We love a bit of mini-ITX action at Custom PC, and one of Fractal Design’s latest mini chassis on the block is the Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano. As its name suggests, this airflow-optimized case offers copious amounts of mesh in order to boost airflow, with the front panel benefitting from what’s nearly a whole top-to-bottom mesh section. What’s more, this Fractal Design mini-ITX case also has the tool-free, pop-off side panels that we’ve loved on other Fractal Design cases.
At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing the latest PC hardware since 2003, and we run a number of tests on mini-ITX cases to gauge their cooling performance. We test with both air and liquid-cooling setups, and we take the CPU and GPU Delta T readings, so we can test in a lab that isn’t temperature-controlled. For more information, see our How we test page.
But we digress, let’s get back to that front panel on the Meshify 2 Nano. This is a separate panel to the front panel fascia, allowing you to pull it out to clean it, saving space and volume compared with using a separate dust filter. However, you’ll need to remove the fascia in order to get at the front fan mounts too. The roof houses a second mesh area with a large filter-equipped vent in the base as well.
Getting inside the chassis is simple, thanks to the aforementioned pop-off side panels. Even better, the removable roof section has also returned, allowing you to completely remove every part of the case between the front and rear of the case with no chassis frame remaining. This gives you a wonderfully open area with which to work, and it’s even more useful here, where space is at a premium, than in larger cases.
This isn’t a small case, though, and those hoping for a chassis that’s not much bigger than a Cooler Master NR200P or Lian Li Q58 will be disappointed, as it’s much larger than both of those cases in every dimension. Part of the reason for this is that there’s ATX PSU support. Dropping to only supporting SFX PSUs could shave several inches off the width, depth and height of the case.
As the Meshify 2 Nano sticks to the usual case layout of larger models, further reductions in size would also impact on the generous CPU cooler height limit of 167mm and the graphics card clearance of 331mm or 306mm with a fan installed in the front, dropping to around 270mm if you have a radiator there too. Despite the case’s size, you’re also unable to use a triple-slot graphics card, which is possible in much smaller mini-ITX cases.
It seems strange, then, that Fractal Design has cut space in the roof, removing the official option of mounting a radiator here and, what’s more, the roof’s space is limited to such an extent that while there are two 120mm or 140mm fan mounts, the latter are limited to slim 15mm fans, which are extremely rare. It would have been far more beneficial to limit the case to SFX PSUs, which would allow for a smaller case or better fan and radiator support.
Meanwhile, an interesting addition to the cooling arrangement is an angled duct that directs air from the single 140mm front intake fan diagonally upwards to the graphics card. This has the benefit not just of pointing cool air at your graphics card, but will actually aid its fans rather than shoving air in their vague direction. This is split in two parts, allowing you to benefit from the full duct effect, remove it to install a slim radiator or remove both portions to install a thicker cooling setup.
Another issue we found was the hole for the 8-pin EPS 12V CPU connector. This was too small for our PSU cable to pass through with the motherboard already installed, meaning you need to shove it through the hole beforehand. This is mentioned in the manual, but it did catch us out, requiring us to remove the motherboard. Adding a couple of millimeters to the height of the hole would have solved this issue.
Despite being large for a mini-ITX case, there’s also just a single 3.5-inch hard disk mount, which is disappointing, plus two dedicated 2.5-inch mounts. Cable tidying is generally excellent, with lots of Velcro anchor straps behind the motherboard tray, as well as cable-routing holes.
The case is extremely well made and solid-feeling too, so there are no issues with build quality. The front panel ports are also decent, comprising a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, a pair of USB 3 ports and audio mini jacks, plus power and reset buttons.
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano cooling performance
The Fractal Meshify 2 Nano CPU temperature delta T of 58°C was decent, but we have seen a little cooler from the likes of the Lian Li PC-Q58. The Fractal Meshify 2 Nano GPU temperature delta T was exceptional, though, shaving a few degrees off the already good Fractal Design Torrent Nano, most likely thanks to the fan duct funneling air directly into our RX 6700 XT graphics card’s fans. The case fans weren’t inaudible, but neither were they loud at full speed, and they shifted a reasonable amount of air.
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano pros and cons
- Excellent GPU cooling
- Removable roof section
- Great cable tidying
- Limited roof clearance
- Large for a mini-ITX case
- AIO liquid coolers restrict graphics card size
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano specs
The Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano specs list is:
|Dimensions (mm)||205 x 396 x 361 (W x D x H)|
|Material||Steel, plastic, glass|
|Available colors||White, black|
|Front panel||Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C|
|Drive bays||2 x 2.5-inch, 1 x 2.5/3.5-inch|
|Cooling||2 x 120/140mm roof fan mounts (140mm slim fans only, fans not included), 2 x 120/140mm front fan mounts (140mm fan included), 1 x 120mm base fan mount (fan not included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (120mm fan included)|
|CPU cooler clearance||167mm|
|Maximum graphics card length||331mm (306mm with front fan)|
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano price
Expect to pay: $115 (£105).
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano review conclusion
The main issue with the Fractal Design Meshify 2 Nano is that its large size hasn’t yielded any major benefits, which is a problem for a case that’s supposed to be small. Some smaller cases offer the same CPU cooler height limit, better radiator support, more hard disk mounts and support larger graphics cards. The added volume and footprint only seem to be there to accommodate a large ATX PSU and large air cooler, and the latter is supported by many smaller cases anyway.
We can’t deny that it’s reasonably priced, mostly sublime to work with, and offers excellent GPU cooling and cable tidying. It’s smaller than an ATX case, but it’s also not much smaller than Fractal Design’s Compact version, which is much more flexible. Still, if you want an even more compact Meshify case, and are happy with its credentials, it’s a solid if bulky mini-ITX case.
If you’re looking for a larger case than this mini Fractal Design chassis, then check out our full guide to the best PC case, where we run you through the very best options at a range of prices. If you’re thinking of building a mini-ITX rig, then make sure you also read our mini-ITX hardware guide, which shows that now is a great time to build a mini rig.
Impressive GPU cooling and many great features, although its large size doesn’t yield any significant benefits.