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Fractal Design Meshify 2 XL, and Define 7 XL as Server


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Is anybody using the Fractal Design Meshify 2 XL, or the Define 7 XL as Server? Would love to know your experience with hard drive temperatures:


  • How many hard drives and where did you mount them? (trays, bay, in the back, on top, etc)
  • Fan configuration to cool the drives, how many, where?
  • What temps are you getting for your hard drives?


The cases can hold drives on mountable trays where the fans in the front blow on them, in a bay on the bottom where air from a front fan can get to, and in a bay behind the bay next to the fan where, as far as I can see in the design, a lot less air might be arriving. And it looks like you can also mount drives on the panel in the back and on top of the case somehow. But airflow could be a problem there.


The Define 7 XL case looks like not much air can get in from the front, highly likely leading to higher hard drive temps than with the same configuration in the Meshify XL.


I'm planning to give my server a new case this year and would be grateful for your experience with these cases. If you found other large cases with airflow for low hard drive temps I would love to know about them as well.


Thank you much for reading :)


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The youtube video from Linus Tech Tips about building a 20 disk (Seagate Iron Wolf 16 TB) Unraid server in a Fractal Design 7 XL shows 12 Drives in the front, 6 in the bays, 3 on the top, and 1 on the back of the case. While they're copying data Linus calls out the temps as 39-41C for the front drives, and 43-48C for the 4 drives on top and back. It looks like he didn't add any more fans though to the 3 intake front and 1 outtake back 140mm fans.


I would love to hear what temps you guys have in those cases.


(If you're interested in the video:  youtube, search for "ltt fractal design server" it is labeled:  320 Terabytes in a normal case)

Edited by Juniper
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I have the non-XL version of the Meshify case for my server right now. I have only ever had 6 drives in it though, all mounted up front directly behind the fans. I have 3 noctua 140mm fans up front and the 2 fractical fans out back as exhaust (one in the factory rear position and one exhausting out the top). My processor (12600k) is air cooled by a noctua NH-D15 pushing rearward out the back of the case. During heavy disk use like a parity rebuild the worst I have ever seen the drives get is around 33-34. They typically sit spun up and idle around 28-29. They are spaced out up front with a drive space in between each of them so lots of air flow right now, with more drives and less spacing I am sure the temps will go up a couple degrees but not drastically. 


Side note I also don't have the fans spinning right up, they are controlled by drive temps but never get spun hard with the drives only getting to 33 or so. I am sure I could keep them even cooler if I let the fans go full bore. 


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I've got the Meshify 2 XL. Using an Aorus X570 extreme, RTX3090, Processor: 5950x, Trident Royale 128gb memory.

I've combined watercooling and storage layout (See the manual as it proposes two layout options). The hardline tubes running to the radiators can limit the amount of storage, but I'm using Ironwolf Pro 16tb, so I have more than enough space.


If you count the screw retaining holes on the front of the HDD wall in this configuration, you can only fit in 12 HDD (Two in separate drive cage below).

The two drive cages that come with this case are useful, however I removed one to allow space for cables, etc. as it sits below the area that the Corsair reservoir is sitting on in the pics. In terms of temps. HDD temps are fine. I found that the m.2 drives under the heat spreaders of the X570 extreme motherboard run a bit hot, idling at 50 degrees. 

I had issues with faulty EK coolant, which caused serious issues after using for 20 minutes. I've had to do a full strip down and I'm rebuilding at the moment. I've spaced out the drives a bit, in line with where the m.2 drive heat spreaders are situated to allow more airflow. I've also replaced the m.2 drive thermal tape that came pre-installed on the heat X570 motherboard's heat spreader with Thermal Grizzly tape, as I found the tape wasn't contacting the chips in the middle of the drives.


Its unusual to watercool an unRaid server, so I'm guessing you won't do this. This should allow you to install at least 14 drives, which is more than plenty, if you buy high capacity drives. I used 120mm fans on the front of the case, to enable a fan to be installed low down to push air across the 2 drive cage underneath. Don't use the standard included 140mm fans. That's where my parity drive is. Let me know if you have anymore questions.


Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

Pic 4


The pics don't show the other side, but I can update with more pics after I'm finished this build. One thing I will say, you need a backup server if you insist on watercooling. So at least you can still operate when your system is down. I have a spare case, which is a Silverstone TJ-07, best case ever at the time. I plan to build a spare server in that or use it as a backup server with basic hardware. I found the Meshify 2XL's quality was nowhere near as good. The paint can scratch easily and the threads can strip fairly easily. I have to retap some of the threads when I get a chance.

