Yes, the Node 605 is user specific to a very small category in cases, but the way Fractal Design went about it was that if you are going to try and enter the market, jump in with both feet and offer something sleek, sexy, cool, and sturdier than any other component of your HTPC setup. As we started with a rough looking box, discovering the inner packaging did its job, and the build and testing of this chassis, nothing wasn't able to be overcome with some persistence and good planning. From start to finish, the Node 605 was roomy enough to get the job done, is almost compartmentalized with separate fans cooling above and below the video card. With options to add additional cooling, possibly with the expense of more noise from those 80mm options, I am glad the Node 605 performed so well out of the box.
Speaking of the cooling, since I have the PSU drawing from outside, it was of no help to cooling the chassis. While I was running the 2600K at stock speeds, and with a very small cooler, there were only three degrees difference between being in the Node 605 and what the cooler did on the open air X-Frame I initially tested the cooler with. With just the pair of near silent 120mm fans blowing into the chassis, both my video card and the CPU were happy doing their thing inside of this chassis. With the optional fan switch then set to the lower setting, temperatures did go up another couple of degrees on both, but again, I noted very good cooling with no noise being pushed out into the room. If you were to set this into an enclosed space, on high, you may get a bit more sound pushed forward than normal, but setting this device on a shelf, even the sound of rain in a movie will drown out this HTPC chassis right away.
So is the Node 605 worth near or in excess of $150 dollars? I indeed think so. Some of the first cases that come to mind to compare this to are the Grandia cases from SilverStone, more precisely the GD07 and GD08. The GD07 is more of the direct comparison as far as features and options go. That is listing for near $140, but when I tore down this SilverStone case, it wasn't near as structurally sound as this or any Fractal Design case. I mean I am not kidding here, I would guess the average door panel is five or six pounds in weight with the sound proofing. Both layouts are similar, although SilverStone uses special fan filters to keep noise down and an unusual HDD rack design too, but in the end, I still like the Fractal Design Node 605 more.
I'm not sure if it is peace of mind because you really are getting a tank of an HTPC chassis, or if it is just the sleekness and silence of it when it's running that has me hooked. Either way, if you are in the market for an HTPC chassis that will look better and likely last longer than the other components on your table, have a look at the Node 605 - I promise, you won't be unimpressed.
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