Fractal Design's Node enclosures ripe for the living room

Computex — We first met with Fractal Design at last year's Computex trade show, so it was only fitting that we visited the company again this year. It's a good thing we did, because Fractal has a new line of Node cases that look very slick.

The Node 304 is the more affordable of the two, with a suggested retail price of just $90. It's designed to house Mini-ITX systems with double-wide graphics cards up to 12.2" long. Squeezing in a card that long will require removing one of the three hanging drive cages. Each cage can accommodate two 3.5" or 2.5" drives, so there's plenty of storage capacity to go around. You'll have to make do without an optical drive, though.

To make the Node 304 fit for high-end rigs, Fractal has left enough room for CPU coolers as tall as 6.5". Standard ATX PSUs will fit inside the chassis, too, although larger models may limit the clearance for graphics cards.

Two 92-mm fans sit behind the case's aluminum front panel, and there's a 140-mm spinner at the rear. The fans are Fractal's new R2 models, which feature fluid bearings. Fractal's existing cases will be upgraded to the new fans, as well.

Looking for something larger? The Node 605 is compatible with full-sized ATX motherboards and PSUs. This more traditional home-theater PC case is lined with sound-dampening foam and should look good in the living room... just as soon as Fractal tweaks the front panel. Based on the feedback it's gotten during the show, the company has decided to move its logo to the lower right corner of the case's face. It sounds like the graphic will be smaller and subtler, as well. We approve.

The Node 605 is limited to four hard drives or SSDs, and it can only take graphics cards as long as 11". Cooler clearance is limited to 5.3", but there are a few perks. Behind a hinged door at the front lurks a media card reader and a slim optical bay. Front-panel FireWire connectivity is offered in addition to the usual USB 3.0 and audio ports. Dual 120-mm fans are also included. Expect the Node 605 to cost $160 when it arrives alongside the 604 in August.

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