I long wanted my next build to be a mini ITX pc and wasn't disappointed by this at all.
Pros: - Build quality fantastic - Clever drive cages - Included fan controller, low setting is inaudible and air flow great - Size - Can fit a full length GPU inside (with 1 drive cage removed and careful PSU choice)
Cons: - No ODD (I have an external Blu-Ray but rarely used and I'm sure I'm not the only one in this position) - Short PSU is a must, modular a bonus. Manual suggests 160mm maximum length, be careful with modular cable slots and GPUs.
I have my node 304 running a Core-i5 3470S (low power 65W TDP which idles at 25 degrees) @2.9GHz, Gigabyte H77N-WiFi and 8GB memory. I've used a Fractal Design Integra R2 500W as it is just 140mm in length, despite having a few extra cables they all extrude from the far side well away from any possible GPU issues. I will be adding a GPU at a later date and do not see any problems with length and PSU clearance.
I bought this case to construct a small home storage server. It houses a Fractal Design Integra R2 500W power supply, an ITX motherboard, Intel i3 processor, three conventional 3.5" disks and a 2.5" SSD. The processor has a large fanless heatsink (a Prolimatech Megahalems Rev C). With the case fans set to slow/quiet the server is almost silent; you have to be quite close to it to hear any noise, and even then it's the gentle hum of fans.
Externally, the case looks quite stylish although it's mostly an unadorned black box.
Internally, the build quality is good. The disk brackets are robust and easy to use. As with all small cases it can be a little fiddly to get things inside but its design makes assembly relatively straightforward.
I bought this for a home media and data server. I wanted a miniATX case that fits at least 4+1 drives, as small and quiet as possible.
I think this case fits the bill. By design it is very easy to open and access all the parts/add drives/..., main cover and drive bays are secured by thumb screws (plus one additional phillips screw per drive bay - a shame). The fans are near-inaudible (I have the included fan controller on medium setting). The layout seems logical in terms of airflow. It comes with all the cables to connect fans and front panel in just the right length and with a solid feel, and with all necessary installation hardware (spacers, screws, cable binders). And it is pretty! Not just outside, but the black-and-white design inside as well - a joy for tinkerers! I'm using it headless, but there is ample space and a specific air grille on the side so quite high-powered graphics cards could be fitted as well.
There is not much that could make this case any better. If the drive bays were hot-swapable ones accessible behind the front panel, maybe, but that'd require a redesign in terms of cooling... The HDD LED (pointing DOWN under the front panel) is very bright, but it doesn't bother me much.
So basically this is brilliant, however I installed with a Seasonic M12II-520 Semi-Module 520W ATX12V Power Supply Unit - Silver PSU. If you look at the picture of this product you'll see when the writing is the right way up the core plug is on the left. The cord to the PSU wants to go left - into the side of the case - and there isn't enough room to loop round sharply enough without severe pinching.
So I had to install the PSU 'upside-down'. Because of where the screws are only two could be used and there was a little over a millimetre lifted from the case floor. Would have been rattly.... solution, the fabric side of a velcro strip attached to the PSU. Because I had to go to B&Q for this, and pay another few quid, and waste a bit of time I'm knocking a star off.
Other than that a very nice case - discrete and lots of space for drives so makes an excellent server.
I'm using this case to hold 6x4TB HDDs plus 1 x 128GB SSD and Nas4Free acting as a storage server. It's discrete, stylish with plenty of room to provide airflow. I have a fanless Seasonic PSU and couldn't be happier. It was easy to build the server as the top and sides of the case are all one unit so can be removed providing easy access throughout the case. The screws can be undone by hand and are located at the back of the case. The fans, one year down the road, are still very quiet. I don't run the server all day, every day although I will use it nearly every evening and sometimes run it throughout the night so the fans get a fair bit of use. I find it hard to criticise this when it's so good for the job I intended it to be used.
The case is very well made, with a quality feel to it. There are a couple of things to watch out for though : (i) the instructions are very sparse and (ii) the amount of space for cables is small. I bought the case to hold 5 disk drives and ordered a heat sink that was close to the advertised limits. The heat sink fitted within the box, but did not allow enough space for the power supply cables. While this case can hold a ATX power supply, one has to be careful with total cable lengths. In the end, I put some of the spare power supply cables within the sixth disk space and had to switch to a smaller heat sink on the CPU.
This is the best buy I ever made in terms of computer cases. Roomy but compact (makes me wonder why I bought bigger enclosures in the past), fits long VGA cards, it's easy to assemble, features good build quality and no-nonsense looks which I personally appreciate. And on top of all that, the price is very affordable! Fractal Design make some great cases, but I think this one hits the sweet spot.
This is a great looking case, if you choose power supply correctly it will happily take a 160mm PSU with a long graphics card. It's quiet too, in normal use my system is inaudible, games make the graphics card spin up but that's to be expected.
It gets 4 stars instead of 5 because I suspect it could be a little bit smaller, there is no real need for 6 drive bays in a small form factor system. But overall recommended.
This is yet another beautiful case by Fractal Design and it's an absolute joy to build with.
It has a very simple design. Thumbscrews hold on the metal one-piece sides and top. Once that is off you find Fractal have maximised the interior space allowing you to fit standard size PSU, large GPUs and after market CPU coolers. 2x 120mm fans suck in air from the front and blow it over your precious components while a large fan at the back exhausts hot air out of the case. All three can be easily connected up to the built in fan controller switch located at the back of the case. They are silent on the lowest setting and highly effective at keeping things cool inside the small enclosure.
3 brackets hang down above the PSU space, a very clever way of supporting many, many hard-drives. 6x 3.5" HDD and even more 2.5" drives can be contained in the enclosure. They are secured on rubber grommets to ensure vibrations are dampened in order to reduce both noise and potential mechanical drive failure. Of course with a large GPU installed you may have to forgo one of the hanging brackets.
Ventilation is present on the bottom and sides of the case for your GPU and PSU along with dust filters. Mesh vents on the top and bottom of the front-bezel of the case provide inlets for cool air to be sucked through into the case. USB and audio ports are located on the right side of the bezel above the Power button. The front of the bezel is brushed metal coloured black with a little white Fractal Design logo printed on it next to the power-light strip and it looks immediately striking and stylish. The rest of the case is matte black and this colour scheme continues on to the inside of the case as well.