The Exterior of the Fractal Design Node 202

Physically, the size and design of the Node 202 strongly resembles that of an old school VCR. It is a minimalistic design, made of straight lines and basic geometric shapes. It can be placed both horizontally, using the provided rubber feet, or vertically, using the provided plastic support frame.  Most of the case has been sprayed with a matte black paint that is highly resistant to fingerprints. The lower part of the Node 202 is the one exception to this; it's glossy and highly reflective, and hence will pick up fingerprints.

Measuring 8.2 cm tall, 37.7 cm wide and 33 cm deep (3.25 × 14.85 × 13 in), resulting to a volume of just 10.2 liters, the Node 202 is much smaller than any ITX gaming case that we have previously tested, such as the Cougar QBX (19.9 liters, 95% larger) and the Corsair 250D (28.2 liters, 177% larger).

At first sight, the Node 202 appears to be just another slim HTPC case that forbids the use of full size expansion cards, a design that effectively negates the installation of any high performance video card, making it useless to gamers. That however is not true, as the Node 202 can accommodate a full size video card up to 310 mm long, comfortably over the roughly 280mm average for high-end cards..

The I/O ports can be seen to the left of the simple faceplate. From left to right, we can see two 3.5 mm headphone jacks, two USB 3.0 ports and a rhomboid power button.

The rear of the Node 202 is interesting, as we cannot see a place for the PSU but only a receptacle, hinting that Fractal Design moved the PSU compartment to the front of the case. There are also two white expansion card slot covers. There are no slots for fans and no vents above the motherboard’s I/O panel.

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle The Interior of the Fractal Design Node 202
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  • bill.rookard - Monday, June 6, 2016 - link

    Agreed. I'd like to see a no-compromises SFF that uses a mATX board.
  • lmcd - Monday, June 6, 2016 - link

    Silverstone SG09 and SG10 are as close as you'll get I'd imagine. I have the SG09 and toted it from university and back for most of two years (before finally getting tired of it and ordering a Skull Canyon box).
  • Tikcus9666 - Monday, June 6, 2016 - link

    It is possible for HTPC use, an external optical drive could be added (not as neat as an internal) and there are plenty of 7200 rpm 2.5" HDD available, and SSHD drives, not to mention NAS
  • edzieba - Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - link

    A gTX 295?! No wonder the thing was cooking itself: compact cases - particularly ones without auxiliary ventilation fans - benefit greatly from rear-exhaust coolers, rather than ones that exhaust into the case itself.
  • Xajel - Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - link

    I wonder when will these companies build a home-theatre + home-server case in the same time... the smallest size which can fit 4~5 3.5" HDD's (maybe 4x 3.5" + hybrid 3.5" which can also fit 2x 2.5"), SFX PSU, miniITX, and a mid to entry-high end gpu... with a good looking design and good front panel connectivity ( including IR receiver )
  • AbRASiON - Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - link

    You can do so much more with the ITX form factor than this. I'm sure this appeals to some but I'd rather just see a smaller, neater, nicer, but still mildly roomy, Node 304. Think SUGO08 sized but with more features or something.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - link

    I don't think you realize that the Node 304 is a pretty large ITX case, so when you say "smaller ... Node 304", you're actually mistaken.

    Node 304 volume: 19.5 Liters
    Node 202 volume: 10.2 Liters

    It's literally almost twice as large as the Node 202 in volume.

    The Node 304 is neater, due to the additional space for cable management, very roomy as far as ITX cases go, and nicer due to the aluminum front panel.
  • AbRASiON - Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - link

    Sorry my post was poorly written. The Node 304 is obviously a larger case but it's a very very nice case which looks better and can fit more, yet it's stylish and relatively quiet.
    My SUGO08 however is smaller than the Node 304 and also vastly superior to this ugly and impractical looking Node 202. I have a 'normal' power supply, massive CPU cooler (considering case size) can take a full size GPU and 3 SSDs or 1xSSD and 2x3.5" HDD
    AND it's quiet
  • Haravikk - Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - link

    The height of this case is a bit disappointing; it doesn't seem like there would be much to lose by making it a little taller and thus able to accommodate more of the low-profile coolers, in fact, most of the good ones require 60-70mm so this seems like too much of a sacrifice. Placing this horizontally is never going to be a great option due to how easily you'll restrict airflow, so it makes a lot more sense to just put it vertically, in which case it doesn't matter much if it's a centimetre or two "taller" (wider in that orientation).

    Having to disassemble the case to remove the dust filters is likewise poor design; I can't imagine it would have take much to have them accessible via a slot and just pull them out, clean and slide back in.

    So I dunno, aesthetically it looks nice, and I like that the GPU is properly partitioned from the motherboard area, but I can't help but feel like the attention to detail on this is otherwise poor.
  • Scootiep7 - Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - link

    The lack of a spot for a slim drive simply kills 3/4's of miniITX cases. Like it or not, BluRay & even DVD's are still a large part of your average user's media library and most simply don't have the budget for dedicated NAS with the capacity for everything. Streaming services rarely have all of your favorite movies right when you want them. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Googles offerings on Youtube being poster child examples of a lackluster movie selection. Quite simply, if you want to beat the console market in the living room, find the friggan space for a slim optical drive. End rant.

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