Gaming consoles may not be as versatile as PCs, but one of their greatest advantages is their size and design. PCs on the other hand may be versatile and powerful multimedia and gaming machines, yet their insertion into elegant living rooms can be problematic. Large systems and tower cases are a major visual dissonance in a living room, whereas consoles were designed with that specific purpose in mind.

Motherboard manufacturers have been trying to combat this issue by creating highly advanced and fully featured Mini ITX motherboards specifically designed to be the heart of powerful gaming systems. Recent energy efficient CPUs also reduced their cooling requirements, allowing the use of smaller and quieter coolers. Still, most of the ITX cases that became available were not nearly as small as a console, as manufacturers had to compensate for the width of expansion cards and the size of optical drives. However with their newest Mini-ITX design, the Node 202, Fractal Design is looking to change this, producing a bare-minimum sized case specifically designed for building a gaming PC.

Introduction

Fractal Design is a well-known Swedish designer of PC cases. Most of their ITX designs are not an exception to the aforementioned rule, sacrificing volume for component compatibility and performance. However the company wanted us to take a look at their smallest ITX case, the Node 202. It is a slim case that physically resembles many other designs that were created for HTPC use, but, despite its very narrow chassis, the Node 202 can hold a full size video card, allowing the creation of very small but powerful gaming systems.

Fractal Design Node 202
Motherboard Size Mini ITX
Drive Bays External -
Internal 2 × 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top -
HDD -
Bottom 2 × 120 mm (optional)
Radiator Support Front -
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
I/O Port 2× USB 3.0, 0× USB 2.0, 1× Headphone, 1× Mic
Power Supply Size SFX
Clearances HSF 56 mm
PSU 130 mm
GPU 310 mm
Dimensions 82 mm × 377 mm × 330 mm
3.23 in × 14.84 in × 12.99 in
Prominent Features · Featuring a sleek and elegant design that will fit in any space or room
· Extremely small footprint with a volume of only 10.2 liters
· A highly versatile case that can be set up both vertically and horizontally
· Supports Mini-ITX motherboards, SFX power supplies and graphics cards up to 310mm in length
· Provides a smart thermal interior design highlighting separate motherboard and graphics card chambers
· Strategically placed air filters for a dust free interior
Price $86

Packaging & Bundle

Fractal Design supplies the Node 202 into a simple, sturdy cardboard box. The monochromic artwork is based on schematics of the case itself, with some details on its features and specifications printed on the sides of the box. Inside the box, the case is well protected between two thick Styrofoam pieces and wrapped inside a nylon bag.

Black mounting hardware and a few cable ties are the core of every case’s bundle nowadays. Fractal design also supplies four rubber feet for the case and a PCI Express riser card. The manual is very detailed and well written. 

The Exterior of the Fractal Design Node 202
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  • zeeBomb - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    What's a good computer case under $80 guys? Reply
  • dsumanik - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    I dunno but this one looks like an xbox to me Reply
  • Murloc - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    The one you like most because there is a negligible difference between them for a midrange computer if they0re 60-80$.
    Cooler Master has many below that price, good bang for buck and with the most useful features included usually.
    Reply
  • sarscott - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    Enthoo Evolv itx is a great case. I purchased the case and was very impressed but decided I needed more space for water cooling, etc.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Tuesday, June 07, 2016 - link

    I have a Cooler Master Silencio 352, which I guess squeezes right in below that today. It's a mATX case with noise cancelling foam on the inside. No bling bling, just silence in a fairly compact format. There's enough space in it for a large water cooling thingy on the front, and they've put SSD mounts on most flat surfaces. Reply
  • chenedwa - Sunday, July 03, 2016 - link

    Silverstone FT03-MINI and Lian Li PC-Q36 Reply
  • marc1000 - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    it's great to see some small case reviews over here. this seems a good design, but the older silverstone milo ml08 has a bit more usability, even if a bit less cooling capacity.

    could you compare both with the same hardware? BTW, why not use real components, instead of simulators?

    PS: only on a case review we can see the backside of a new GPU... lol
    Reply
  • xenol - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    Heat is heat, no matter how you generate it. With Anandtech's setup, they can also repeat the test easily on a variety of systems. Reply
  • meacupla - Monday, June 06, 2016 - link

    I'm pretty sure ML08/RVZ02 has ever-so-slightly better cooling capacity than Node 202.

    I have the ML08 and the dust filters cause a lot of heat to be trapped (easily +5c on a GTX960), but removing them allows the components to be cooled to reasonable levels, considering size constraints.

    Node 202 has dust filters that are much harder to remove.
    Reply
  • marc1000 - Tuesday, June 07, 2016 - link

    thanks!

    i'm planning on ML08 for the future, it has a bit more space for disks than this one. your info came quite handy. I will use a mid-range GPU with a 3.5 hdd on top compartment, so I will put one slim 12cm intake fan there (scythe one with 12mm only). I hope thermals stay good with that extra help.
    Reply

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