Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC Case Review
Published: 2nd January 2013 | Source: Fractal Design | Price: £139 |
Performance, Testing and Conclusion
Back at the beginning of this review we noted Fractal designs ethos that less is more. Having reviewed the Node 605 it is perhaps time for us to reflect upon whether this ethos is a true vision or just management twaddle hastily written down on a coffee break using leftovers from a game of Bulls**t Bingo and written with the sole intention of filling the gap on the website that says "Insert company paradigm here"
Let's go back to the beginning and look at the unboxing experience. Simple and effective packaging with no glitzy graphics and superfluous trinkets. Well they've gotten off to a good start, nothing like wondering how much of the cost of the case inside went to cover the cost of the packaging, here Fractal keep it plain, simple and functional
The case itself can really only be described as minimalist in appearance. Granted most HTPC cases don't exactly scream and shout at you from the rack but the 605 takes demure to the next level. The vast expanse of hairline brushed Aluminium lends a certain toppled monolith look to the case. But don't let that fool you into thinking you're losing accessibility or connectivity, flip down the lower panel and the front I/O and optical drive bay access reveals itself in all its subdued glory. I've used the word flip there, not because it adequately describes the action, because it doesn't. I've used "flip" because it's the only word I could think of, however I am acutely aware that an action which is sooo smooooth cannot adequately be described by the word flip, but flip it must be until the English dictionary comes up with a word for which the definition will be "a reciprocal rotational movement so smooth and sexy one cannot believe that it is actually legal". Back to the plot, with the rest of the exterior having barely a blemish save for the 4 subtly meshed 120mm fan mounts, I think you get the idea that the "less is more" box is ticked here also.
And so to the inside, unlike a great many of the competition, Fractal have chosen to paint the interior of the case black to match the exterior. Add into that the fact that all the internal cables are braided black and that the case does not have a window so it doesn't matter and you get the feeling that somewhere in fractal there is a chap who when challenged about this decision had to stand up in the middle of a design board meeting and shout at the top his voice "Well it damn well matters to me, and it'll damn well matter to them" (them being us of course, and in all his diatribe being in Norwegian). And you know what, he's right, it damn well does matter. It matters because it shows an attention to detail. In taking the time to get it right where it can't be seen it assures us that they must have been really anally attentive over the areas that can be seen.
We approached the build with a slight sense of trepidation, feeling out of our well worn comfort zone of posterior motherboard space, CPU cut outs and cable management holes. In truth although we did feel we had to strategically stash the cables more than actually manage them we did find that we weren't left wondering what the heck to do with the cables or well the heck to hide them. All unused cables bedded down nicely on the case floor, out of the way, out of sight and not restricting any airflow. Two cable tie points are supplied and we didn't use either of them.
In use the Node 605 is near silent. On either the highest or lowest setting the R2 fans are still as quiet as a mistress hiding in a wardrobe, and with only the faintest of whirs coming from inside the case itself. Interaction with the 605 is as with any other PC, it being likely you have equipped yourself with a wireless keyboard/mouse combo. There's no LCD display or built in remote control connectivity as there is with the Zalman HD503 or some of the upper end of the Silverstone Grandia or Lascala series, but then neither does this case cost the sort of money those cases do.
If you've read the review and not just skipped to this section (shame on you, but hey, we know you guys are busy people), then you'll know by now that the Fractal Design Node 605 has made something of an impact on us here at OC3D. It's sleek looks, impressive rack presence, high level of build quality, GPU and storage capacity, coupled with an ability to house ATX boards and near silent running make it hard to find fault even when we're trying really hard, and believe us we do try really hard to find fault.
So is the Fractal design ethos just twaddle? If you didn't know that by now you really haven't been paying attention. If we hadn't just missed Christmas, the Node 605 would definitely be on Santa's list.