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Review !! Water Cooled Fractal Node 804

Discussion in 'PC Build Logs' started by Ratzz, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    THE LITTLE CASE THAT COULD !!

    A review of the Fractal Node 804.

    Hi guys !!

    I've been fortunate to receive a brand new example of Fractal's micro ATX case, the Node 804, for review courtesy of Fractal's PR manager Lihan.

    I'll be checking out the build quality, the features and faults, and building a custom water cooled system into it, including rigid acrylic tubing.

    The case arrived well packaged and survived the ordeal of being couriered in perfect condition. I'll skip past the unboxing, we see all too many of those in my opinion. You aren't interested in the box, you are interested in the case !!

    Removing this case from the box was not unlike watching Dr. Who step out of the Tardis. It's not until the bare case is sitting in front of you that you realise just how big and roomy this case actually is. Photo's don't do it justice.

    The first thing I notice is the ample ventilation with the 3 supplied Fractal fans, the large window and 5 PCI slots. The lowest PCI slot means a double width GPU could be accomodated on the lowest 2 slots.. a boon if you want to run Sli or Crossfire with a second GPU. This is something you don't always get in a Micro ATX case.


    Here it is !! It's a great looking case, understated but stylish in the usual Fractal way.​

    [​IMG]

    Of course, I immediately started to dismantle it. I should have taken photos of the other sides and top before I did so, but controlling oneself can be so difficult when you unwrap a new toy :) I'll show you those on the completed build.

    Here it is with the outer pieces removed. Both sides, the top and the front panel are all easily removed. The side panels and top are held on with 2 thumbscrews each, and the front panel is simply pushed into place, easily and firmly.

    Once removing the rear thumbscrews, the top panel slides back about 50mm and simply lifts off, to expose the cutouts underneath.

    On the left, the rear compartment. The white structures are Fractal's unique drive cages. On the right, the motherboard or front compartment.

    You can clearly see the massive amount of ventilation that will be possible here, along with the 3 supplied Fractal fans. Note the 3 position fan control switch above the right rear fan !​

    [​IMG]

    Heres a look at the front of the case, with the front panel removed. All of the ventilation holes on this case have filters fitted to them !

    Some cutouts are provided between the filters to pass cables through from the front panel. The filters all have arrows conveniently placed on them to show the direction they need to be removed in. Probably not necessary, but a nice touch.​

    [​IMG]

    Tipping the case on its side reveals more filters, one for the motherboard compartment and a second smaller filter in the rear compartment for a Power Supply Unit.

    You can also see the Velcro ties which Fractal somewhat bemusingly call Cable Management. This is the last time you will see these.

    Somewhat of an afterthought in my opinion, and no match for some well placed cable tie mounts, which are seriously lacking in this case. The first thing I did was remove them.. ​

    [​IMG]

    Plenty of clearance underneath for airflow​

    [​IMG]

    Heres the rear compartment, with the supplied Fractal drive cages. Its an unusual arrangement, a bit quirky, but is capable of handling EIGHT 3.5” drive cages.

    This in a Micro ATX case.. wow..​

    [​IMG]

    Their vertical arrangement allows ample HDD cooling both lengthways through the case, and vertically via the top.


    Here is the front panel, lying on its face in front of the case. There is room in here for two 2.5” hard drives or SSD's of any standard thickness from 7mm to 12.5mm.

    They screw into provided slots with provided screws ! There is also a space for a slot loading optical drive, for which mountings and screws are provided. Nothing is left out here.

    [​IMG]

    Internally, you can see the fan controller, which sources its power via a female SATA connector, and has 3 female 3 pin power connectors. Of course, if you want more fans ( and this case has the ability to fit an astonishing TEN fans !!) you'll need to get some more splitters of your own.

    I'm not so sure this is a good idea though, I suspect the controller may not handle the power of ten fans, so I am guessing this is the reason there are no splitters provided. Fractal haven't left much to chance here, I suspect that if it was an option, they would have provided the splitters to go with it.

    It's not like they have left anything else out.. :)

    [​IMG]

    The disassembled case.​

    [​IMG]

    Heres a closer look at the inside of the front cover, where the slot loading drive will be. In fact, lets install a drive..​

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to need some screws and a mounting plate.. here is the bag of provided screws, unbagged. Holy cow. ​

    [​IMG]

    I think I am going to need to sort these..

    Pictured are the optical drive mount, and the screws all nicely sorted. The largest group of screws are designed to work with grommets.

