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Fractal Design Pop Air Review – Bye Bye Meshify

Rating: 8.5.

Fractal Design has launched a range of cases named Pop that stretch from the mATX Pop Mini, through this ATX Pop and onwards to the EATX  Pop XL. The title of this review is slightly click-baity as we are confident the Fractal Design Meshify will continue its separate and happy existence, however there is a serious point that Pop airflow cases are named Air without any mention of Mesh.

Watch video via Vimeo (below) or over on YouTube at 2160p HERE

Time stamps

00:00 Start
01:09 Introduction, versions and accessories
03:02 Pulling off the panels – drive mounts
03:58 Storage container!
04:17 Front panel / interior bracket
04:38 Dual Optical drive support
05:46 Cooling support / ARGB/ fans
07:18 Installing radiators
08:10 Hardware for install
09:50 PC Built – Leo’s Thoughts
11:24 Testing / Noise levels
13:36 Cooling Performance
14:20 Leo’s Closing Thoughts

Main features

  • Accommodates ATX/mATX/Mini-ITX Motherboards
  • Vividly coloured motherboard plate, drive trays and exterior accents (Pop Air RGB TG Cyan/Magenta/Green/Orange Core)
  • Easily mounted tempered glass side panel lets you showcase your components (TG models only)
  • Up to three HDDs and six SSDs (or two HDDs and five SSDs with one optical bay in use)
  • Comes with three of our 120 mm Aspect 12 RGB (Pop Air RGB TG) fans (and supports two more for a total of five)
  • Holds radiators up to 280 mm in the front, 240 mm in the top and 120 mm in the rear
  • Two neatly concealed 5.25” bays with storage drawer and magnetic cover
  • The easy-to-clean front mesh acts as a dust filter while allowing high airflow
  • Front I/O comes with two 3.0 USB 5 Gb/s ports, Mic and headphone jacks
  • Newly developed ARGB controller and ARGB power LEDs (Pop Air RGB TG)
  • Optional USB-C upgrade kit (available separately) adds a full speed USB Type-C front port
  • Comes with two ultra-versatile storage trays, each supporting a 3.5″ and a 2.5″ drive simultaneously
  • Easy cable management with multiple tie-down points, pre-mounted velcro straps and convenient extra-large pass-through holes
  • Unique, hexagonally patterned mesh front creates a striking visual effect

Specification:

  • Motherboard support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
  • Power supply support: ATX
  • Expansion slots: 7
  • Included fans: 2x 120mm front intake, 1x 120mm rear exhaust
  • Fan mounts: 2x 120mm/140mm front, 2x 120/140mm roof, 1x 120mm rear
  • Radiator mounts: 240mm/280mm front, 240mm roof, 120mm rear
  • 5.25-inch optical drive bays: Two
  • Internal drive bays: 3x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch (2 included), 4x 2.5-inch (2 included)
  • Front I/O ports: 2x USB 3.0 type-A, Audio (1x USB 3.1 type-C optional)
  • Dimensions: 454mm H x 474mm D x 215mm W

Testing

To put this case through its cooling paces we will be using a test system consisting of an Intel Core i9-12900K processor, RX 6800XT graphics and an SSD. This system allows us to produce a substantial amount of heat and effectively test the Fractal Design Pop Air‘s cooling capabilities.

Test System:

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-12900K (16 cores/24 threads)
  • Motherboard: MSI MEG Z690 Unify
  • CPU cooler: Fractal Design Celsius+ S24 Prisma
  • Memory: 32GB Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-6000
  • Graphics card: Sapphire Radeon RX 6800XT 16GB
  • Power supply: Fractal Design Ion+ 2 Platinum 860W
  • SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4.0 M.2 NVMe
  • OS: Windows 11

Cooling Performance

Cooling Performance Overview

The cooling performance of Fractal Design's new Pop Air was pretty much exactly what we expected. The chassis is a compact mid-tower ATX with reasonable air flow through the various panels and no obvious problems, but it lacks the volume that is typically required for really good airflow. Having said that we battered the Pop Air with a heavy combination of CPU and GPU workloads and it survived so if you dial back the hardware to sub-Core i9 we are confident the Pop Air will do a fine job for you.

Closing Thoughts

The next time we visit CES or Computex we fully intend to meet up with Fractal Design and interrogate them about sales of the various coloured options of the new Pop cases. Is Cyan more popular than Magenta? Do the customers check out Green and Orange before clicking on White?

While the painted finish is a fairly trivial matter, however it makes the ATX Pop Air stand out from the competition and that is a neat trick when you consider just how many PC cases there are on the market.

We are impressed to see that Fractal Design has packed a host of features into Pop while keeping the cost low. With their Define range you get a number of options included at a fairly high price. By contrast Pop relies on optional accessories such as extra drive mounts and USB Type-C for the front I/O panel to keep the price low.

We are confident that Fractal Design is directly targeting Phanteks Eclipse with the Pop series and we are very keen to see how this welcome competition helps the enthusiast that is working on a tight budget.

You can purchase Fractal Design Pop Air for £81.99 from Overclockers UK HERE.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

Pros:

  • Low price.
  • Supports two optical drives.
  • Nifty styling including coloured interiors.
  • Supplied with three ARGB fans.
  • Large number of storage options.

Cons:

  • Aspect 12 fans are voltage controlled rather than PWM.
  • Cooling options do not include 360mm.
  • Steel chassis is thin and flexible.
  • USB Type-C on the front I/O costs extra.

KitGuru says: Fractal Design Pop Air is worthy and does a decent job.

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Rating: 8.5.

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