Fractal Design North XL: A Larger, E-ATX Supportive Case with Enhanced Cooling Capabilities and Elegant Design

Fractal Design, a renowned Swedish computer hardware manufacturer, has recently unveiled the North XL case, a larger iteration of the original North model. Boasting dimensions of 503 (length) x 240 (width) x 509 (height) mm, the North XL is significantly larger than its predecessor, offering ample space for a variety of motherboard formats including E-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, and Mini-ITX. This expansion marks the inclusion of E-ATX support, an upgrade from the North. The North XL also enhances cooling capabilities by featuring three built-in 140 mm front fans, an increase from the two fans in the original model. This adjustment not only enlarges the interior space but also allows for greater flexibility in fan and radiator configurations. The case supports tower coolers up to 185mm in height, with a reduced clearance of 155mm if side fans are installed.

Fractal Design North XL Specifications:

  • Model: North XL
  • Colors: Black (with walnut strips), White (with oak strips)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 503x240x509mm
  • Supported Motherboard Types: E-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX
  • 3.5″ Drive Bays: 2
  • 2.5″ Drive Bays: 2
  • I/O Panel: 2 x USB3.0, 1 x Type-C, Audio & Mic jacks
  • PCIe Expansion Slots: 7
  • Power Supply Support: ATX
  • Max PSU Length: 290 mm (with 1 HDD installed), 175 mm (with 2 HDDs installed)
  • CPU Cooler Height: Up to 185mm (155mm with side fan bracket installed)
  • GPU Length Support: Up to 413mm (with front fans), up to 380mm (with a 420/360mm front radiator installed)
  • Front Fan Support: 3 x 120mm or 3 x 140mm fans (includes 3 x Aspect 140mm PWM fans), 420mm radiator
  • Top Fan Support: 3 x 120mm, 2 x 140mm, 2 x 180mm fans, 240mm/360mm radiator
  • Rear Fan Support: 1 x 120mm fan, 140mm radiator
  • Side Fan Bracket Support: 2 x 120/140mm fans

The North XL case is designed to cater to enthusiasts seeking expansive and flexible options for their high-performance setups. Its support for large radiators and numerous fans underscores its focus on optimal cooling solutions, accommodating the rigorous demands of both gaming and professional workstations. The thoughtful inclusion of walnut or oak strips adds a touch of elegance, blending style with functionality in a package that promises to enhance the aesthetics and performance of any build.

Unlocking New Dimensions: North XL’s Enhanced Space for High-Performance Hardware

The North XL and the original North case by Fractal Design share the same design ethos but differ significantly in terms of size. The North XL, with its increased dimensions, offers more room to accommodate larger or additional hardware components. Specifically, the maximum support for graphics cards has been extended from 355mm to 413mm, and the CPU cooler height support has risen from 170mm to 185mm without a fan bracket, effectively removing any limitations for these components.

The detailed comparison between the North XL and North cases highlights the North XL’s capacity to house more extensive hardware setups:

North XL vs. North:

  • Drive Bays:
  • 3.5″: The North XL offers space for two drives without the need for additional hardware, while the North can accommodate up to three with the purchase of an additional bracket.
  • 2.5″: Both cases provide two slots for SSDs.
  • Motherboard Support:
  • The North XL can house larger E-ATX motherboards up to 330mm in size, alongside ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX boards. The North, on the other hand, supports only up to ATX sizes.
  • Cooling Solutions:
  • Front Fans/Radiator: The North XL comes with three 140mm fans and can support up to a 420mm radiator. The North includes two 140mm fans and supports up to a 360mm radiator.
  • Top Fans/Radiator: Both cases offer support for top-mounted cooling, with the North XL accommodating slightly larger sizes.
  • Rear Fans/Radiator: Both cases support a 120mm fan in the rear, with the North XL also supporting a 140mm radiator.
  • GPU and CPU Cooler Support:
  • As mentioned, the North XL extends support for longer GPUs and taller CPU coolers, catering to high-end gaming rigs and workstations that require robust cooling solutions.
  • Dimensions and Volume:
  • The overall volume and weight of the North XL are greater, with a 36% increase in volume compared to the North, making it a substantial presence in any setup.

The enhancements made in the North XL cater to advanced users who need the extra space for high-performance components, especially in gaming or professional rendering scenarios where cooling and component sizes are critical. It retains the aesthetics and design principles of the original North but scales everything up to accommodate the latest in PC hardware advancements.

