Fractal Design North XL

Fractal Design North XL kabinet
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One of the most popular cabinets from Fractal Design in recent times has been the North cabinet. For those out there who liked the design but wanted a little more space, there is now good news as Fractal Design launches their North XL case.

Central Specifications

  • Designed for E-ATX / ATX / mATX / mITX motherboards
  • GPU up to 413 mm
  • Three included 140 mm Aspect PWM fans

From Fractal Design's side, the focus is on the same good features as in the original North, but only in a larger version.

A tour around the Fractal Design North XL

The original North cabinet has been so popular that it has actually been difficult for Fractal Design to keep up with demand. In our original test, it scored a 9 and a Great Products Award.

Despite all that, there are quite a few users who wanted more space in the North, as it could be a bit too small if you want to use water cooling or just enjoy an AIO and the new large Nvidia graphics cards.

Fractal Design has heard that and with North XL they are trying to deliver a solution to their wishes. Fractal Design hasn't tinkered with the external design, and I'm glad to see that. It was precisely one of the things that helped make the North cabinet popular.

Fractal Design North XL vs North.jpg

However, this also means that our review is in many ways somewhat reminiscent of our original review.

Most obvious from the start is the front, which is made with real wood, which helps to give a special design. It is a look that falls very well in line with the trend of the time, with wood paneling in the home.

Fractal Design North comes in four variants. There is an option for a left side in either tempered glass or mesh. Both variants are available in black versions, with walnut wood on the front, or white with oak wood.

Fractal Design North XL side panel.jpg

We have received the white Mesh variant for testing. However, it is not completely white, as a large part of the inner panels are grey. I think the combination works really well, but if you are looking for a completely white cabinet, then this is not where you will find it.

The immediate shape of the cabinet is somewhat reminiscent of the Define series of cabinets for which Fractal Design became known. However, there are slightly more rounded shapes, and then of course the more open front with the wooden panel.

Fractal Design North XL side panel and top panel together.jpg

The cabinet is made of steel, and this is also what the mesh material on the left side is made of. The mesh part runs on the side and continues up the top panel. It helps to create a coherent and slightly different look.

The mesh part on the side and top also does not go all the way to the front of the cabinet. So there is a division between the two parts.

The right side is a regular steel panel without openings. Both side panels and the top can be easily removed to access the interior of the cabinet. Although the mesh side does not run the entire length of the side, the small panel in the front can also be removed so that you can open up the entire side.

Fractal Design North XL small side panel.jpg

There are no dust filters on the sides or at the top. Here, the mesh openings must function as a dust filter.

The front can also be pulled off to give access to the front-mounted fans. There are three Aspect 140 mm PWM fans for the North cabinet, which are mounted in the front as standard. This also means that there is not one mounted at the back of the cabinet.

Fractal Design North XL front panel is removable.jpg

The front of the North cabinet is quite open and provides good opportunities for good airflow. On the back of the front panel there is a dust filter which can be easily removed and cleaned.

There is another dust filter at the bottom of the case, below the power supply location.

Fractal Design North XL separated and open.jpg

With all the panels peeled off, we can see the slots for fans, which are distributed between front, top and rear. There is a total of nine 120 mm fans or eight 140 mm fans in the North XL variant. It is slightly smaller in the version with tempered glass side, as you do not get the side bracket here.

There is space in the top for three 120mm, two 140mm fans or two 180mm fans in the top. There is also room for up to a 280 or 360 mm radiator.

In the front there is room for three 140mm or 120mm fans or a 420/360 mm radiator.

At the back there is an option for a single 120 or 140mm fan.

Unfortunately, there are no removable brackets for mounting fans or radiators other than the side bracket.

Fractal Design North XL side fan panel.jpg

As a special option for the Mesh version of North, there are extra accessories in the form of a fan bracket which can be mounted on the left side behind the mesh side. It can be mounted so that it either sits above the CPU area or above the graphics card.

With that bracket, you can utilize the mesh side, and get room for two more 120mm or 140mm fans, which can draw air in or out in the area right around the graphics card and CPU.

