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Thread: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review, Updated 01/09

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    Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review, Updated 01/09

    I won a Hexus forum competition! Courtesy of Hexus and Fractal Design I now have Fractal D's Node 804 chassis and Kelvin S24 AIO cooler to play with!

    EDIT: Check out EggenMcBerg's review on post #9 too!



    The Node 804 was reviewed by Hexus here:
    http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/chassi...sign-node-804/

    And the Kelkvn S24 Hexus review here:
    http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/coolin...gn-kelvin-s24/

    As I'm due for an upgrade and new hardware releases are looming, this build will happen in two phases.

    Phase 1; I transfer my current kit into the Node 804, I'll swap my ATX board for a microATX board and replace the CPU air cooler with the S24. Note, that as I'm expecting to upgrade soon, I've not done a tidy job and haven't taken many photos, not much to show off, yet.

    Phase 2; The unknown... In the coming months or weeks, I will be upgrading the GPU and possibly the CPU. I'll also upgrade or replace the S24 to accommodate the GPU. I'm thinking 2x 240 rads to occupy the four fan places on the cases' roof.

    On to the reviews;

    Mini Review – Fractal Design Kelvin S24

    I have to mention this review is based on what I want from a cooling system, which is near silence. Unfortunately in this respect, the S24 is about as good if not worse than a mid-range air cooler. Also, please excuse the lack of photos, I forgot to take pics of the S24 before I installed it .

    The pump is loud at 12v, it's not just the volume that gets me but also the flat ticky whirring noise. The pump is rated down to 7v, but even at that voltage the distinctive pump noise though significantly quietened still stands out. FYI, the pump stalls at around 6v.

    The fans, like the pump are also loud; there are two components to the noise, the (expected) noise of the airflow and a slight clicky noise that comes though down at about 9v where the noise of airflow diminishes. Reducing the fans down to 7v kills the clicky noise but is replaced by a quiter dull grindy noise. The fans are rated for 9-12v, they'll run at 5v but won't spin up until about 8v. There's a sweet spot for the fans at about 7.2v where both the clicky and grindy noises are at their lowest.

    Running the S24 pump and fans at 7.2V does a good job of keeping the volume down but the grindy, clicky, grindy noises remain and performance suffers, massively. My 2500k @ 4.2GHz stock volts loads at 63°C which is what my CoolerMaster 412S air cooler managed but more quietly without the annoying noises.

    There are a few other niggles that I want to mention too;
    • The fan and radiator bolts have allen heads, why not a regular Phillips head?
    • The CPU block mounting is a three handed job; one hand to hold the block still, another hand to hold the rear mounting plate in position and another hand to tighten the mounting bolts,
    • The radiator has some bent fins and paint globs,
    • The pipe elbows protrude quite far out of the CPU block, the block won't fit logo up so I had to mount the block elbows down,


    Now on to the good bits;

    • On full pelt, the S24 achieves a load temp below 50°C – which is really good,
    • The instructions are very well done, nicely laid out, fantastic diagrams and all lots of relevant data included,
    • Although I said the fitting was a bit fiddly, it's still simple and dead easy to understand,
    • Works well with the Node 804, the hoses are just about the right length


    In summary, from my perspective, I wouldn't recommend the S24 to anyone wanting a quiet CPU cooler. 7v is the lowest voltage the lot will run at but even then it still isn't what I consider truly quiet. At that level, the cooling performance is equal or even worse than an inexpensive air cooler such as the CM 412S I had installed previously.

    Mini Review – Fractal Design Node 804

    I have nicer things to say about the Node 804 case, but there are still one or two minor things that fall foul of my pursuit of near silence. Also, I have to say I'm not a fan of cube style cases but as I've got one here and promised to write a review, I'll play along.

    I really like the styling of the case; minimal, understated, sorta-classy... Even though I dislike cube cases, I'm quite happy with the size, in fact it was smaller than I'd expected considering its capabilities; full size micro ATX, long graphics cards, dual compartments and space for four 240mm water-cooling radiators?!

    It's generally easy to work in too, there are holes everywhere to pass cables in and out from. The side and top panels are independently removable each secured with a pair of thumbscrews. The front panel simply pulls forward and out. Dust filters are made of plastic netting and are panelised; they are fitted in to slots and are easily removed for cleaning. Except, the roof dust filter which is my main complaint...

    The roof filter is a large sheet of foam, it's like the stuff used for microphone pop filters. It's different to the plastic netting used everywhere else in the case for dust filtering which doesn't impede airflow nearly as much. I thought the foam filter was too restrictive and since I intended to mount the fans blowing up and outwards keeping dust out anyway, I decided to remove the air filter.

    Removing the roof filter meant first removing of the metal mesh that is held in place with a number of folded mesh tabs. These tabs break easily and I've broken three, bending them back in to place after I've removed the air filter. The roof mesh also hums, before and after removing the dust filter; I've reduced the humming somewhat by jamming bits of foam between the mesh and plastic grill to dampen the noise. It's still there but there but hardly noticeable.