Fractal Design North XL: A Blend of Elegance and High-Performance Cooling

The Fractal Design North XL maintains a design philosophy similar to its sibling, the North, with nuanced differences primarily in dimensions. The distinct aesthetic feature of the North XL lies in its open front panel, which comes adorned with walnut strips in the Charcoal version and oak strips in the Calk variant. These elements contribute to a sophisticated yet minimalist look, marrying functionality with style.

In terms of the side panel, Fractal Design offers two versions for the North XL: the NOR1C-03, which features a ventilated side panel, and the NOR1C-04, which boasts a tempered glass side panel. These options provide users with the flexibility to prioritize either increased airflow or a clear view of their PC’s internal components.

The specific model unboxed here is the Charcoal version equipped with a ventilated side panel, the NOR1C-03. This choice of side panel enhances the cooling performance, ideal for power users who may have high-performance components that generate significant heat. It’s a design that doesn’t just seek to impress visually but also serves a practical purpose by supporting superior thermal management without compromising the sleek look of the chassis.

The front side of the packaging box for the North XL computer case by Fractal Design. The box appears sturdy and is marked with the Fractal Design logo at the top left corner, and prominently features the product name “North XL” in bold, black typography. This straightforward and minimalist design of the packaging reflects the aesthetic values of the product within, suggesting a professional and modern product. There’s also a “Fragile” label, indicating that the contents inside should be handled with care to avoid damage during shipping or transport. The backdrop of a light-colored brick wall and wooden flooring gives a cozy, yet clean environment, which might hint at the design sensibilities of the product’s target audience—those who appreciate a blend of functionality and sophisticated design in their workspace or gaming setup.

The side of the packaging box for the North XL computer case, displaying the Fractal Design logo—a stylized, angular “F”—which is consistent with the company’s branding. Below the logo, it states “Designed in Sweden,” reinforcing the brand’s identity and emphasizing the product’s design origins, which are often associated with simplicity, minimalism, and functionality. The box has a cut-out handle area at the top, suggesting it’s ready for transport. The clean presentation against the same brick wall and wooden flooring background continues the theme of a product designed for users who value both aesthetics and practicality in their computing accessories.

The Fractal Design North XL computer case itself, out of the box and displayed against a neutral backdrop. The case features a sleek black finish with a striking contrast provided by the vertical walnut wood strip accents on the front panel. The design is modern and minimalistic, with clean lines that reflect a sophisticated aesthetic. The mesh-like texture on the main body suggests enhanced airflow capabilities, while the raised case feet, possibly with gold or brass finish, add a subtle touch of elegance and ensure stability as well as better ventilation. This view doesn’t reveal the side panel, which can vary between a mesh or glass option, but the overall appearance aligns with the premium look and functionality that Fractal Design is known for.

The close-up showcases the detail of the open front panel on the Fractal Design North XL computer case accentuated with walnut wood strips. The wooden accents are set against a fine mesh backdrop, which serves as a dust filter while allowing for efficient airflow. The contrast between the natural wood texture and the black mesh and frame provides a unique aesthetic that blends organic elements with the modern design of the case. The craftsmanship reflects a thoughtful consideration for both form and function, offering visual appeal and practical ventilation benefits for the internal components.

The front panel of the Fractal Design North XL case has been removed, revealing the three 140 mm fans mounted inside. These fans are part of the case’s robust cooling system, designed to ensure optimal airflow and keep high-performance hardware at the right temperature.

The open front panel design not only contributes to the overall aesthetics but also serves a functional purpose, allowing for efficient air intake. To prevent dust from entering the case, there is a removable dust filter with a clip-on design. This filter can be easily detached from the bottom, a common and user-friendly mechanism that enables quick maintenance.

In addition to the pre-installed fans, the case offers versatility for further customization. Users can replace the current setup with different cooling solutions, such as a 420mm, 360mm, or 240mm radiator, providing flexibility for those who prefer liquid cooling systems. This adaptability makes the North XL suitable for various user preferences, from air cooling enthusiasts to those looking to build a liquid-cooled rig.

