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Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Chassis Review

By: Chad Sebring | Small Form Factor Cases in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Jan 30, 2013 2:43 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Fractal Design

The Build and Finished Product

 

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Removing the front bezel isn't needed for the optical bay because there isn't one. What you do gain access to here is all of the extra cabling from the front I/O, and you can also remove the front dust filter this way for cleaning.

 

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After I connected the wiring from the I/O panel I went ahead and pulled the extra wiring forward and left it low as not to block the fans. This is really the only choice unless you are fine with a lot of wiring inside the chassis.

 

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I didn't notice this at first, but due to the low height of the PSU screw, there is a cut away in the frame that allows you to get a screwdriver into the correct position to fit the screw.

 

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Before things get too full I figured I should take an image showing how well even this larger PSU fits, and how much room is allotted to house the motherboard in. Things are cramped, and my PSU is a bit long, but with this setup, I have all the room I need.

 

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All finished up with the wiring, and I have the bays for the storage drives back in place. Besides struggling to screw in the risers to the floor of the chassis, the build went pretty effortlessly. Due to the length of this PSU I was not able to use a video card.

 

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Even with the tight confines this design leaves inside of the Node 304, you can see that a tower cooler can easily fit and that the support bar and drive bays shouldn't interfere.

 

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The rear dust shield snapped right into place and without the power supply in the chassis I did fit the card in the slots to check out the alignment and I was even able to fit in the HD 7950.

 

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From this side, you can see I now have the adapter for the PSU plugged into the unit so that I can power it from the plug in the back of the chassis. There is also plenty of room for access to swap out memory or remove the CPU cooler fan for cleaning. With the installation completed I reinstalled the one piece cover and you are left with a Node 304 that looks very much as it did when we removed it from the packaging.

 

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With the cord attached and the system booting, you get the glow of blue LED coming out of the slit on the front bezel denoting system power is on. Just under the "a" in Fractal you can also see a white LED glowing as it accesses the storage drive inside the chassis.

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