    I forgot to take a photo of the grommet bag.. there are grommets preinstalled on the hard drive cages, and a bag of extras in case you want to install ANOTHER two 3.5” drives on the floor of the front compartment.

    For now, all i need are the 6 small screws and the mounting plate on the top left of the photo. The shiny silver thing on the bottom right is an adapter to allow fitting of motherboard standoffs using a philips head screwdriver.. a nice touch.

    A not so nice touch? It would have been nice for these to come pre sorted into bags. Finding those 6 little screws was impossible until I sorted them into groups like this.​

    [​IMG]

    Mount the adapter to the side of the drive using 2 of the screws..​

    [​IMG]

    You can see here the side of the front panel, with its 2 USB 3.0 slots, audio connectors, power switch and the slot for the drive.

    There is no reset button, this pleases me. I mean seriously, who uses them anyway? Reset buttons are just hazards to avoid when inserting things in USB slots, I hate them..

    Here, the remaining 4 screws attaching the optical drive to the front panel. Note that the ONLY option for an optical drive here is a slot loader.

    A normal tray eject style drive is not an option. I'm ok with this, since I had a suitable drive lying around (this one was removed from a dead Apple Mac Mini), but I think it would have been better to allow for a normal tray style drive. Slot loaders cost more.

    [​IMG]

    With that fitted securely using the 4 remaining screws, its time to check out the mounting system for the additional two 3.5” drive positions. 8 grommets are provided.. pictured here in place on the bottom of the motherboard compartment.

    Not pictured.. the filter which covers the base ! It sits beside the PSU filter you can see in the photo.​

    [​IMG]

    I've added a couple of hard drives in here, just to see how well they fit. The answer.. very snugly. In fact, too snugly, I'll get back to that. ​

    [​IMG]

    So lets see what it looks like with a computer inside it shall we?
    Installed here are an Asus H87M-Pro mATX motherboard.

    Of course an ITX board is also an option, and an ATX board is clearly not an option. Its fitted with 8GB DDR3-1600 Corsair Vengeance ram, a Celeron G1840 CPU, and an EVGA GTX-660 SC GPU. Its all on air cooling at this point, just to demonstrate.​

    [​IMG]

    Here is the front panel in position, ready to push into the front panel. A simple 4 pin push in system attaches it to the main body of the computer, no screws are used here. Installed are the two 2.5" drives and the slot loading optical drive. There are quite a few cables, but it still fits pretty easily, and the airflow via the lower section of the panel is unimpeded.

    [​IMG]

    Leaving the front fan out, you could fit a 320mm GPU in here, provided of course that the power connectors were top mounted rather than on the ends as some GPUs are.

    This 340mm ruler is sitting against the PCI slots at the other end of the case. Its a set square, the lower measurement is the actual length, the upper measurement goes to the inside of the square.​

    [​IMG]

    A closeup of the drives on the bottom with the motherboard installed. There are only a couple of mm's clearance between the rear of the drives and the pins on the motherboard.

    The pins are slightly above the drives, which means they are useable, but the risk of accidental damage to the pins is high. Also, there is insufficient room on the front of the drives to easily install sata and power cables.

    In fact, although straight connectors can be jammed in there, you really wouldn't want to use anything but right angle connectors.

    I'd have preferred the drives to be mounted lengthways, but the existing mounting system only allows this configuration.

    I couldnt even reverse the drives to have the connectors at the back, which would have alleviated both the clearance problems at the motherboard and the lack of room for connectors by allowing the drives to sit all the way to the base of the window.

    Another point is that this is the display area of the case, and the drives aren't a good look. A drive cover would be nice !!

    For me, Installing drives in this spot would be a last resort.​

    [​IMG]]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  2. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Part 2 : Water cooling

    Water cooling.


    In this build I've used an Alphacool 280mm XT45 radiator, with a pair of Bitfenix Spectre Pro PWM 140mm fans.​

    [​IMG]

    The pump is an EK non-vario D5, fitted with an XSPC mod top. The reservoir is an Alphacool Lighttower.

    The fittings and acrylic tubing are 10/14 Barrow fittings, bought from THIS EBAY SELLER. His product, pricing and customer service are excellent, higly recommended.

    I've used EK yellow coolant additive to brighten it all up.

    The Motherboard is an Asus H87-M Pro, fitted with a Celeron G1840 CPU, and cooled by an XSPC Raystorm water block. 2x4GB low profile Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 RAM is installed.