The dust filter for the front panel of the Fractal Design North XL case, which is designed to be easily removable for cleaning. The filter is a fine mesh material that is effective at trapping dust particles while allowing for good airflow to pass through, helping to keep the internal components of the computer clean and cool. The surrounding frame of the filter looks durable and is shaped to fit snugly within the front panel, ensuring that it remains securely in place while the computer is in operation. The attention to detail in the design of the filter indicates a commitment to user-friendly maintenance and the longevity of the PC components housed within the case.

The left side of the Fractal Design North XL chassis features a mesh panel design that prioritizes breathability and airflow for the internal components. This mesh panel allows a subtle glimpse into the interior of the case, aligning with the modern trend of showcasing PC hardware while serving a practical purpose.

The side panel is not just a plain mesh across the entire surface; there is a solid section toward the front, intended to shield and hide the area where front-mounted radiators or fans are placed. This shroud is designed to be removable, facilitating easy installation or modification of fans and cooling systems.

Careful attention to detail is evident in the rounded corners of the chassis, which add a refined touch to the case’s aesthetic while also potentially minimizing the risk of injury or damage from sharp edges. Both the side mesh panel and the solid shroud are secured with screws that appear to be hand-tightenable, which suggests that tools are not necessary for their removal. This feature is a boon for enthusiasts who value ease of access and flexibility in configuring their systems.

The interior of the Fractal Design North XL with the side cover removed, giving us a view of the spacious main compartment that accommodates various motherboard sizes and components. In the foreground, we can see the removable shroud, which serves to conceal and manage cables or to compartmentalize space for a cleaner aesthetic and better airflow.

Inside, the case’s versatile design is apparent, with mounting points for different sizes of motherboards and drive bays, as well as ample room for cable routing to ensure a tidy setup. The interior is painted black, consistent with the case’s sleek exterior, and features a number of cutouts with rubber grommets for cable management, helping to maintain a neat appearance and reduce airflow obstruction.

The attention to detail in the layout, with dedicated spaces for each component, exemplifies the thoughtful engineering that aims to balance form and function, meeting the needs of both novice builders and experienced enthusiasts.

A closer look at the top corner of the Fractal Design North XL case highlights the rounded edge design. Such a feature not only adds to the sleek, modern aesthetic but also serves to reduce the risk of scratches or injuries from sharp corners, which is an example of user-centric design. We can also see the fine mesh top panel that contributes to additional ventilation, possibly for top-mounted fans or radiators.

The top panel also houses I/O ports, which are not fully visible in this view, but the presence of a gold or brass-colored element suggests a 3.5mm audio jack, with other connectivity options probably alongside it. This detail of color contrast continues the theme of functional elegance present throughout the case’s design.

A detailed view of the top rear section of the Fractal Design North XL case, showing the mesh panel for top exhaust or cooling, which is designed without an additional dust filter. A standout element is the leather pull tab affixed to the top cover—this is a thoughtful inclusion that adds a touch of luxury and practicality, making it easy for users to remove the top cover when accessing the interior for maintenance or upgrades.

The top of the case is equipped to support cooling solutions like three 120mm fans or a 360mm radiator, offering flexibility for high-performance cooling configurations. The I/O ports are hinted to be adorned with a metallic finish, adding a premium look to the functional aspect of the case. These ports include USB 3.0, a Type-C port, and 3.5mm audio jacks for headphones and a microphone, reflecting the standard in modern case design for convenient access.

The power button, adorned with the Fractal Design logo, further cements the brand’s identity on this product and provides a satisfying tactile interaction based on the company’s attention to design detail. This image underlines Fractal Design’s commitment to blending aesthetics, functionality, and user-friendly features in their product design.

We see the action of removing the top cover of the Fractal Design North XL case, which was made easier by the previously mentioned leather pull tab. This design feature greatly simplifies the process of accessing the top of the case, allowing for easy installation or maintenance of cooling solutions like fans or radiators. It’s a practical detail that enhances the user experience, showing that the case is built with not only performance and aesthetics in mind but also ease of use. The mesh top panel, once again, emphasizes the focus on efficient airflow while maintaining a sleek and cohesive look with the rest of the case.

The Fractal Design North XL case with its top cover removed, revealing the mounting points for up to three 120mm fans or a 360mm radiator, offering users the option for advanced cooling solutions. The top mesh cover, integral to the case’s cooling system, allows for significant airflow while also acting as a dust filter to maintain the cleanliness of internal components.

