Fractal Node 304 Review, The Microwave

Last Saturday I was sitting in bed looking at new PC cases so I could upgrade my monstrosity.The next day I woke up in the morning to a Fed-ex tracking email, and I was puzzled. I didn't order anything. It turns out that the contest I had entered on here last december, I actually won. I know right, I was just as surprised as you probably are. I was so surprised that I didn't believe it until it showed up on my front door last Thursday. So, of course I took it upon myself to blow $400 in one day in order to get a new motherboard and cpu for my new beast. 

Now here's where the review starts.

As soon as the Node arrived I was immediately surprised at how sleek and compact the case is. It is perfect for any home media center or DIY Steam Machine. But, it also struck me immediately that it has an uncanny resemblance to a microwave. Let me just say, this is the sleekest and most beautiful microwave I have ever seen. I can only describe the case in one word, simple, that's all there is to it. It only has one LED on the front right under the minimalistic fractal logo, It has 3 fans inside the case, 2 small ones in the front and one larger fan in the back. The fans also have a 3 speed switch located on the back of the case. Now, getting into the actual case there are 3 vertically mounted hard drive spaces that are installed right above the spot for the PSU. The PSU also has to have a cable running from the back to the front in order to be able to mount it in the front. As far as installation goes everything went very smoothly. I can fit my huge Xigmatech Dark Knight II heatsink in there, so there is enough space in the case for me. But, if you need a lot of space then you might as well start looking somewhere else. Also I would recommend using a modular power supply to cut down on cable clutter, I used an EVGA PSU that has really thick cables and I found them getting all over the place. Another problem for you might be the GPU. It can house 1 full size GPU only if your PSU is 160mm or under. I tested 2 PSUs in this, an EVGA 600w and a corsair 630x(600w). Both PSUs fit with a full size GPU perfectly fine. I did have to remove two of the hard drive "mounts" though in order to cut down on clutter. Each hard drive mount can hold 1 SSD and 1 HDD. You can probably fit 2 hard drive mounts in if you cut down on wire clutter, the only way to fit 3 though is to use a small GPU. The motherboard that I'm running on is an EVGA Stinger Z87, which runs very smoothly and has a nice CPU temperature reader directly on the mobo that can actually be seen through one of the black ventilation slots on the side of the case. I'm also running an intel i5 4670k, an asus radeon 7850 overclocked (as far as it can go), and g skill ares 1866 ram. Ventilation is exceptional with a ventilation spot right next to the GPU and decent air flow throughout the case. At full load playing BF4 I was getting a max of 45C on the GPU and around 40C on the CPU. In idle I was getting 23-25C on the GPU and around 30C on the CPU. Overall this case is exactly what I was looking for and I am very grateful to fractal for sending this over to me. Below you will find a list of some pros and cons along with some pictures of the case. Once again thanks to Fractal Design and Tek Syndicate for sending me this amazing case!




-Extremely Small


-Can fit full sized Graphics cards


-Resembles a microwave

-Runs cold


-May not be able to use full sized GPUs depending on PSU

-May be mistaken for a microwave and may end up with food on it

Love my Node 304 its a great case probably one of the best itx cases available. 


I have the black and am so getting the white one if I build another ITX system any time soon. I was hoping for a very similar case made for the m-ATX formfactor but now that they released the bulky 804 I guess that won't happen.