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Thank you so much for responding, MadMatt337 and Geck0!


That are great temps, MadMatt337. Exactly what I had hoped for. Great airflow design through your case. And nice cable management. Looks very neat and organized. I plan to use the same air cooler for the CPU. Very valid warning about watercooling, Geck0 even though yours looks amazing and gives great temps. It looks very tempting :D Thank you both for the pictures!


First I will just move the existing build to the new case, see how it works, then after a while get new motherboard / cpu etc. Right now I have 7 drives (10TB Iron Wolf parity, 6 mixed 8TB Seagate/WD data), but that won't be for long once I have a new case. 14 drives will probably be my max. Once I am at that number I'll probably start replacing older drives instead of just adding new ones. Great idea with the 120 mm fans to have one at the bottom to push into the drive cage, Geck0. Definitely will try do that as well.


Yes, I'd love to see pics of your build when you put in the hard drives, Geck0. The RGB looks lovely, btw. Great idea for the server. Mine looks just black and bland (Rosewill Thor case). Even my PC case (Coolermaster HAF X) has the RBG of the graphics card and the power supply shining through its window.

Edited by Juniper
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Juniper,


Sorry it took so long to reply.

The second pick was done at a poor angle. I was tidying up the cables and just took a quick pic. There are too more drives hidden behind the cable tidy board. You can fit in 14 drives, one would need to be a sata SSD or other low profile. But if you're not water cooling, you can add two more drives.


A quick shot of window of the case, so you can see what I'm running.

Current temperatures are in pic 4, with parity running on a new drive, a vm that I'm typing on and several dockers.










Screenshot 2022-03-20 at 15-33-12 Nexus_Main.jpg

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  • 8 months later...

Thank you so much Geck0 for responding, and for your pictures! I am sorry for not responding earlier. Somehow "life got in the way" and I just logged in again. My apologies.


I see temps in the 40s and 50C for your disks. The pics look like the disks sit next to a radiator whose fans are probably set to take air out. The warm air from the case gets blown over the disks to then be sucked out by the fans across the radiator.  That could make the disks hotter than in a configuration where the disks sit right next to intake fans.


Does anybody reading this have a Fractal Meshify 2 config where the drives sit right next to the fans and take in air from outside to blow over the disks to cool them? I would love to hear what temps you are getting.

Right now I have something like that in a "rigged" case: temps in high 30s C during parity check in summer with ambient temp around 78F (25.5C).


Edited by Juniper
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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a Fractal Design Define 7 XL with 16 drives (including 2 parity) and 3 cache SSDs.


Temps in the mid 30's typically for the drives at the top (heat rises!) - I'm in Australia and the ambient is usually quite high.


The following screenshot was taken around 1% into a parity check and it's around 24C inside my office.




I'm running a pretty low powered machine - AMD Ryzen 3 3200G with onboard graphics (no discrete GPU). I have three 14cm fans mounted at the front of the case and a 12cm fan mounted at the rear.


My goal for the build was to minimise noise - this machine sits in my office next to my desk, so I didn't want something that would add to the noise already in the room. I'm very happy with the build.


I also have an old Antec 1200 case running a 20 drive array in 4 rows of 5-in-3 hot swap drive bays - cooled only by the 92mm fans mounted on the back of each drive bay and the 120mm on the top. Unsurpsingly, given how densly the drives are packed in - the drive temperatures on this machine are much higher than then Define 7 XL (frequently reaching 46-47C under load).


If this older server starts to have hardware issues - I think I'll rebuild it in another Define 7 XL. It will be annoying having to drop down from 20 drives to 16, and it's a lot more work swapping drives in the Define 7 XL than it is with the hot swap drive bays - but the improved cooling, and more importantly, quietness of the Define 7 XL is going to improve things overall I feel.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 5 months later...
Posted (edited)

I bought a Fractal Meshify 2 XL, transferred my existing hardware into it, and added 2 new parity drives. The build was straight forward, case is very easy to work with. I put the case fans it came with on the top, added 4 120mm Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM fans in the front, and an existing 140mm Arctic fan in the back. The front fans are configured for intake, the back fan and the top fans are configured for exhaust.