This versatility caters to high-performance setups, which often require more intensive cooling due to the heat generated. The ability to install a substantial radiator also suggests this case is designed for enthusiasts interested in custom water-cooling loops, in addition to those preferring traditional air-cooled systems. The design emphasizes the balance between functionality and ease of modification, which is a key consideration for users looking to build a PC that can evolve with their needs.

This close-up is to the Fractal Design North XL’s I/O panel, which exudes elegance with its lustrous, gold-colored accents. The power button is centrally featured, embossed with the Fractal Design logo, complementing the overall premium look and feel. The I/O panel also includes two USB 3.0 ports, a Type-C port, and two 3.5mm audio jacks for a headset and microphone, which are marked by symbols for easy identification.

The combination of functionality and style is clear, as the I/O panel is conveniently located for easy access while also contributing to the case’s aesthetic appeal. The attention to detail with the inclusion of color contrast and branding showcases the manufacturer’s commitment to design and user experience.

A collection of internal cables and connectors, typically found within a computer case, that are used to link the front panel I/O ports and buttons to the motherboard. The connectors include power and reset buttons, power LED, HDD LED, USB, and audio. Each connector is usually labeled to assist with the proper installation to the motherboard headers.

These are essential for the functionality of the case’s external features, as they transmit the user’s interactions with the I/O panel to the motherboard, enabling actions such as powering on the computer, using USB devices, and listening to audio through front-panel jacks. Proper connection of these cables is crucial for the computer system to function correctly.

A view of the back right side of the Fractal Design North XL computer case. Here, we see the rear exhaust area, where there is space to mount either a 120 mm fan or a 140 mm radiator for water cooling, contributing to the case’s thermal management capabilities. The seven horizontal slots below the fan mount are PCIe expansion slots for installing graphics cards, sound cards, or other expansion cards.

Below the PCIe slots is a cutout for an ATX power supply unit (PSU), which is the standard size for most desktop computers. The case is designed with a removable dust filter at the bottom, strategically placed beneath the PSU area. This filter is a slide-out type for easy maintenance, allowing users to regularly clean it without much hassle, thus preventing dust accumulation and ensuring optimal airflow for the PSU.

This layout reflects a design that’s built for convenience and functionality, emphasizing easy maintenance, sufficient cooling options, and the versatility needed to build a high-performance PC. The combination of practical features like the dust filter and expandability with the PCIe slots shows that the case is made to cater to various user needs, from the typical gamer to the serious PC builder.

We see the pull-out dust filter located at the bottom of the Fractal Design North XL case being demonstrated. It’s a sliding mechanism that allows for easy removal and cleaning, illustrating the case’s user-friendly design for regular maintenance. Dust filters like this are important as they minimize dust accumulation inside the case, helping to keep components clean and maintain efficient airflow, which is vital for optimal cooling and prolonging the lifespan of the hardware. The straightforward accessibility of this filter means that keeping the system clean is convenient, further enhancing the overall user experience with the case.

The bottom view of the Fractal Design North XL case illustrates a few key features that contribute to its functional design and sophisticated appearance. The previously mentioned pull-out dust filter for the power supply unit is clearly visible, and designed for easy maintenance to keep the system running smoothly and cleanly.

The bottom of the case includes mounting slots for drive bays, which are adjustable or removable for added flexibility in system configuration. This adjustability can accommodate various storage requirements or allow for more space for other components, such as water cooling reservoirs or larger power supplies.

The case also features rubberized anti-slip pads at the corners, which provide stability and prevent the case from sliding on smooth surfaces. The decorative gold or brass-colored accent around the perimeter adds a touch of elegance, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the case.

These design choices reflect the manufacturer’s dedication to combining practicality with a premium look, ensuring that even the bottom of the case, a part often overlooked, is engineered with attention to detail. The anti-slip pads and adjustable drive bays offer utility and a clean, modifiable space for users to build their custom PC setups.

A close-up of one of the case feet on the Fractal Design North XL. The foot is equipped with a rubber pad for stability and vibration dampening, which helps to keep the case securely in place and reduce noise. The golden or brass-colored ring adds a subtle decorative touch that contrasts nicely with the case’s overall dark color scheme, contributing to the case’s premium aesthetic. This blend of practicality and style is consistent with the case’s design, which aims to deliver functionality and a visually appealing product.

