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Fractal Design Meshify C Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Fractal Design Meshify C Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Fractal Design's Meshify C mid-tower computer case launches today and we give you a full look at it right here.

@chad_sebring
Published Wed, Aug 9 2017 9:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 99%Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Fractal Design Meshify C Mid-Tower Chassis Review 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 35 IMAGES

When it comes to thinking about Fractal Design cases, two things immediately come to mind. First is the robust way in which these cases are built. Stronger than most, and could be used as a stepping stool for someone in the 300-pound range. The second thing that comes to mind is that Fractal Design always seems to have a knack for rounding corners and taking what could be rather boring and make cube form cases of any form factor attractive additions to any desk. While the structural aspect remains, it appears that Fractal Design is onto something new when it comes to aesthetically pleasing the discerning masses.

It is the time that it is, some of their older players have been left behind when it comes to the latest trends in case design, and Fractal Design has taken full advantage of most of what is selling cases today. Modularity is important, as are hidden drive bays. Not having a PSU shroud is almost sacrilege to a case design, tempered glass is hot right now as well, and many users want room for AIOs or multiple radiators, all packed into a mid-tower chassis, as not to need another desk just to place the computer onto. In all aspects, Fractal Design has taken these ideas to the drawing board and come up with their way of doing things, but the front bezel on this chassis is something we have never seen before.

As this review goes live, the Fractal Define Meshify C is releasing onto the planet. This mid-tower chassis has all of the bells and whistles, except for the push to RGB lighting. In fact, this chassis ignores lighting altogether, and with a unique approach to a full mesh front panel, does it in a way that is attractive, yet scientifically designed to also improve airflow. For those who are fans of Fractal Design, we do not need to entice you to read this review, as you are already here wondering what Fractal Design is up to now. For those of you who may not be so acquainted with this company, now would be the perfect time to have a look, as they are moving in a new direction with the Meshify C mid-tower chassis, and it is well worth a look.

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The Meshify C is made primarily of solid steel components, has a few bits made of ABS plastic, and the left side of the chassis is covered in tempered tinted glass. The case is black, the fans are black, and the only bit of colored LED to see is the backlit power button which glows blue, and flickers a more intense blue when the storage device is accessed. The Meshify C eliminates optical bays but does deliver two trays which house 3.5" or 2'5" drives, as well as a new plate which holds a trio of 2.5" drives. At the back of the case, there are seven expansion slots, and they are internally accessed as they should be. The front I/O offers a pair of USB 3.0 ports and HD Audio jacks, but there's also the power buttons and a much smaller reset button there too. The longest the PSU can be with the HDD cage installed is 175mm including the wires. The max length of video cards is shown to be 315mm, and CPU coolers can be 172mm tall and still fit. The Meshify C is 217mm wide, 453mm tall, and 413mm deep, which also allows for 15mm of room behind the motherboard tray, and 35mm of room near the front.

Cooling the chassis, there is a pair of Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm fans, one in the front, and one in the back. These fans are said to deliver only 18.9 dB(A) of noise but can push 68.4 CFM of airflow. The fan hub spins on a sleeve bearing; the fans are rated to last 100,000 hours, come with counterbalanced magnets, aerodynamic stator struts, notches in the blade edges, and use Trip Wire Technology, all to increase airflow without all of the added noise. Optional fan locations are everywhere. The front of the Meshify can house three 120mm fans or a pair of 140mm fans, which means 360mm and 280mm radiators fit too. The floor of the chassis has room for a single fan but is not shown to work with radiators. The back of the case will use the pre-installed 120mm fan and has no options for 140mm fans, but you could also use a 120mm radiator here. The top of the Meshify offers room for a pair of either 120mm or 140mm fans, and 240mm and 280mm radiators will work there.

Where other companies have been pushing the boundaries of what the majority of buyers will pay for a mid-tower, Fractal Design has their pricing based in reality. To us, once you cross the $100 mark, you better have sent us something spectacular, made of exotic materials, or be the best thing to hit the human race since sliced bread. Fractal Design has decided to play fair with the customers, and not only grab their attention with the new appearance but also by not grabbing gobs of money from your wallet. As stock arrives, you may be able to get an introductory deal, so keep your eyes peeled, but with the MSRP for the Meshify C set at just $89.99, we feel there is no need to wait it out for better pricing. Fractal Design has packed a lot into this mid-tower chassis, and the value is quite high as it is.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

Packaging

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Helping to keep the overall cost down, Fractal Design ships the Meshify C in a plain brown cardboard box. They have dressed it up with black screen painting, which shows the names, the logo, a rendering of the chassis, and also mentions the tempered glass panel, and the website to obtain more information about this chassis.

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Thick bands of black are found at the top and bottom of this side of the box, with the specifications chart shown between them. The charts cover the case as well as the fans, and at the bottom, we see that this case is designed in Sweden, but is manufactured in China.

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The back panel addresses the features next to an exploded diagram of the Meshify C. Fractal Design points out the large mesh front panel, the tempered glass side panel, its flexible storage options, the included fans, an open-air interior layout, and easy-to-clean filters.

