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Fractal Design Node 304 FD-CA-NODE-304-BL Black Aluminum / Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: -Clean design.
-Relatively easy to build in, even given the ITX form factor.
-Decent cooling.
-Quiet fans.
-An ATX power supply can be squeezed in. (But I'd recommend a good SFX.)

Cons: -Screws, screws, screws.

Other Thoughts: I really like this case, but a bit more attention to detail would have given them a 5-egg review. While I did not have the over-tightened-drive-mount-screw issue, I did notice that many of the screws are mushy. Beware, or use your own from the "bag-o-screws" that you've built up over the years.

Next, did you know that there are 2 sizes of thumbscrews used? Even though they look (nearly) identical, the thumbscrews used on the drive mountings are slightly different than the ones used to secure the case cover.

Next, one of said thumbscrews on the outer case was nearly impossible to remove, and thus I had to use a screwdriver. The thread was damaged. I thought - hey, no problem - I'm not using all the drive mounts inside, so I'll just use one of those thumbscrews - no such luck! (As per above, they use two different sizes. Who knew! Why did they do this? Who knows? Just to trick me, maybe. Mission accomplished.

Speaking of the drive mounts, I like them, but don't really get the point of the "two thumbscrews" and a tiny (mushy) regular screw. In order to remove a drive mount, you need a screwdriver. So they are "sort of" tool-less. (Fractal - free solution here - have the front of the drive mounts use a tab that fits into a slot. Amazing.)

Next, upon removing one of the drive mounts, I did notice that the tiny screw hole was severely mangled. The screw came out fine, but clearly someone had butchered the assembly.

Really, these are minor things, but did prevent a perfect 5-egg review. Basic quality control.

On a build note, I opted for a Silverstone modular SFX power supply, which leaves a ton of room for my GTX 770. I opted for the modular version, but really used all but the molex PSU cable, so I didn't really save much. (In short, you might save some cash if you buy the non-modular SFX version.)

So, yes, I'm not using the molex PSU cable, and thus not using the fan controller. I just found that it added too many cables, which all have to travel the length of the case. Also, I'd have to use the molex power connector from the PSU. Instead, I just used a "Y" connector to both front fans, and connected it to a fan header on my motherboard.

Components:
Asus Maximum VI Impact ITX board
16 GB Patriot RAM (2X8 @ 1600)
i7-4771 CPU
Asus GTX770
Corsair H50 CPU cooler (blowing out)

I'm impressed with the quietness of the front fans, and the H50's pump and fan barely has to spin. I can't really hear anything from this box and it is on top of my desk.

Also, the SFX power supply appears to be silent (ensure you get version 2.0) - I'll review that separately.

Lastly, some reviews have listed the lack of ROM drive support as a Con. I'm not sure how that is logically possible. It's like saying a Mini Cooper has the "con" of not being an SUV. Huh? You bought a case without ROM drive support. If you expected ROM drive support, don't buy this one. It's pretty obvi

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CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model CMX8GX3M2A1333C9
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: -Good price
-Solid company behind it

Cons: -None

Other Thoughts: Bought this RAM for an HTPC build, and a small case. I don't need to push for frequencies beyond 1333 MHz (and the associated heat), so I'm fine with standard DDR3 settings. The RAM has worked as expected, and I trust the Corsair name for RAM.

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Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Intel Haswell Fully Compatible
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: -Reasonable price
-Decent efficiency level (for the price)
-Silent and cool so far
-All the connectors I need

Cons: -None, actually - I have so may spare power supply cables that I think it's a great idea to NOT include one.

Other Thoughts: I'm using this in an HTPC build where a modular power supply would actually be too long. This unit has been quiet and cool in a rather small case. I'm careful not to under or overpower my power supply choices, and this one fits my needs perfectly given the low wattage requirements of the system. I'm banking on Antec's solid reputation for power supplies - I've bought them before, and I've always been pleased.

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Rob T.'s Profile

Display Name: Rob T.

Date Joined: 05/31/05

  • Reviews: 13
  • Helpfulness: 7
  • First Review: 11/13/09
  • Last Review: 11/27/13
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