Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC Style Case

Cases|Damping
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Fractal Design Node 605's design places most of its focus on limiting dust and noise. The very fine mesh fan grills keeps larger particulate out of the case, as does the positive pressure airflow scheme. The stock fans have a nice sound and if they're too loud can be dropped down to 7V or 5V via the included controller. The noise absorbent mat on the top panel helps with standing waves and weighs it down, providing additional stability. The dampened hard drive trays do a wonderful job eliminating drive vibration, though they make it difficult to access motherboard connectors.

What you won't get out of the Node 605 is cooling proficiency. As a performance case with a high powered CPU and/or GPU, it's completely out of its element. The enclosure is cramped given its total volume of just 25.5 L and without any ceiling vents, the stock fans have a heck of a time pushing out all that hot air. Our thermal/acoustic load results were abysmal compared to larger, tower style cases. Thankfully, the primary intended purpose of desktop style cases is for media center PCs which have less demanding requirements and workloads. The Node 605 is infinitely better suited for this application.

The Node 605 is retailing for around US$150, which is on the high side for this genre of case. Aside from the memory card reader and fan controller, it doesn't offer any extra functionally over similar, lower cost cases, but it does deliver almost premium build quality. The chassis and panels are solidly constructed and of course nothing screams quality like a thick aluminum front bezel. You'd also be hard pressed to find a more attractive desktop chassis; the brush aluminum face, minimal adornment, and hidden ports combine to form a striking look that doesn't scream for attention.

Our thanks to Fractal Design for the Node 605 case sample.

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