The underside of the case also has a removable air filter that can easily be removed, cleaned and slotted back into place.
To get to the inside of the case you have to remove four screws and then slide the top off.
Inside you have access to that rear fan, plus all the cables and connectors for connecting to the motherboard.
There are three removable drive bays, but unlike previous Fractal Design cases to remove these does require a screwdriver. Fitting a drive into the bay is simple though.
There is also a switch on the rear of the case that controls the main fan speed. The options are High, Medium and Low. This makes it a lot easier to change the fan settings without having to open the case and fiddle around inside.
The Node 304 case is yet another great product from from Fractal Design. You can easily see how much time and effort has gone into designing and building it. This is actually the case (no pun intended) with every single Fractal Design product.
The ability to clean the dust out of certain parts of the case without the need to dismantle the case is a really good idea as well – this again seems to be the norm for some of the Fractal cases.
The Node 304 case only comes in the one colour – but it is a good colour to have.
Opening the case was simple and only involved using my fingers to turn some screws (although you may need a screwdriver depending on how tight they are done up). As mentioned in the review you do need a screwdriver to remove one of screws holding the drive bays in place.
There is space for 6 hard drives, depending on how you want to load up your Node.
Fitting a Mini ITX motherboard was relatively straightforward – although there is very little room to move around in there so take your time.
Having 2 USB ports on the side of the case make it very easy to use.
One thing you cant do with this case is have an optical drive – there just isn’t anywhere to put one. I was a little surprised by that considering Fractal say one of the uses for the Node 304 is as an HTPC. Now ok, you may not want your HTPC to have an optical drive, but there will be people who do want that!
You can fit most large graphics cards into the case, although it does get a bit of a tight squeeze.
You could also use this case as a file server, and media server or even as a desktop computer if you want, the choice is yours. As I mentioned, the main selling point is to use it as an HTPC, which depending on where you plan on putting it will either blend in perfectly, or look a little took big. Fortunately for me its the former rather than the latter.
Obviously if you do plan on using it as an HTPC you would want it to be quiet, and this is certainly an area where the Node 304 excels. On a low fan setting you cannot here anything, on medium there is a very small amount of sound if you press your ear up against it, and even on high you have to be very close to the case to hear anything, so when you are watching a movie you are unlikely to hear anything.
Price wise, you can pick up the Node 304 for around £85.
When scoring this review I was a little torn between giving it the 5/5 Gold Award (which it has) or a 4/5 Silver Award. The area’s that made me think 4/5 were the lack of optical bay, the need for a screwdriver this time, and the tight space inside the case, but what finally made me score 5/5 was that at the end of the day it really doesn’t make a huge difference, and if the optical drive is important to you then there are other cases you can choose.
And I seem to say this every time I review something from Fractal Design, but great job – you have yet another winner on your hands.Learn more from the Fractal Design website