Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Ryan spends some time testing and diving into one of Fractal Design's newest computer cases, the Pop Air mid-tower chassis. Should you buy it? Let's see.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis
Published Sep 13, 2022 9:25 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Sep 13 2022 10:48 AM CDT
Manufacturer: Fractal Design (FD-C-POA1A)
7 minute read time
TweakTown's Rating: 94%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

Taking a look at what you get with the Fractal Pop Air, for its $116 price point, it's a pretty compelling option. Tempered glass, check. Addressable RGB fans, check. Clean forward driven design, check.

Pros

  • + Ventilation in all the right places
  • + Innovative hidden storage compartment, with support for two 5.25
  • + Fun vibrant color options
  • + Comes with three aRGB 120mm Aspect fans
  • + Great cable management

Cons

  • - Limited AIO/radiator support beyond 280mm
  • - Limited storage options
  • - Front I/O is lacking, must buy a separate USB-C cable accessory

Should you buy it?

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Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Fractal Design, known for its minimalist Scandinavian designs like the Define, Torrent, Meshify, and Focus series, has launched a new line of cases dubbed Pop. The new Pop series is armed with a fusion of style and function. The Pop series has two variants, the Pop Air and the Pop Silent. Fractal was so kind to send over the Pop Air in green for us to review today.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 1 | TweakTown.com

The Pop Air is available in various colors, with or without a side panel. Pricing for the model we have for review today, the Pop Air, is set at $116 (at the time of this review), which is pretty competitive. The Pop Air comes with three 120mm Aspect aRGB fans or three 120mm Aspect non-RGB fans for the non-RGB versions. Fractal also offers two other sizes, XL and Mini, if those would suit your needs better.

Buy at Amazon

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$104.99$104.99-
* Prices last scanned on 9/30/2022 at 11:31 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Packaging

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The Pop Air arrived in the standard Fractal brown cardboard box. The front side has a picture of the case with some product specifications on the left-hand side. Each of the other sides has the Fractal logo. The backside shows us a blown-out image of the Pop Air with some of the main features.

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The other side of the box shows a blown-out image with all the "doors" open.

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The only indicator of which model was sent is in the upper right-hand corner on one side, which reads out RGB Green Core TG Clear Tint on a green sticker.

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Opening up the box, you will see there are two styrofoam end cap pieces that protect the Pop Air during shipping. The Pop Air is also wrapped in a plastic bag to ensure extra protection.

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On top is also the top mesh filter, enclosed in a neat section of bubble wrap, which shows the attention to detail that Fractal Design puts forth.

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The Pop user guide is full of good illustrations of the different configurations.

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Also included is an extended radiator bracket which helps offset a top-mounted radiator closer to the side panel allowing for extra motherboard VRM heat sink clearance.

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Here she is, all pulled out of the box. As stated before, we received the RGB Green Core with TG clear tint.

Inside the Fractal Pop Air

The Pop Air is made from mostly steel, some elements of abs plastic, and a tempered glass side panel. Dimensions of the Pop Air's profile are 548mm long, 207mm wide, and 537mm tall.

So like many of the newer chassis launching nowadays, mesh is what everyone and their brother wants. The Pop Air is no different with its mostly full mesh front panel, aside from its "secret" compartment. The top fan/radiator location also has a fine mesh dust filter, which finishes the look of the Pop Air, but begs to differ if a top filter is actually needed if an exhaust fan/radiator is set up.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 10 | TweakTown.com

Back to the front panel again, which has fine mesh with no dust filter, allowing for two of the three included 120mm aRGB Aspect fans to breathe in comfortably.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 11 | TweakTown.com

The bottom of the front panel is a small compartment that is held in with two magnets. Once removed, reveal a small tray to keep various items. If one was so inclined, one could mount a couple of 5.25in drives in the two included locations.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 122 | TweakTown.com

Pulling off the front panel, now giving you access to those two aforementioned 120mm aRGB Aspect fans, shows that up to a 280mm radiator or two 140mm fans are supported. Sorry, no 360mm AIO support here.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 13 | TweakTown.com

The Pop Air's I/O panel is located on the top right side corner, running along the backside. A small thin power button, an RGB button, separate mic and headphone 3.5mm jacks, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a blanked-out USB Type-C location, which can be added in later for an additional $10.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 14 | TweakTown.com

Cooling configurations are slightly limited, with any radiator larger than 280mm. However, air cooling has the potential ability to be able to accommodate up to a 170mm tall CPU cooler and up to 405mm in total GPU length with the front fan mounted. Motherboards larger ATX need to apply elsewhere, but the Pop Air does support everything below EATX with ease.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 16 | TweakTown.com

Moving to the business side of the Pop Air is the clear tempered glass that does not extend the full height of the case. Instead, it stops about 2 inches shy from the bottom, which then a 2-inch steel panel that has notches cut in, has the tempered glass rest in. This is a crafty way to save money, tempered glass is expensive, and the less glass you have, the less expensive a case is.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 17 | TweakTown.com

Taking the tempered glass off, you get access to the inside of the Pop Air. The PSU basement shroud, motherboard tray, feet, and back wall are all color matched. This can vary in several different colors, orange, green, magenta, and cyan. White is offered, just not with any complimenting color.