If we look at the back of the cabinet, we can see that there is plenty of room for cable routing with 29mm space. There are good options for getting the cables under control, with several Velcro straps and points where you can tie the cables down with strips.

Fractal Design North XL open mesh back.jpg

The cable entries for the front part of the cabinet have good rubber entries that can help to ensure a proper look. Here, among other things, we can see the new XL size come into play, as there is an extra set of feed-throughs that are suitable if you want to use an E-ATX motherboard.

At the top we find a small PWM fan hub with space for four fans.

There is a removable bracket with space for two 2.5” SSDs or hard drives on the wall for the motherboard.

Fractal Design North XL HDD slides at the bottom.jpg

At the bottom of the cabinet there are two slides with space for both 3.5" and 2.5" storage solutions. Both parts can be mounted in the same slide. Two are included for the North XL, but there is the possibility of mounting a total of three. So if all the slots are used, three 3.5” hard drives and five 2.5” hard drives or SSDs can be installed.

The slides can be mounted in different ways in the chamber at the bottom of the cabinet. However, you must be aware that the space depends on which power supply you use.

Fractal Design North XL top IO.jpg

At the top we find a USB C port, two USB A, along with a power button and audio jack. Buttons and connectors are in the white version in silver, which goes really well with the other details on the cabinet such as the wood on the front.

Overall, the Fractal Design North cabinet is a functional and beautiful cabinet with good details and a nice design.

Fractal Design North XL top panel tab.jpg

Basically, they haven't tampered much with the recipe from the original North cabinet. The only difference is that it has been made slightly larger. This means that you now naturally have space for larger E-ATX motherboards if you need it, but also that there is more space if you want to build a system with water cooling.

Installation of Hardware

Although in the original North we had no problem with getting space for an air-cooled system with a large graphics card, it was a bit squeezed in the front, for example, where there would not have been room for an AIO radiator, for example.

That limitation has been rectified with the North XL. When all the panels have been removed from the cabinet, there is really good space to work on. This means that it is easy to get your hardware in place in the system.

Fractal Design North XL hardware mounted.jpg

The only place I feel it might get a little pinched is at the bottom of the main chamber. The motherboard is mounted all the way down towards the chamber division. It was a point I also complained a little about in the original North review, but which is still here. This can cause problems on certain motherboards, depending on how the connectors are placed here. However, on most motherboards it should be fairly trouble-free.

Fractal Design North XL not so much space at the bottom.jpg

With the new size, however, there is plenty of space both in the front of the cabinet and above the motherboard, so there is a slightly better option for AIO or custom water cooling. That angle can also be seen, for example, in the fact that in the North XL space has been added for a "Fill Port" at the top of the cabinet. It's a feature we've seen on some of Fractal Design's other cases before.


The Fractal Design North XL is so new that it cannot be found in any stores at the time of writing. However, Fractal Design has announced that we can expect the price to land around 240$. If we land here, it is a super sharp price for a cabinet with features like North XL.

The smaller North is currently priced at around 190$, and seen in that light, around 30-40 $ extra for the extra size is a fair price in my book.


Fractal Design with North XL took a formula that they know works and built on it to meet the desire for more space.

Fractal Design North XL disassembled.jpg

I was very happy with the original North and it's hard not to be the same with the North XL since it's basically the same cabinet, just a notch bigger. The same delicious Nordic design style is also included here and it also works in the white version.

Fractal Design North XL three 140mm fans.jpg

With North XL, you have even more flexible options in relation to both hardware and water cooling in a cabinet that maintains a subdued and beautiful design.

Fractal Design North XL is a beautiful and functional cabinet that stands out and with the new large size has even more options. All that managed at a price that hits super well in light of the materials, build quality and features.

Fractal Design North XL size difference.jpg

We end up, just like with the original North cabinet, with a final grade of 9 and a Great Product Award.


Good materials

Beautiful and subdued design

Good flexibility


Nothing noteworthy

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