With Fractal Design being new to the HTPC market, I was of mixed opinion but was a little buoyed as their previous offerings had been excellent. Having lived with this chassis for a couple of days and having used it as a Home Theatre PC in the lounge for a little while, lets see if it hits the mark and provides quiet operation and good temperatures.
I’ll start with the aesthetics. Many of you will probably agree with me when I say that this case, whilst maintaining its minimalist approach to styling, looks simply gorgeous from the front and in general is a sleek chassis. Fractal Design can take pride in achieving that finish as it is by far one of the best brushed aluminium finishes that I have seen on the front of a PC case for a long time. Team this up with a neatly hidden IO panel and a useful fan controller and Fractal Design have produced an exceptionally well designed HTPC made even better by the fact that it is their first foray into the market.
The performance of the Node 605 is something to be admired. In its HTPC mode the Node was whisper quiet and when streaming and using it in the lounge was totally inaudible and remained very cool from the stock fan configuration. I was very impressed that this managed to double up as a high-end gaming machine as well. Able to cope with the heat generated from our dual R9 290 graphics cards well even though the noise did ramp up. There are more and more people out there who are wanting to use their PC in a HTPC environment but also be able to game on their TV’s, the Node 605 is perfectly suited to this.
As with the vast majority of HTPC cases on the market there are space issues, and the Node 605 is no exception to this. The main concern that I had was that the slimline optical bay can only be used with micro-ATX boards (or smaller). Use a standard ATX board and you’ will not be able to use the optical bay at all. Another issue that I pointed out earlier is that if you use extra-long graphics cards you will have to either use one graphics card or get rid of the storage racks altogether. These are trade-offs you need to be aware of before contemplating the Node 605 as a solution, but considering the £100 asking price, perhaps these trade-offs shouldn’t exist at all. If you are wanting to used an MATX motherboard with say, a slim slot Blu-ray player, then you cannot go wrong at all.
If these small design issues are ironed out, then I would be more than happy to award the Node 605 with the Design Award, but as it is, I am happy to give it the Performance Award. This is because it does the job of a HTPC perfectly, and ultimately that is its job, yes the temperatures may be a little warm, but it is still within perfectly acceptable margins, as well as being near silent under low and medium loads.
The Fractal Design Node 605, along with more products from Fractal Design are available to purchase from Scan.co.uk
Fractal Design have created a brilliant HTPC case with a very stylish design. From the moment that I got it out of the box and saw the brushed aluminium finish on the front I knew that it would fit into a lot of peoples lounges as a HTPC. With admirable performance and exceptional design, the Node 605 would have earned our Editor’s Choice award if it were a little cheaper, but hovering around the £100 price mark is likely to put a lot of people off.
User Review( votes)