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Fractal Design Node 304 review

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guvnar 19th September 2012, 08:32 Quote
Aaaah SilverStone Sugo SG08 take note... price/size much closer!
wafflesomd 19th September 2012, 08:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by guvnar
Aaaah SilverStone Sugo SG08 take note... price/size much closer!

Silverstone has a lot of other cheaper Matx cases.

Looks like this is the case I'll go with. I was really unsatisfied with the SG02 I bought and ended up giving it to my stepfather to load his AMD fusion rig.

Thanks bit-tech for covering all these cases.
scott_chegg 19th September 2012, 08:43 Quote
Loving all the MiniITX coverage.
Krikkit 19th September 2012, 08:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scott_chegg
Loving all the MiniITX coverage.

Me too.

This looks like an excellent bit of kit, the PSU solution is a really good idea to let you use proper CPU coolers, rather than crappy low profile jobs.

OT: Spelling mistake in the 2nd paragraph, first page, "bushiness" should be "business" methinks. Also, last sentence of the 4th paragraph should probably be "so read on" rather than "but read on".
Spreadie 19th September 2012, 09:00 Quote
No ODD = stupid, IMO, as mITX systems are popular as media boxes - it's a bit early to expect people to consign their BluRay drive to the spares cupboard.

Also, does a mITX system need room for a 165mm HSF? There's easily enough room to design a slimline mount and raise the mobo 20mm.

I'd rather buy the Prodigy and do something about the rattly panels.
saxovtsmike 19th September 2012, 09:44 Quote
I still miss a closeup picture of how the HDD are mounted in that bracket.
Would be a nice replacement for my home server which is actually housed in a A05NFB
runadumb 19th September 2012, 10:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
Quote:
Originally Posted by scott_chegg
Loving all the MiniITX coverage.

Me too.

Me three
Jack_Pepsi 19th September 2012, 10:24 Quote
I love this chassis.

:D
Lance 19th September 2012, 10:43 Quote
I like the concept, but I still want my disk drive. It seems that once I have a bit of cash it will be the SU08 for me, mostly because of the depth.

Cheers for all the reviews.
GuilleAcoustic 19th September 2012, 11:15 Quote
Nice one, but feel like a Jack-Of-All-Trade. No ODD, have to trade HDDs bay when long card is installed, big CPU cooler compatibility .... but few mobos allowing both big cooler AND GPU installed. I'd like to see a vibration test with all HDDs fitted.

For a NAS, I think a PC-Q25 is best suited, with a nice low power cpu. Only 30€ deerer but it has hotswap capability, supports more HDDs and it has a smaller foot print.
Chicken76 19th September 2012, 11:22 Quote
What options are for mounting the PSU?
Upwards facing air intake of the PSU possible?
Are there holes on the bottom for the PSU to suck cold air from beneath the case?
xMathiasD 19th September 2012, 12:09 Quote
yeah awesome reviews lately.. but i kinda love this case.. and would be the perfect home server i think, so i'll skip the HP NL40 and build my own!
dunx 19th September 2012, 12:17 Quote
Steel & plastic = partial demote...

Would like to see a test with an AIO added...

dunx
Combatus 19th September 2012, 15:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
What options are for mounting the PSU?
Upwards facing air intake of the PSU possible?
Are there holes on the bottom for the PSU to suck cold air from beneath the case?

It's pretty much facing down or nothing. The base has a vent and fan filter - sorry should have mentioned that in the review - and the cage has mounting holes for facing down only. As far as I can tell, you'd only be able to secure one screw if you have the PSU facing upwards.
Adnoctum 19th September 2012, 18:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article P2
...especially if you're be using a long graphics card.

Is Bit-Tech nuh be writin' wit a Jamaican accent, mon? Yah intrestin' style choice, but I an I irie bwoy!
Nuh, weh di lambsbread?
Adnoctum 19th September 2012, 18:46 Quote
Have the Bit-Tech offices been burgled? That is my theory on why the case looks like it has been fingerprinted by the police. What a fingerprint magnet!

