Fractal Design is a company that manufactures PC cases, fans, power supplies and water-cooled CPU coolers. With their headquarters in Sweden, they pride themselves on listening to their customer base and are always striving to reach their goal of providing functional, efficient and sleek Scandinavian-designed products. They refer to themselves as similar to the IKEA of the PC world and even go on to say “In the world of computer components, there is only one name you should know, Fractal Design.”
Today I will be taking a look at one of their PC cases by way of the Node 804. The Node 804 is a dual chambered cube case that offers quite a few differences over those of similar design from competitors. Designed for Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards the Node 804 is not short on space or features. It has enough room for 8x 3.5″ hard drives and 2x 2.5″ dedicated hard drives. There is also plenty of space for fans and room for up to 4x 240mm water cooling radiators (one of which can be 280mm).
Before we get started let’s see what Fractal Design has to say about their Node 804:
The Node 804 is a micro ATX chassis which focuses on cooling performance and maximum configurability, all packed in an interesting new form factor with Scandinavian elegant design.
The dual chamber layout separates hot running components from the cooler ones and allows for unrestricted airflow over the motherboard, processor and graphics card.
The case comes with three excellent 120mm fans but can be upgraded with several additional fans if needed. Featuring plenty of options for placing water cooling components, tall heat sinks and hard drives. The flexibility of this case really gives the users the possibility to create their optimal system build.
- Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
- 8 – 3.5″ HDD positions
- 2 – 2.5″ dedicated SSD unit positions
- 2 – Extra positions for either 3,5″ or 2,5″ drives
- 5 expansion slots
- 1 additional space in the front for Slot-In ODD
- 10 – Fan positions (3 x 120mm Silent Series R2 fans included)
- Filtered fan slots in front, top and bottom
- CPU coolers up to 160 mm in height
- PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 260 mm deep
- Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 320mm in length. Graphics cards up to 290 mm in length may be installed if a fan is installed in the lower position in the front.
- Velcro strap for easy cable management
- Clear Window side panel included
- Colors available: Black
- Case dimensions (WxHxD): 344 x 307 x 389 mm
- Net weight: 6 kg
- Package dimensions (WxHxD): 370 x 468 x 412 mm
- Package weight: 7.7kg
The packaging it comes in is nothing flashy and that is more than fine with me. The Node 804 comes in a normal brown cardboard box featuring the Fractal Design logo with the model (Node 804) to the right. In the middle of the front is a nice outlined diagram image of the case with the URL to the Fractal Design site running across the bottom.
On the back of the box is an illustration and descriptive breakdown of the individual components that make up the Fractal Design Node 804. As we can see there will be plenty of options to allow users to customize this case to their exact needs. This case really does offer a lot of options for all users, plenty of rooms for fans and cooling gear, space for hard drive and its modular design is a big plus.
On one side of the box, we can see the product specifications as well as some info about all of the cooling system options. On the other side is a nice image of the hard drive cages and their unique place in the case.
Taking a look at the Node 804 itself from the front and it features a nice brushed aluminium design, which goes over great with me. Users will also note the Fractal Design logo on the right-hand side and the nice big vented area across the bottom to make sure users are taking advantage of all the great cooling features.
On the main side of the Node 804 is a nice big plexiglass window so users can easily show off all of the goodies they put inside the case. As this is a dual-chambered case it will offer even novices a chance to have a clean, well-put-together-looking build and will, of course, result in it is worthy of being shown off.
On the back, we can see two of the included fans, which are a nice touch in my opinion. Most dual-chambered cube cases don’t offer space for a fan in the 2nd chamber where the power supply and hardware we want hidden are. Fractal Design decided this was not OK with them and offer some great cooling options in both chambers, a great deal of thought must have gone into this.
Aside from the great cooling options, we can also see the cutout for the rear IO panel on the motherboard, space for a bottom-mounted PSU in the 2nd chamber as well as 5x expansion bays and a bit of a vented area for some more airflow in the main chamber. If you look above the fan on the right-hand side of the image just above it there is a switch for a fan controller which can control up to 3 fans as standard. Also, looking across the left, right and top we can notice 6x thumb screws so we can easily take the case apart if and when needed.
The side panel for the 2nd chamber is plain and has nothing going on. Towards the front though we can see the front IO which consists of 2x USB 3.0 ports, audio inputs, power button and space for a slimline optical drive.
Getting to the fun part and it’s time to start taking things apart. This is a look at the top without the vented panel attached. As you can see there is room for a 240mm radiator in either chamber, though if you want to put it in the second chamber you will need to remove the hard drive cages which is easily enough done. If water cooling isn’t your thing you could also just add some fans for a bit better airflow throughout the case.
Having a look inside from the main chamber and there is plenty of room and options to make sure users are getting the most out of the Node 804 and have an enjoyable experience. If you look closely you can see room for up to 5x fans in the main chamber alone! There is also a nice cutout to help make switching CPU coolers/installation a bit easier and plenty of room to pass cables from the front chamber to the rear and vice versa.
