Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC Case Review

Fractal Node 605 Interior

 Fractal Design Node 605 Lid

The upper panel of the Fractal Node 605 is held on with two philips head screws located on the back lip, which I quickly replaced with two thumbscrews.  Once removed, the lid slides back and easily lifts off.  The first thing that struck me about the lid was how sturdy it felt, but the entire case is made of the same heavy gauge steel to cut down as much noise as possible. Turning the lid over, the same sound dampening material used on other Fractal cases is seen.  You can put any concerns about the material having an insulating effect to rest since it is only about one millimeter thick.  This has been a signature of many of Fractal Design's cases, and is one of the reasons we are fond of their cases as everyday machines that leave as minimalistic of an acoustic footprint as their aesthetics.


 Fractal Design Node 605 Bare Interior

The interior of the Node 605 bears the same textured, powder coated black finish as most of the exterior.  The HDD bays and hanger bar are easily removed to allow for greater access to the interior, but it is readily apparent that there isn't much room inside the case.  As seen in the image above, there are pilot holes for motherboard standoffs which are indeed spaced far enough apart to mount up to a full ATX board, but doing so would compromise the ability to install any sort of optical drive, not to mention further limiting space for extra PSU cables.


Fractal Design Node 605 mobo fan  Fractal Design Node 605 ODD Fan

The 2 pre-furnished Silent Series R2 fans are arranged such that they push air inward from either side which is then exhausted out the back.  To supplement the airflow there is an unoccupied 120mm space near where the processor will sit, and spaces for two 80mm fans above the motherboard interface .  As shown above, the fan on the motherboard side is completely exposed while the fan on the ODD side has a protective grate over it due to the inevitable tangle of unused PSU cables that will end up bundled up somewhere in that locality.  One thing I have to say, though, is that the color scheme of the white Fractal Design fans pair up gorgeously with the black finish of the interior .  Be aware, though, that there is NOT enough room enough for a liquid CPU cooler unless you don't mind having an externally-mounted radiator, which might be feasible if concealed in a cabinet.


  Fractal Design Node 605 Hanging Bay

The drive bays for the Node 605 are of a most curious orientation.  The two supplied hanging bays are able to hold two 2.5" or 3.5" drives each, although the larger drives may present somewhat of a crowding issue.  Designed to be suspended from the center bar and top edge of the case, the spacing is such that the drives end up sitting right in front of an intake fan, which is great for keeping those high-capacity media drives cool.  We like how Fractal thought "outside the box," while ironically having to remain inside one.


Fractal Design Node 605 I/O Back

My favorite feature about the inside layout is the orientation of the front interface wiring.  With an already less-than-usual amount of interior space, having the front interface wiring harnesses plugging straight into the back would have presented a formidable obstacle when maneuvering a motherboard into position.  Not to mention a greater risk of being broken off during a particularly ham-fisted build secession.  


Fractal Design Node 605 ODD Bay

Fractal Design Node 605 ODD 

Undoubtedly my least favorite part of this case was how the optical disk drive bay was dealt with.  Being a home theater PC, one would think that  there would be certain concessions made to allow for an optical drive.  Sadly, that is not the case with the Node 605.  Albeit the amount of media accessible via the internet has grown considerably in quantity and diversity within the past few years, there are still many of us who have large collections of movies on DVDs and Blu Ray.  Despite the rather odd looking geometry of the brackets for the ODD drive (top picture), they cradle the equally odd looking slim drive.  To placate my doubts I ended up ripping the DVD drive out of a junk laptop and threw it in to to make sure it would fit.  Sure enough, though, the drive fit in but with with very little space between it and the adjacent intake fan.  A benefit of using a slim drive in a compact case is the availability to route cables between it and the mounting brackets.  If you do choose to go with the mATX board and slim ODD, be sure to get the proper slim-line SATA drive to SATA and molex power adaptor.

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