The hard drives are all mounted from the top with no space in between, directly behind the front fans. The case has dust filters on the top, the front, and the bottom for easy dust maintenance. Cable management is easy: cables can all be routed behind the motherboard, with cable straps provided, and a panel to hide the biggest mess at the bottom. The bottom area has 2 hard drive cages in case you run out of space to mount the hard drives top to bottom. I have now 9 drives in there and there is still room for 3 more before before starting to use the hard drive cages.


Now in winter with around 62F ambient temperature in the room the server is in the Noctua fans I put in the front are running on their low-noise-adapter (voltage throttler) at 1700 RPM, and the server runs quietly. Based on how the temps are in the summer, I most likely will need to run the fans at their full 2000 RPM speed since ambient temps here get to around 79 F.


I am running parity check since 7.5h, and the temps are staying within 20s C.


This case is well built, and offers room for 16 hard drives on the front: 12 mounted from top to bottom right behind the front fans, plus 4 in the hard drive cages on the bottom. If you need to you can probably squeeze more room for hard drives out of the case. Youtube has videos where folks do that.


I found I can easily check the 7 segment bios error display through the case's glass door just by peeking into the room the server is in. You see exactly the stages the server goes through when booting without having to open the case. That has helped with troubleshooting. The glass door also gives the server a neat put-together look.


Here are some pics of the server, plus the temps 7.5h into the Parity check.


Thank you everybody who has posted insights and pics. Your work is much appreciated! I'll post update in summer when the ambient temperature is higher.


1 Server Front.png

2 Server Front Op.png

3 Server Front Op.jpg

4 Server HD Side Canon.png

5 Server HD Side Panel.png

6 Server CPU Side.png

7 Server HDs.jpg

8 Server Run.png

9 Server Front Open Run.png

10 Server Side Run.png


Par 1.png

Par 2.png

Edited by Juniper
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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)

Here is the promised update during higher ambient temperature:


Hard drive temps during Parity Check today after 1 day and 5 hours of checking. .Ambient temp in room where server is located: 77 Fahrenheit / 25 Celsius. UnraidTempsafter1dayofParitycheck77F.thumb.png.5bc81fc7e485271978d184174d630fb8.png


The ambient temperature in my place won't get higher than today's 77F before air conditioning kicks in. The highest hard drive temp is just 12C over ambient for a hard drive that has been reading/writing parity for over a day.


Edited by Juniper
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, this is my first post and I am new to computer building. I am in the process of building a new plex server and this information has been very helpful. I bought the define 7 XL. My question is can I fit a 280mm Aio at the top of the case with 4 120mm fans up front with all 16 hard drive sleds installed? Is there enough room are would I have to use a 240mm top radiator? 

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14 hours ago, 1ILL7 said:

I am new to computer building

I highly recommend NOT using water cooling in a server, especially since you are new to building. Liquid cooling is fine for a gaming machine that is only on when someone is sitting right there with it and can react to any issues.


I'm not saying liquid cooling is unreliable, just that the consequences of pump failure or leaks are much more drastic than a normal fan failure. A regular heatsink with fan can operate with a failed fan for a long time because of the thermal mass of the heatsink, and natural air convection.

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Thank you for the information. I am trying to build a new plex server and I have 40TB raw in external drives.  My plan is to get the Pro WS W680-ACE motherboard 

https://www.asus.com/us/motherboards-components/motherboards/workstation/pro-ws-w680-ace/ and use a i7-14700k with a Quadro P2200 GPU. I just didn't know if the i7-14700k would run too hot and if a Noctua NH-D15 would be able to cool it effectively.  Any advice on my build would be greatly appreciated. I am in the process of buying parts for the build now. 

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45 minutes ago, 1ILL7 said:

40TB raw in external drives

Are you planning on shucking those and using them as internal drives? USB is unreliable for server connections, and if you use USB for the parity array it's likely to cause issues.

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11 minutes ago, JonathanM said:

Are you planning on shucking those and using them as internal drives? USB is unreliable for server connections, and if you use USB for the parity array it's likely to cause issues.


No, I'm going to use them as backup drives. Just extra copies if I ever lose anything.  I am going to buy 15 WD Red Drives 14TB (already have 4 brand new). I want to make 5 Raid 5 arrays with 3 drives each. This way I can add an array as my media collection grows.  I just need to buy 2 more 14TB drives before I can start the project, that way I can start the build with 2 arrays and transfer my current media to it and have space to add more in the meantime. I figure it will give me 140TB of space once all the drives are in, and that will last me for quite some time.  Also, I have all the media backed up on backblaze too. 

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