Fractal Design Pop Mini Air review – Impressively compact

Fractal Design has launched a huge series of cases named Pop and we have already reviewed the Fractal Design Pop Air with a groovy Cyan paint job inside. Today it’s the turn of the Fractal Design Pop Mini Air where “Mini” refers to support for the Micro-ATX form factor.

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

Timestamps
00:00 Start
00:51 Recap / Introduction / Pricing
01:40 Dismantling the case – close-up
02:20 Radiator support / accessories / dimmer support
04:10 Case front / fans / optical options
06:23 I/O panel / USB C / fans
07:40 PC build test
09:10 RGB
10:13 Noise test
11:22 Thermal performance
12:53 Final Thoughts

main Features

  • Accepts mATX/Mini-ITX motherboards
  • Easy-to-mount tempered glass side panel with a clean interior view (TG versions)
  • Two neatly concealed 5.25-inch bays with storage drawer and magnetic cover
  • Comes with two extra-versatile storage trays, each supporting a 3.5″ drive and a 2.5″ drive simultaneously
  • Includes two dedicated SSD holders behind the motherboard tray
  • Alternate dual SSD mounting position on PSU shroud (additional bracket available separately)
  • Supports up to two hard drives and six SSDs without an optical drive, or one hard drive and five SSDs with one bay in use
  • Holds radiators up to 240mm front, 240mm top or 120mm rear
  • Easy cable management with pre-mounted Velcro straps, extra large pass-through holes and over a dozen tie-down points
  • Optional USB-C Upgrade Kit (available separately) adds a full-speed USB Type-C front port
  • Bridgeless expansion slots keep expansion card ports and vents clear

Specification:

  • Motherboard support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
  • Power support: ATX
  • Expansion slots: 4
  • Fans included: 2x 120mm front intake, 1x 120mm rear exhaust
  • Fan brackets: 2x 120mm/1x 140mm front, 2x 120mm/1x roof 140mm, 1x 120mm rear
  • Radiator brackets: 140mm/240mm front, roof 240mm, rear 120mm
  • 5.25-inch optical drive bays: Of them
  • Internal drive bays: 2x 3.5 inch/2.5 inch (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: 393mm H x 432mm D x 215mm W

Test

To put this case through its paces, we’ll be using a test system consisting of an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU, Palit RTX 3080 3080 graphics, and an SSD. This system allows us to produce a substantial amount of heat and effectively test the cooling capabilities of the Fractal Design Pop Mini Air.

Test system:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (6 cores/12 threads)
  • Motherboard : MSI MAG B550M mortar
  • CPU cooler: Noctua NH-U12A chromax.black
  • Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3600
  • Graphic card: Palit RTX 3080 Gaming Pro 10GB
  • Power source: Seasonal Focus PX-850 Platinum
  • SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4.0 M.2 NVMe
  • SE: Windows 11

Cooling performance

Cooling Performance Overview

The Fractal Design Pop Mini Air does a reasonable job of cooling hardware, but it does a fairly average job. When we increased the speed of the two Noctua fans on the CPU cooler to full speed, we found that the graphics card temperature increased slightly. Our feeling is that the Noctua fans managed to overpower the Fractal Design Aspect 12 RGB fans and moved the airflow inside the case up and away from the GPU towards the CPU.

Final Thoughts

The remarkable feature of Pop Mini Air Fractal Design is the Micro-ATX form factor which, of course, is nothing new.

The significance of the Mini is that it’s part of a larger Pop line that stretches from Micro-ATX to ATX and beyond to E-ATX, so if you like the look, the feel and Pop features and you want it Micro-ATX (or Silent or E-ATX) then Fractal Design has you covered.

One standout area about Pop Mini is the support for a large number of drive bays, including two 5.25-inch optical drives. These bays can be used for other devices such as card readers, but it’s clear from our audience’s feedback that KitGuru enthusiasts continue to use Blu-ray and other optical media.

Features like the ARGB header built into the roof of the case demonstrate that Fractal Design has put proper thought into Pop and the result is a range of budget cases that do a decent job at a fair price.

You can buy the Fractal Design Pop Mini Air with prices from £86.99 on UK Overclockers HERE.

Discuss it on our Facebook page HERE.

Advantages:

  • Large number of storage options.
  • Supports two optical drives.
  • Comes with three ARGB fans.
  • Decent price.

The inconvenients:

  • AIO cooling options are limited.
  • Aspect 12 fans are voltage controlled rather than PWM.
  • USB Type-C on front I/O costs extra.

KitGuru says: Fractal Design shows welcome support for the mATX form factor with the Pop Mini Air.

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