Fractal Design Node 804 Exterior

In terms of appearance, the Node 804 stands true to all that Fractal Design proclaims; it is a minimalistic, simple design, lacking anything that would have the case profanely standing out in a living room. Measuring 307mm × 344mm × 389mm (H×W×D), it has a volume of 0.041m3, which is not among the smallest cases of its league. As we mentioned in the introduction, the Node 804 is externally very similar to the much smaller Node 304 that we reviewed years ago. There currently is only one color variant (black) of the Node 804.

The Node 804 has a straight, clean faceplate with intake vents covering about a quarter of its surface and a left side panel window. The power button and the front I/O ports can be found on the right side of the faceplate, hidden from direct view. There are two USB 3.0 ports and two 3.5mm audio jacks, with the power button in between them. A long, narrow opening can also be noticed across the right side of the front panel; that is for the installation of a slim, slot loading optical drive. The Node 804 has no 5.25" bays, so this is the only option for an optical disk reader. Still, it is an option that most of the cases in this category do not offer at all.

The faceplate can be removed by simply pulling it off, revealing two long filters covering the front air intakes. In what we consider it to be a serious design flaw, the filters can only be removed towards the bottom of the case, not upwards, forcing the user to roll the case on its side or back if it is not near the edge of a desk. The faceplate is also home to two 2.5" drive bays. Yes, that is where Fractal Design placed the slots for SSDs, which fit inside a thin plastic frame formed behind the faceplate. It saves space from the inside of the case and keeps the system a little bit cleaner, but it is not very convenient when it comes to cable management.

The metallic right side panel is completely flat and plain, while the top panel is one huge metallic mesh held on a thick plastic frame. The rear of the case reveals the split compartment design of the chassis, with the motherboard/system on one side and the PSU/disk drives on the other. We can also see a small switch that acts as a basic fan speed controller with three settings (High, Medium and Low). At the bottom of the case are two dust filters covering the bottom intakes of both compartments. The left filter can the removed towards the rear of the case, but the right filter that covers the PSU intake can only be removed by lifting the case and pulling it towards the front.

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle Fractal Design Node 804 Interior
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  • randomlinh - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    This is mostly not knowing how to photograph products. I know this isn't dpreview, but this is AT, not some run of the mill review site. My expectations for this site are that they do things professionally. Or, at least try to. Reply
  • chlamchowder - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Honestly this is not bad - they're not cell phone pictures, and (along with the text) got the job done in that they showed me I wouldn't want this case.

    Building with it seems a bit messy, and I'm not a fan of having front ports on the right side (if I sit to the left of the case, it's awkward).

    The pictures could be stunningly good with more effort, but few review sites can consistently deliver that. While it'd be nice if AT could do that, I'm here more to look at what products offer, and the pictures meet the "good enough" standard. Past a certain point, getting better image quality takes more time/effort than it's worth, anyways.
    Reply
  • just4U - Thursday, February 19, 2015 - link

    I've never really noticed it.. pictures on here have seemed fine. They haven't taken a step back anyway... at least not that I can tell. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Ahh, so I wasn't the only one to notice. Proper lighting is a must for a product review like this. Reply
  • wffurr - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    How does it compare to the Bitfenix Prodigy? Reply
  • lewisl9029 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I know this might be slightly off topic considering this review is for a mATX case, but personally I'd like to see more cases like the Silverstone ML08, RVZ01 that use PCI-E riser cards to minimize volume while supporting full-size GPUs.

    The gains a riser card makes in terms of sheer volume can make the difference between something that I can throw into a suitcase and bring with me anywhere vs something that I'd have to pack up and ship separately.

    Silverstone's new FTZ01 looks very promising on this front: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=533
    But I'd like to see more companies attempt these kinds of designs.
    Reply
  • mpribe - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I own this case and use it for a gaming rig with an i5 4690k and a Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 970 in it, which is a very long card with 3 fans. The thing is very quiet even at full load running BF4 maxed at 70+ fps at 1200p.

    One crucial difference between this case and the Air 240 is that this one will accommodate lengthy graphics cards, while the Corsair case will not. Also, with space for 5 PCI Express cards, you can put in 2 video cards with room for each to breathe, while the Air 240 will have them mushed up against each other.
    Reply
  • PPalmgren - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I had this on my short list for cases when I builty my living room PC, but ended up going with the Corsair Obsidian 250D instead. The 250D is quite large in terms of mini ITX cases, but it is smaller than this one and the 250D barely fit inside the cubbyhole on the side of my entertainment center where my old 360 was sitting.

    Has anyone who purchase this case ended up with size problems when used in a living room setting?
    Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I use this case for a home server. It works fine and runs fairly cool, even with ten hard drives in it. I'm not looking forward to my first HD failure (what with the lack of hotswap bays and all) but otherwise I am a very satisfied customer.

    Also, it doesn't look like a gaudy gamer case.
    Reply
  • nissefar - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Disagree. The window certainly screams mad gamer. Reply

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