Fractal Design has been manufacturing affordable and elegant PC cases since its inception in 2007. The company has undoubtedly continued that trend with the recent release of their new Meshify 2 Compact case. Fractal boasts this case as an “evolved” version of their acclaimed 2017 release of the classic Meshify C, which many enthusiasts tout as one of the best bang for your buck mid-tower cases to this day.
With many consumers trending away from bulky full-tower monoliths and moving towards more compact builds, these two cases provide a reasonable medium between both extremes. At a compact mid-tower size, each case supports full-sized components. You won’t have to compromise on power or potentially spend more on SFF (Small Form Factor) components to get the most out of either case. But there are some key differences between the Meshify C and the Meshify 2 Compact that you should know before you begin your build.
|Case||Meshify 2 Compact||Meshify C|
|Total Fan Slots||7 (2 Included intake & 1 exhaust)||7 (1 Included intake & 1 exhaust)|
|Drive Support||2 universal drive mounts & support for 4 2.5” drive mounts (2 included in box)||2 3.5” drive & 3 dedicated 2.5” drive slots. (no brackets included in-box)|
|GPU Compatibility||3-slot cards up to 340mm||3-slot cards up to 315mm|
|I/O||2 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio & mic jacks.||2 USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio & mic jacks.|
Cooling – Meshify 2 Compact
Both cases have been constructed with intuitive cooling solutions for the average consumer in mind. Unlike more compact cases, it is much easier to configure high-airflow setups without the need for complex custom cooling solutions. Each case supports 7 total fan mounts, though the Meshify 2 ekes out ahead with 1 additional included front fan and the ability to include a bottom fan without the need to remove the HDD cage, as was the case with the older Meshify C.
The Meshify 2 Compact’s inclusion of two front intake fans and a rear exhaust out of the box makes it an attractive choice for thermals without the need to purchase additional fans. The two cases are nearly identical in terms of AIO and water cooling compatibility. Both allow for 3-fan radiators at the front of the case and dual-fan models at the top. You will have to remove the HDD bay on both models to allow for a triple-fan radiator over 280mm at the front.
Each case includes dust filters on the top, front, and bottom as well as an aesthetic geometric mesh front that allows for increased airflow. For looks, both cases offer the option of configuring with metal or tempered glass side-panels.
Storage – Meshify 2 Compact
The newer Meshify 2 Compact crushes the Meshify C in terms of drive and storage support. You get 2 included 3.5”/2.5” universal drive mounts as well as space for 4 dedicated 2.5” drive mounts with two included brackets straight out of the box. The Meshify C only supports 2 universal drive mounts and 3 dedicated 2.5” drives, and it does not include any brackets in the box.
Getting inside the case to remove and adjust mounts is going to be easier with the Meshify 2 Compact. It ditches the thumb-screw bolts for the side tempered-glass panels in favor of a magnetic panel that swings open for easy access to the interior.
GPU Compatibility – Meshify 2 Compact
Both cases support the biggest and most-demanding consumer GPUs on the market, though you will find a little bit more wiggle room with the Meshify 2 Compact. It allows for a GPU up to 340mm in length, while the Meshify C may be a tight squeeze for cards like the 3090 with a max of 315mm before you need to take out one of the front fans. Those looking for the best performance that the market has to offer should consider that detail, especially being that the Founder’s Edition 3090 is already sitting at hulking 313mm, and that’s not even considering the bulkier third-party releases out there.
PSU Compatibility – Meshify 2 Compact
Neither case is going to give you trouble when it comes to fitting a full-sized ATX power supply, but simply fitting the PSU isn’t everything. As the demand for higher-wattage units increases, manufacturers are making bigger modular PSUs than ever before. You want as much comfort and space for fitting components without making your build a nightmare. The Meshify 2 Compact allows for a 200mm PSU (165mm without removing the front fan) while the Meshify C can only support 175mm, and that’s only if you take the front HDD bay and fan out.
Though the Meshify C does have slightly more room for routing cables at the back of the case with spaces varying between 15-35mm while the Meshify 2 Compact is a bit tighter with allowances between 17-28mm. It’s not enough to notice with standard builds, but more enthusiast-level builds may find the extra cable management space a plus.
I/O – Meshify 2 Compact
The front I/O is where the Meshify C begins to show its age. Both cases include standard USB 3.0 ports as well as separate 3.5mm jacks for mic and audio. The Meshify 2 Compact wins out with an included USB 3 Type-C port that gives a bit more versatility for adding hubs, displays, and transferring data. Both cases offer support for up-to full-sized ATX motherboards as well as 7 rear slots that will be more than enough to support even SLI GPU configurations as well as modern 3-slot GPUs.
Verdict – Meshify 2 Compact
The older Meshify C is going to offer a better budget deal than the brand-new Meshify 2 Compact. The former can be had on retailers like Newegg for $89.99 while the latter will run you $109.99. With such similar specifications across the board, mid-tier builders will find a lot of value to be had with the Meshify C. Though the additional space and more up-to-date I/O of the Meshify 2 C more than makes up for that gap in the price for those looking for a no-compromise case that can support the latest and greatest hardware.
If USB-C connectivity isn’t a deal-breaker and you don’t plan to do any sort of AIO or custom water cooling, then the Meshify C offers a great deal for the price as long as you don’t mind picking up an extra fan or two down the line.
All in all, the Meshify 2 Compact offers the best performance and value right out of the box for builders and enthusiasts looking to make use of every millimeter of space. The convenience of the additional included fan, more internal space, and the more modern USB Type-C connector will save you time and possibly even some money over the more dated Meshify C.
Meshify C & Meshify 2 Compact Alternatives
The Beginner SFF Alternative: The Silverstone SG13B
If you’re looking to take the full plunge into SFF PC building then the Silverstone SG13 is one of the most beginner-friendly options on the market. This case allows you to use a full-sized ATX PSU with your other form factor components, which can save you quite a bit of money when building. The Silverstone has a fully-featured I/O with USB 3.0 and impressive airflow for such a compact case. Aside from the fact that you can purchase the case in neon pink, the most impressive aspect of it is its price. You can purchase this case for approximately ~$50 from most online retailers.
The Airflow Addict Alternative: Lian Li Lancool II Mesh
This mid-tower may have a boring exterior when compared to the artful geometric mesh on the Meshify cases, but the Lian Li Lancool II Mesh boasts some quality of life features that the other two cases lack. In addition to fantastic thermals, this tempered glass mid-tower comes with three fans and a fan controller. You’ll be able to adjust your fan curves and perfectly manage your thermals right out of the box! You will pay a slight premium for these features with a price set at $119.
The No Compromises Premium Alternative: Fractal Design Define 7
Coming back to Fractal with a bigger budget means you can afford one of the top mid-tower cases on the market. The Fractal Design Define 7 takes build quality to the next level with brushed aluminum and a high-quality tempered glass side panel. Its sleek white finish, robust front I/O, and roomy interior layout make it a popular choice for enthusiasts that want the best of the best. Those willing to pay for the best will find that this case retails at $169.99.