Gaming consoles may not be as versatile as PCs, but one of their greatest advantages is their size and design. PCs on the other hand may be versatile and powerful multimedia and gaming machines, yet their insertion into elegant living rooms can be problematic. Large systems and tower cases are a major visual dissonance in a living room, whereas consoles were designed with that specific purpose in mind.

Motherboard manufacturers have been trying to combat this issue by creating highly advanced and fully featured Mini ITX motherboards specifically designed to be the heart of powerful gaming systems. Recent energy efficient CPUs also reduced their cooling requirements, allowing the use of smaller and quieter coolers. Still, most of the ITX cases that became available were not nearly as small as a console, as manufacturers had to compensate for the width of expansion cards and the size of optical drives. However with their newest Mini-ITX design, the Node 202, Fractal Design is looking to change this, producing a bare-minimum sized case specifically designed for building a gaming PC.

Introduction

Fractal Design is a well-known Swedish designer of PC cases. Most of their ITX designs are not an exception to the aforementioned rule, sacrificing volume for component compatibility and performance. However the company wanted us to take a look at their smallest ITX case, the Node 202. It is a slim case that physically resembles many other designs that were created for HTPC use, but, despite its very narrow chassis, the Node 202 can hold a full size video card, allowing the creation of very small but powerful gaming systems.

Fractal Design Node 202
Motherboard Size Mini ITX
Drive Bays External -
Internal 2 × 2.5"
Cooling Front -
Rear -
Top -
HDD -
Bottom 2 × 120 mm (optional)
Radiator Support Front -
Rear -
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
I/O Port 2× USB 3.0, 0× USB 2.0, 1× Headphone, 1× Mic
Power Supply Size SFX
Clearances HSF 56 mm
PSU 130 mm
GPU 310 mm
Dimensions 82 mm × 377 mm × 330 mm
3.23 in × 14.84 in × 12.99 in
Prominent Features · Featuring a sleek and elegant design that will fit in any space or room
· Extremely small footprint with a volume of only 10.2 liters
· A highly versatile case that can be set up both vertically and horizontally
· Supports Mini-ITX motherboards, SFX power supplies and graphics cards up to 310mm in length
· Provides a smart thermal interior design highlighting separate motherboard and graphics card chambers
· Strategically placed air filters for a dust free interior
Price $86

Packaging & Bundle

Fractal Design supplies the Node 202 into a simple, sturdy cardboard box. The monochromic artwork is based on schematics of the case itself, with some details on its features and specifications printed on the sides of the box. Inside the box, the case is well protected between two thick Styrofoam pieces and wrapped inside a nylon bag.

Black mounting hardware and a few cable ties are the core of every case’s bundle nowadays. Fractal design also supplies four rubber feet for the case and a PCI Express riser card. The manual is very detailed and well written. 

The Exterior of the Fractal Design Node 202
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  • ES_Revenge - Friday, June 17, 2016 - link

    Sooo....basically the same layout as an RVZ-01E but with more elegant looks (flat surfaces, wrapped corners). Gotcha. Good news is it doesn't look like every other Fractal Design case out there, lol. Reply
  • rburnham - Friday, January 13, 2017 - link

    This seems like a less gaudy version of Alienware's R3 line of PCs if you stand it up vertically. This is exactly what I need in a gaming PC. Enough room for only what I need.

    By the way, in the Testing segment of the article, there is a sentence that reads "However digging deeper, it's clear that the is designed to assist the cooling systems of the installed devices..." There's a word missing there.
    Reply
  • Mark Davis - Monday, December 25, 2017 - link

    Hey man, first of all, I need to thank you for this amazing review of Node 202. I enjoyed the whole time reading about this case. It is the very nice case, but I think it isn't the best in this market.

    Design of Node 202 is amazing in my opinion. I really love the clean and simple design, colored in matte black. It looks more like a console than like a PC. However, I saw some pretty powerful gaming rigs inside this bad boy. But, as you mentioned in the review, it is more for casual gaming PCs that stands in the living room.

    I love the fact that you can position the case both horizontal and vertical. It makes a fitting job a lot easier, but I think that logo looks a little weird when the case is positioned vertically. However, I am probably the only guy that cares about that. I also saw guys that put PC in this case right next to PS4. It looks so cool, trust me!

    I think inside of the case is also pretty nice. It has enough space for decent size components. I built gaming PC in small cases a couple of times, and I can say that it is a complitely new experience. It is very different, and I recommend to everyone to try it out.

    I love mini ITX cases because they are also easy to transport, and I can easily travel with them from one place to another. I had a couple friends that loved LAN parties, so they also needed small PCs in most cases.

    All in all, I love your review, and I think you mentioned everything about this case. This was all I needed to learn about Node 202. I will definitely read other reviews on your website and hopefully learn something new.

    I also wanted to share my own blog where I talk about technology. I have article around similar topic, but I talked about many mini ITX cases. If you have a couple minutes, I would like to have your feedback.

    You can find it here: https://safetygaming.com/best-mini-itx-cases/

    All the best!
    Reply
  • hmazuji - Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - link

    my experience with the node 202:
    first off, this is for the developers, for fractal design, not intended to put off the enthusiastic apprentice from pursuing their goal:
    i am building a asrock b450 itx. 1. this case will not host the amd 1700/2700 processor with non-optional heatstock fan & block. i ended up having to order a smaller footprint fan, but managed to salvage the heatsink block. please redesign the case to accommodate the amd line of processors. 2. the cable management of this case is horrid. i mean to say, it is abysmal. used a modular seasonic platinum power supply that i had to cut and splice to eliminate the extra yardage. to make this case work, fractal design needs to include such a power supply but with proprietary cables made for this case. for example, the power cables to the motherboard need to be streamlined to eliminate every single inch of overage. this case needs its own, and should ship with its own cables. 3. don't make the power supply optional. placing a seasonic in this case was a feat of engineering instead of plug and chug
    my build is up and running, it just could have been a lot easier. i would recommend the fractal design define s over the node 202, but there it is the exact opposite. my node s build looks like an empty box with plenty of room for a dvd/blue rw drive, so i wasn't able to port my optical drive from my old system, even though it would have been useful, for example, watching movies, or installing windows 7, because windows 7 out of the box does not support usb 3
    Reply

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