    The GPU is an EVGA GTX-660 SC, cooled by an EK-FC660 full cover acrylic water block.

    Windows 10 (64bit) Technical Preview is installed on a Seagate 2'5" 500GB 7200rpm SSHD hybrid drive.

    Data is stored on a 1TB HGST 7200rpm 2.5" HDD + a pair of 2TB 3.5" 7200rpm Seagate Barracudas.




    My best friend and companion admires the ummm computer.. :lol:

    Just for scale, he is small/medium, not tiny. He is about 400mm tall at the shoulders and weighs 12kg.​

    [​IMG]

    Now its your turn. OK, my camera isn't great... but hey this is a very stylish bit of kit.​

    [​IMG]

    All I need is HDMI, a wireless receiver, and power. I use a wireless mouse and keyboard too, the combined receiver for those is in one of the front USB ports. I see the dog has lost interest in the computer :lol:

    [​IMG]

    Looks good from the side !! That's the same EVGA GTX-660 SC, but the blower cooler has been removed and an EK full cover water block replaces it.​

    [​IMG]

    I've used rubber sanding blocks to support the Alphacool Light Tower reservoir. These are held together with Kwik Grip, cut to size and painted. Obviously if you are using a longer GPU than I have, you will need to come up with a different reservoir/pump combo, as the Light Tower will get in the way !!

    It was necessary to lift both the reservoir and the pump to clear some of the metal dividing frame and still have a neat path for the acrylic tubing.

    If I had my way, the case would have a full length cutout from top to bottom, which would have avoided the need for these supports both front and back.​

    [​IMG]

    I cut a hole through the rubber blocks at the base of the reservoir, and a hole in the base of the case below that. A fitting and stop plug, and I have an appropriately placed drain.​

    [​IMG]

    Cables turned out pretty well in my opinion. In the front!!.. the rear is a mess..​

    [​IMG]

    I fed the fan control cables through to the rear. The cables are a little short for this, but they do reach, just barely.

    You will notice that this case now has NO case fans at all. Its a very well ventilated case. The PSU brings air in via the base, and expels it out the back. The radiator fans are mounted in push configuration, so the radiator also contributes no heat to the case. There simply isn't a need for case fans.

    I've wired my non-variable EK D5 pump to the fan controller instead, for an externally adjustable 3 speed pump!!

    I would have much preferred it if the fan control switch had been mounted at the back of the rear compartment, to avoid these cables being in the display area.

    As they are mounted at the top though, they aren't really visible unless you look for them.​

    [​IMG]

    And now the ugliness... the rear compartment with its total lack of cable management is the weakest point of this case.

    I tried 3 different power supplies until I decided on this Thermaltake Smart 550W PSU. It was chosen specifically for its compact, flat cables. Even the ATX and EPS cables are flat.​

    [​IMG]

    I've taken a drive cage out of an old case and painted it black. Its held securely with the swiss knife of water cooling.. double sided tape. Its the most compact and neat way I could mount the two 3.5" 2TB Seagate Barracudas I'm using in this build.

    The cables are a mess, not much I can do.

    I'm sorry Fractal, I don't like your drive cages at all. I couldn't find a use for them in this build.​

    [​IMG]

    At least I've managed to get a nice clean space around the tubing and pump !! The pump is supported by rubber sanding blocks in the same way as the front is.​

    [​IMG]

    An action shot, showing the lighting. Sorry, my camera isn't the greatest, and there are too many reflections here.

    To give you an idea of noise levels, the camera starts sitting on top of an old PSU on the floor, less than 30cm from the action. The quite loud noise when the camera moves is the sound of this PSU sliding across carpet !!

    From one metre away, the computer is completely inaudible... and this is with the pump on maximum speed to highlight the water movement in the reservoir.

    The radiator fans are obviously on the other side of the case divider, set on auto and barely moving at 550rpm.​

     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  3. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Part 3: Conclusions

    Brickbats and bouquets.


    First, I'd like to thank Lihan and Fractal for their support supplying this case. It was a great experience doing an 'official' review and I'll keep my fingers crossed for further opportunities !!

    I told Lihan at the outset that I would be brutally honest with my review, good and bad.


    Firstly, I'll offer my general impressions.​



    This is a case with a bit of an identity crisis. It's not sure if it wants to be a compact, well ventilated air cooled computer, or a serious water cooled gamer. It's a little too large for the former, and a little too small for the latter.

