Summary: The Fractal Design Node 304 obviously caters a very specific audience. The guys and gals that need something small and sexy for that functions as a simple net-top, HTPC or the coolest looking NAS/file server ever. Fact remains that if you can find a Mini ITX motherboard with a fast enough processor then really there's nothing holding you back to create a more powerful beast thanks to the fact you can insert a dual-slot graphics card even.
Summary: Final Thoughts
The Node 304 is coming into a very popular market right now and after taking a look at it I can tell it is going to be a top choice of consumers. It has a very elegant design, it is something that you can sit on your desk and it is not going to look out of place. The really compact size means that you can fit it pretty much anywhere, and that it is going to be easy to take with you to LAN parties.
When it comes to installation it really is a breeze.
Pros: – Great build quality, – Support for up to 6 hard drives, – Supports normal ATX power supplies, – 3 fans included with fan controller, – Elegant design, – USB 3.0 support
Cons: – Motherboard standoffs are quite hard to install correctly, – Modular power supplies will not work with longer graphics cards, – No 5.25inch drive bays
Excerpt: At this exact time last year I was still in email limbo with Fractal Design, as I was trying to obtain samples and see what all the hype surrounding their products were all about. In the short span of only a year I got to look at quite a few of their cases as well as a fan controller they released not too long ago.
Conclusion: The Node 304 performs incredibly well for such a small enclosure. I wouldn't hesitate to build a high-end gaming system into this case, with all the heat that such a build commonly produces. During my testing, temperatures stayed well within component limits - it was difficult to get past 65C for the 7850 at full load, and 48C for the CPU with the SpinQ cooler and fans set to high.
Pros: Actually would make a great quiet-running file server, HTPC or high-end gaming system, Three fans with included fan controller, One of the smallest enclosures that can still fit high-end GPUs, Still keeps those high-end GPUs cool, Intelligent layout, Fits full size ATX PSUs, Simple, clean and attractive lines, Fits tower CPU coolers
Cons: Have to cherry-pick a PSU if building a high-end gaming rig, Must choose between full-length GPU and six HDDs, Cable management always a struggle, Odd shape for an HTPC (Hard to place with other home theater components)
Summary: The Fractal Design Node 304 does not only look good on the outside, but it also makes great use of its space within. It is clearly the evolution of the Array case: it still offers the ability to install loads of hard drives while also giving the user the ability to go for a big, high-performance GPU. This means that the Node 304 can house a great gaming system, especially as you may also install a fairly large CPU cooler.
Pros: Great use of space for such a small chassis, Excellent build quality, Three fans are included, Fan controller switch for all three fans, Space for up to six hard drives, Full ATX PSU will fit - just watch the length, USB 3.0 Cable comes with additional USB 2.0 header, Plenty of possibilities to tie down cables on the floor of the case, Dust filters on all intake areas, Quiet on low fan setting, Can fit fairly large CPU cooler, Can easily fit a large graphics card, Coo...
Cons: A tad more expensive than other mini-ITX cases out there, No reset button, Modular PSUs won't work in combination with a long GPU, Watch the length of the PSU, especially if you want to install a long GPU, No external drive bay
Summary: Im Folgenden Test befassen wir uns mit dem ersten Gehäuse im kompakten Cube-Design des schwedischen Herstellers Fractal Design. Das neue Gehäuse der Schweden, das explizit für Mini-ITX beziehungsweise DTX-Mainboards konzipiert wurde, soll den Anwender durch das Design und die Flexibilität bei der Hardwareauswahl überzeugen. Ob HTPC, NAS-Server oder Gaming-PC – für jegliche Hardwarekonfiguration soll das Node 304 geeignet sein.
Pros: Tadellose Verarbeitung, Design, Flexibilität, Kühlsystem, Lüftersteuerung, Platz für überlange Grafikkarten, Platz für bis zu sechs interne Laufwerke, Platz für hohe Tower-Kühler, USB 3.0-Ports
Cons: Kein Kabelmanagementsystem, Kein 5,25"-Laufwerk verbaubar