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Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact Review: Understated Excellence

A breath of fresh air

Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

For thermal and acoustic testing, we are using the following software and settings:

CPU Clocki9 9900k: 4.6 GHz (46x 100MHz) @ 1.1v
GPU ClockRTX 2070 Super: Stock
GPU DriverNvidia GeForce 445.87
Case & CPU Fan SpeedsStock Configuration 100%
GPU Fan Speeds75%

Test Results

None of the fans included with the case use PWM control, but they’re still quality spinners. The 120mm exhaust fan will spin at a minimum speed of around 500 RPM, with the 140mm spinners running as low as about 450 RPM. Top speed for the 120mm unit is at about 1250 RPM, and the 140mm fans spin at around 900 RPM at full speed.

These aren’t high fan speeds, but with a mesh intake, they’re plenty speedy to keep the system running cool without producing too much noise, even with aggressive fan curves.

Acoustic Results

For our acoustic tests, we run three scenarios: CPU full load, CPU and GPU full load, and an optimized idle. The CPU Full Load test runs the CPU and case fans at their maximum speed. For the CPU and GPU full load acoustic test we add the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super FE at 75% fan speed, because in practice it never runs at 100 percent and is far too loud when it does.

For the optimized idle, we run the GPU fan speed at 40 percent (the 2070 Super FE GPU does not have a Zero-RPM mode), and run the CPU and included case fans at the lowest speed they will spin at.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Of course, although the included fans aren’t loud, the mesh front does let out a fair bit of noise, which is especially clear when the Founder’s Edition RTX 2070 Super comes into play. The Meshify 2 Compact isn’t on the list as the quietest case, but keep in mind that the differences are so minor, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice any difference except the jump to the Lancool II Mesh Performance, which is quite a bit louder.

Thermal Results

For the thermal tests, all case and CPU fan speeds are set to 100 percent. The i9-9900K is pegged at a 4.6GHz clock at 1.1v on all cores to ensure consistent power consumption across test scenarios, and letting the GPU run at 75 percent fan speed enables it to maintain its power target while maintaining one set reasonable fan speed, so that the temperature is the only variable.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Thermally, the Meshify 2 Compact turns in an impressive performance. It competes for second place on the list of competitors, but offers performance that’s in-line with its noise levels. Here, only the Lancool II Mesh Performance jots down a better average temperature, but again, that’s a louder case so it’s to be expected.

Conclusion

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

At the end of the day, the Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact is a pleasing case to work with that performs exactly as you’d expect. The only major gripe we had with the chassis was its sticking power button, though that’s possibly down to our sample and even then, was only an issue when you press it a certain way.

Other than that, the Meshify 2 Compact offers everything you want from an ATX case, assuming you’re not into RGB. With this chassis, the $110 price you’re paying goes to its design, both in looks, practicality, and performance. It’s a grownup case that doesn’t try to be overly flashy, rather going for classy, yet playful looks with its creased mesh intake.

However, the case is competing in a very busy segment, against the likes of the excellent Lian Li Lancool II Mesh Performance, Corsair 4000D Airflow, and the Phanteks Eclipse P300A – all which cost less. Throw RGB into the mix, and you find even stiffer competition in the likes of the be quiet! Pure Base 500DX, Phanteks Eclipse P360A, and the Corsair Obsidian 4000X RGB – only the last one of which is more expensive than the Meshify 2 Compact.

As a result, the case’s biggest downfall doesn’t come from the case itself, but rather the strength of its competition. I suppose that means it’s too expensive, but keep in mind that the $110 price is just the on-launch MSRP, and chances are it will drop to lower street pricing in due time.

All that being said, the Meshify 2 Compact does offer a safe choice at a slight price premium – it’s a case you can grow up with, and it’s unlikely to go out of fashion in a year’s time. If you don’t mind paying a little extra for practicality, ease of use, performance, contemporary yet understated looks, Fractal Design’s Meshify 2 Compact is a case you absolutely can’t go wrong with. It will serve you and your hardware well for years to come.

Niels Broekhuijsen
Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware news on all components and peripherals.
  • MoxNix
    Tom's and their love for RGB lighting... RGB lighting it isn't a plus it's a big minus. This case not having RGB is an important point in it's favor.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    MoxNix said:
    Tom's and their love for RGB lighting... RGB lighting it isn't a plus it's a big minus. This case not having RGB is an important point in it's favor.
    some people like rgb.

    learn to accept other opinions. it really isn't a big deal.
    Reply
  • MarsISwaiting
    MoxNix said:
    Tom's and their love for RGB lighting... RGB lighting it isn't a plus it's a big minus. This case not having RGB is an important point in it's favor.

    +1 more over , for me tempered Glass is a minus as well , I prefer ventilation on doors for better cooling as well .
    Reply
  • GenericUser
    If anything the RGB should just be left out as far as pros/cons go.
    Reply
  • Colif
    Really, fact they think Fans are good despite not being pwm cancels out another con. Maybe they were stretching and didn't want just 2 negatives. None of the points against are really negative enough to stop people buying case. They likely have a non TG variant, they just send the tg variant around as I guess percentage of people who don't care if its there is higher than those who don't want it.

    RGB should be optional and not built into case as there are enough people around who will avoid the case if its got that. I know the proto stages of RGB 5 years ago made it hard for me to find a case I wanted.

    I like the changes to the front, I wish my Meshify S2 had the door filter system :(
    Reply
  • hushnecampus
    I’ve often wondered about cases like this and the big radiators at the front - are they blowing out or in? If in then you’re blowing hot air in to the case, if out then the filter is in the wrong place. How is this usually arranged?
    Reply
  • Colif
    if the rad is an aio on the front, its intake.

    its works better than you would think.
    having aio on roof of case means all the heat from gpu gets blown through the radiator on way out of case (depends where gpu blows its air, on blower type cards it makes little difference)
    I have my aio as intake
    xNAMxZgvves
    Reply
  • MarsISwaiting
    Colif said:
    if the rad is an aio on the front, its intake.

    its works better than you would think.
    having aio on roof of case means all the heat from gpu gets blown through the radiator on way out of case (depends where gpu blows its air, on blower type cards it makes little difference)
    I have my aio as intake
    xNAMxZgvves

    It depends on the case .. this needs a meshed front case and is better to remove the front filters.

    The roof mounting has a positive as well , no filters needed and better airflow out of the case .
    Reply
  • rluker5
    One thing to consider with cases is if you think you will still like them in a few years.
    I picked up a Fractal Design R4 when I built a rig with sli 780tis, an optical drive and a bunch of HDDs. It is still fine and looks ok, but is huge and has space for a lot of things that are basically obsolete.
    I replaced it with a Define C to get a more reasonably sized pc. It has newer components inside as well, but could still fit everything from the old pc but the optical drive and bunch of currently small capacity 3.5" HDDs.

    I think this Meshify 2 will still look good after life changes that happen over the time it is still useful.

    An angly, rgb case that shouts XTREEM in 2021 probably won't. Neither will gamer chairs or racecar beds.
    Reply