Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Case

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The interior of the Node 304 seems fairly well-built. The frame is stiff as is the support beam at the top of case, and the drive trays are relatively thick. Except for a cheap mesh dust filter on the right side of the case, nothing inside feels substandard in quality.

A lot of space is taken up by the hard drive trays. They occupy more than half the depth of the chassis and hang over a small portion of the motherboard.

The brackets are supported by the top/front portion of the chassis frame and by removable support beam running through the center of the case. Each bracket is held on with three screws and supports a pair of 3.5/2.5 inch drives a piece.

A pair of 92 mm fans pull in air through the front, push it through the hard drive bays towards a rear 140 mm exhaust fan at the back. There's room for a big tower CPU cooler as well which is a huge plus. Sitting below the drives, the power supply is isolated, pulling air in from the floor and exhausting it out the side. An extension cable is routed through the case interior so it can be connected to AC power at the rear.

140 mm fans are rare in even ATX towers so it's nice to see one in a mini-ITX case. Next to it in the corner is a molex-powered fan controller which supports up to three 3-pin fans, just enough for all the included stock fans.

Dual front fans are also unusual for a mini-ITX model but in this case, given the layout of the rest of the chassis, it's a perfect fit. Having two smaller fans allows them to cover more horizontal area, providing direct airflow over every drive, even if the case is filled to capacity.

The front panel is easily removed in case you need to service the front fans or the dust filter.

Along the floor of the left side of the case are some spots for employing zip/twist-ties. Unfortunately, given the cramped layout, there really isn't much room for excess cabling.

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