Fractal Design Node 804 review: a new form factor

Fractal Design Node 804 review: a new form factor

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    The free market dictates its conditions, and ever changing types of cases the usual format is not enough. When you need something new and original, but such that the appearance does not affect the functionality, the company comes to the rescue with snowflake on the logo.

    Introduction

    If the word “dual-chamber” revives in your memory only images of refrigerators, windows and carburetors, we hasten to add another association – Fractal Design Node 804.

    Case Fractal Design Node 804

    Divided into two thermal zones housing offers hot component separately from the colder, at the same time pursuing the objective of maximizing volume. For this he had become a much wider classmates who hold the traditional approach, which automatically transferred him to another category – housing for aesthetes and enthusiasts.

    First find in its unusual design challenge familiar and commonplace, the second – the flexibility to adjust the system “by itself” and an amazing capacity. We try to evaluate all the pros and cons of this implementation and to verify it is good idea to actually exploded key components.

    Fractal Design Node 804
    Form factors of supported motherboards Micro ATX;
    Mini-ITX.
    Max.permissible height of the CPU cooler, mm 160
    Max.permissible length of the video card, mm 320
    Max.permissible length of the power supply unit, mm 260
    Compartments and slots
    Open bays 5.25-inch 1 (slim slot-loading drives)
    Open bays 3.5-inch 0
    Closed bays 2.5 / 3.5 inches 2
    Closed bays 2.5-inch 2
    Closed bays 3.5-inch 8
    Slots for expansion cards 5
    External Ports 2 x USB 3.0;
    2 x 3,5 mm TRS (mini-jack, microphone and headphones).
    Fans
    Included 3 x 120×25 mm – Front (x1) and rear wall (x2)
    Total number of seats for fans 4 x 120 mm – front wall;
    1 x 120/140 mm – rear wall (storage compartment);
    1 x 120 mm – rear panel (motherboard tray);
    2 x 120/140 mm – upper wall (when removing the storage baskets);
    2 x 120/140 mm – upper wall (slot motherboard).
    Dimensions: WxHxD 344x307x489
    Weight, kg 6
    Price $ 99 (Buy from Amazon)

    Package

    A rare case when the box does not want to show the front, and three-quarters – housing with unusual proportions could not be packaged differently. Fortress wrapped in cardboard, found almost a cube with sides of 40 cm, which makes it not very convenient transportation. Makes the situation a little, for a native of Fractal Design, weight.

    The front side of the package traditionally illustrates what awaits inside the holder. Isometric view hides the dimensions shown schematically body and can not even create the overall experience for those who have not seen it live. In fairness, we note that the photos do not quite correctly reflect its real proportions and dimensions.

    The reverse side of the box not only shows the body on the other side, and offers to get acquainted with an incredible amount of its constituent parts, along the way telling about its main advantages in four languages.

    The sides serve different purposes: one shows the specification of the model, the second – a unique method of placement drives.

    After reviewing all of the package is the time to find out what is hidden inside and how it’s something protected from the realities of transportation. In this case, the foam forms and package that is enough.

    The viewing window is reliably protected films on both sides, but it’s only reinsurance all the wires inside are collected in dense bundles and package tied tie.

    Let’s look at it in more detail. In addition to a huge number of cogs, we found the package a metal plate, which serves as an additional point of support when installing thin optical drive. Manual, flaunting excellent quality paper and printing, in format techno comic introduces us to all the nuances of the assembly and operation.

    Appearance

    Fractal Design Node 804 is available only in black, and it has at least one reason – because it is more difficult to confuse with a small refrigerator and a stylish air cleaner, but it is still possible with a subwoofer, amplifier or giant NAS.

    It is a model for the benefit of – body will easily find its place next to the reception Hi-Fi-equipment, not far from the home theater or in a niche of a cabinet. On the table he will likely not get – cube-shaped design makes literally absorb the free area.

    Putting aside talk of a form factor, we describe the design in a nutshell: typically Scandinavian. If you encounter other bodies Fractal Design, it will be enough. If not, then a little decipher: rigor combinations, precision lines, least evolved elements and attention to even the smallest details.

    It so happens that the front body entirely covered with metal. Two thirds of the area is covered by aluminum decorative plate on which there was a place just to mention a manufacturer and window LED.

    The remaining area of ​​the Swedes used for fresh air intake, and that it is not strongly contrasted with the beautiful texture of the metal body panel, closed this part of the face by fine black mesh. In addition, the front of the body decided to leave without the buttons and connectors, allowing the design to be very concise and successful.

