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  • Fractal Design North XL Computer Case Review
  • Fractal Design North XL Computer Case Review



    One of my personal favorite cases from Fractal Design is the Torrent High Airflow Case.  This computer chassis is massive and designed to address the community concerns that modern PC cases had become literal ovens.  This would cause plastic motherboard components to melt, video cards to spontaneously combust and storage drives to fail.  These concerns were widely published on various YouTube channels which perpetuated the rumor that DIY computing was nothing more than a failed experiment.

    Of course, the truth is, none of that ever happened and short of a house fire I'm sure nothing in side your PC case is in danger of melting.  As you can imagine reports of inefficient chassis cooling had been widely exaggerated for the sake of clickbait and making a name for themselves. 

    As a casemodder I know very well how to fix issues of bad cooling and is exactly what Fractal Design had done when they released the Torrent.

    In this review we will be looking at the North XL from Fractal Design.  As with many Fractal products they are released in stages A little over a year ago the Fractal Design North was released and encompassed a decently sized Mid Tower chassis supporting standard sized ATX, and smaller, motherboards.  I suspect this is to sample the community and determine if smaller or larger versions need to be released, either way I like the approach.

    The North XL takes the same basic chassis design and extends it to support a wider range of motherboards while leaving plenty of room for activities.

    Key Features
    • Enhance the look of your gaming station with sleek wood and alloy details
    • Designed for E-ATX / ATX / mATX / mITX motherboards
    • Enjoy natural ventilation through an open front and stylishly integrated mesh
    • Choose a GPU up to 413mm or up to 380mm with a 420mm front radiator
    • Get a head start on your build with the tree included 140mm Aspect PWM fans and PWM fan hub
    • Slide open the side panels, unclip the front and use the integrated tabs to pop off the top panel
    • Make the most of your building experience with an intuitive interior layout
    • Enjoy a sophisticated looking case which integrates effortlessly into your living space.
    • Dedicated 2.5" drive mounts: 2
    • Combined 3.5/2.5” drive mounts: 2 (included)
    • 25” drive mounts: 0
    • Motherboard compatibility: E-ATX / ATX / mATX / Mini-ITX
    • Expansion slots: 7
    • Front interface: 1xUSB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 2xUSB 3.0, Audio & Mic
    • Total fan mounts (TG Version): 7 x 120 mm or 6 x 140 mm
    • Total fan mounts (Mesh Version): 9 x 120 mm or 8 x 140 mm
    • Front fan: 3 x 120, 2 x 140 mm (2 x Aspect 140 mm PWM Included)
    • Top Fan: 3 x 120, 2 x 140, 2 x 180mm
    • Rear fan: 1 x 120 mm
    • Dust filters: Front, PSU
    • Front Radiator: up to 420/360 mm
    • Top Radiator: up to 280/360 mm
    • Rear Radiator: 1 x 120/140mm
    • Fixed cable straps: Yes
    • Cable routing grommets: Yes
    • Captive thumbscrews: HDD brackets, SSD bracket, Side Panels, Fan Bracket, PSU Bracket
    • Left side panel: Mesh or tempered glass
    • Right side panel: Steel

    Much like the original North chassis there are two basic versions across two color schemes.  The version featured in this review is the Tempered Glass in Black.  Other configurations include Black with a Mesh side panel and two white editions with Tempered Glass or Mesh.

    Some of the accent colors change between the color schemes including the choice of wood slats used on the front bezel.  The black edition will feature a darker Walnut while the white edition has the much lighter Oak.  I would have suggested a Maple for the white edition however, I do find the color contrast to be one of the defining features of the North chassis series.