Fractal Design Node 804 Interior

For aesthetic purposes, Fractal Design enriched the black interior of the Node 804 with white accents. The blades of the cooling fans, the five expansion slot covers, and the HDD drive cages are glossy white, creating a striking but clean contrast with the rest of the case.

The motherboard tray can hold up to Micro-ATX motherboards. Instead of multiple small holes, the motherboard tray has just two openings – a massive opening behind the motherboard for the seamless installation of coolers and another to the right for the cables. Note however that the HDD cages will most likely need to be removed in order to reach the back of a motherboard for the installation of a cooler. The vents at the bottom of the left compartment cannot be used for the installation of fans, but two 2.5"/3.5" drives can be secured there using decoupling rubber rings.

The right compartment of the Node 804 is clean and straightforward, with a slot for the PSU at the lower right corner and two cages for up to eight 3.5" drives. The two white drive cages at the top of the cage are removable and can hold up to four 3.5" drives each. Decoupling rubber rings are used at every screw hole to minimize noisy vibrations. 2.5" devices cannot be installed on those two drive cages (without an adapter), limiting the SSD installation options to either the faceplate or the bottom of the left compartment. We should note that 3.5" drives are installed vertically, which makes cable management a little bit difficult, especially with the right cage that brings the drives very close to the PSU.

Vents, vents and more vents. No matter where you look, almost 85% of the whole chassis' exterior surfaces are vents. There are three 120mm fans in the Node 804, with slots for several more if necessary. Fractal Design also boasts that the Node 804 can hold up to four liquid cooling radiators simultaneously; what kind of systems exactly they assumed that would be installed in this case, we cannot imagine. There is a catch though – there are limitations on what radiators can fit and something needs to be sacrificed for each one of them.

For example, 280mm radiators can only fit at the top of the right chamber, but that requires the removal of the HDD cages. If that happens, only one HDD cage can be relocated to the bottom of the compartment and secured using the straps that normally are for cable management. At the top of the left compartment, only 240mm radiators will fit and they will also limit the height of memory modules to 48mm (and removing/installing RAM will require the removal of the radiator). Installing radiators at the front of the chassis limits the length of the expansion cards and prevents the installation of fans at the first slot of the top panel.

Black cables and parts are easily hidden inside an all-black chassis; therefore, for visual clarity, we are using an AX760i PSU with a red cable pack and white SATA cables for our pictures. Building a system inside the Fractal Design Node 804 is a fairly easy – as long as the system is relatively simple, without too many components. The addition of liquid coolers, too many drives ,and/or dual GPU setups could easily cause a stressful mess of things inside such a small case. Most of the time required to build a system should be for the routing of the cables. There are no sharp and or dangerous points about the Fractal Design Node 804 that we could locate during our experience with it.

As exhibited in the pictures of our test build, all of the cables are routed through the opening near the front of the case. This calls for a bit more careful planning regarding the cables near the bottom of the motherboard, but a few cable ties and patience can work marvels. The CPU 12V cable can go through a small opening at the top left side of the motherboard tray. Graphics cards up to 320mm can fit but cards longer than 280mm will partially block the opening for the cables and restrict the installation of an additional intake fan. Also, remember that CPU coolers taller than 160mm will not fit – and that is just about every top performance air cooler available today.

Fractal Design Node 804 Exterior Testing and Results
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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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