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


    Install and Conclusion

    To give a sense of scale I have installed the EVGA Z790 Dark motherboard into the Fractal Design North XL and I must admit, it fits pretty well.  The North XL supports a wide variety of motherboards from the standard ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ITX up to some large designs including the E-ATX (and likely SSI-EEB and SSI-CEB)

    Sadly, with the downfall of factory supported overclocking these large motherboards are pretty hard to find except for halo products like the EVGA Dark.

    When it comes to fit and finish the EVGA Dark fits pretty well with lots of room to the right and top of the motherboard to support a variety of fan and radiator combinations.  While the first set of cable grommets are almost covered the second set does provide ample room for cable routing without the severe bends which are difficult to work with.

    You can get a shot of the top of the case where the 120mm and 140mm fan and radiator locations are well away from the motherboard leaving a gap for the round fillport towards the front. 

    This extra width is also how the monster 180mm fans can be installed without modification.

    When I first saw the product sheet for the North XL I was saying to myself.  “Oh no, not another monster chassis” while thinking this case would be huge like the Torrent.  I am happy to say that…  I was right. 

    When compared to the Torrent, the North XL is slightly smaller but close enough to be considered dimensionally the same.  When compared to the previous North chassis, the North XL is only 36% larger and makes good use of the extra space.

    Thing is, the chassis does not feel big.  In fact, I rather enjoyed the form factor and liked how the outward design helped balance the overall aesthetic.  For enthusiasts who enjoy a good DIY water loop you will find that the North XL provides plenty of room for activities including radiators from 120mm up to 420mm at the front of the case and up to 280mm or 360mm at the top of the case.

    When it comes to storage you will get a total of four drive locations.  This may not seem like much but, is actually more than most enthusiasts need and plenty for the types of users who would build in this chassis to begin with.

    I may come as a surprise but the Fractal Design North XL is keeping with tradition and not including anything RGB related.  However, for those looking to add some lighted bling there are plenty of opportunities.  Personally, I would like to see some tasteful lighted fans at the top of the chassis shining through the curved metal mesh.  I might consider modding in two light strips behind the front bezel.  You will see a slight glow through the wooden slat as there is no direct path through the slats.  What you will see is the entire inside of the chassis bathed in light allowing you to show off your build without too much effort.

    Overall, the Fractal Design North XL is a nice upgrade to the 2023 edition which can not only accommodate larger motherboards but, does so in a tasteful manner.  I see plenty of opportunities for custom modifications but, feel that it would ultimately detract from the classy home decor look that Fractal Design was looking for. 

    I would have preferred a more defined call out to fan locations on the back panel and feel the leather tab used to remove the top vent is completely unnecessary, a nice touch but, pointless given that some small thumbscrew sized pull handles would achieve the same intent and not take up any more space.

    I have also been told that top mounted power buttons are not favorable for those of us with cats. wink smile

    Good Things

    Dual 180mm Fan Support
    Available with Tempered Glass or Mesh Side Panels
    Allowances for DIY Watercooling
    Ample Venting
    Great Cable Routing
    No “Dedicated” Vertical GPU Option
    Awesome Wood Front Bezel

    Bad Things

    No vertical GPU?
    Only three USB ports
    No combined audio/mic jacks

    Hardware Asylum Rating
    Fractal Design North XL Computer Case Review