There are many things to admire when it comes to the Node 202. Whether you opt for their Integra PSU or not, the Node 202 is as solid as it gets. While it may be encased in plastic, there may be tabs holding parts on, and screws sandwiching the exterior together, but at the same time, not one rattle was heard. The wiring is tight to manage, but is very doable, and leaves components unobstructed, allowing everything to breathe as intended in its compartment. While drive installation is limited to 2.5" drives, the rack used is a simple and effective solution, placed well in the design. We also like the use of hard-card risers and the fact that the chassis can be so slim with the video card lying on the same plane as the motherboard. There are the removable dust filters to consider, a GPU support brace that is adjustable, ventilation in all the right places, and even as confined as the parts are in the Node 202, our thermal testing turned out better than we expected.
Every aspect of this design is well thought out, as we cannot come up with one major issue when it came to the build or use of this chassis. We like that this chassis also offers a cradle. Not everyone has room for something with a footprint like a stereo component, but for instances where items are stacked for the HTPC, this Fractal Design chassis will be a stunning addition. Not that it looks any worse in the vertical orientation, in fact, we have had vertically oriented PCs in the past and find them to be very handy. They fit behind things like a TV, can easily stand and not take up a bunch of room, and with a fan-less design such as this, as long as you have the Fractal Design name on the front at the top, convection is your friend, and things inside still stay nice and cool.
For those out there that like to hand pick every item in the build, the $79.99 pricing of the base Node 202 is worth every penny. Of course, you do not get the PSU, but you still get all the performance and appeal that this Node 202 delivers. If it were our money going out the door, we would likely have opted for the inclusion of the PSU for a few reasons. For starters, it only adds $60 to the pricing to do this and is a fair price for a 450W SFX PSU in the first place. Then, of course, there are all the connections needed to fill this chassis completely, without extra leads to tend to. Continuing on a similar line, the Integra our chassis came with has leads that do not require much to manage them cleanly. This means the Node 202 and its compartmentalized interior can breathe freely, and keep you enjoying it for many hours of streaming or hardcore gaming.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Edition (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB SSD
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
|Quality including Design and Build||99%|
|Bundle and Packaging||99%|
|Value for Money||98%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||97%|
The Bottom Line: The Node 202, with or without the Integra PSU, is a low-slung beast! With multiple orientations, a plethora of goodies, all in a design that misses nothing. This sleek and fan-less design should be on your Mini-ITX chassis radar.
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