Fractal Design North XL: Maximizing Versatility with Movable Fan Brackets and Comprehensive Drive Support

The North XL chassis by Fractal Design offers an impressive level of support for various motherboard sizes, including E-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, and Mini-ITX, as well as graphics cards up to 413mm in length. This caters to a wide range of builds, from compact setups to more expansive, high-end systems.

A notable feature inside the case is the adaptable fan bracket designed for mesh side panel versions, as you mentioned. The bracket can accommodate either two 120mm or 140mm fans, providing additional airflow where needed. The versatility of the fan bracket’s adjustable position allows users to prioritize cooling either the CPU or the GPU, according to their specific needs.

Customizing the fan bracket’s position is a thoughtful touch, allowing users to tailor cooling to their components’ requirements. However, as you’ve noted, the position of the bracket impacts the maximum height of the CPU cooler that can be installed. Positioned to blow air directly onto the CPU, the supported cooler height is limited to 155mm. If the bracket is lowered to direct airflow towards the GPU, it increases the supported cooler height to 185mm. This level of adjustability underscores the case’s design focus on flexibility and performance, allowing users to optimize cooling for their individual system configuration while taking into account the size constraints of their cooling solutions.

A view inside the Fractal Design North XL case, showcasing the interior with the side panel removed. We can see the mentioned adjustable fan bracket inside, highlighting its vertical movement capability. This feature allows for strategic placement of the fans to either target the CPU area for direct cooling or to be positioned lower to enhance airflow over the GPU or other components.

The inside is spacious and well-organized, with cable management solutions, including rubber grommets and tie points, to maintain a neat build. The interior design is optimized for both functionality and aesthetics, maintaining the sleek, minimalist appearance that Fractal Design is known for, while offering the customization options that high-end PC builders require.

We see the removable fan bracket from the Fractal Design North XL case, laid out to display its patterned grid design, which allows for various fan sizes and configurations. The grid is structured to accommodate both 120mm and 140mm fans, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of cooling systems.

To the right of the bracket, the Fractal Design logo is subtly embossed, reflecting the brand’s minimalist yet elegant design philosophy. This bracket not only supports customizable cooling solutions but also reflects the attention to detail that Fractal Design puts into its products, offering both functional flexibility and a clean, cohesive look within the case.

The spacious interior of the Fractal Design North XL case with the fan bracket removed, provides a clear view of its expansive layout. The absence of the bracket opens up the case even further, allowing for a larger view and easier access to install or modify components within.

The case’s roomy design supports a variety of motherboard sizes and offers ample space for high-end components and cable management. The numerous cable routing holes and tie-down points promote a clean, organized build. The generous space provided is particularly beneficial for enthusiasts who may want to create a custom water cooling loop or require additional room for large components.

The layout is meticulously engineered to combine ease of build with a minimalist aesthetic, ensuring that users can not only fit all necessary components but also display them in a visually pleasing manner. The well-thought-out design aligns with the requirements of both novice builders and experienced modders who seek a high-quality foundation for their custom PC builds.

This close-up shows the Fractal Design logo elegantly embossed on the power supply shroud within the North XL case. The logo’s placement on the shroud not only identifies the brand but also adds a subtle touch of sophistication to the case’s internal design. This design element is one of the many ways Fractal Design incorporates its branding into the case in a way that’s both understated and tasteful. The power supply shroud itself serves to hide the power supply and cables from view, contributing to a clean and organized aesthetic inside the case.

In this image, we see the inside of the Fractal Design North XL case with a focus on the area above the power supply shroud. The shroud features several cutouts that serve two key functions: cable routing and ventilation. The oblong holes are designed for cables to pass through, allowing for clean and organized management of the various connections required for the motherboard and other components.

Above these cutouts, there’s a grid of larger holes, which enhance the airflow in the case. This is especially important for cooling the power supply and any other bottom-mounted components. The presence of a high-end graphics card—indicated by the “GEFORCE RTX” branding—suggests that the case is used for a build that may generate significant heat, making effective cooling solutions essential. The design of the shroud with both cable management and ventilation in mind demonstrates the balance between functionality and sleek aesthetics that is characteristic of Fractal Design’s approach to case design.

We’re given a clear view of the cable management space behind the motherboard tray in the Fractal Design North XL case. The thoughtful inclusion of pre-arranged cables with Velcro straps is a testament to Fractal Design’s user-focused approach. This setup minimizes the effort required for cable management and contributes to a clean build.

