To get our Mini ITX test rig into the Node 304 I started off with installing our power supply. Our In Win power supply falls just at the maximum length of 160mm that is recommended on the Node 304 but I had no problems getting it in with what seemed to be plenty of room when I was finished. Next in was the motherboard, getting this after already installing the power supply did require a little work, the top support bar that holds the hard drive trays didn’t help things at all but in the end it went in smoothly.
Next in was the Nvidia GTX 780, at 10.5 inches long I was very happy to see that it went in. I did notice a problem with our power supply at this time though. If you are going to push the PSU length to the limit I would recommend going with a non-modular design so you don’t have this issue. As you can see the length of the card limited how many cables I could hook up. Officially I wasn’t able to hook up a few of the cables I would need once you total in the 24 and 8 pins, a Molex for the fans, a SATA for an SSD, and two cables for the video card. On the plus side, going with a shorter card or video card should fix that or if you must you can skip the modular design and all of the cables will come out at the end out of the way of the card. Along with this accommodation, you will need to remove at least one hard drive cage to run a video card. Of course if you are looking for more of a storage device you can run with a small video card or no card at all and have all six drive bays.
All black screws are included for the Node 304 along with three zip ties. I feel like they could have included a few more zip tires and as I mentioned before I wish they would have installed the motherboard standoffs beforehand or built them into the case.
Wiring the Node 304 was simple, not because of a creative wire management design, but simply because there isn’t any way to hide your wiring so you just go for it. It’s going to be important for air flow reasons to try to keep the wiring as clean as possible, but there isn’t a motherboard tray to hide everything behind like on a traditional case.
With everything together, how did it all perform? Well considering the amount of heat that the GTX 780 can create I was impressed with what the two 99mm fans paired up with the 140mm were able to do. As for noise performance, it isn’t to the same level that some Fractal cases are with their sound deadening all over the inside but it wasn’t too bad at all. When compared to larger cases with the potential for better air flow and more sound deadening options the Node 304 would fall into average, but considering the limitations that its size causes I would say its performance was well above average. I could completely see this being my LAN rig, picking it up and heading to events would be easy and it wouldn’t break your back. My only real concern would be damaging its great white finish.