While both side panels do have thumbscrews, they’re not actually necessary for day to day use, as each panel has a rear latch mechanism to lock and hold them securely. This works brilliantly, and it has the added benefit of keeping the glass panel free of ugly looking nuts and hinges – the screws are simply there for added security when transporting it.
Much like the Define S2 (and many other cases), the interior is split into a large upper chamber that’s very open and clean, and a smaller lower chamber used for the PSU and for stashing cables. The new, deeper interior gives the Meshify S2 support for E-ATX motherboards up to 285mm wide, GPUs up to 440mm long, and 185mm-tall CPU coolers – plenty of room for anything on the market. PSUs, meanwhile, can extend to a whopping 300mm, and these are installed on a removable bracket and then slid in from the rear.
Motherboard standoffs come pre-installed, and the steel PSU cover that divides the two chambers is full-length with a rear perforated section and a removable solid front section. The reason you’d remove this bit is to make way for water-cooling hardware mounted to the front panel, but actually doing so is a little bit of a faff compared to how easy it is to remove most other sections. Still, this probably won’t deter anyone installing so serious a water-cooling setup.
The Meshify S2 has the necessary brackets on the rear panel to support vertical GPU mounting, but you’ll need to also purchase the Flex VRC-25 riser kit (almost £40) to utilise them for this purpose. While this can have aesthetic appeal, users should note that there is very little airflow available to GPU cooler fans in this orientation. Of course, anyone water-cooling their GPU needn’t worry about this.
Storage options are decent; you’ll find two dedicated 2.5” mounting trays fixed to the rear of the motherboard tray. Each has its own captive thumbscrew and is made of metal, and if you prefer to show off your SSDs one or both of these can be relocated to the top of the PSU shroud. You could also purchase additional trays and utilise all four positions if you really wanted.
Similarly, 3.5” drives are also treated to individual dedicated metal mounting trays. This time, they’re found at the front of the case but still behind the full-length motherboard tray. Each one again has its own captive thumbscrew for easy removal, and each one supports 2.5” drives too. Rubber grommets are also supplied to help dampen drive vibrations. Another nice touch is a bundled three-way SATA splitter cable complete with some quality braiding; it has nice flat connectors and a suitable length of cable between each connector to allow you to easily hook up three drives.
The Meshify S2 doesn’t have any external fan control, but it does come with an integrated Nexus+ Smart Hub, which can run and control up to nine fans via the single SATA power input and one PWM signal (i.e. from your CPU fan header). Three of these can be four-pin PWM models, and the remaining six are limited to three-pin models controlled by regulating the voltage. While independent fan control isn’t possible, it’s still nice just to have a single place to connect all the fans, though Fractal doesn’t pre-connect the installed fans to the hub like other competitors (like Phanteks) sometimes do.
Two Velcro cable straps are joined by 14 individual anchor points to help with cable management, and numerous zip ties come in the accessory box. These efforts coupled with the space in the lower chamber make cable routing mostly easy and pain-free, but we did find it a hassle fishing out the two front fan connectors from the bundle of cables that runs down the front edge.
Many cases support radiators, but few go as far as Fractal does here in supporting those who want to install fully custom setups rather than just off-the-shelf all-in-one coolers. As well as the ability to install 360mm/420mm radiators in the roof, 360mm/280mm models in the front, and 240mm/280mm ones in the bottom (various restrictions do apply depending on exact size and position, but the manual is excellent in pointing all of these out), the Meshify S2 sports pre-drilled struts along the front of the elongated motherboard tray that can be used to directly mount pumps and, via the included brackets, reservoirs – all without any compromise on the level of 3.5” HDD support. Another nifty feature is a pre-drilled cutout in the roof panel that users can turn into a fill port.
May 15 2020 | 11:00