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The last of the exterior panels use the space to show the Meshify C from the left side, with a look at the interior. This is also where we see that the model number for this design is the FD-CA-MESH-C-BKO-TG.

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Inside of the box, we find the Meshify C has plastic clinging to the tempered glass panel but also uses a plastic liner for the entire case to protect the paint and other finishes. Over the plastic, Fractal Design opts for thick Styrofoam caps to support and center the chassis in the box, and all of this allows our Fractal Design Meshify C to arrive in superb condition.

Fractal Design Meshify C Mid-Tower Chassis

Fractal Design Meshify C-Tower Chassis

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Looking at the front of the Meshify C, we can immediately tell where the name comes from. With the thinnest of bezels around the large, mesmerizing, mesh panel which is angled in all sorts of ways, the only thing to take your eyes away from it is the exposed metal Fractal Design case badge in the lower left corner.

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The front I/O panel is part of the front bezel, and it includes the reset button, HD Audio jacks, the power button, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. From this angle, we also get a better sense of the front mesh panel, as to the angles and designs used on it.

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The top of the case is made of steel, but again, only what is needed to keep the structural integrity. The thin steel around the edges allowed the top to be opened up for fan options and passive airflow, which is covered with a magnetically attached dust filter.

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The left side of the chassis uses tempered tinted glass to cover the interior, while still offering some view of the interior. Thumb screws hold the glass in place, and we see thin strips of the steel frame above and below it, while it buts up to the edge of the front bezel on the right.

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The back of the Meshify C has the rear I/O and an adjustable height exhaust fan at the top. In the middle are the seven expansion slots with passive ventilation to the right of them. At the bottom is a mounting plate for the PSU, which has you sliding the PSU into the case from the back, rather than through the right side.

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The right side of the Meshify C has little to see, just an expanse of steel where the tempered glass was on the other side. Notice no large bumps or anything fancy, just flat steel to cover the wires and hidden drives from any view.

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The bottom of the chassis is supported by chromed plastic legs, all of which have a round rubber pad on them. Across the middle, there is one long dust filter which covers the PSU and optional fan locations and can be slid out the front, which could not be any easier when it comes time to clean it.

Inside the Meshify C

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The front bezel pops off the steel chassis, but we do find that the front I/O panel is connected to it. In the bezel, there is a thin layer of foam for a dust filter, and with the springs to support the mesh cover, you can now see all of the triangular surfaces that run down the panel. In the front of the chassis, we see 120mm fan slots for three fans, and at the top are four slots for a pair of 140mm fans.

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Without the tempered glass panel in the way, we can see the open-air design of the interior. In our opinion, this is how all cases should be in some form or another. The top is wide open with room for radiators on all three sides, and the bottom is enclosed with the PSU shroud blocking the view.

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The front of the case is where the thickest radiators can go, as we see a lot of depth before we get to the long rubber grommets running down the side of the motherboard tray. Even though there is only one fan installed here, with near 70CFM, many can get by with just the stock pair of fans.

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The top of the chassis can have a pair of either 120mm or 140mm fans, but if you plan to water cool here, the radiator must be thin to keep from conflicting with the motherboard. The large honeycomb mesh allows for a sufficient amount of air flow and is you want the best performance; you can leave the dust filter off.

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The motherboard tray offers two holes with grommets at the top, the pair to the right we already covered, and fifteen wire tie points. The COU cooler access hole is large but is partially blocked by a removable steel plate, but more on that in a bit.

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The PSU shroud has much to offer. At the front is a large panel which can be removed for radiators, or to pass wires from the bottom to the top, but you also need to pull the HDD cage out to use it. Closer to the back of the case, we see a slotted area for the times when the PSU is mounted with the fan on top, and there are three holes near the motherboard tray. We also see that Fractal Design name has been indented into the steel.

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The second of the 3-pin powered 120mm preinstalled fans is located on the back of the case. It is height adjustable to line up with air coolers for a bit of added help in removing the bulk of the heat, and we find thumb screws holding in the expansion slot covers.

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There are 15mm of room behind the motherboard tray, where the removable plate is set to hold three 2.5" drives. There is a thumb screw on the left to release the plate, and tabs on the right holding it in place. On the left, we see the wires are bundled and under three Velcro straps, where there is 35mm of space. At the bottom, we did find the box with the hardware in it.

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Under the large removable panel of the PSU shroud, there is a dual-bay HDD cage. The trays use grommets on the bottom section to isolate 3.5" drives but are also drilled for 2.5" drives. Under the dust filter below the Meshify C, there are four screws which allow the cage to come free from the chassis.

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To adequately support the right-side steel panel, the frame had to be raised and rounded over, which means the PSU has to go in from the back. The thumb screws in the PSU mounting plate are captured, and once mounted to the PSU, allows the unit to slide in and rest on the thin rubber pads on the floor.

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The wires coming from the Front I/O are quite long, all except for one of them. The power LED, HDD activity LED, power, and reset leads are on the left. The short USB 3.0 cable is in the middle, and the long HD Audio cable is on the right.

