarded as a premium chassis manufacturer that produced some of the best PC cases. The company still does just that but it has since expanded into the more affordable segment of the market. The Fractal Design Meshify C is a case that ditches the company's exceptional sound damping and aluminum parts for an all-steel construct that focuses on airflow.
This chassis follows the same design principles as most mid-tower ATX cases out there. You can configure it with or without a tempered glass panel, and that mesh front panel is a sure upgrade on competitor cases that restrict airflow using small side vents for style over functionality. On paper, the Fractal Design Meshify C should be the case for anyone wanting a good value PC chassis with expansion.
Bottom line: There's so much to love with the Fractal Design Meshify C. The meshed front panel allows plenty of air to be pulled in through a 360mm radiator, resulting in a cooler yet slightly noisy PC build.
- Multiple water-cooling radiator support
- Plenty of dusty filters
- Excellent airflow thanks to mesh front panel
- Good cable management
- Solid build quality with optional tempered glass panel
- Drive cage removal for 360mm front radiator
- Not the quietest PC case around
- Compact spacing for PSU
- Not designed with water cooling in mind
- Weak front panel I/O
Fractal Design Meshify C: Price and availability
The Fractal Design Meshify C has been out for many years now and it's easy to find the case available for $90 at various online retailers. Like other PC cases in this price bracket, you can be sure to see it go on sale for promotions like Prime Day. For what you're getting in terms of quality and features, even at full price, this is a good deal.
Fractal Design Meshify C: What's good
The Fractal Design Meshify C is an interesting PC case since it doesn't resemble much else in the company's catalog. You'd be hard-pressed to tell it was from Fractal Design if it weren't for the branding plaque on the front panel. Speaking of which, the main panel is the highlight of this case and is included in the name.
It's a mesh panel that has numerous perforated holes instead of a flab of plastic or tempered glass. Usually, you'd find the latter two materials here, but Fractal went all out with catering to large amounts of airflow. All that's required to achieve maximum results are three 120mm fans. On top of the front panel is the rather limited I/O, which consists of two USB-A 3.0 ports and a combined audio jack.
The Meshify C can be bought in a variety of models. There's the choice of black or white for color, then tempered glass or metal for the side panel. The tempered glass will allow for additional sounds to escape, so if you're going for absolute silence, it's best to pick the steel panel, which can also have some sound damping added to the interior side.
The top and far side panels are bare, so too is the rear aside from the 120mm adjustable fan mount, rear I/O for motherboard cutout, and seven expansion slots. The PSU, as usual with mid-tower cases is installed in the lower chamber, which is separated from the main area inside the chassis by a plastic PSU shroud.
|Category||Fractal Design Meshify C|
|I/O||2x USB-A 3.0|
|Expansion||7 horizontal PCI|
|Storage||3x 2.5-inch SSD|
2x 2.5-inch SSD/3.5-inch HDD
|Top fans||2x 120mm|
|Rear fan||1x 120mm|
|Bottom fan||1x 120mm|
|Front fans||3x 120mm|
|Front rad||360mm, 280mm|
|Dimensions||15.5 x 8.3 x 17.3 inches|
(395mm x 212mm x 440 mm)
|Weight||14.2 pounds (6.45 kg)|
This case supports up to an ATX motherboard, which is a little restricting since other mid-tower cases can take E-ATX boards. There are the usual seven PCI slots for expansion, as well as three 2.5-inch bays and a further two 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch bays with the removable bracket. Up to seven fans can be installed, allowing for one super-cooled PC.
For radiator support, Fractal Design allows for up to a 24mm radiator up top and a 360mm radiator on the front panel. The latter does require the HDD cage to be removed, however. Filters are available for the top, front, and bottom panels. Cable management is pretty good with grommets and routing behind the motherboard tray.
Building inside the Meshify C is a breeze. There's plenty of room to work with and all panels remove easily using a few screws. The front panel is a challenge since it uses the old plastic clips to hold it onto the frame. I always prefer magnets here since these clips can (and often do) break with the amount of force required to pop them out.
Installing a large PSU like the be quiet! Dark Power 12 would be difficult since there's only a small amount of space beneath the shroud. It's possible but you will need to spend more time fiddling around with cable management to get everything just right. Removing the 3.5-inch drive tray to allow for a radiator is recommended since 2.5-inch SSDs are the way to go in 2021.
Like all other PC cases I've reviewed recently, I put together a test rig with an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X to see how the Fractal Design Meshify C would handle even the more power-hungry processors. This CPU pumps out plenty of heat, which the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 will be more than happy to manage. To allow for convenient fan management, the NZXT N7 B550 was used as the foundation.
|Case||CPU temp||GPU temp||Noise|
|be quiet! Silent Base 802||65C||54C||37 dBA|
|Fractal Design Meshify C||68C||56C||40 dBA|
|Razer Tomahawk||73C||64C||42 dBA|
|NZXT H510i||75C||63C||43 dBA|
Through rigorous testing, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X didn't go above 68C (154F) during synthetic benchmarks and gaming. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti also ran cool at around 56C (133F), which was also aided by the amount of air being pulled in through the front panel. Noise levels weren't too bad, measuring 40 dBA. It should be slightly quieter with the metal side panel and with some aftermarket sound damping.
Fractal Design Meshify C: What's not good
That mesh panel is a double-edged sword. While it's excellent having such unrestricted access to clean air upfront, this does mean sound from within the PC will be able to escape. Fans will be able to run slower, but you may notice a slight uptick in the volume of noise terminating from the case. It won't be anywhere close to unbearable but is worth bearing in mind if you're going for a silent build.
There's also the case (pun not intended) that the HDD cage needs to be removed to allow for a 360mm radiator to be installed behind the front panel. Should you have an AIO cooler for the CPU with a larger radiator and some 3.5-inch drives to install, you may need to reconsider which is more important for the overall build.