The lack of an ODD isn't such a pain for me. My MITX gaming system doesn't have one even though there is space for a slim drive, but I don't miss it because when I need to use a CD/DVD I can use a USB drive. If you are using the drive all the time, then it may be an issue.

I think I'd be wary of the PSU and might err on the side of caution and get one that has an 80mm exhaust fan. This is due to two things in my experience: 1) PSUs with obstructed intakes get hotter which causes the fan to run faster, and 2) better quality PSUs with 80mm fans are no noisier than those with 120mm fans at a normal desktop power draw. Plus internal PSU airflow/cooling is better with a rear facing fan pulling air through the PSU.

Lastly, my sense of aesthetics is mildly annoyed, but not offended, by the slightly curving slab front. I would prefer it if it was squared off and flat. Also I'm not thrilled by the switch/ports being on the side, I'd prefer them along the bottom edge, perhaps off-centred to the bottom right corner. But that is just me.
SuicideNeil 20th September 2012, 00:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Is Bit-Tech nuh be writin' wit a Jamaican accent, mon? Yah intrestin' style choice, but I an I irie bwoy!
Nuh, weh di lambsbread?

Nah, it's talk like a pirate day today. :D
Chicken76 20th September 2012, 18:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
It's pretty much facing down or nothing. The base has a vent and fan filter - sorry should have mentioned that in the review - and the cage has mounting holes for facing down only. As far as I can tell, you'd only be able to secure one screw if you have the PSU facing upwards.
Thanks for the clarification. I'm wondering how much clearance is there on the bottom of the case, as in how tall are the "legs"? If the PSU is starved for fresh air, its case will get warm and that will raise the temperature inside, especially with the fans on low speed, which is the setting most people will use.
[EOCF] Tim 26th September 2012, 12:32 Quote
Seems close to perfection to me. Bitfenix has an identity crisis. IMO if you are going to build small it should really be mini ITX small. This fulfils all my requirements, and can be easily water cooled with thick single rad with dual fans. The HD bays are just genious. Air flow looks spot on. I find it hard to fault this case.

Instant buy for me (as soon as I have the money for a new setup lol)

And the removing of a drive bay is fantastic. I still need a drive now and then, and I'm getting a SATA to USB caddy with cheap 2nd hand slim laptop DVD burner. Blueray is for my Sony player, I'm not getting my PC to do that.
FeAr3d 20th October 2012, 03:23 Quote
Thanks Anthony for the review. This was one of the first reviews I read on the Node 304 and it helped a lot in my decision making before buying it.

Just finished a build with the node 304 and here are my findings.

First impression: #$%^, this is a huge case! I did go from a Lian-Li PC-Q07 to this but still it's a largish case to house an ITX board. That said, it's very easy to work with and running the wires, for the most part, went very well. The front USB3.0 wires would have been better off coming down the opposite side but that's just in my case with the location of the USB3 header on the Asus P8H77-I being where it is.

The hanging HDD brackets are a great idea, easy to work with and allows up to 6 HDD's to be installed. (One of the reasons I picked this case over many others and if you're a bit creative you can install six 3.5 HDD's and Velcro an SSD to outside of one of the HDD cages.) The three included fans are very quiet even on the highest setting and provides more than adequate air flow for my system. There's a lot of space for an aftermarket CPU cooler but I used the stock i5-3550 cooler.

Overall, the 304 is a well-thought-out and user-friendly case design and I'm enjoying all of my HDD's inside the case and not stacked in a bunch of external eSATA's leaning beside the, now shelved, Q07.

There's always room for improvement and if there's ever a revision my wish list would include; a slightly smaller overall size (I think it's easily achievable), front facing USB3's & I/O ports, and lastly, an opening for an ODD (this is a HTPC case - some people still watch their DVD's and BluRay's)!
Did I just describe the SG08?



***Hardware used***

CASE - Node 304
MB - Asus P8H77-I
CPU - Intel i5-3550
RAM - 8GB Kingston HyperX 1866
VC - AMD HD7750
SSD - Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB
HDD - WD Caviar Black 2TB x3
PSU - Seasonic SS-300ES
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