I have started my build... attached are some images of the build as I am installing components along with some steps of the install. Some of these steps may be a bit overdone but I took a couple extra shots for those that may want a bit more information. I hope it helps.
The Fractal Design XL Black Pearl is well built and versatile as a server and is a lot better looking than a rack server, plus it has some nicer features.
1) It has sound dampening material all over the case to help minimize sound.
2) It holds 16-18 3.5 HDD with a little modification which is more than a 15 disk rack system.
3) Built in fan controller.
4) Multiple fan cooling options in addition to water cooling options.
5) Built in dust filters.
6) Easier to move around.
The Fractal Design Case only comes with one 140mm fan at the front of the case but it has room for two 140mm fans. I removed the 140mm fan from the back panel and added it to the open slot at the front of the case.Adding the Fan:
Open the sound dampening front door to the left.
Next push and release the filter door for it to pop open. The fan bays will now be viewable.
Squeeze the two tabs at the left of the fan bays while pulling firmly.
Swing the bays to the right to open.
To add the fan simply apply pressure to push into open slot until clips locks it in.An additional 120mm fan slot is hidden inside the 5.25 drive bays:
I will be removing this fan slot so I can add a Vantec 3.5 HDD enclosure. This will occupy two 3.5 bays as a result but add a gain of 3 more 3.5 HDD mounts. Adding a second Vantec enclosure will give a total of 16 HDD 3.5 mounts possible for this case.In some instances it is much easier to install the CPU, RAM, CPU cooler outside the case. This holds true for this installation...Installation of the CPU (Intel) on Mobo (Intel):
Pop open the CPU Lock lever on the Mobo and then lift the lever upwards to open latch.
Before installing the CPU into the Mobo, be sure to align the small triangles of the CPU to the one on the Mobo. Be sure to remove the safety CPU cover on Mobo before relocking CPU latch.Installation of RAM:
Align RAM to RAM slots on Mobo and push firmly until latch locks
Standoff for ITX Mobo installed in case as well as the Input/Output shield.CPU Cooler installation:
I had an unused 212 EVO CPU cooler lying around from a previous build. Here are some close-up shots of a dry-fit 1155 setup of the CPU retention plate.
Retention plate installed.
Before adding thermal paste and installing the CPU cooler it was best to dry-fit the cpu cooler to determine which position is best or if there will be any obstructions with the addition of the daughter board on the Mobo.
The image below shows there were just enough clearance over the daughter board. It was also the best position with no obstructions. The fan attachment can easily be removed from the CPU cooler for RAM accessibility. Note in order to attach the CPU cooler to the retention plate you will need to remove the Fan attachments.
I had some leftover alcohol and thermal paste from my previous builds. Even though the components are new I still wiped the CPU and the CPU cooler base clean to get rid of any fingerprint body oils.Application of the thermal paste on CPU:
I did not use the blob or the line method. While either of those methods may be sufficient for installation, I have a personal preference of spreading a thin even layer of thermal paste across the CPU.
All is left is to install the CPU cooler, then attach the CPU cooler bracket to the retention plate securing the cooler in position.
ITX Mobo installed in Case.Installation of semi-modular CPU:Installation of SSD into 3.5 enclosure:
Here is where Fractal Design fell short. After attaching the 2.5 mounting plate to the SSD, I needed to mount the SSD into the Fractal Design 3.5 mounting tray. It took me 15mins to install the SSD to the tray because the mounting holes were misaligned which made it difficult to catch the small mounting screw. The tight work area did not help much. In addition only one screw on either side of the SSD mount are aligned. Maybe this was defective in just my case. I hope no-one else experience the same difficulty. Next, mount the SSD into any open 5.25 bay slot.Installation of the Vantech HDD enclosure:
Simply slide enclosure into any two 5.25 open bay slots and secure with supplied screws. I like this enclosure because it included an 80mm fan, filter and it blended well with the rest of the case.Edited by RogueRage - 12/2/12 at 11:35pm