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Storage in the Pop Air can accommodate two 3.5" HDDs in either of the two included drive sleds, with options for mounting on the back wall or in their default location, inside the PSU basement, which is accessible from the backside.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 19 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the rear of the Air Pop, tons of triangle patterns are present to provide ample exhaust out of every crevice.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 20 | TweakTown.com

The backside of the Pop Air is simply laid out. It's completely functional, with a few cable tie-down points here and there, but nothing as far as rubber cable grommets to conceal visible cables from the other side. A removable dual 2.5" HDD/SSD tray is mounted to the back of the motherboard tray and can be relocated to the front if desired.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Speaking of cable management, the main cable raceway, which has two Fractal branded straps, keeps the main bunch of cables in check and in place.

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The cables from the front I/O are relatively simple with a single USB 3.0 header, a SATA power connector for the included aRGB controller, an HD audio header, and a single power header, which makes for a very easy install.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 23 | TweakTown.com

The connections for the front I/O are pretty simple, considering there is aRGB involved. An HD Audio header, a single SATA power connector, a USB 3.0 connection, and a single two-pin power switch.

Test System, Installation, and Finished Product

  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO (INTEL Z690) - Buy from Amazon
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 12600K - Buy from Amazon
  • Cooler: be quiet! Pure Loop 280mm - Buy from Amazon
  • Memory: SK Hynix DDR5-4800mhz 2x16GB
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super - Buy from Amazon
  • Storage: Kingston Fury Renegade 1TB NVME PCIE 4.0 M.2 SSD - Buy from Amazon
  • Case: Fractal Design Pop Air
  • Power Supply: bequiet! Dark Power 12 750w - Buy from Amazon
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
  • Software: AIDA64 Engineer 6.32.5600, and CPU-z 1.94.0 x64
Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 24 | TweakTown.com

The build inside the Fractal Pop Air was super easy to build in. It's the same Fractal quality we all know and love, inside and out. I did, however, have to install the 280mm AIO in the front of the Pop Air since the roof does not support anything larger than a 240mm radiator or AIO, which towards the front is dead space, which is plenty of room to extend support for a 360mm radiator or AIO. If one wanted support for a 360mm radiator or AIO and wanted E-ATX support, then a step up to the XL is your ticket, sans most of the fun colors.

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On the 280mm AIO, I installed two of Fractal's Aspect 140mm aRGB PWM fans I had from another project. That said, I moved the two 120mm Aspect fans that were in front to the roof of the Pop Air, which I think compliments the build better.

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Slotting in NVIDIA's RTX 2080 Super was as simple as it could be, which I am pleased to report that idle temps were at 30C with load temps hitting 71C. The CPU, an Intel Core i5 12600K, idles at 24C, with a load at 62C. The CPU and GPU were stress tested with Aida64 Extreme's System Stability Test for 20 minutes with an ambient temperature of 64F or 18C.

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Cable management is on point. Having a cable raceway, as well as using the 3.5" drive sled as a secondary raceway for the 24-pin and PCIe cables, was really helpful.

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis Review 29 | TweakTown.com

The money shot, yes, the Pop Air in green is looking purdy good.

Final Thoughts

Fractal Design over the years has changed a lot from its Scandinavian minimalist roots while still managing to have a clean design, and the Pop Air is no different. Taking cues from a few other cases in Fractal's lineup, for example, the diagonal front panel pattern from the Meshify series, the somewhat familiar internals of the Focus 2, along with other design elements that Fractal has implemented throughout the years.

The Pop Air is also Fractal's first foray into different vibrant case colors since the mITX Era was released. The Era at its core was a black frame with various colors outside, whereas the Pop Air is black or white with several accent color variations.

Running the Pop Air through its paces, which it handles in good strides. The 12600K and the RTX 2080 Super ran cool thanks to the ultra-fine mesh that Fractal decided to put on the Pop Air. Those are all great things that the Pop Air has going for it. Negatively, the top radiator/AIO support is a little lacking, but all in all, a really solid offering from Fractal.

In the end, the Pop Air from Fractal is a fresh look on a tried and true design that just works. Having the options it has, at the price point it's at, is well unheard of in today's markets. The funny thing about Fractal cases is that you always know it will be a fun build.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

95%

Quality

90%

Features

90%

Value

99%

Overall

94%

The Bottom Line

Taking a look at what you get with the Fractal Pop Air, for its $116 price point, it's a pretty compelling option. Tempered glass, check. Addressable RGB fans, check. Clean forward driven design, check.

TweakTown award
94%

Fractal Design Pop Air Mid-Tower Chassis

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$104.99$104.99-
* Prices last scanned on 9/30/2022 at 11:31 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Ryan joined TweakTown in 2022, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been around the block a time or two. He has always been a gamer through and through, and building PCs started when he took apart his family’s 486 DX2-based PC. He is into everything PC but enjoys building, gaming, and water cooling.

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