Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC Case Review
Published: 2nd January 2013 | Source: Fractal Design | Price: £139 |
Up Close: Exterior
In the introduction we mentioned that Fractal Design are protagonists of the "Less is More" approach to design. If you are in any doubt at all about what exactly this means then the images of the Node 605's exterior below should give you a good idea. Entirely black and almost featureless save for the subtle fan grill on either side and discreet badge on the lower right corner it actually gets very hard to write about the smooth fallen monolith of a structure that the Node 605 is. We're it not for the 8mm thick hairline brushed Aluminium front panel we'd have very little else to talk about, damn you minimalists!
You'd actually be forgiven for thinking that we'd screwed up and posted the same picture twice, but look more carefully and you'll see that these are in fact the two almost identical sides of the Node 605, each sporting a filtered and meshed covering for a 120mm fan.
Were it not for the discrete power button, small 2 speed fan controller and the Fractal Design graphics on the right hand side, the front fascia of the Node 605 would be totally featureless. However, the fascia of the 605 does have a little trick up its sleeve, as the lower portion of the front bezel rotates smoothly down to reveal the front I/O and optical disc access. Although not dampened the action of the panel is soooo smooth you're never going to tire of flipping it up and down.
To the left we find a slot enabling the use of slim line optical drives, although it should be noted this is not possible if you choose to install an ATX motherboard. Although for the most part not visible as it is concealed by the bezel the slot is also finished in brushed aluminium, and should you choose to eschew the slot altogether the accessory pack includes a blanking plate that can be fitted as an alternative. Over to the right we find the main front I/O area. A brace of USB 3 sockets are joined by the usual audio jacks and a Firewire connection. On the far right Fractal have also included a small card reader, ideal for quick access to photos stored on the memory cards of phones and cameras enabling direct access and viewing in the comfort of your lounge, so you can impress friends and relatives with your Holiday/Wedding/Bar mitzfah photos without them all having to crowd round your lappy or iPad.
Hefting the case over (yes hefting, this case is well built), enables us to have a look at the underside. With four feet in total, Fractal have thoughtfully blinged up the front pair adding to the rack presence of the unit. The underside of the case is otherwise unblemished save for the numerous screw holes for motherboard mount screws. The observant amongst you will also not that there's no CPU cut out, but this isn't uncommon in an HTPC case. The top of the case is removed easily by means of 2 grub screws at the rear. The weight of the lid takes you somewhat by surprise until that is you see just how thick the layer of sound dampening material is.
The rear of the unit looks like you would expect the rear of any mid ATX tower to look, only turned on it's side. The PSU is mounted on the far right hand side alongside 7 vented expansion bay covers, each finished in a contrasting high gloss white. Over to the left we find the rear I/O area above which are located 2 grilled mounts for 80mm fans, although none are included, and should you wish to buy this case we don't recommend you rush out to buy any as 80mm fans tend not to offer the sort of low noise levels you'll be looking for in an HTPC case.