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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  • SkyBill40 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Get at it, modder!
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    If you're building a medium size mITX server, the CHENBRO SR30169T2-250 is worthy of consideration. It's a similar style but only does mITX with 4x3.5 and 2x2.5 drives so it significantly smaller. If I had any complaint, it would be that the hot-swap bays are mostly a gimmic (consumer mobos don't support sata hotswap), and orienting the drive bays to make hot swap easy via the front panel made the case significantly bigger than it needed to be.

    I've been using it for my home server for the last 2+ years; without complaints. Best of all no stupid window!
  • lewisl9029 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I've been using the Silverstone DS380 and ASUS P9A-I for a few months now. 8x hot-swap bays and 4x fixed 2.5 bays on the DS380 is a perfect match with the 2xSATA + 4xSAS ports (16 sata) on the P9A-I.

    I have 2x SSDs for the OS and 2xSSDs + 6x4TB HDDs for my storage cluster so far. Runs like a dream.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Looks like a nice case if you need something a bit bigger than I do.

    I'm currently using 2x3TB HDDs and a small SSD for the OS; at current fill rates I may or may not need to add a 3rd drive to my pool before my server reaches retirement age and is replaced.

    The only thing I wonder about is the backplate space for a 2nd expansion card. Aside from GPUs I'm not aware of anything else that would need to be 2 splits tall; and a GPU in whats obviously a server case seems rather weird.
  • sweenish - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Talk about potato pictures.

    A decent case for the price. I just don't want to have to fight a case, regardless of the size.
  • randomlinh - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I know it's just a case, but yeah, these shots are terrible for a site like AT. It's not even a bad camera, just don't know why they are shooting product at ISO1600
  • Zak - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I agree. Disapointing. While many cameras these days produce clean shots at ISO1600 this is not the case. Very unprofessional and reek of laziness. I've seen eBay product shots that look better.
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    This is mostly lack of proper lighting and enough space. When you cannot even set a tripod, high ISOs are necessary. I need to hold the camera.

    Of course I could use better photographic equipment. Ironically, I have already ordered the parts weeks ago. Things will be changing after a few more articles.

    When criticizing, do take into account that things can be more complicated and time consuming when something requires your own space and funds. It rarely is as simple as typing a five sentence comment.

    Then again, people complain about a coke can, so I guess that I should be grateful for a useful comment, even if it is somewhat rudely voiced...
  • chlamchowder - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I'd just like to say thanks for the review. I've been looking at case options for a while, and case reviews are always insightful to read.

    I feel that for a lot of things, including computer cooling, overclocking, and photography, past some point increasingly ridiculous amounts of effort/money are required for small gains. Don't take this stuff in the comments section too harshly - we tend to exaggerate.
  • chlamchowder - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I agree that the product shots could be better. It's a combination of missed focus and heavy noise reduction that makes the pictures look blurry.

    But this isn't Dpreview. The pictures do get the job done, albeit in a very unsatisfying way. If you guys at Anandtech have time, I'd suggest using a tripod (or just putting the camera on a box of the right height), and using a long exposure for lower ISOs. Also check focus with magnified live view before taking the shot. After all, cases don't run away.

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