With approximately 23mm of clearance, there is ample space to route and conceal cables, which is important for maintaining unobstructed airflow and a tidy appearance. Visible at the top is the built-in fan hub, which simplifies the connection and management of multiple fans. Three of the hub slots are already occupied by the case’s front fans, indicating a setup that’s ready for immediate use and potentially expandable for additional fans.

Fractal Design’s attention to these details showcases their commitment to combining practicality with aesthetics, providing a case that caters to both performance and visual neatness. This space is designed to help users maintain an organized interior, even after installing all their components, and the fan hub is a feature that enthusiasts who desire precise control over their cooling setup will appreciate.

A measuring tape held up to the interior of the case, presumably to show the clearance space behind the motherboard tray of the Fractal Design North XL, which is about 23mm deep. This space is crucial for cable management, allowing for cables to be routed behind the motherboard to maintain a clean look in the main compartment and promote good airflow. The 23mm clearance is generally considered sufficient for most builds, enabling users to tuck away the cables neatly without bulging the side panel. The careful design to include this space highlights Fractal Design’s commitment to functionality and ease of use in its products.

Displayed here is the built-in fan hub of the Fractal Design North XL case, which is mounted neatly on the back panel. This hub allows for centralized control of multiple case fans, facilitating easier and more efficient cable management. The fans’ cables are plugged into the hub, and the hub itself is connected to the motherboard or power supply to provide the necessary power.

Fan hubs are convenient for maintaining a tidy interior, as they reduce the number of cables that need to be routed directly to the motherboard, which not only improves the aesthetics but can also aid in better airflow. It’s a feature that will be particularly appreciated by users who value a clean build and are utilizing multiple fans for their cooling setup.

A 4-pin to 3-pin adapter near the built-in fan hub in the Fractal Design North XL case. These adapters are useful for connecting 3-pin fans to a 4-pin fan hub, ensuring compatibility with PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) fan control, which allows for precise speed regulation. This demonstrates the flexibility of the case’s cooling system, as it can accommodate different types of fan connectors, offering users the ability to use either PWM or voltage-controlled (3-pin) fans. It’s another aspect of the case that caters to customizability and user preference when building their PC.

A view of the drive mounting areas within the Fractal Design North XL case. The case offers space for two 3.5-inch drives and two 2.5-inch drives. The 3.5-inch drive bays are flexible in terms of positioning, which can be adjusted according to the user’s needs. However, their placement may affect the space available for the power supply unit, so users must plan their build accordingly.

The design of the drive bays is notably versatile, featuring what is described as a “Mickey Mouse” pattern for the screw holes. This design allows for a 2.5-inch drive to be mounted beneath a 3.5-inch drive if the top screw hole is used, maximizing the use of space. This composite drive tray design showcases Fractal Design’s innovative approach to maximizing functionality while maintaining a streamlined layout within the case.

The cleverly engineered drive bays underscore the North XL’s commitment to flexible and efficient use of space, catering to users who may have various storage needs and configurations. The neat cable management and the included SSD in the image highlight the ease of installation and the potential for a clean, organized build that this case facilitates.

We get a closer look at the lower section of the Fractal Design North XL case, focusing on the adjustable 3.5-inch drive bays. There is a hard disk drive installed in one of the bays, and the bay’s flexible mounting system is evident.

The bay system allows the user to reposition or remove the 3.5-inch drive bays as needed, providing the ability to customize the interior layout to accommodate various components and preferences. This can be especially useful if a user needs to make room for a larger power supply or wants to improve airflow within the case.

Above the drive bays, we can see cable management is facilitated by Velcro straps branded with the Fractal Design logo, keeping the cables organized and secured against the case’s back panel. The adjustable nature of these drive bays, along with the overall tidy cable management, underscores the case’s versatility and user-friendliness.

This schematic outlines the different positioning and mounting options for the drive bays within the Fractal Design North XL case and how they impact the maximum length of the power supply unit (PSU) that can be accommodated.

Each labeled position (A through E) represents a possible location for the drive bays and the corresponding PSU lengths that can fit:

  • Position A allows for the largest PSUs (up to 255mm) when using only 2.5-inch drives, not 3.5-inch.
  • Positions B and C offer flexibility for a combination of radiator sizes and PSU lengths (up to 215mm and 185mm respectively).
  • Positions D and E show alternative placements for the drive bays, allowing for shorter PSUs (up to 180mm and 140mm respectively).

