Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
We should have been one of the ten or so places that got to review the Fractal Design Node 804 chassis for its launch day review, and we were on the path to making that happen, but we ran into an issue with our first sample that made us think we should make contact with Fractal Design first. In our sample, the only one in the first batch to have any reported issue, it seemed one of the rivets that held in part of the motherboard tray was drilled in the wrong location. While it wouldn't appear to be a big deal, the rivet that was shifted was pretty important, so much so that it moved the tray enough to make installing a motherboard very complicated. This also closed off the PSU area, causing us to force the PSU into place.
After a discussion with Fractal Design, we were asked to send the chassis back for examination; as soon as more of the cases were available, we received another sample to show. We would like to think that even if something similar was to happen in the retail market, that Fractal would be just as good about setting the issue as they were in this situation. After all, we can tell by all of the happy customers they have made over the years, that their support is one of the things that keeps them on top.
With the back story out of the way, and a new day upon us, we have received our second chassis for review. After a bit of initial inspection, we do in fact have a chassis that is presented in the exact manner in which it was designed and intended to be. To give you an idea of what we are dealing with as far as initial impressions go, Fractal Design is sort of giving the Air 540 a go with their own spin on the design. This is in no way a copy; in fact, the Air 540 is aggressive, bold in its styling, and rather large, and all three of those factors have been changed in this new chassis, delivering something more expected from the Fractal Design team. From what we have seen, and since we have now had two opportunities to build inside of this chassis, we feel we have a great handle on what it offers, and how it performs at this point, and we should not miss a beat when it comes to this Micro-ATX chassis.
Fractal Design has compacted this concept a bit to fit only Mini-ITX, ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards. Additionally, they deliver it in all black, it comes with a brushed texture on the front panel to dress it up with a bit of style, and even while taking dimensions away in the creation of this design, there was definitely cooling in mind when this was all assembled. Even with a smaller footprint, there is no reason this chassis should ever be starved of air flow, and it still has potential for some pretty serious water cooling gear as well. All of these things, and many more features can all be found in the Fractal Design Node 804, as the specifications we are about to cover plainly demonstrate.
Fractal Design has put together one of the most informative and thorough lists for this Node 804 that I have seen for any other chassis to date. Under the specifications heading, we see motherboard compatibility, the eight 3.5" bays, a pair of dedicated 2.5" bays (along with two optional locations), five expansion slots, and ten fan locations. What is even better, is that the bottom of the chassis, the front of the chassis, as well as the top, are all filtered. Two fans are not filtered, but those are the exhaust fans. Then we see there is a 160mm CPU height maximum, a 260mm PSU maximum, and video cards up to 320mm can fit with a fan location change, otherwise the maximum length is set to 290mm. We then see additions, like the Velcro straps to maintain the wiring, and the clear side window. The rest of this section covers the black coloration, dimensions, and weight, both inside and outside of the packaging.
Going deeper into the ventilation of the Node 804, since it is one of the largest and most designed around feature in this chassis, we see Fractal has provided us with all the options. In the front you can house two 120mm fans on either side of this side-by-side chassis design, with only one location at the left having a fan installed from the factory. The rear of the chassis will house one fan on either half of the panel, and both locations are filled with the same Silent Series R2 120mm fans that are also in the front. The top of the chassis also allows for four 120mm fans, two on either side, but are all left empty from the factory. We also see that the Node 804 has a built-in, 3-fan, fan controller that is located at the back of the chassis, and at least allows easy control of the three provided chassis fans.
The last section we see addresses all of the possibilities for what size water cooling components can fit where, and what sort of limitations it may impose. We commend Fractal Design for providing this information without us having to read the manual to find out plans of grandeur may not work as initially intended. The front of the chassis can hold a 240mm at the front right, and it shows that 60mm is allowed for both the fans and the radiator thickness, and a height of 278mm is offered for the header of the radiator to have a bit of room. The same is said for the left side of the front, but in this location it is stated that another fan cannot be used next to it. The top allows for 240mm or 280mm radiators that can be 130mm thick with fans included, but to do this on the right half, you will lose the eight bays of 3.5" drive storage. The left half shows the same specifications, and we really love that Fractal Design took the time and even states that when using 130mm of space, memory is limited to 48mm in height to prevent issues with fit.
Looking around for this chassis now well after its release, we see many places currently holding stock of the Node 804. While availability is high, we do suggest you shop around to find the best deal. Many locations, once we included the shipping costs, and even most offering free shipping, have the pricing set very near $130. While that isn't too bad of a price point, we did find two places where the Node 804 can be had for $89.99; some $40 cheaper than everywhere else we looked. This is why we suggested that you look around, and get the best bang for your buck. At $130 dollars, we can still see the value in this design and what it has to offer its users, but if you can get it for $40 less, it is almost downright stealing the chassis.
PRICING: You can find the FRACTAL DESIGN NODE 804 MICRO-ATX CHASSIS for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The FRACTAL DESIGN NODE 804 MICRO-ATX CHASSIS retails for $100.00 at Amazon.