    To eventually not healed dust components in the front panel, there are guides for the two filters. In the previous sentence, deliberately used the word “easily removable” because of filters to extract the full body kit goal it is necessary or to hang over the edge of a high ledge or improper screw up his nose.

    If you do not use the extra space for storage in the front, probably be easier to take it off, and already the next step to remove and clean the filters. However, what are we to terrify? The cleaning procedure is rare, to bring about any weary person.

    The top panel and all is a huge dust filter entirely tightened in the above-described metal mesh. Any interfaces or no controls on it.

    The only button, followed by two USB 3.0 ports and a pair of connectors for headphones and microphone, was on the right side. In line with them, you can see the disc loading slot. Quite an interesting solution – when you look at the opposite, glazed side nothing will distract from the contemplation of a powerful filling (we think primarily for such purposes and to undertake such an unusual and intensive case).

    The very same wall is a sheet metal millimeter, with wide margins of double thickness at the perimeter. This design makes it very tough and completely makes it impossible to vibrate to the beat of hard drives.

    However, if you want to brag just the disk subsystem, it is possible (not exactly provided by the manufacturer) to change the wall places. In this case, the fixation is carried out by only one screw, but this is more than enough, as everything falls into place very tightly. So tightly that stamped handles do not seem somehow overkill.

    Left side, thanks to the acrylic window, eagerly shows us the main compartment of the case and a bit lifts the veil of secrecy over the fastening system drives. Plexiglass is not tinted, secured nine folds on the perimeter, not prone to vibration.

    In general, all. For lack of other topics for discussion, pay attention to the legs. They provide the body centimeter rise above the surface, which would be sufficient for the fresh air intake to the power supply.

    Four rubber pads on the legs make the body not only partially vibration-isolated, but nondisplacement: so “tenacious” supports none of the tested before corps had not. The material is so well kept for the surface that move Fractal Design Node 804 horizontal is almost impossible – you have to lift. We emphasize that it is noticeable even without the extra weight of installed components.

    Lifting and turning the body (prehensile legs, remember?), Look at it from the rear. We believe that it is this side could not be more fully demonstrate the essence of the model, namely the separation of the main space into two parts: the power supply to the drives and the remaining components.

    In the main chamber, looked through the five expansion slots with reusable breathable plugs a hole under the I / O-panel of the motherboard and most blown zone. At the same half turned seat for a 120-mm fan, pre-occupied one of the proprietary models.

    Right above it is located inconspicuous three-way switch fan speed. Free space for the holes for the water cooling system hoses are, but the manufacturer chose not to do them.

    Drive Bays could take, and 140-mm vetroduy, but used here is exactly the same as in the next cell. Power supply, according to today’s realities, is set in the lower part of the body. You can turn it upside down, thereby ignoring the carefully placed below the filter. Since it remains to consider only the lower side, offer to go to her.

    In addition to the above-mentioned protivovorsovoy protection for power supply, clean and tidy and are provided in the main compartment.

    By the way, this filter is remarkable in that it is convenient to pull out. In other words, to clean it is not required to lift, tilt or tilting the body. The paradox lies in the fact that it will clog the least, because the bottom of the case does not provide seats for fans – many holes ready to take only a couple of hard drives or solid state drives.

    Filter under the power supply, due to the need to leave the foot in place, moves inside: yes, again have to deal with movements of the body in space.

    Apart from some difficulties with cleaning filters, due to a special format for the body, this cube we loved. Before we go any further, will make the final touch, describing the materials. As a basis Fractal Design Node 804 is applied evenly thick stainless steel millimeter (given a coat of paint). To finish the front of the used aluminum panel. The plastic is also not spared.

    Internals

    Introduction to the inner world of the body start with its main compartment, which will house all the computing power of the computer of the future.

    Waiver of storage racks allows maximum use of space in the installation of long video cards. By default, their length is limited to 320 mm, but can you call it a constraint, especially in the realities of the world Micro ATX?

    However, part of this length can eat radiator CBO or additional fan who readily take the front wall. But while we will not rush things and describe how to feel other “inhabitants” of the compartment. Motherboard “native” form factor fits into the body with a huge margin: free space remains on all sides.

    On top of it is very helpful when installing bulky cooler tower, the height of which, incidentally, can be up to 16 cm. Successful placement of holes for cable EATX12 allow not lay it on the top edge of the board. The right side is adjacent to a huge hole of cable management.

