In and Around the Fractal Design Node 605

Where the Fractal Design Node 605 excels is in the same place Fractal Design typically excels: external design. The aesthetic of the Node 605 is beautiful, symmetrical, and can be had in any color you want so long as that color is black. The brushed aluminum finish of the fascia will only look out of place in your entertainment center if the other electronics you have are substantially cheaper looking (and often can be). Plastic is kept at an absolute bare minimum in this chassis.

Lighting is equally minimal, and that's appreciated. There's a soft blue LED behind the power button, and the red IDE activity LED is hidden behind the small drop-down door in the front of the case. That door also hides all of the I/O. Two USB 3.0 ports are on tap, and again I'm happy to see the built-in card reader. What may throw some people for a loop is the 6-pin FireWire port. FireWire is a dying standard, but many older video cameras use it, so I can see why Fractal Design would opt to include it on a modern case. I don't know that it will see much use, but it's there.

The sides of the Node 605 both feature 120mm vents; two of these vents conceal 120mm intake fans, while one conceals a mount and the fourth is for cooling the power supply. When you move to the back of the case, you can see how Fractal Design arranged everything, and it's pretty simple: ATX motherboard support on the right side of the case, power supply standing on its side on the left.

Opening the Node 605 is as easy as removing two screws from the back of the case. The top panel slides off easily, and features a large acoustic pad on its underside. Note that there are no thumbscrews used anywhere in this design: nothing in the Node 605 is toolless.

Opening the Node 605, I was frankly surprised at just how simple the interior layout really was. I'm coming from the SilverStone Grandia GD04, which was incredibly involved to work inside. The Node 605 is remarkably straightforward, though: motherboard mounting points are obvious, as is the power supply bay. The pair of drive cages hang off of a single rail in the middle of the case, and all of this is easy to remove with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Superficially, the Node 605 just looks like an almost strictly better GD04. It's unfortunate I can't directly compare the two in performance; the GD04 was my second case review here and I've actually refreshed the testbed twice since then. There's the same positive-pressure internal design, but the Node 605 ditches the large 5.25" optical drive bay in favor of a slimline one at the bottom of the case. It also, and this is important, is missing the third intake fan. The GD04 features an intake fan that blows almost directly on the CPU, but the Node 605 doesn't include it, instead offering an empty fan mount.

Introducing the Fractal Design Node 605 Assembling the Fractal Design Node 605
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  • Aikouka - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    It makes you wonder if they were trying to compete with Lian-Li as if I remember correctly, $150 is pretty much Lian-Li's price point for their tall HTPC case offerings. Although, aren't Lian-Li's cases typically ALL aluminum, which usually lets people justify a higher price tag? Reply
  • ypsylon - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    Compared to Lian-Li this thing is a joke. Build quality cannot be compared to LL. Steel HTPC/Desktop case which cost 160$$$?! Somebody hold me before I explode with laughter.

    :runningaroundincircleslaughinglikemad:

    It has pretty much only one Pro: it can hold full ATX board which many of HTPC cases can't. Still LL or Silverstone have cases which can do same thing with far superior quality and features.
    Reply
  • alwayssts - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    When I bought a LL PC-C50b I probably would've considered this if it were available and cheaper. This is seemingly aimed squarely at that model. I have no idea if it has been successful or not, but it was essentially the only case that would do what a lot of enthusiasts probably want or will want as these setups gain even more traction:

    1. 120mm mounts on the sides because 80mm fans make no sense for this large of a case or it's likely environment. There are so very, very few that are not either much larger or a cube. Which doesn't make sense because you need the height for...
    2. Space for an ~225w full-height graphics card (ie anything not x900/x80 length because it would likely get too hot in these cases) pc-c50 says 250mm which is exactly the spec of my 7870. There's slightly more room, but I would doubt 290mm. They probably figured space for the peg connectors, which of course are now usually on the side of cards (top when installed).
    3. Clearance for a nice top-down cooler with appropriate venting (apparently only LL understands this). I'm sure I'm not the only htpc'er out there with a noctua c14 or similar that needs to pull air from somewhere.
    4. Space for a regular (likely modular) power supply.

    Here we are a year or so later and something is finally available that is similar, but it's still not cheaper, and with the proliferation of mobo headers and pwm fans, the fan controller is hardly a value-add IMHO. The only plus I see are dust filters (that granted I had to do myself...and wasn't fun). Neither have IR, which is also kind of a bummer but obviously remedied easily-enough if you want it.

    I wish there were more cases like this. It's about as no-compromise as you're going to get while still fitting on an AV shelf and fitting in with components like an AVR/DVR etc, and really...who needs more than that with the current state of hardware and TVs?
    Reply
  • Interitus - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    First I'm going to say +1 to the comment about AT not at least attempting to swap fan positions and add more, then reporting back with different results. Honestly, you're not doing either the product or your review any justice by skipping what anyone reading this site would undoubtedly do if they received one of these cases for free ... tinker with it. Any enthusiast likely has fans lying around, and I'm sure you guys do too. I don't even remember the last time I bought a case and just left it the way it came out of the box.

    As far as Fractal goes, there's a few major fails here. How much effort would it have taken to make the bar mounting holes elongated ovals (and on the white drive mounts too) so that they're adjustable to some extent? There's gobs of room in there, especially with an mITX board. And those huge front panel cables... at least raise the MB tray so you can run wires under it or something.

    Overall I think it deserves a good scolding for that terrible bar placement, but it's hard to knock its other supposed downfalls when there's no effort or creativity put into solving them. Sure you could argue that the customer shouldn't have to, but are we assuming the customer is going to use a GTX560Ti? It's pretty much a given these days that the manufacturers include the bare minimum to keep costs down. In a bare minimum config, the case doesn't perform terribly. Throw some 80mm exhausts in there and it's a different story I'm guessing.
    Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    I mean really, after all these years most cases still look like drek. I'm talking from a visual stand-point. I'm not that anal about heat and airflow, I'm happy to compromise if it doesn't look like a turd on my desk or under it.

    This one doesn't look great. Just a hulking lump of black with ports etc. that look like a cut out after-thought behind a flap. Too many just seem to lose the design greatness when it comes to the functional bits. Cant the bit behind the flap or door look great too?

    After 20+ years of PC use I still haven't seen a case I have truly thought.."that looks really fantastic!"

    Surely it can't be that hard?
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    What kind of stylistic touches would you find attractive?
    Once a decision is made to design a case to fit in with the standard home audio component look, you're somewhat limited in what can be done from a style perspective.
    Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, January 03, 2013 - link

    I'll know it when I see it.

    I just know that case (and others like it) is not what I want sitting in my living room.

    Its a monstrosity.

    For a start if its only doing home theatre work why the hell does it need all those 120mm fans? Why ATX?

    A case designed by committee if ever there was one.
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Bigger fans are quieter than smaller ones. Reply
  • thereddog - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    Nice review, thanks.

    Personally, I chose the Silverstone GD06 when I built my HTPC 18 months ago. Everything performed well, but it's not that quiet nor cool (AMD 955BE + 5750).

    I think that ATX is overkill and that Silverstone designs that are ITX and mATX only are superior designs. I would also love to see a slightly taller HTPC with room below the motherboard for cable management. I also agree on adding/replacing fans in the review to show what the case is really capable of.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    > 1x 120mm intake fan on each side

    Really? Wouldn't bottom (PSU) to top airflow work better?
    Reply

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