The first thing to catch my eye on the Node 304 is how simple the design is. I love the slightly curved brushed aluminium front panel. Fractal kept the entire front completely clear other than their logo down in the bottom right corner. From the logo on over is a small slit that houses the power light and points you towards the power button and the USB 3.0 ports above it. Along with the USB ports you also have the headphone and microphone plugs as well. For ventilation on the front, the area between the curved front panel and the rest of the case on the top is meshed.
Both the left and right side panels also have mesh for ventilation but the mesh on the right side is limited to a small area for your power supply to pull in fresh air. The left side has a much larger mesh area that lines up with where you would mount your video card meaning most video cards will pull in cool fresh air to help keep temperatures under control.
Around back we can see the layout of the Node 304. The rear I/O panel is slightly centered with the power plug tucked in just to its left. There is a 140mm fan above the rear I/O panel that is set to exhaust meaning the case pulls its air in from the front and pushes all of the warm air out of the back. Just above the PCI slots there is a small switch that is actually a fan speed switch, its rare to see a small case like this include any sort of fan controller at all really. Considering the cases size I expect to keep it running on high most of the time, but its nice to have the option. Especially if you aren’t putting a high heat build into the case, why not keep the noise down even more. Keeping with their normal styling, Fractal has included white trim on the otherwise black Node 304. The two white PCI slot covers look great. Lastly, from here we can see how the case comes apart. We have four thumb screws holding on the “shell” that comes off all in one piece.
On the bottom of the Node 304 we can see where the power supply pulls in its fresh air. To keep things clean this intake does have an air filter that is easy to remove and clean if needed. The front of the case also has a little ventilation on the underside, but unlike the top they didn’t use any mesh. For feet we have small rectangle feet in each corner, they are all blacked out and blend into the case. I think the case would have looked amazing with a few round aluminum feet here, but in sticking with the clean and simple look I’m not shocked that Fractal went with this option.