    Housing, advocating the philosophy of separate placement calculators and drives, it would be nice to put them on the rubber caps with slots. On the bottom side of the board seats, too, abound. His appearance is obliged to observe the necessary minimum height of the housing, allowing hard drives to place vertically above the power supply.

    As apparent benefits have the opportunity to install a pair of 2.5 “/ 3.5” drives at the bottom, and as a non-obvious – the fifth slot. Finally we left a huge hole, allowing virtually any set of (super) cooler without dismantling the motherboard.

    Little to change the angle, so that you can better see the complete three 120-mm fan and the seat for another. Directly above them are entries for 120/140 mm fans or radiator NWO. Well, again, I almost slipped into a theme component placement water cooling. Just be patient, soon we will not hold out, and all will tell all.

    Right, he’s a second compartment is designed to accommodate up to eight 3.5-inch drive size and the power supply of almost any reasonable length.

    Let’s start with the storage system. The user is provided with a capacity of two baskets on four discs each. They are suspended between the rails bolted to the top of the wall, and fixed thumbscrews, so retrieval is made easy and simple.

    Installing a drive into the baskets themselves without the use of tools is not possible, because you want to pull them through special anti-vibration pads for at least the special screws with a huge head.

    The distance between the attachment points of disks is half an inch (~ 38 mm), so even the “many layerde” instances can be aired on both sides.

    This is in no small measure should contribute is located behind the second (in order, rather than by value) baskets exhaust fan.

    The power supply will be warmly greeted by a huge air intake and the Quartet softest damping struts. This part is not burdened with perforations or propylene, so the air will be pulled smoothly and quietly. It offers the user two broad ties with Velcro, allowing little to curb the chaos of wires.

    From this point the fun begins. Agree that Fractal Design would not be Fractal Design, if this configuration has been determined once and for all.

    In the first option, you can remove any of the basket, ensuring that the remaining denser air flow and, as a consequence, better cooling. In fact, not all buy such housing and then slaughtered on the ceiling.

    The second option represents another possibility – Drives withdrawn in full, and then removed and retaining their footing. Were free place in the “ceiling” in its simplest form can be used to install two 120-or 140-mm fans.

    More idea can be developed by hanging a massive two-piece radiator NWO. To do this, the user will be 278 mm long, 140 wide and 130 high. Once all by itself took on a completely natural topic organization liquid cooling will continue, finally twice interrupted his story.

    Almost the same size radiator (240×120 mm) and can be installed in the main compartment, the restriction imposed by the height of the memory modules, what clearly indicates the offset from the motherboard tray holes. By the way, when using the CBO height RAM modules with heat sinks should not exceed 48 mm.

    In addition to the suspension of options has the standard installation of radiators on the front wall. Their size is a little more modest, but still quite sufficient for the organization of heat from a hot component.

    Two single-section of the heat exchanger can be placed on a rear wall of the housing. The manufacturer claims the support of only 120 mm models, but the right camera and can take up a notch higher.

    Note that in this case, regardless of the size of the radiator, will have to part with a basket on the drive power supply. However, you can remove the wide ties, Velcro and install the removed cart to take their place. For clarity in the photo, we moved down the first of them.

    Total “maximum” configuration the liquid cooling system in accordance with information from the manufacturer , as follows: 240 mm + 280 mm radiators upstairs and two 120 mm forward.

    sm.int_case_side_front.600

    Back to the subject of placement drives. No matter how strange it may seem, we need to unlock the front panel of the case, held by four plastic pins. Just note that the wires will not remove it completely, because it attached directly to it.

    sm.int_case_panel_front.600

    Selecting part of the free length of the cables can be comfortable enough to place the panel for inspection and for the installation of drives. Free space on the left of the lattice structure – a position under the optical drive slot-loading. It is for the installation of the last and designed metal plate supplied.

    sm.int_case_panel_front_drive_no.400 sm.int_case_panel_front_drive_yes.400

    The same plastic grille, which served as our point of reference in the previous pictures, is actually a mounting system for a pair of 2.5-inch drives. A very interesting solution in terms of maximizing the use of space.

    sm.int_case_panel_front_interfaces.600

    We use this opportunity to appreciate the inner world of button-in-interface part. As you can see, USB 3.0-ports use quality thick cable, and for the power button and the two connectors type Mini Jack at the Fractal Design took the trouble to make a printed circuit board and secure it with a few screws.

    sm.int_case_panel_front_glue.600

    The only flaw found in the body, – planted on hotmelt LED. This approach is pardonable unnamed product, but to see such a branded case very unusual. Needless to say, that each time the front panel LED falls out of the nest?

    sm.parts_filters.600 sm.parts_top_ext.400 sm.parts_top_int.400

    Cursorily discussed the situation with the filters, we did not hold them in your hands – we hasten to correct. Three of the four cleaning element standard for many buildings and Fractal Design are an extended plastic frame with a fairly fine mesh.

