Layout, design and features – exterior …
The Fractal North PC case in Charcoal Black has a very classy look. The few visible gaps are narrow and even. There are no rickety-looking lids or anything similar. Its side panels and the upper, massive fan grille are removable and sit snugly in place. Nothing rattles during operation. Our test object has a fan grill made of dark walnut. It gives the case the pleasant warmth of a piece of furniture, so that the North fits in well in living rooms without looking like a technical foreign body. Brass-colored details on the feet further enhance its elegance. The white variant (Chalk White) has an oak grill and silver accents, which benefits integration into bright environments.
The side panel with access to the motherboard can be ordered either as a mesh panel or as a glass panel. The mesh panel improves the air supply and still allows a somewhat subdued view inside to the installed hardware. The mounting screws are at the back in both cases and thus don’t disturb the overall optical impression.
The upper fan cover is made of the same material as the mesh side panel and is just as sturdy. It’s nice that no flabby inserts have been installed here, which usually lie crooked in their recesses. Such details subjectively increase the feeling of value. To remove the top cover, you pull on the chic brown leatherette strap.
Underneath, both versions have holes and slots for mounting two 120mm or 140mm fans. If you look closely, you can see the folded edges at the large openings. This measure drastically increases the stability of the sheet metal, which significantly reduces vibrations and drone caused by out-of-round fans. Such small but fine details are not found in every PC case.
The front I/O elements and the power button are almost seamlessly embedded in the sheet metal and feature a brass color, which further increases the case’s high-quality impression. Together with the fan grill made of walnut, the cleverly staged accessories create a great play of contrasts with the finely textured painted sheet metal of the North case and exude the charm of timeless elegance.
The Chalk White version integrates silver I/O elements, whereby you can see the power button, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a microphone jack, two USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port and the power LED in white, which can of course alternatively be used as an HDD/SSD LED, from left to right. A reset button has been omitted.
Thanks to a recess in the lower area, the front panel can be easily removed with a discreet jerk. This gives access to the two pre-installed Fractal Design Aspect 14 PWM fans. Since no use of 5.25″ devices or other front devices is intended, the fans are continuously adjustable in height position. There is room for a maximum of three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans. Alternatively, a water cooling system up to 280mm or 360mm can be mounted.
The back is then mainly dominated by functionality. There are hardly any solid pieces of sheet metal, but many generous ventilation slots. The seven slot bezels sit piece by piece, without further metal strips in between. This is especially practical for large graphics cards that take up two or more slots. The slots in the slot covers are designed in such a way that mounting screws of 80mm fans fit exactly. Thus, you can use an additional fan to convey fresh air directly under the graphics card. The mounting frame for the power supply unit (PSU) is also practical. This makes installing the PSU particularly easy and the screws are even captive.
From the outside, we have liked the Fractal Design North case a lot so far, next we look at detail solutions inside.
Fractal Design North Layout, design and features interior …