When looking through the cutout in the motherboard tray we can see the hard drive cages as well as the pre-installed fan in the back of the case. in the front of the case we can see another included fan and the fan controller which is easily removed by taking out 2 screws if it is not required.
On the bottom of the main chamber are a couple of hard drive mounts. While these are meant to hold either 2x 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drives I have a feeling it would be more than easy enough to throw some fans down there for some more airflow!
On the front of the main chamber is space for 2x fans, 1 of which comes pre-installed. Also removing the front panel will give access to the dust filter when it comes time to clean it.
As we can see both chambers can house 2x fans on the front and come with separate dust filters per chamber. Fractal Design did not cut any corners when it came to making sure the Node 804 offered optimal airflow and cooling features.
Taking a look from the rear chamber and while it may not be as fun as the front there is still a bit going on here. On the top we have the 2x hard drive cages which can each hold up to 4x 3.5″ drives. There is also a pre-installed fan in the rear chamber with room for more, plus a bottom-mounted PSU which has a dust filter on the bottom of the case and also a couple of velcro straps that one would assume are to help hold cables down and out of the way, again to allow for better airflow and a bit of tidiness.
Stripping the case down to it’s skeleton form and we can see most of the options the case has to offer. Plenty of space for fans, radiators and hard drives galore if that is your thing! If not, Fractal Design have made it easy to use the Node 804 for more of a simplistic build if you desire.
As you have previously seen the Node 804 comes down and can be stripped to pretty much just its frame. You can remove the front, top and both side panels and it also has 4x dust filters which are all individually removable for easy cleaning.
Installing hardware into the Node 804 was a piece of cake, partially due to the fact of it’s dual chamber design and the fact Fractal Design did a great overall job and made it just about as modular as it can be, without having to flat pack it and make it require assembly.
Having the hard drives and power supplies in the secondary chamber is a great plus in my mind, it makes it easier to get everything installed and just gives it a more overall clean look once finished. As this is designed for smaller motherboards there can be a bit of a learning curve if you have not installed an m-ITX or m-ATX board before but these are not so much down to the case as it is learning where things are on the motherboard and remembering that when it comes time to build with it.
What I did personally was take off both side panels, the front and top as well as removed the hard drive cages. Getting the Node 804 down to the bare frame was the easiest way I could imagine to do things and it worked out great. Even things like installing the Corsair H80i, which can be a pain in some bigger cases were easy enough to do like this, overall a very enjoyable experience.
For our thermal performance tests we use all of the included fans that come with the case except for 1 x rear exhaust. We remove the pre-installed rear exhaust fans to install a Corsair H80I all-in-one liqud CPU cooler to keep our results consistent.
Another case has been put on the chopping block. I’ve built it, had a play with and seen what it can handle. Let’s see what I thought about it.
To kick it off let’s start with the design as this was my favourite aspect of the Node 804 overall. The design and built quality of the Node 804 is superb and will offer users plenty of options whether novice builder or professional modder. The very modular design of the Node 804 allows users to easily take it apart, customise it and leaves room for a host of features to come as standard. There is room for 2x either 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drives in the front or even one of each. If this is not your thing there are two hard drive cages in the back that can take up to 4x 3.5″ hard drive each to keep them out of the way.
Fans and cooling a concern you say? Not to worry, the Fractal Design Node 804 has you more than covered. It comes with 3x pre-installed fans as standard but there is plenty enough room to add some more of your own if you want. Looking for some water cooling support? Well, the Node 804 has room for 4x 240mm radiators which should be more than enough for any hardware users will be installing inside it. There is room for two of the radiators to be mounted in the front and two more on the top of the case giving users plenty of layout options to get them exactly where they want.
In terms of performance, I was surely not let down at all. The Node 804 comes with 3x fans pre-installed as standard which offer a decent amount of airflow to help and keeps thing inside cool. This is also where the dual chamber design comes into play a bit, having the PSU and hard drives in the second chamber not only relieves some of the heat from those components it also helps with the airflow as there is less in the way of the fans. With my test system installed airflow was not a problem at all and if it was, there is plenty enough room to mount a couple more fans to add a helping hand in bringing the temperature down a bit.
In terms of value, the node 804 offers a lot for the money. While it may not be a budget value case, you are certainly getting your money’s worth from it. For the price of £75 you are getting a very modular m-ITX/m-ATX case that offers great support for air and water cooling and also gives users plenty of room for hard drives. If you don’t plan on installing too many hard drives then you can easily remove the two cages in the back chamber which will allow more room for whatever you deem necessary, further adding to the value in my opinion.
When it comes down to it, if you are looking for an m-ITX/m-ATX case the Node 804 is an excellent option that is jam packed with features for novices and enthusiasts alike. If the Node 804 fits the budget you will have a hard time finding a case of the same form factor that will offer as many features as it does, a great purchase in my eyes.
I would like to thank Fractal design for sending the Node 804 in for review and look forward to seeing more from them in the future.
– Modular design
– Great functionality
– Decent Air/Water cooling support
– Plenty of room for hard drives
– Dual chamber design
– Not designed for full size ATX motherboards
– Some users may not approve of it only having support for a slimline optical drive
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