Fractal Design Node 202 ITX Case Review

Conclusion

Fractal Design Node 202 Review

Conclusion

With its silk Black finish and gloss Black highlights the node 202 from Fractal is quite an attractive if somewhat maturely understated case.  Although it can be mounted horizontally with the supplied self adhesive rubber feet, enabling it to fit into even the tightest of AV racks, it does, we think, look better slotted into its stand and stood up vertically.  Measuring just 377x82x330mm (WxHxD) it's not exactly huge, even if the width does rise to 125mm with the stand attached.  With just four screws holding the lid on opening the case up is easy enough, although getting the base section off to clean some of the filters is a bit more a fiddle.  With a case as small as this it's not surprising that it will only take M-ITX motherboards and SFX PSUs.  in fact, the one we have for review comes with an Integra 450W PSU.  This version will set you back a smidge under £120, but if you'd rather fit your own PSU then there's a version available for £70.  

Turning now to the inside. When Fractal looked at storage options they chose only to support a pair of 2.5" drives.  As these can be had big and cheap these days and with the prevalence of cloud storage this isn't such as a big deal as it used to be, and it does enable them to keep the case as small as it can be.  The one measurement we weren't expecting to be delighted with though was the Maximum GPU length.  At 310mm it's fair to say we're more than happy.  OK, so you're going to have to keep the GPU under 145mm ddep and 47mm thick, but that shouldn't be a problem for most twin slot cards, just maybe those that sprout copper pipes left right and center.  Fractal have managed this amazing feat by utilising a ninety degree riser card and giving over pretty much half of the interior to the GPU area.  From a cooling perspective, although there's no active cooling at all in the case, the GPU, CPU and PSU all benefit from filtered intakes/exhausts, with a particularly large one over the GPU.

So what's not to like with this case?  Well if your looking for something to make a statement with the mature styling of the 202 might leave you a little cold, and when mounted flat it does look more than a little bit like a glamorous Dell or HP box to be honest.  Stick it under and AV unit so you can only see the gloss highlighted front and this isn't so much of an issue though.  What does bother us though is that for a case that's designed to take large GPUs, and is therefore at least nodding towards gaming or a powerful AV machine it's a little surprising that the CPU cooler height is limited to just 56mm.  Have a look around and you'll see that this severely limits your choice of coolers leaving you with a few Noctuas, the odd Zalman and a few others.  This of course will not only limit any hopes of an overclock, but will also impact on the actual max TDP of the CPU you choose.

The only other real thing we have issue with is the price.  With or without the PSU we think it's a little high for what it is.  OK, it's a nice case, but we would have thought closer to £55 for the non PSU and just over £100 for the version with the 450W Integra unit already installed.  If anything we think the integral PSU version we've looked at represents slightly better value, but it's still eye wateringly expensive for a posh compact desktop or a trendy little AV unit, somewhat hobbled by it's ability to provide little more than basic CPU cooling. 

 
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Most Recent Comments

29-02-2016, 09:03:33

Chrazey
Nice review, were actually considering this case after watching J2C's build log of it, but disliked that you have the take it apart to get to the filters.
Hence why I went with the Silverstone RVZ01.Quote

29-02-2016, 10:04:00

RickPlaysWarr
Hi

I really like this case. My twins are getting to the point where they need there own pc's They don't need to overclock and a 54 to 65 watt processor and decent graphics card will do. I might end up building two new pc's shortly. And the small form factor and the fact that it resembles an XBox on the outside will add to the "Cool" factor for them.

Once again Fractal has put out a very clean and thought out case.

--Rick--Quote

29-02-2016, 10:41:12

You_What?
Really like the look of this, have been contempting ridding my Fractal 605 for a smaller unit.Quote

29-07-2016, 16:26:25

mypickaxe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrazey View Post
Nice review, were actually considering this case after watching J2C's build log of it, but disliked that you have the take it apart to get to the filters.
Hence why I went with the Silverstone RVZ01.
It takes 15 seconds.Quote

29-07-2016, 18:36:49

Chrazey
Quote:
Originally Posted by mypickaxe View Post
It takes 15 seconds.
Still an weird design and an uneccessary steps for it.Quote
Reply
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