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REVIEW Fractal Deisgn Node 804 Micro ATX Case

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by photonmoo, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. photonmoo

    photonmoo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Fractal Design NODE 804 Micro ATX Case Review​


    Thanks again to Lihan & Fractal for allowing me to review the Fractal Design Node 804.

    I've recently been playing around with a various Mini ITX and Micro ATX cases as I've kind of moved away from the larger full ATX cases, so it was very nice to be able to put the Fractal Node 804 through it's paces.

    I've opted to go for a fairly decent components which would allow for a good HTPC and still be able to play games when required.

    I received the case with a slight dent in the packaging, and upon further inspection I was pleased to note that the case was unscathed due to it's very good packaging.

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    The case itself seems quite solid in it's build, though it was quite the fingerprint magnet I must say, I have quite oily skin myself, so I had to constantly wipe and clean the case, which is quite annoying at the best of times.

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    The case is very clean and minimalistic. The size has it's pros and cons I would say, it's hard to have it on the floor as you might end up using it as an ottoman/footrest, and then it's a tad wide to be accommodated on everyone's desk.

    I alternated locations, and I felt it had it's prime position next to TV as an HTPC as I previously was opting for. I had it opposite to subwoofer on the
    side of the TV, it looked as if it belonged there.

    The fans included in the case were not that audible in the room, which was great. Though in saying that, it would be a big inconvenience if you did decide to replace the stock fans with aftermarket ones, as you would struggle to manage or control them without an easy access 5.25" / 3.5" bay slot. I've always liked to be able to monitor and control different aspects of ones PC, so without that it felt a bit strange.

    The Node comes with 3 pre-installed fans and a good variety of screws, motherboard standoffs, grommets and the rest, which comes in very handy, especially if you plan on utilising all it's available space and harddrive bays. Roughly up to 12 Harddrives (8-10 3.5" and 2-4 2.5" depending on what you go for). There is a total 10 fan mounting options too (4x front, 4x top, 1x rear & 1x front)

    Disassembling the case was quite easy and allowed me to plan my build quite extensively. luckily I didn't have any tricky components, and with the Node 804's spacious design, installing the components was quite a breeze.

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    I used the following components:

    I7-4770k with Stock Cooler
    MSI Z87I AC Gaming M-ITX Mobo
    16GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2400Mhz
    XFX Radeon R9 280x
    Samsung 840 Pro 120GB in Raid 0
    2TB Seagate Barracuda
    1TB Samsung x2
    Coolermaster 1000w PSU

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    Although all the components went in quite easily, I felt the cable management options were quite limited and a bit frustrating at times. I had to rely on cable clips and cable ties to for majority of the cable management. A lot of the PSU cables were hidden in the HDD cages.

    The non-windowed side panel does hide a lot of the cable clutter, "out of sight, out of mind".

    The included fan controller, which is powered by a sata power connector instead of a standard molex is really good, saved me running a molex connector just for that off the psu. Also I could run all 3 included fans off the controller which saved extra connectors.

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    I decided to utilise the front panels 2.5' hdd bay slots, it's a brilliant use of space, kudos to Fractal for that. I wish I had a front-loading slim DVDROM drive so I could use that too, but alas it's not really common item everyone has.

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    The removal of the reset button I liked to, it's not often one uses the reset button today and it saves from it been 'accidentally' pressed and causing potential havoc at times.

    If you did decide to go down the watercooling route, one's options would be plentiful. There is decent clearance for radiators, blocks and pumps.

    The XFX Radeon R9 280x which measures 29.5cm x 14.3cm x 4.2cm went into the case with ease, and had a little bit of space left over.

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    Overall I really loved the Fractal Node 804, apart from the average cable management options and fingerprint sensitive exterior, it was outstanding in every other department.

    I would highly recommend anyone this case especially if they're looking for a HTPC chassis, or a decent file server.

    She will serve as an HTPC for the time being, but I suspect the wife has taken a liking to her, so I might have to barter with her on that one :)

    Thanks again to Fractal and Lihan for allowing me to review the Fractal Design Node 804.

    Cheers,
    Marco (photonmoo)


    PROS:

    1. HDD Space
    2. Fan Space
    3. Clever Use of space in Front Panel
    4. Really good Watercooling Options
    5. M-ITX & M-ATX Motherboard support
    6. CPU Cooler Clearance
    7. GPU Support
    8. Minimalistic Looks / Clean
    9. Modding Potential / Customizable
    10. Easy to handle


    CONS:

    1. Fingerprints
    2. Cable Management
    3. No 5.25" bays
    4. Short Cables
     

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