What do you do in your living room/den? How many times do you find yourself leaving the comfort of your couch to go check your email/Facebook/etc? Or, how many times do you wish you could be playing your games on the 42” LCD you have in the living room, or doing your video creation on the big screen? Chances are, if you don’t have a fairly powerful PC in your entertainment center, this happens quite a bit.
The thing is, until recently, you have had to make sacrifices to get this done. Either the PC had to be underpowered to fit into an HTPC case that looked good in your entertainment center, or you had to live with a tower stuck somewhere that was probably in the way. Not only in the way, but exposed to the pets, kids, dust and whatever else came along. The HTPC market has been growing, and we are now seeing cases that can handle getting a powerful build installed. Air flow has improved with the space, and attention to getting the air flowing quietly has been put at the forefront. There still aren’t a lot of cases capable of all this around, but Fractal Design has definitely addressed the situation with the Node 605.
The Fractal Design Node 605 certainly sets itself apart from other HTPC cases on the market. The Fractal Design Node 605 comes in looking for all the world like a piece of ultra-high end audio equipment more so than a small form factor computer case, with a sleek black brushed aluminum face and soft touch power button. Of course, there is more going on with the Node 605 than what you see from the outside. Down at the bottom is a very discreet flip down door that houses front audio, two USB 3.0, Firewire and a built in card reader, all that you would hope for in an entertainment unit. While fitting in with your high end audio, the internals of the Node 605 can house some serious computer components, including a full sized ATX motherboard. Not to be sold short on cooling, the Node 605 comes equipped with two 120mm R2 fans with room for one more 120mm and two 80mm. A side mounted three speed fan controller takes care of the stock fans plus one more optional fan. Breaking the height barriers typically associated with HTPC builds, the Node 605 has clearance for CPU coolers up to 125mm tall. Four HDD can be installed in either 2.5” or 3.5”, as well as a slim ODD, if mATX or mini-ITX motherboards are used. GPUs are accommodated up to 280mm in length, but is restricted by your HDD setup. Fractal Design’s infamous noise reduction is used on the top panel to make the Node 605 as quiet as it is good looking.
Fractal Design Node 605 Overview Video Above
Fractal Design Node 605 Component Installation Video Above
|Graphics Card Compatibility||
All cases will be benchmarked under Idle and Load conditions. Room temperatures will be specified accordingly. Temperatures measured will be: CPU, GPU, and Hard Drive. All temperatures will be measured using the internal thermal sensors, unless otherwise specified.
The entire system will be placed under load by the OCCT program for 30 minutes and temperatures will be taken. They will then be compared to the temperature readings taken after one hour of system idle.
Room Temperature: 22C
Provided by: Fractal Design
No compensation was received for review of this product.
Price: $159.99 USD
With an expected price point of $159.99 USD, the Fractal Design Node 605 is in the Enthusiast category of HTPC Cases.
The Fractal Design Node 605 delivered outstanding performance in all regards for a case aimed at HTPC usage. Cooling was very good, all around, with excellent airflow to all components. Noise dampening worked very well, with fan noise almost imperceptible at any speed. Installation was unorthodox, but easy, with excellent room for all components. Like most HTPC cases, cable routing is basically non-existent, but there is a good amount of room to work with and get creative.
One of Fractal Design’s most noticeable traits has always been their minimalistic styling that has an absolute air of elegance. The Node 605 takes this to another level entirely. The outer cosmetics of the case, most noticeably the beautiful black brushed aluminum front panel, make it look far more at home with high end audio equipment than with most computer cases. This stands to reason, given that the Node 605 is aimed exclusively at HTPC use. The thing is, the Node 605 will look like far and away the highest end piece in most people’s entertainment centers…..
With the beauty comes functionality. The flip down front door (which has great dampening) reveals all of the I/O a multimedia center could ask for. The front audio, two USB 3.0 and card reader has a top end ring, while the addition of Firewire is a natural for those doing their own videos and edition. All are easily accessible, but still hide away nicely to keep the sleek, high end look.
For an HTPC case, the Node 605 is highly versatile. A full sized ATX fits without a problem and still leaves you with ample working room, while GPUs up to 280mm are supported. This, of course, is cut down a bit when adding more than two hard drives, but with today’s smaller cards, there is plenty of room to pack in some punch. With no MB tray, per se, there are very limited options for hiding your cables. There is enough free space in the case to keep them out of the airflow, however, which is the more important part of cable routing.
The layout of the Node 605 also supports CPU coolers up to 125mm, which is a huge plus. While most HTPC cases limit you to ~50mm, the Node 605 opens up a slew of cooling possibilities. The other benefit is that larger coolers typically can use slower fan speeds to produce less noise. The airflow inside of the Node 605 is excellent for an HTPC case, and the R2 fans are easily up to the task while staying very quiet, regardless of speed. The three speed case fan switch is conveniently located and provides an extra fan header should you decide to add a fan. As always, Fractal Designs noise dampening material does an excellent job on the Node 605, keeping the noises that go on inside the case almost imperceptible on the outside.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Node 605 in basically every aspect. It is hard to emphasize just how good looking the Node 605 is in an entertainment center, and how at home it is among higher end equipment. One look says “Hey, I am a $1500 mono-block amp”. Installation was easy, and the component options and cooling flexibility is unmatched by any other HTPC I have come across with similar size. The silent cooling of the Node 605 is a huge plus in an HTPC environment, and the ability to use larger coolers certainly helps the cause even further. The Node 605 also lays out everything you could possibly hope to use on the front I/O for great convenience, while keeping it hidden away behind a very discreet door. The Fractal Design Node 605 certainly makes a huge statement that it belongs in the upper echelon of HTPC cases, and backs it up with beautiful design, incredible functionality and component flexibility and cooling that bely its size.