Hardware & Documentation

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The hardware sent with the Meshify C is as follows. There are eight 6/32" screws for mounting the motherboard, four hex head screws for the PSU, and eight screws used to mount hard drives into the trays. At the bottom, there are eight standoffs to complement the helper standoff that is already in the motherboard tray, and the socket to drive them. What is left is the handful of screws for mounting 2.5" drives.

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Fractal design wants to tend to extra wiring needs, and what will not route through the Velcro straps can be tied down to the motherboard tray with the six zip ties. Due to glass and finger prints not getting along, Fractal has sent this cleaning cloth and is something we do not see often enough in tempered glass cases.

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The manual is on point, as any Fractal Design case comes with. There are the standards, the parts list, a wiring diagram, and step-by-step build instructions, but fractal also makes sure to address all of the fan locations and what fits where along with the second set of images for radiator support. The bright red insert is telling asking for your attention. On it, Fractal Design asks that if there are any questions, comments, or concerns, to contact them directly via the provided addresses and phone numbers.

Case Build & Finished Product

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With so much effort and thought going into the design of the front bezel, it would have been a real shame to break it up with optical bays. You are left with the same, aggressively styled, geometric design, which is unique to the market, and attractive next to the rest of your PC related gear.

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The motherboard installs with ease, and we can see that there is room above it for fans and a thin radiator. The AIO installed without any issues, but it is pressing on the video card, which is what is causing the sag seen there. We use an abnormally long video card, and we fit it with the fan there but would have issues with a longer AIO.

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Nothing out of the ordinary to report with the back of the chassis. The dust shield popped right in, the card aligns well, and screw holes do not need to be forced forward, and installing the PSU couldn't be easier; it just slides right in.

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Most of the wires can be contained on the left, and use the Velcro loops to hold them out of the way. We used the plate to install our SSD and found adequate tie points to route wiring from there as well. All around, we are pleased with the cleanliness and room left for the door to slide on without conflicts from wires.

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While Fractal Design was forthcoming with the fact that they wanted to use a dark tit on the tempered glass to deliver a black on black theme to the aesthetics, we do feel it is too dark. We can see more of the interior than in some other cases, but we know how much users like to stare into their rigs from time to time.

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Once the system is powered, we like what we see, or rather what we don't see. The only bit of the chassis that has any LEDs cannot be seen from this angle, as it is the thinnest of lines around the power switch, where dim blue light is and will brighten when the SSD is accessed. The majority of the interior is still hard to see, but we do like seeing the Corsair and Zotac white LEDs. A bit of extra lighting on the inside, and the view can be much improved.

Final Thoughts

The Meshify C, rightfully names, and the front of the chassis is made of mesh, but mesmerizes you, almost mystifies you, as you stare at it longer and longer, taking in all the angles of the triangular shapes. The chassis is solid, and even with both panels off and the HDD cage removed, it does not lose that fact. We are on the fence about the tint level used, but we do like the tempered glass side; at least it isn't so dark to blot out the product LEDs as some cases do. Removable and modular parts are always appreciated, and the new SSD tray, removable HDD cage, and removable panel in the PSU shroud are all things that open the Meshify C to new things.

Cooling inside is sufficient with just two pre-installed fans, and from a foot away, the noise from this chassis is hardly noticeable. Everything has its place, all can be installed without random issues complicating things, and outside of one tiny problem we ran into, the Meshify C is one of the better built, original looking mid-tower cases we have seen in a long time.

The "tiny" problem" we ran into is a simple fix and may be an issue for the pre-release samples only. As of yet, after reporting the issue to Fractal Design, we have not heard back, but we know they are fully aware of this. The USB 3.0 cable from the front I/O can be too short. If using older hardware, or your USB 3.0 port on the motherboard is at the bottom of it, the connection of the cable is impossible. Those of you using newer motherboards, or older designs with the USB 3.0 port on the right of the motherboard, you are good to go, whether this issue is addressed or not. Something to keep in mind.

While we did like the magnetized top dust filter, and the slide-out-the-front PSU dust filter, the padding in the front of the case is complicated to remove, and since the wires are attached to the bezel, it makes it hard to rinse it under the faucet. To get this pair of issues, we are picking it apart for the second issue, while the first issue presented itself during the build process, we still feel they are things which can be handled as long as you know up front.

Even if the Meshify C wasn't this attractive, even if it were more complicated in the build process, even if the tempered glass wasn't offered, the solidity of the chassis at this price is well worth the investment. The thing is though; you do get a smooth build process is a wide-open interior, there is tempered glass on the left, as well as modularity and a new drive mounting plate behind the motherboard tray. You get Velcro loops to bunch the wires, and decent airflow without all the noise.

If not for a couple of inconsistencies, we could have given the Meshify straight one-hundreds in the chart. However, at just $89.99 to obtain the Meshify C Mid-Tower Chassis from Fractal Design, we still feel that you cannot go wrong investing your hard-earned dollars in this product.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance100%
Quality100%
Features94%
Value100%
Overall99%

The Bottom Line: Justifiably named, the Meshify C is like no other, aesthetically! It is solid, modular, wide open on the inside, and can be viewed through tempered glass. At this price, Fractal Design is almost giving them away.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

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CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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