RGB doesn’t come cheap. A single fan costs about $15, and if you get a three-pack, the cheapest you can go is about $10 per fan for a non-major brand. Outfitting a mid-tower ATX case can easily add another $60 to $100 to your bill, depending on what type of fan and how many you get.
So when Montech casually released a $70 case last year with six included RGB fans, it caught our attention. Even with the rising shipping costs in late 2021, Montech didn’t budge on that price, either. Naturally we had to get our hands on one. Not only because we love a great value buy, but because it’s important to know if you’re getting an extremely budget case with eye-popping extras, or a solid case with lackluster fans.
As you’ll see in the video above, the answer lies a bit in the middle. Montech makes smart decisions about where to cut corners, even if some design choices are, uh, choices—like the daisy chain of proprietary molex connectors that power the fans and their RGB. The result is a pretty attractive mid-tower, one good enough to earn our 2021 Case of the Year award, even if it feels a bit like seeing fancy rims and spoilers on a Honda Civic with manual-crank windows.
Like a Civic, all the basics are firmly settled in this case. What some might call uninspired, others will find a blessing. Because the X3 Mesh closely follows today’s trends, it offers a layout similar to popular mid-towers costing $30-plu more. You can mount a ton of fans inside this airflow case: up to three 120mm or 140mm fans at the front, up to two 120mm at the top, up to one 120mm fan at the rear, and even up to two 120mm fans over the power supply shroud. Not that you need to pay extra to populate most of those spots—the six included RGB fans break down as three 140mm at the front, two 120mm up top, and one 120mm at the rear.
Radiators will work in this case as well, though they’re not officially listed on Montech’s official specs. You can do up to a 240mm rad at the top and up to either a 280mm or 360mm rad at the front.
Willis Lai / IDG
Some quirks keep this case from being a knockout choice, like the cutout in the power supply shroud to show off the side of a PSU—for the target audience, most won’t purchase a fancy enough PSU to warrant the display. But those included RGB fans and a hinged tempered glass panel keep the X3 Mesh’s appeal very high.
Be sure to check out the video for all the nitty-gritty detail, plus the full effect of the RGB fans when they’re turned on. If you’re someone on an ultra-tight budget who loves the look of the rainbow-filled PCs found on Reddit’s /r/battlestations, this case allows you to take part in the fun without requiring endless cash.
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Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.