    As an air cooled computer, its great. Absolutely fabulous. The ventilation on this case is nothing short of awesome, and it has masses of room for any serious gamer. A pair of full length GPU's will fit easily in SLi or Crossfire.

    It has the ability to hold up to TEN 3.5" hard drives, PLUS a pair of 2.5" drives or SSD's. It has the ability to mount up to TEN fans..

    An aftermarket air cooler of up to 160mm high can be fitted if desired.

    Wow. 9/10

    As a water cooled computer, its not so great. Better than many, but not so great. Although it has multiple options for radiators, you can't use them all at once. Fractal say you can fit a 280mm, a 240mm and a 120mm radiator concurrently, and I agree.

    However, to do this, to be honest it would be better windowless, because it would be a very messy affair and quite difficult to work on. If its going to be cramped and busy, although functional you would rather people couldn't see the mess.

    I'm only prepared to give it a 7/10 for water cooling. Its a shame, because with just a little more thought, a 9/10 or even better would have been just as easy to achieve.



    The bouquets.​




    MASSES of options for mounting fans and radiators. More than I have seen in ANY case, let alone such a compact one, without modding.

    AWESOME airflow... and quiet too !! And to top it off, EVERY ventilation point comes with an easily accessible and removable filter.

    The one exception here is the top cover, where the filter is built in to the cover and could present problems cleaning. The top is easily removable though, I guess a garden hose could get it clean reasonably well, or of course an air compressor.

    GREAT looks. Simple and stylish, simply one of the best looking cases on the market today.

    EXCELLENT build quality. This is a case that will last for years. All panels fit tightly and easily. It's solid as the proverbial rock.

    ABUNDANT included accessories. A mountain of screws, grommets.. everything has been thought of right down to an excellent mounting system for a slot loading optical drive. It even has a built in fan controller.

    PRICE is extremely competitive for such a well built case. These cases retail for about $160 in Australia.



    The brickbats.​




    First and foremost... the biggie. Such a major drawback with such a simple solution.

    CABLE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS. There just aren't any.

    The case comes with a couple of velcro tiedowns on the front floor of the rear compartment. Presumably you are supposed to bundle all your cables into a bunch and just tie them down with these.

    Thats fine, if you don't care what they look like (as many won't I guess) because its 'hidden' in the rear compartment. However, this case is aimed at enthusiasts, and yes Fractal, we DO care.

    Its as if the case was designed, signed off on, and just before going to manufacture somebody said 'what about cable management' and the designers said 'oops, forgot about that. Lets just stick some tiedowns in the corner here, that will do.'

    For me at least.. it wont. I tried 3 different power supplies before I could even come close to something I could live with.

    A few pressings in the dividing centre wall for cable ties to be attached to would have made a world of difference.

    The velcro had no chance of working for me, because with a custom water cooling loop, the only place to install my pump was... you guessed it.. right there.

    DRIVE CAGES would be my next complaint. Fractal, have you tried to fit 8 drives into those cages?

    Yes, they would have great ventilation, excellent vibration dampening, and wow, so many drives can be fitted.. but try attaching 8 power cables and 8 sata cables to those drives and see how you go making the cables fit behind them.

    Almost impossible.

    Additionally, should you need to access one of the rearmost of these vertically mounted drives, you would need to first remove 3 other drives..

    My suggestion? Mount them horizontally, on back planes. This would enable hot swapping of all drives easily, and tidy the cables immensely. You would need to orient them front to back rather than side to side of course, but there would be room in an aircooled system to do this.

    Fortunately for me (or unfortunately?) the drive cages were never an option anyway. I wanted to fit a 280mm radiator, and the only place this is possible is where the drive cages are mounted... I finished up not using any of the Fractal cages at all, opting for a different style of cage which I rescued from an old generic case.


    which brings me to my next complaint.


    RADIATOR CHOICES. It is possible to fit a pair of 240mm radiators in the front of the case. This probably would have been my preferred option, sacrificing one of the drive cages to allow a pair of front radiators.

    However.. the maximum height of the radiator is 278mm. There are THREE models of radiator available worldwide which are this size or smaller (that I was able to find online). Only one is available in Australia (that I could find).

    One of those 3 is among Fractal's own range of Kelvin expandable AIO coolers.. incidentally a cooler which quite interests me and which I hope I have the opportunity to review in the future.. take note Lihan ;)

    Just 10mm extra height would have expanded the available choice of radiators from two to many.

    I found the same situation with the 280mm radiator which I used.