    Do not think that she did not miss the fine dust particles, but basic protection from wool, hair and fluff provide excellent. The power supply is covered by a unique form of “shield” with the same structure. Finally, the largest and most high-quality filter foam covers the entire upper lid.

    sm.parts_fans.600

    As mentioned above, the package includes three identical fan Silent Series R2, those marked FD-FAN-SSR2-120. As you might guess (if you have not read this far, and scrolled), the installation size of this model is 12 cm. Among the other important parameters of the report that the frequency of rotation of the impeller is about 1200 rev / min, the noise level does not exceed 15 dB, and the maximum airflow up to 40 CFM.

    sm.parts_fanswitch_pure.600

    All available initially fans can be connected to the integrated three-channel reobasu. The choice available three fixed speed settings: High, Middle and Low, applied to the input voltage of the fan 12, 7 or 5 volts. Now note that the manufacturer heard pleas users and sent into oblivion connector Molex!

    To supply power to the switch uses a standard SATA-connector. Finally, the owners of modular power supply will be able to do without the extra wires, which, except reobasa, and plug-it was nothing. On this optimistic note, we end up with the theory and go to practice.

    Impressions of PC Build

    To test the body in it was placed the following system:

    sm.exp_hw_left.600

    The test system

    Configuration of the test system
    Motherboard ASUS Maximus VII Gene
    Processor Intel Core i7-4770K(LGA1150; 3.5 GHz; Haswell)
    CPU cooler Antec KÜHLER H2O 620@ Arctic Cooling MX-4
    Memory 2×1024 MB DDR3 Apacer @ 1600MHz / 8-8-8-24
    Graphics Card ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU
    Hard Drives 5 x Seagate ST380815AS (80 GB)
    Power Supply CoolerMaster Silent Pro Gold (600 W, RS-600-80-GA-D3)
    OS Windows 8 Professional x64

    Building the system began with the loosening of all covers. This will give more space to move his hands and allow SATA-block built reobasa in the drives bay.

    sm.exp_hw_left_open.600

    And without that vast space around the motherboard ASUS Maximus VII Gene expands due to remove the top cover, making the process of laying and connecting cable for additional power supply processor is very fast and convenient.

    As the cooling system CPU, it was decided to use the Antec KÜHLER H2O 620 , placed “the ceiling” at the front of the chassis. In a real operation would seem more logical placement of the radiator in place of one 120-mm fan installed on the blow, but we wanted to keep to a set of standard preset position. Poster graphics card fit in a housing with a huge margin.

    sm.exp_hw_right.600

    The power supply is located down the grill, and it leads (as possible) were tacked wide Velcro ties. Four of the five hard drives were installed in the basket above the power supply, the fifth – in the far position of the second basket.

    sm.exp_psu_hdd_clearance.600

    Note that it is desirable to use SATA-cables with L-shaped connector: the distance from the power supply to the bottom of the disc is three centimeters, and it makes hard to bend the cables.

    sm.exp_hw_back.600

    During operation, the body has not created any problems, apart from the inconvenience transport from place to place.

    sm.exp_night_led.600

    LEDs do not need to deliver any discomfort, however in the case that the brightness can be reduced by laying therebetween and lightguides that any translucent.

    Test Procedure

    For a full load of accessories (unlikely in actual use PC), this set of programs run at the same time:

    • OCCT 4.3.2;
    • Furmark 1.10.3;
    • HD speed 1.7.5.

    Monitoring the temperature of hard drives and video cards operating utility SpeedFan 4.47. Temperature readings of CPU cores were taken directly from the OCCT, temperature sensors and VRM MB – of ASUS AI Suite 3.

    Processes HD speed was put high priority. System SSD, located under the motherboard in benchmarking and recording temperature was not involved. OCCT used all eight available computing threads. CPU frequency has been increased to 4 GHz (100 MHz x 40) at a voltage of 1.1 V.

    This high-speed mode was selected to match the capabilities of the housing at low fan speed. Rotational speed of the fan NWO remained at the highest level (2000 rev / min).

    The result, shown on the chart, is either the maximum temperature (GPU), a maximum temperature of one of the cores (CPU), a temperature above which the evidence did not change (HDD).

