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Fractal Design North Review

Rating: 8.5.

Fractal Design has done a number of unusual things with their new PC case, starting with the name North as it truly is a name unlike, say, Node 202 or Define R6, which are more like word salad. And then we have the front panel which is decorated with strips of white oak on this Chalk White model. The Charcoal Black version sports strips of walnut and looks fantastic in the photos we have seen.

Time stamps
00:00 Start
01:58 Introduction / Pricing / Exterior
03:20 Opening it up – panels
05:35 Accessory fan bracket
06:27 Storage options
08:04 Front I/O
08:30 Building into the case
13:34 Testing the case
15:51 Closing Thoughts

Specification:

  • Motherboard support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX.
  • Power supply support: ATX.
  • Expansion slots: 7.
  • Included fans: 2x 140mm Aspect 14 PWM 500-1,700rpm front intakes.
  • Fan mounts: 3x 120mm/2x 140mm front, 2x 120/140mm roof, 2x 120/140mm side, 1x 120mm rear, 1x 80mm rear.
  • Radiator mounts: 360mm/280mm front, 240mm roof, 120mm rear.
  • 5.25-inch optical drive bays: None.
  • Internal drive bays: 2x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 2x 2.5-inch.
  • Front I/O ports: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, audio & mic.
  • Dimensions: 469mm H x 447mm D x 215mm W.

The finished PC looked very smart and the wood accents on the front add a touch of novelty. Inside the right hand panel we have a decent cable management system that keeps the potential mess at bay.

As you can see in our detail photos, the core chassis is conventional and follows the lines we expect from Fractal Design. Everything is in a logical place and the list of features is beyond reproach.

Testing

To put this case through its cooling paces we will be using a test system consisting of an AMD Ryzen 7 7700X, Radeon RX 6800 XT and an SSD. This system allows us to produce a substantial amount of heat and effectively test the Fractal Design North‘s cooling capabilities.

Test System:

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 7700X (8 cores/16 threads)
CPU Cooler: Fractal Design Celsius+ S28 Prisma
Motherboard: Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX
Memory: 32GB Klevv Cras XR5 RGB DDR5-6000
Graphics card: Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT 16GB
Power supply: Fractal Design Ion+ 2 Platinum 860W
SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4.0 M.2 NVMe
OS: Windows 11

Cooling Performance

Cooling Performance Overview

The Fractal Design North kept our Ryzen 7 and RX 6800 XT under control however the ambient temperature was very low and our verdict is that the case performed acceptably well.

Closing Thoughts

First impressions of the Fractal Design North home in on the wood strips on the front of the case, and that makes perfect sense.

For once we have a PC product that deserves a place in the home where it might be appreciated by someone who cares more for form than they do for function. If the North was trading purely on its looks we would be unimpressed but in fact the case is a decent piece of hardware that does a good job.

While Fractal Design has pretty much got things right with the North, we are surprised by their decision to ditch the rear fan. Yes, it is a matter of cost and the bill of materials, however the case looks a bit peculiar and causes us an issue in this regard.

In other respects the North is absolutely fine and we look forward to seeing whether Fractal delivers larger and small versions of this case in future.

You will be able to buy the Fractal Design North for £135 inc VAT.

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Pros:

  • Smart styling that uses unusual materials.
  • 140mm Aspect fans have PWM control.
  • Front I/O panel includes Gen 2 USB Type-C.
  • Impressive range of storage options.

Cons:

  • Temperatures are nothing special.
  • No rear fan included.
  • PWM hub only controls four fans.
  • The case can get noisy.

KitGuru says: Fractal Design North is novel, interesting and a breath of fresh air

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Rating: 8.5.

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