Fractal Design Node 202 Compact Gaming Case

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The open sides makes it easier to install the motherboard and plug in all the connectors, but if you need to add/service case fans, pulling the bottom off and reattaching it isn't a fun experience. One of the plastic tabs broke off during my time with it and I would often worry about the others breaking if the chassis wasn't aligned properly with the cover. I wish they had provided some long bolts so fans could be mounted from inside rather than underneath. It's also somewhat annoying that the screws for the top cover are underneath the case.

Aside from the top and bottom covers, the power supply, drive cage, and GPU assembly can all be removed by taking out a few screws.

To install the video card, screw it into the expansion slots, attach the riser cards, and secure three screws on the side. The GPU pictured above is a fanless Zotac GTX 750 rather than our standard reference Asus GTX 980, which turned out to be too hot to handle. More on that later.

The GPU's passive cooler needs some airflow or it will overheat. The Node 202 doesn't ship with any fans, so a 120 mm Scythe Slip Stream will be used.

Our test system fully assembled. Cabling is somewhat of an issue as it's easy to clog up the one hole provided for routing wires between the two sections.

The Node 202 supports CPU coolers standing 56 mm or lower, limiting our options considerably. The Noctua NH-L9i is probably a little underpowered for the task of cooling our Core i5-4690K. A Scythe Shuriken 2 would be a far superior alternative but it's slightly too tall unless the filter on the top of the case is removed.

The video card doesn't quite fill up the entire two slots so there is some separation between it and the exhaust fan. Air will be drawn into the heatsink from the vented slot and from the empty fan placement and blown out. 25 mm thick case fans should not be used if the GPU cooler takes up the whole second slot as the fans will press right up against it.

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