    Temperature of hard drives have separate graphics. Disk order coincides with the real situation in the body, but is self-explanatory: the first disc is proximal to the wall, the next three are located behind it, and the fifth is on the far position of the second basket for storage.

    Accordingly, it can be concluded that the cooling efficiency of a particular disk in a specific location. In these graphs, contains only the maximum temperature, as in the intervals between the tests work HD Speed ​​is not suspended.

    Temperatures idle load and designated as the maximum and minimum. Each test included a half hour of continuous heating and for at least twenty minutes by cooling the components.

    Minimum temperatures should not be regarded as absolutely correct. CPU was taken the temperature of the hot kernels, which also gives the variation of a few degrees.

    Momentum cooling system Radeon HD 5850 were reported by 50% of the maximum (~ 3000 r / min).

    During the test the temperature in the room was about 27 degrees Celsius, multimeter Victor 86D was transferred to the display mode of the relative indications that can be seen in the accompanying photos (+2,2 ° C value was obtained for clarity and is not relevant to the test).

    In the study of the collected meter was on the same level as the body four inches from the front panel, the system unit itself was located at the floor level.

    For closed configuration provides data at positions reobasa H, M and L, which corresponds to a voltage of 12, 7 and 5 volts. Tests were carried out under the following conditions:

    • open stand – the motherboard is horizontal, there is no additional blowing, hard drives are on the plastic surface of the board down;
    • wall open – fans in the positions in which they posted a manufacturer, maximum speed (position H);
    • wall closed – position of fans similar to the previous speed range (H / M / L).

    Open stand is used as a reference point. We emphasize that at this stage of testing the radiator water cooling system is on par with the motherboard (an example can be found in the review of ASUS Maximus Gene VII ). With a weak pump that gives a significant advantage over the assembled system, where the water needs to be raised above the level of the water block.

    Resettlement component in the body caused a significant increase in the temperature of CPU and hard drive, but a little cooled the ardor of hot VRM. Let’s try to understand why it happened.

    Let’s start with grown CPU temperature. It’s simple – our pump NWO difficult to raise the water to the radiator and the efficiency of the whole system falls. The situation is aggravated dense dust filter top panel (it is not so easy to blow) and a cluster of warm air in the upper areas of the body. At low speed fans preinstalled CPU temperature almost reaches critical.

    Hard drives have been the victim of two factors: a lack of self-supply fan and “dragging” the hot air from the next cell. How would any interesting was the idea, yet should more reliably separate air spaces halves.
    Full fan speed improves the situation for almost all components.

    Dismantling of both walls significantly improves the situation with the temperature of hard disks and even ensures the supply of cold air to the radiator NWO. Insufficient pump, unfortunately, once again does not get good results.

    The following conclusions can be drawn. First, be sure to add the fan, hard drives fresh air – they will thank you and will last much longer. Second, if you decide to use a water cooling system, make sure that the pump capacity is sufficient for lifting water, and the fans are able to blow air through the dense dust filter.

    Conclusion

    The idea of ​​separating the body into two compartments is not meaningless. In addition to creating new interesting structural elements, it allows you to distinguish between the air flows between the relatively cold storage area and much hotter main compartment that can accommodate a huge computing power.

    In fact, it is not so great: the only exhaust fan on the power supply creates a vacuum of air, and through vast openings for wiring the hot air begins to envelop drives, increasing their temperature. The situation could change somewhat rubber curtain, used for example in the Arc Mini 2 or Define R4 from the same Fractal Design, or an additional fan in the package.

    In any case, the situation can be improved, because the body is offering up to ten seats for fans and a very pleasant environment for the placement of the radiator water cooling systems.

    The bottom line is we have a strict body, but an unusual appearance that is sure to find its place in the amateur or non-standard solutions, or at the enthusiast who is planning to create on its basis a compact data center.

    [easyazon_block add_to_cart=”yes” align=”right” asin=”B00K6OVG0I” cloaking=”no” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”gadgethelp-20″]Buy from Amazon[/easyazon_block] Pros:

    • possibility to accommodate up to ten discs of size 3.5 inches and two additional 2.5-inch;
    • numerous positions under the radiators CBO and / or fans;
    • support of optical drive slot-loading;
    • unusual constructive;
    • excellent protection against dust;
    • adjustable fan speed;
    • SATA-connector to power the fans;
    • strict Scandinavian design.

    Cons:

    • low efficiency of cooling hard drives “out of the box”;
    • short wire to power the reobasu;
    • installation of LEDs with hot melt.
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