Fractal Pop Air: New house series in individual test

The Fractal Design Pop series has it all from the pure sub-selection. There are not only three different sizes from Mini (ITX / M-ATX), Midi (ATX) to XL (E-ATX), but also Air and Silent variants, with and without RGB and then the color versions, ranging from light pink to light green. The colorful elements of the interior can only be found in the black Pop Air RGB, a color combination with white house is currently not possible. In addition to magenta and light green, there are also orange and cyan blue as trendy colors, while the sober black / white versions without color theme are also available on the classic side. Depending on the model, the suggested retail prices range from 84.99 to 105.99 euros.

Weighing just under 7.2 kg and measuring 47.35 × 21.5 × 45.4 cm, the midi suitcase has a volume of around 46 liters, so it is neither very bulky nor too large. The more volume, the easier it is usually to prevent excessive heat buildup. Despite the seemingly relatively small box volume, graphics cards up to a length of 40.5 cm and CPU tower coolers up to 17 cm can be installed without significant problems. The side parts are not clipped in, as is the case with Fractal Define 7, but are fastened in the classic way with two screws.

Pop Air in the fast selection

Fractal Pop Air: Features

More would have been nicer, but what is provided is compelling. It should come as no surprise that an entry-level case does not come with all the premium features. For example, there is no built-in USB port available, the end buyer must buy the appropriate cable for the front for a surcharge of 12.99 euros and install it yourself. The situation is similar to the extra SSD / HDD frame, which in practice can come across to most as much as the missing USB-C port on the top. The three included 120 mm fans (Aspect 12: ARGB, 3-pin DC) emit a nice light, do not rattle and are in the light of the performance test similarly high performance to many computer configurations. Two of the fans are in the standard version at the front, one at the rear. Alternatively, 2 × 140 mm fans can be mounted in front and on top. In the silent version, on the other hand, the top is closed, so that only a front structure is possible with radiators.

With the Air housing tested here, a maximum of a 280 mm radiator can be installed on the front, a 120 mm on the back and a 240 mm on the ceiling, but depending on the height of the RAM bars and the thickness of the radiator including the fan – in the Instructions, which, as usual, is optimally illustrated from Fractal, speaks of a maximum height of 35 mm for the RAM set. In our test with the Alphacool Eisbaer LT 240 (radiator thickness of thinner 25 mm plus fan) and our Corsair Vengeance DDR5 kit (with the maximum allowable height of 35 mm) it became extremely tight without the included radiator spacers, although an installation is possible.

With extra-wide compact water coolers like the Arctic Liquid Freezer II, if in doubt, switch to the front structure, even with the spacers. Given the support of CPU tower coolers up to a height of 17 cm, the use of powerful air coolers such as the cheap Scythe Fuma 2 or the impressive Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 is recommended for most performance-oriented configurations in the context of the Pop series in midi / / midi format is probably more advisable and easier to plan, also in relation to cabling.

5.25 inch booth on the lower front as a nice extra

With the Pop series, Fractal wants to offer more to the beginner class.  Will the colorful new offshoot succeed?  (6)

With the Pop series, Fractal wants to offer more to the beginner class. Will the colorful new offshoot succeed? (6)

Source: PC Games Hardware

Fans of DVD / Bluray drives, manual fan controllers and multimedia booths can (finally) breathe a sigh of relief. The Fractal Pop series comes with two 5.25-inch slots – including the mini / midi versions. The placement at the lower end results in the classic “desk position” for better accessibility, where the computer is literally placed on the table so that it is no longer necessary to bend down. There is also a small, matching storage space in the 5.25 frame, in which smaller USB sticks, tools etc. can be stored. Unless the computer is placed completely sideways or upside down, the small drawer should be a nice hiding place in the case. The two drive bays are covered by a stable, magnetic panel that can be easily and effortlessly removed with a loop on the side. Behind the 5.25 slots, there are two detachable 2.5 / 3.5-inch drive combi slots in the lower, separate and non-detachable power supply chamber, which fortunately each have a narrower SATA SSD and more bulky 3.5-inch HDD can fix , so four hard drives in total. If, on the other hand, both 5.25 slots are filled with full, longer drives, the hard drive combination slots must be removed.

With front panels Without front panels

With a 5.25 drive including a shorter fan controller / multimedia stand, only one combination frame at the rear must be removed. On the back of the motherboard tray, there are two removable slots for additional SATA SSDs and smaller 2.5-inch HDDs, which can even be placed inside the housing if needed. If more are required, additional drive brackets can be purchased – including an HDD frame and another 2 × 2.5-inch set, which is already supplied on the back.

Dust filter, RGB controller and front connector

While the Pop-Silent variant is insulated at the front and the air must be sucked in from the side, Pop Air’s metal mesh ensures adequate air flow. An extra dust filter on the front – such as the snug, magnetic in the ceiling or the small nylon filter under the power supply – is not necessary due to the fineness of the mesh pattern. With a gentle jerk, the front can be easily taken off and with a little feeling snapped back into place. The front ports are aligned at the top left, the empty USB-C port is kept closed with a cover. The two USB 3.0 Type-A ports (USB 3.1 Gen 1 after the confusing universal USB name change) and the audio jacks, each with a headphone and microphone connection, live up to the expectations of the beginner class.

With the Pop series, Fractal wants to offer more to the beginner class.  Will the colorful new offshoot succeed?  (2)

With the Pop series, Fractal wants to offer more to the beginner class. Will the colorful new offshoot succeed? (2)

Source: PC Games Hardware

The one-button RGB controller is a nice addition. The RGB controller provides eleven color profiles (short press to scroll through) and five sub-options (longer press), with color combinations such as blue / purple, rainbow or the static fractal-Nothern-Light special case that is no longer accidentally pressed by RGB button to switch between the color profiles. With the Pop-Air color variants, 1: 1 matching RGB profiles can not be selected, the three included 120 3-pin DC-RGB fans had to be supplied with suitable colors via the motherboard, so Magenta e.g. are exactly the same fans set correctly.

Interim conclusion: equipment

The equipment could be more lavish, but the included accessories are still compelling for the beginner class. At no point is a gross defect recognizable, and details such as the high-quality instructions or the spacers for mounting an upper radiator make Fractal’s typical quality requirements clear. The design and concept decisions, such as the two 5.25 booths on the bottom instead of compatibility with a 360 radiator, for example, must be accepted as part of the new orientation of the Pop series. On the other hand, you can find out to what extent the material processing, including properties and performance, rails or fails.

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