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Fractal NODE 804 Chassis Review

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Introduction

When it comes to picking out a new PC chassis there are literally so many companies and styles that it can be a very hard choice to make sometimes. A lot of time it depends on the amount of hardware you are using as well as the size of some of that hardware. It depends on how large your budget is and whether you will be installing a liquid cooling system because some cases were just not designed with liquid cooling in mind. If you are looking for a mATX chassis with enough space for water cooling, the NODE 840 from Fractal Design might be the one you are looking for. Let’s check it out as we review it today.

Fractal Design’s Take On The 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.

Key Features

  • Highly effective dual chamber case layout for best possible cooling.
  • Minimalistic design with an elegant brushed aluminum front panel
  • Unique hard drive mounting system, fitting up to 8 x 3.5″, 4 x 2.5” or up to 10 x 3.5”, 2 x 2.5″ drives HDD/SSD
  • Three Fractal Design Silent Series R2 fans included with the case and space for an additional 7 fans.
  • Excellent water cooling support with space for up to 4 radiators simultaneously.
  • All intakes feature removable dust filters providing a dust-free interior.
  • Featuring a window side panel to show off your set up in style.
  • Additional space in the front to mount a slim slot-in ODD, optical bay drive, and 2 x 2.5″ drives.
  • Fan controller included.
  • Five expansion slots that allows for multiple GPU setups.

Here’s a short video about the chassis from Fractal Design.

On to the next page for the specifications.

Specifications

  • 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
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Cooling System

  • Front: 4 – 120mm fans (included is one hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120/140mm fan (included is a hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Rear: 1 – 120mm fan slots (included is 1 hydraulic bearing 120mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed)
  • Top: 4 – 120x140mm fans (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – Integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)

Water Cooling Compatibility

  • Front (right chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 60 mm thick (with fans) and 278 mm tall are allowed.
  • Front (left chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 60 mm thick (with fans) and 278 mm tall are allowed. Using a radiator in this position prevents the use of a fan in the top position just next to it.
  • Top (right chamber) – 240/280 mm radiators up to 130mm thick (with fans) may be fitted if the HDD drive bays are taken out or placed elsewhere. No limitation to thickness.
  • Top (left chamber) – 240 mm radiator configurations up to 130 mm thick (with fans) will fit. Radiators in this position limits the height of memory modules to 48 mm tall.

Packaging

The front of the box is very simple plain cardboard with black. The upper left hand corner has the Fractal Design Logo with the Product name and Form Factor on the upper right hand corner. The center has a illustration of the product. At the bottom we have the Fractal Design Snowflake on the left and the website address on the right.

The left and right side of the box has the Fractal Design Logo in the upper Mid-left and the model and website in the upper mid-right. In the center is listed the Technical Specifications.

The rear of the box has the Model and form factor in the upper left hand corner, with the Fractal design logo in the upper left corner. In the center are the 8 key features of the Node 804 with a diagram showing the product broken down with numbers that correspond to the 8 key features. At the Bottom are the Fractal Design web address and the Snowflake logo.

With the box opened you see it is packed with the industry standard clear plastic bag with-in 1.5″ packing foam.

Let’s take a closer look on the next page.

A Closer Look

The front panel is made of plastic with metal mesh at the bottom. A 1/4 inch above the mesh on the right side is a small LED Power indicator with the Fractal Logo directly to the left of that.

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With the front panel removed we can see large 140mm Fan that comes Pre-installed on the upper left, Two large removable dust filters. You can mount either 2 x 140 or 120mm fans on both side for a total of 4 fans.

If we look on the back side of the front panel it has a spot for 2 x 2.5″ SSD’s or HDD’s.

The left Side Panel has a large window so we can see all of our glorious hardware.

With the side panel taken off we can see the 120mm pre-installed fan at the rear. Directly above that is a 3 port fan speed controller that is powered by a Sata connection. On the motherboard plate there is a very large cut out to allow easier installation of CPU coolers and two large cut outs to run cables. At the bottom of the case are two more spots for mounting either 2 x 2.5″ SSD/HDD or 2 x 3.5″ HDD’s.

  Each and every fan cables as well as the fan speed controller cables are sleeved in Black PET.

On the right hand side of the case we have a solid metal panel.

To the front of the right side located on the right side of the front panel we have a single slot load Optical drive slot, your standard 3.5mm Headphone and Mic Jacks, the power button and 2 USB 3.0 ports.

with the side panel removed you will find the User Guide, and a box with all the supporting hardware in the bottom left hand corner.

At the top of the right side we have two removable hard drive cages each cage holds a total of 4 HDD’s. The bottom can house almost any size PSU in the market, and has two large Velcro straps for cable management. To the rear we can see the Pre-installed 120mm Fan.

On the back side of the case we have a fan mount for 120/140mm fans below that is the mount for a full ATX PSU and can be installed either fan up or down. The center has the large cutout for the I/O panel. Directly below that are the 5 expansion slots. On the right hand side we have the 3 speed selector switch at the very top.(Low, Med, High), a mount for a 120mm fan and a large grill for better airflow.

On the bottom we have one large filter on the motherboard side, and one smaller one for the PSU on the HDD side. as well as two 1″ tall case feet at each corner.

The top panel of the case has a very large metal grill that covers both sides.

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If we remove the top panel and flip it over you will see a sneaky little louver design that pushes all the hot air toward the back of the case away from the user.

With the top panel completely removed you have 2 x 120/140mm fan mounts on both sides. That’s a total of 10 x fan mounts.

Let’s move on to installation on the next page.

Build and Conclusion

Hardware Specs

  • CPU – Intel i7 3770K
  • Mobo – EVGA Z77 Stinger ITX
  • RAM – ADATA XPG 8Gb(4Gb x 2) 1600Mhz
  • GPU – EVGA GTX 260
  • PSU – Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000w
  • SSD – San Disk 120Gb
  • HDD – 2 x Seagate 250Gb(Raid 0) and 1 x 1Tb Samsung
  • CPU Cooler – LEPA LV12 120mm

Motherboard Side

Installation of the hardware was a lot easier that I had experienced with most other MATX cases the two sides really makes it much easier to build in. The round edges make for a painless installation. However if you decide on going the Air Cooled route the CPU cooler blocks the Rear top fan mount(if you used a larger cooler like a Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 3, it would also cover the front top fan mount as well.

Storage Side

The other side that houses the PSU and HDD side can get a little cramped if you plan on utilizing all that HDD space. If you do choose to keep both HDD cages you will not be able to mount fans in the top mounts. The good thing is the HDD cages hide a good portion of your cables, I would like to have seen a bit more cable management options on this side a few well places tie downs would have been a good idea where the 8-pin CPU power cables goes and at the bottom where most of the cables run back and forth between the two sides. I would highly suggest the use of fan grills on the front and rear fans on this side.

Conclusion

The Fractal Design Node 804 is probably one of the better MATX cases I have had the pleasure of working in. It’s quality/versatility/feature combination is unrivaled within the price point and beyond. It’s style matches most modern Home Theater Systems and looks very good next to my high end Stereo System. I can’t wait to start modding it.  It is so good it has now replaced my standard recommendation to my customers when looking into an MATX case for their new build. You can find the NODE 804 at Amazon for $110.

Likes

  • Build quality
  • Style
  • Versatility
  • Multiple liquid cooling options

Dislikes

  • Lack of cable management
  • Location of the built in Fan controller as well as the number of fans it controls

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