    Fortunately my Alphacool XT45 is one of the shortest on the market. It fit with just 1mm to spare. Limiting the choice of radiators severely to save 10mm of length is not a good idea.

    I'd also have liked to see the cutout between back and front compartments to go from floor to roof. I would have liked to mount my pump and reservoir on the floor of the case, but I was forced to elevate it to accommodate an unnecessary piece of metal above the floor.


    RELOCATING THE OPTICAL DRIVE AND FRONT PANEL STUFF.
    Possibly a bigger complaint is as simple as the optical drive slot, usb ports and power switch being on the wrong side. Most people will want to display a window, it just makes sense to have these things on the Windows side.

    I had a bright idea at one point and thought.. why not just rotate the front panel 180 degrees? Unfortunately this is not an option.

    I'd suggest the easy solution is simply placing the pushin mounts symmetrically to allow the front panel to be rotated 180 degrees.

    *************************************************

    So, making the case 10mm taller and 10mm deeper will allow a much better choice of radiators. Placing slots instead of screw holes for mounting of radiators would be nice too, allowing a much more versatile range of choices for mounting.

    Making the front panel rotatable by 180 degrees will allow better placement of the front panel stuff for those who want it.

    Making the drive cages horizontal rather than vertical, and fitting them with hot swap backplanes, would make multiple hard drives much easier to live with.

    Oh and did I mention there is virtually NO CABLE MANAGEMENT?

    *************************************************

    Overall.. I love this case. I promised to be honest with its failings, and I have done so, but that doesn't take away from its many great features.

    Overall, I'm giving it an 8/10.
    Its a shame that with just a little more thought, it could possibly have been a 10.


    Many thanks to Lihan and the Fractal crew for giving me the opportunity to review this case. I've enjoyed it, and I love the case.

    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  4. BigDave

    BigDave Member

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    Nice start KEVIN :tongue: :thumbup:

    Ideally the lower 3.5 HDDs need a hot swap PCB to simply slot into and screw down :cool:
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  5. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Thanks Dave :) I hope my number shows as Kev on your phone though :lol:

    The whole thing is built, photo's are taken and I am just polishing up the remaining two parts ready to post. I'll be addressing various minor issues in the conclusion, and backplanes for HDD's is a major point..
     
  6. auApex

    auApex Member

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    Great review so far. Very comprehensive overview for anyone considering this case. Really interested to see what you do with the watercooling with such limited space.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Thanks :) I am trying to be as Pro as I can, for a rank amateur at reviews :lol:

    My first time with Acrylic Tubing, and I am very pleased with the way its turned out. The water cooling now appears in part 2 (post #2).
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    All done guys :) Refer to the first 3 posts for all the goss on the Fractal Node 804. Thanks for reading my review :thumbup:
     
  9. juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Top work Kev :thumbup:

    Loop looks nuts too!
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Thanks mate :) I am chuffed at how well it turned out.

    The build isn't quite finished, due to lack of funds :( but there isn't much more planned.

    I will replacing the two 2.5" drives with a pair of 250GB SSD's in RAID 0, sticking an extra pair of matching ram sticks into it.. and a 4790 (non K) will replace the lowly Celeron.

    I think that's about all it needs :thumbup:

    It should make a pretty capable video processsing/HTPC rig when done.
     
  11. BigDave

    BigDave Member

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    Yeah it actually does :shock: sorry mate.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    lol just make sure you get wifey's name right, that's the only one that matters :D

    So how did you like the rest of the review?

    I've had some email feedback from Lihan, Fractal are taking on board the various issues people have mentioned in the reviews and I expect some improvements are likely to be made in future editions of the case. So good to have the manufacturers listen to the customers, should be more of it !!
     
  13. juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Absolutely cobber. Bloody nice work.

    Hopefully the '805' takes water into consideration a bit more. Couple of grommeted holes in that center divider at the front down low would work wonders - even just a slit all the way down it.

    Again mate, awesome review :thumbup:
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Thanks :)

    Yep, a slit all the way down would make a lot of difference. I'm not a fan of grommeted holes, it still limits you with placement, and could create problems with access.

    Imagine trying to feed acrylic tubing through it.. every bend would have to be absolutely perfect, no margin for error, and actually feeding the bent tube through it would be a bugger.

    I could have fed the tube in below the metal obstruction too, but the pump and res if mounted on the floor would have had their input/outputs too high then, so the tube would have had to dip and rise to get through it.. creating an unnecessarily complex tube and an undesired low point.