The flexibility in configuring the drive bay location provides users with the ability to customize their build based on component size and cooling needs. This type of modular design is particularly beneficial for users who may upgrade their system over time, as it allows for a range of hardware configurations without the need for a new case.

A close-up of the 3.5-inch composite drive tray from the Fractal Design North XL case. The tray is designed to accommodate both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives, indicated by the distinctive “Mickey Mouse” shaped cutouts which allow for versatile mounting options. The Fractal Design trademark is prominently embossed on the side of the tray, reinforcing brand identity even on the internal components. This design emphasizes the company’s attention to detail and commitment to a cohesive aesthetic throughout their products. The tray’s design allows for efficient use of space and simplifies the installation process for various drive sizes.

The composite drive tray from the Fractal Design North XL case showcases a 3.5-inch hard drive and a 2.5-inch solid-state drive installed simultaneously. The design of the tray allows for the accommodation of both drive sizes, utilizing the available space efficiently. The Fractal Design logo is visible on the tray, keeping the branding consistent even on the functional components of the case. This dual-drive setup demonstrates the case’s versatility, allowing users to maximize storage capacity within a single drive bay.

We see the detail of a thumbscrew at the front end of the 3.5-inch drive tray from the Fractal Design North XL case. The thumbscrew features an angled approach, which eases the process of fastening or removing the drive tray without the need for additional tools. This thoughtful design element simplifies the installation and maintenance process, as users can easily secure or release the drive tray by hand, reducing the likelihood of obstruction or difficulty when working inside the case. This user-friendly approach is reflective of the careful consideration given to ensure that building and upgrading within the case is as convenient and hassle-free as possible.

The assortment of accessories is provided with the Fractal Design North XL case. Included is a user guide, which is essential for installation instructions and other reference information. There’s also a box labeled “North XL Accessories,” which contains various screws needed for mounting components within the case. Several zip ties are included to aid in cable management, ensuring a neat and organized setup inside the case. This package of accessories is part of Fractal Design’s commitment to providing a comprehensive building experience, giving users all the necessary tools to assemble their system efficiently.

Effortless Cooling and Sleek Aesthetics: Building Your Dream Setup with North XL’s 360mm Top Radiator Support

For installing a 360mm radiator at the top of the Fractal Design North XL case, removing the left-side radiator shroud can make the process easier. This step provides more space and better maneuverability when fitting the radiator into place. While the case is designed to accommodate the radiator even without removing the shroud, taking it off simplifies the installation, as you won’t have to navigate the tight space. It’s about balancing convenience with personal preference, as some builders may choose to remove the shroud for ease of installation, while others may opt to leave it in place to save time. Either way, the case’s design offers the flexibility to cater to different approaches to building a PC.

A nearly completed PC build within the Fractal Design North XL case. The motherboard is securely installed, and we can see a 360mm radiator for liquid cooling mounted at the top of the case. The radiator is positioned to align with the pre-drilled fan mounting holes, ensuring optimal placement for efficient cooling.

The cables are neatly routed, taking advantage of the case’s cable management features to maintain a tidy internal appearance and promote good airflow. The spacious interior of the North XL case provides ample room for high-end components, including large motherboards and extensive cooling solutions like the one pictured. This setup is indicative of a powerful system that could be used for intensive tasks like gaming, content creation, or data analysis. The radiator’s placement also shows how the case accommodates significant cooling hardware without compromising on the space needed for other components.

The PC build in the Fractal Design North XL case has progressed further with the installation of a graphics card. The card is securely slotted into the motherboard, with the rear bracket visible, indicating it’s locked in place.

The graphics card’s size is well within the spacious design of the case, leaving ample room for air circulation, which is crucial for maintaining optimal operating temperatures. The power cables for the graphics card are neatly routed to avoid obstructing airflow and maintain a clean aesthetic. This careful cable management also aids in the system’s overall maintenance and upgradeability.

The case’s roomy interior and thoughtful design are on full display here, accommodating high-performance components while facilitating organization and cooling—a testament to the North XL’s capabilities as a top-tier chassis for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

This final image displays the completed build inside the Fractal Design North XL case. The graphics card is installed, alongside the earlier noted 360mm radiator for the water cooling system at the top. The interior is neat, showcasing effective cable management which ensures optimal airflow and a visually appealing setup.

