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Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Case Review

Overall we have generally positive feelings about the Fractal Design Node 304, however there are a few issues with the case which will need to be carefully considered before you buy.

The Node 304 oozes similar minimalistic style to the Define Range, making it ideal for use as a home theatre PC.  The low noise level of the case also makes it ideal for this purpose. Additionally, there is also room for a performance liquid CPU cooler meaning that there is plenty of potential for overclocking.

Our main issue with the case is the internal design which makes component choice quite difficult. More specifically, there isn’t enough room for modular power supplies when using a long graphics card, making cable management quite difficult. Not all non-modular power supplies would be compatible either, depending on the location of the cables protruding from the back.

The Fractal Design Node 304 is also quite expensive, costing £80 from CCL Online.

The Silverstone Sugo SG09 that we reviewed recently had most of the benefits of the Node 304 with none of the drawbacks and only cost £10 more.  The form factor isn’t quite as well suited to HTPC users, though.  We would like to see the price falling to around £60 before we would award it a wholehearted ‘worth buying’ award.

EDIT: 13th February 2013 – Fractal Design informed us that the price of the Node 304 has dropped to £70, and is available now from Ebuyer. You can buy it over here.

Pros

  • Attractive design.
  • Well built.
  • Quiet running.

Cons

  • Limited choice of compatible power supplies.
  • Expensive.

KitGuru says: A good first attempt at an ITX case from Fractal Design but it needs some tweaking before we would recommend it hands down.

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Rating: 7.0.

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