    That chunk of metal is in exactly the wrong place.
     
  15. terrabyte

    terrabyte Member

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    Very nice review! :thumbup:
     
  16. the3coopers

    the3coopers Member

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    Great review, best one I've read yet.

    You mentioned filters as a "plus". But the front filters require that the whole front be removed to gain access, right? Or do you have to lift the whole case up or roll it on it's rear or side to slide the filters downwards? That is shit design.

    And here we are screwing Slot Load Drives and SSDs onto the inside of the front panel...

    So, you are continually pulling in unfiltered air across a heap of front panel cables and sata and power cables... which will end up with dust and fuzz all over them. And to clean it you must remove the whole front panel, which dislodges all the cables

    That is another total design fail. Hardware should be mounted to the metal chassis, not the removable plastic front. And the cables and hardware should be kept separate from the moving airflow, so they stay clean.

    This, together with the dreadful design of HDD trays and the Cable Management, shows that Fractal's design engineers are just like Corsairs. Outrageously paid, but have never actually built or used a PC in their lives.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  17. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Thanks, I did my best :)



    The review leaves plenty out, its far from comprehensive :D . I've been adding/editing a few things here and there that I've forgotten or not been clear enough on, but I had actually covered this one.

    All of the filters with the exception of the top panel can be removed without touching anything else, no worries at all. Yes, they are removed from the bottom of the case though, so in the case of the front filters it would be necessary to pull the case forward if you have it on a desk, or lean it back if it was on the floor, to remove the filters. Having them removable from the top would take away from the aesthetics of the case, I am happy with the compromise.

    I certainly see your point with the drives in the front panel not being behind a filter. Mounting them to the chassis and a minor redesign would fix that, for sure.

    If I have a complaint with the filters, its that they are actually very flimsy and several of them already have damage from sliding them in and out while buiding it. The mesh is catching and tearing away from the filter frames. One of the few poor quality components in the case.


    There is ample airflow through the front of the case despite the components. I guess you could consider those front HDDs cooled in fact. I have absolutely no complaints about airflow anywhere in the case, its definitely the cases strongest point.


    Being limited to a slot drive is certainly a minus, I would have much preferred a standard slim tray drive/bezel setup. Slot drives are expensive and can't be opened without power or dismantling if issues develop, trapping discs inside. You can't just open it with a paper clip like a tray drive.

    If I hadn't just happened to have a slot drive lying around (from a dead Mac Mini) I wouldn't have even installed a drive of course, its the first build for years in which one has been included. It was kinda nice to be able to use something from my junk pile :lol:



    I completely agree with attaching the front components to the case. Something which I had meant to mention and will add to the review.

    It's very awkward removing the front panel unless you have left plenty of cable length.. but there isn't a lot of room for long cables whilst still keeping it all tidy. I settled on the middle ground, I can pull the front cover about 150mm from the case before cable length becomes an issue. Front cover components are accessible but awkward.

    I think the major problem here is that the case provides space for 'enthusiast' gear, but doesn't take into account the enthusiast's desire for perfection.

    Hiding all the cables in the back for instance is great, if I were to give this computer ready built in all its glory to a friend who isn't going to work on it or play with it.

    They would cream their jeans and fall in love with the looks through the window, but not give a damn about whats happening in the back compartment.

    An enthusiast who likes things just so, not so much. We tend to see and judge cable work just as much as the rigid tubes lol .. and easy maintenance is more important to us as we will be constantly playing with stuff.

    I've had some contact from Lihan and I am assured that the various issues will be considered and addressed in future cases. Clearly that's the point of 'We need your Voice' and I give them full points for actually caring personally.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  18. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10,595
    Location:
    Western Vic
    Damn good, brutal, frank and honest review. Great to see.

    I respect the honesty in the review and its good to see that your thoughts will be taken on board.

    Great work mate :thumbup:
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    7,225
    Location:
    Cheltenham East 3192
    Thanks :)

    No good doing a review of something and not pointing out its flaws as well as its good points IMO.

    It's a nice case, I like it. Like everything in this world though, it's full of compromises. Nothing's perfect. The next iteration should be even better, that's the bottom line...
     
  20. drummer

    drummer Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Messages:
    385
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Yeah, its a pretty decent case however I fell like the watercooling support, along with a few other features were an afterthought, rather than a design feature.

    The only major issue I have with it is the cable management in the back. But I guess its all hidden away.
     

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