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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  • Blibbax - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    If you for some reason insist on using only two fans, have one at the side (next to the PSU, I suppose) as an intake, and one next to the CPU above the backplate as an exhaust.

    Fractal have done what they have with the fans because they (rightly) assume that users will want to drop in at least one of their own choice of exhaust fan. Ignoring this in an otherwise excellent and well thought out review is a huge shame imo.
    Reply
  • chrissp - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    I havent seen any reviews for the Origin AE lineup on your site? I have the s14v in black and it is the nicest htpc case on the market imo. it is expensive but its made from a solid block of aluminium so i think its worth it.

    would love to see some reviews for their ranges on here.

    thanks for the great great reviews.

    chris
    Reply
  • Conficio - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    Really, what do you do with ports behind a flap? I might understand it for a card reader and may be a DVD drive? But head phones and mic and USB ports behind a flap? What is the user experience of this? If I use such things, the flap needs to stay open, so making the entire design horrid. I'd understand if the USB ports would be sideways and the flap had side channels to route the cables of an external drive, so I can still close it. But mic and head phone ports need to be outside of the flap!

    For that price, I'd like to see some display included, that can be controlled by software. I'd think that it must be possible to produce a simple display with a USB interface that can show output channel, and volume, etc. just by the virtue of it's driver. Not to mention adding any sort tuner card and being able to see tune information or similar.
    Reply
  • kenyee - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    with a 2500K, it's not even audible and there's enough space.
    Would have been nice if this case worked well though...having space for 4 drives would have been nice...
    Reply
  • smitty123 - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    i don't need flash , just something else than a gray slab. Reply
  • rockoqatsi - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    I don't need flash either. And I'll deviate from most posters and say that this is one of the best HTPC chassis I've ever seen for the money (if only just from the front.)

    I like that the optical bay and all of the I/O ports are behind a flap. I don't need (visible) ports, a headphone or mic jack, and all sorts of buttons---and certainly not a volume knob---on my HTPC. I have a bloody preamp for that. And as far as VFDs and touchscreens go, they look pretty, but at the end of the day are a distraction. Touchscreens are for remotes anyway. An HTPC should be like Seraph from The Matrix: dark, svelte, mysterious, pretty, and silent.

    So on the outside the Node 605 does just fine for me. It's such a shame the interior was designed by an ape. Why did they put the HDD hangers on the same side as the expansion slots, power supply and optical bay? The cpu side is like Montana and the other is like Tokyo. No f---ing sense for a case this size.
    Reply
  • perrydoell - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    After all these years, and no case designer cares to design their case with airflow in mind?

    I mean, all I see is a box with holes all around it. You design your own airflow, depending upon what you put in and where you put the fans. I'm sure a thermal engineer geek (I'm an electrical engineering geek myself :-P ) could design a case that has a single, well defined airflow path that could have far better thermal and accoustic performance than you or I could manage.
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Thursday, January 03, 2013 - link

    Silverstone TJ08-E springs to mind as clearly designed around proper airflow.

    Personally I wonder why there is a need for these big HTPC cases. To be honest they are nothing more than a standard 1990s case laid on its side. Having built a silent HTPC, mini-itx motherboard was sufficient for me (but I do have a separate NAS for storage), although I accept some audiophiles will want a separate audio card
    Reply
  • Wwhat - Sunday, January 06, 2013 - link

    It's amazing how involved people get with something that is just a metal box.
    And even more amazing and odd what some companies ask for it. Especially since some devices/tools/vehicles come with large metal housings and those don't seem to significantly influence the cost half the time.

    But on the other hand some basically simple spare parts for cars that are very basic are also sold for outrageous prices if they are hard to source. It truly is a fine example of price and demand and making a business out of things.
    Reply
  • dj christian - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    "ATX motherboard support on the right side of the case, power supply standing on its side on the left."

    should be

    ATX motherboard support on the left side of the case, power supply standing on its side on the right.
    Reply

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