|18th Jul 2011, 15:42||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2010
Fractal Deisgn XL build review
I recently recieved sponsorship from Fractal Design, they sent me a Design XL case and i have writen a review on how the build went.
First impressions from the case are WOW. The case is exactly as it says on the tin Ö.. XL. The dimensions of the case are (WxHxD): 232x560x561.3mm. After the un boxing I wanted to have a look at all the accessories and components that come with the case,
2 x 140mm fans, 1 x 180mm fan, fan controller, removable and washable filters, 10 hard drive bays (the top fractal tray design, 6 in the bottom compartment and 4 in a removable/rotatable compartment), 4 x 5.25Ē drive bays with a 5.25 to 3.5 tray convertor, dense noise absorbing sound deadening, 4 external USBís, 1 x eSATA, audio I/O.
The case is split into three chambers
This chamber is used to hold the motherboard + components, the 5.25Ē bays and 4 out of the 10 hard drive bays.
Chamber two is used to house the power supply
The 3rd Chamber Holds the 6 hard drive bays, 2 x 3 side by side.
Splitting the case into three chambers is a great idea and design, using this you are in control of the cooling for each of the three chambers, fractal have also made 2 removable panels one above the power supply in case you want to run cables or make the 2nd chamber part of the first chamber, and one next to the hard drives so you can make the bottom half of the case into one chamber.
You can also remove both of the compartments to create a single compartment case. The choice is totally up to the user. Very Dynamic and user friendly.
Hard drive bays
The 10 hard drive bays are split into two sections, the first section is in the middle of the case, as default this is set facing the side door, this is held in by thumb screws for easy removal. After removing the thumb screws you can remove the hard drive caddy and turn it 45 degrees to mount the hard drives towards the motherboard. Alternatively this can be removed completely to create more space for components such as radiators or pumps.
The remaining hard drives are located at the bottom of the case in 2 stacks of three side by side. Each of the hard drives has it very own removable tray, this makes installing the hard drives incredibly easy and very easy to remove later on if you require interchanging.
The power supply has its very own compartment. When installing the power supply you remove a face plate from the back of the case, this attaches to the power supply and you just simply slide it in to position. You can fix the power supply into position with the thumb screws provided or normal screws if you prefer. Rubber feet for the power supply are included and installed as standard to reduce any vibrations caused by the power supply.
Just in front of the power supply is a hole for the cabling, this cable hole is covered in a very nice and flexible silicone grommet, all the cables are passed through to keep them out of sight.
The motherboard is placed above the power supply in chamber 1, brass fixings are provided to screw into the case then the motherboard is screwed into the brass fixings. This case caters for a range of different size motherboards including Mini-itx, micro ATX, ATX and E-ATX. Mounting the motherboard was very easy and hassle free, there was a lot of space surrounding the board making it very easy to work on. There are 5 holes on the back plate for cable management and the same as power supply, and these are coved with the same high quality silicone rubber grommets. All in all very easy to install.
Fanís / Cooling
Included in the case as standard are 3 fans (2 x 140mm fans, 1 x 180mm fan), these are located on the back of the case, top and front. The two towards the back and top draw air from the motherboard to help with the cooling of the ram, cpu, north/south bridge. The one in the front of the case is to provide cooling for the hard drives. Above the fan in the front is space to add an additional 140mm fan for the stack of 4 hard drives that sit in chamber 1. Also included in the box is a fan controller, this fits in to one of the OU slots in the back of the case, this is a very nice little touch as most cases you have to source your own fan controller. Fan filters are installed as standard, when the time comes for a filter clean, you donít have to go through a dismantle process you just pop or slide them out and away you go.
After completing a build in this case I was very happy with the result, I work in IT and build a lot of pcís and found myself cutting my hands on all the sharp corners and burs that are left from the construction of the case, This is not the case with the Fractal XL. All the corners are rounded and there are no burs or sharp pieces of metal at all. The Fractal Design XL has had so much detail put in that all of these little issues that are found in other cases are perfect. The cable management was second to none, all of the cables get routed through the motherboard plate and hidden, as a result of this you end up with a immaculate and cable free motherboard compartment. All of the Components are extremely easy to fit and easy to work around after installation. The sound deadening is fantastic, whilst running the sound deadening consumes a large amount of the noise produced from the components. Air flow through the case is great as standard but can also be changed to suit your needs, you can change the chamber set up, add more fans, remove compartments, itís totally up to the user.
All in all I am very impressed with the Fractal XL, this is the first case from fractal that I have come across and I am thoroughly impressed, the build quality is top notch, air flow superb and sound deadening is extremely effective; the equipment provided with the case is outstanding. I found it very hard to come across anything that I didnít like with the Fractal XL, It is a heavy case due to the amount of detail, equipment and sound deadening that is provided as standard, but honestly how often will you be lifting the case.
My favourite parts
Chamber selection, air flow, quietness, cable management, hard drive trays, power supply mountings, removable hard drive dock, Black and white colour scheme and slick look of the case.
The RRP for the case is £120 Ė this is a very fair price for a case of this standard
I would recommend this to anyone who is after a work of art with a lot of space and the silent and easy modding characteristics of this case.
I would like to say a big Thanks to Fractal who provided me the case and made this build and review possible.
Any questions please ask
Thanks for reading
|18th Jul 2011, 18:04||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2011
Cheers for taking the time to post the review, it's a very attractive case with plenty of room and looks very nice to work with too.
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