The side panel is off, giving us a clear view of the internal components, all securely mounted and arranged. From the motherboard to the graphics card, and the cooling system, everything fits well within the spacious and modular interior of the North XL case. This build is representative of the case’s capacity to host high-end, powerful PC setups suitable for demanding applications, confirming the case’s utility for gamers, professionals, and enthusiasts who require robust and reliable system performance.

The reverse side of the computer case, illustrating the cable management space and layout. The back panel provides ample room for cables to be neatly organized and tucked away, ensuring a tidy build. The use of Velcro straps with the Fractal Design branding helps secure cables in place, adding to the orderly arrangement.

The motherboard tray features several cutouts with rubber grommets for cable routing, facilitating clean lines and reducing clutter. This thoughtful design allows for easy changes or upgrades to components without the hassle of disentangling wires.

Effective cable management like this is essential not only for aesthetics but also for optimizing airflow within the case, which helps in maintaining the components at a lower temperature and can potentially prolong their lifespan. The attention to detail in the design of the case to allow for such organization reflects the consideration of both form and function, a hallmark of Fractal Design’s approach to case design.

The completed build inside the computer case, now with the side panel closed. The panel seems to be a mesh or perforated metal type, which allows for a subtle view into the internal components while also contributing to airflow. Through the mesh, you can see the glow of the RGB lighting from the components inside, which adds a visually appealing aesthetic to the build.

The RGB lights create a modern and high-tech feel, often appreciated by enthusiasts for both their appearance and the ability to customize lighting schemes. These lights can usually be controlled via software, allowing the user to match the colors to their preference or to indicate system statuses such as temperature.

The case stands on raised feet, which along with the mesh panel, would help to keep the system cool by promoting good airflow and reducing the chance of overheating. The understated design of the case with its clean lines and minimal external features complements the vibrant internal lighting, making for an attractive and functional PC setup.

Optimal Thermal Performance with Fractal Design North XL: Intel Core i9-13900K Test Bench Insights

The chart displays a thermal performance test of the Fractal Design North XL case, equipped with an Intel Core i9-13900K processor and an NVIDIA RTX 4070 graphics card. The test was conducted under various conditions using AIDA64 for CPU and GPU stress, Cyberpunk 2077 for real-world gaming load, 3DMARK Fire Strike Ultra for graphics benchmarking, and Furmark as a high-intensity GPU stress test.

The results show that even without additional side or rear fans, the thermal performance is satisfactory. This indicates that the case’s inherent ventilation capabilities are efficient in preventing heat buildup. The 3 pre-installed front fans and a 360mm water cooler at the top contribute to maintaining manageable temperatures across both CPU and GPU stress scenarios. It’s important to note that while the CPU reached a high of 99°C under the maximum AIDA64 CPU stress test, it managed to stay at a cooler 76°C under GPU stress, suggesting that the GPU’s heat dissipation in this case is effectively managed.


In today’s market, cases made of wood are rare, which makes the Fractal Design North XL case stand out with its unique character. This case comes in various colors, each featuring a distinct front panel made of wooden slats. It offers considerable DIY flexibility, allowing users to adjust the positions of fans and hard drives freely. However, it’s important to be mindful of the size and height restrictions of the hardware components. Generally, the space within is ample and accommodating.

During the assembly process, the thoughtful designs and attention to detail by Fractal Design become evident. The case emphasizes texture and quality, with a color scheme of black and gold that conveys a sense of stability and elegance. When it comes to hardware configuration, it’s advisable to avoid components with RGB lighting. Such lighting can detract from the case’s overall dignified and elegant aesthetic. Of course, aesthetic preferences vary, and ultimately, it’s up to the individual to choose their setup based on personal taste.

The Fractal Design North case is priced at $169.99 in the US market, with its price in Taiwan yet to be announced. Given the cost of the standard North model, it’s expected that the North XL won’t be cheap. Despite its relatively high price, the case’s design and quality are exceptionally well-regarded, making it a worthy investment for enthusiasts. This information is intended to guide players in considering their options.

If this article is helpful for you, please share this article with your friends on social media. Thank you!

This article is based on the personality of the reviews. You are responsible for fact-checking if the contents are not facts or accurate.

Title: Fractal Design North XL: A Larger, E-ATX Supportive Case with Enhanced Cooling Capabilities and Elegant Design