    Other little bits that could do with improvement;

    • The fan speed, switch, distributor thing on the back of the chassis has shrouded 3 pin fan connectors which prevents the use of 4 pin fans, though one could easily cut part of the shroud off to accommodate 4 pin connectors,
    • Still on the fan speed switch, the trailing cables are too short. They barely make it in to the other compartment and the connectors block up the small port between the two compartments, especially if a WC radiator is installed,
    • About that particular port between the right and left compartments at the top of the motherboard, it's too small and it's a struggle getting the motherboard 12v power cable through and that's before it's clogged up with all the fan cables and connectors,
    • The front lights, switches and connectors are attached to the front panel. In order to remove the front panel, one would have to disconnect and pull out all the FP cables though the chassis. I don't bother with cable tidying but I can imagine it would be soul destroying having to undo a neat cable job just to get the front panel off. It would have been nice for the FP board to be mounted on the chassis so the front panel can be removed without pulling out all the cables.
    • The front panel doesn't fit as snugly as I think it should do, I suspect it's the bundle of cables for the front switches and lights etc which are pushing the panel out slightly. Another reason to have FP board fitted on the chassis.
    • The riveting job is a bit dodgy in places, in that the bit that expands on the inside of the case protrudes quite far in some places, e.g. there are two pokey-outie rivets by the expansion slots that encroach on the edge of expansions cards, I had to rock the graphics card in to get it past the rivet.
    • Only four small cable ties included? Not that I bother
    • The front panel audio cable is too short, it's long enough to make the connector on the motherboard but there's not enough slack, it's too short to be hidden away or neatly tied to the chassis.
    • Why have the front ports and optical drive slot on the opposite side of the case to the window? My desk/lab/battle-station is fairly big, but yet I still have to choose between being able to see though the window or to have access to the button/ports.





    Bits that I like;

    • Side panels fit well, they don't snag and seat snugly,
    • Chassis is very rigid, even without the side panels fitted,
    • The feet are soft and grippy, a fair bit of contact area, does a fair job in acoustically decoupling the case,
    • Dust filters (except for the roof) are easy to remove and clean,
    • The three included Silent Series R2 120mm fans run fairly well at 7v and are reasonably quiet, at 5v they're practically silent while retaining a useable amount of airflow,
    • A decent amount of screws and bolts included,


    In summary, it's alright I guess... Like I said it's not my kind of case. Though I give it high marks in terms of what I'd expect for its current retail price.




    General stuff I did;

    - Swapped my Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 ATX board with an ASRock Z77M micro ATX board, kept the same Windows install which after a few driver updates and restarts works a treat

    - Covered up the left compartment's roof fan slots with cardboard, for now, to allow the cool air drawn in by the front fans to reach the MB and GPU. Probably will be replaced with 240mm WC rad eventually.

    - I experimented covering up the right rear compartments fan slot, didn't make a difference so left uncovered. You can see this in some pictures.

    - Replaced the two Fractal D' "Silent Series HP" radiator fans of the S24 with two Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fans, a personal favourite, which at 7v are actually quiet. And what a difference it makes, not only are the fans quieter, the CPU fully loaded has gone down from 63°C to 60°C. Now the only thing I can hear is the S24 pump.

    - Moved fans around, replaced the right compartment rear fan with a S-Flex SFF21D because I think does a better job of pushing air past the grill. Fitted two Silent Series R2 fans to the front of the right compartment. May install fans in the front left compartment but will need fan grills as there is a mess of cables back there.

    - Installed parallel port header cable for my HD44780 LCD display, saves having to use something to interface an HD44780 via USB. The header cable was pulled from my Pentium MMX machine way back!



    So thank you Hexus and Fractal Design for the free toys

    Oh, and a teaser of things to come;

    Last edited by DDY; 01-09-2015 at 08:17 PM.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Haha bud, knew your review was coming, nice and informative as always!

    Look forward to the upgrades and some more photos.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by UseItNow View Post
    Haha bud, knew your review was coming, nice and informative as always!

    Look forward to the upgrades and some more photos.
    Ditto! Nice one.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    I'd definitely echo the front panel connector comments, and would add another point that I don't think is ideal - if you were to mount 2 SSD's on the back of the front panel that's even more wires going through to the system (and more faffing about removing cables) just to take the front off. That said, I really like my 804.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Mines turned up, in the middle of stripping and moving over to the new case.



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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Apex View Post
    Mines turned up, in the middle of stripping and moving over to the new case.
    Ditto!

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    Ditto!
    Also ditto, on the Fractal hardware. Awaiting arrival of contents of new build.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    mine also arrived earlier this week, too busy with final year project so cannot afford to let have pc downtime so will have a review up at the beginning of may .

    Case does look nice though, I currently have a bitfenix prodigy and this looks every better!
    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Trust me, go into any local club and shout "I've got dual Nehalem Xeons" and all of the girls will practically collapse on the spot at the thought of your e-penis

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Before I start – a big THANKS to Hexus & Fractal Design for the competition that has led me to owning 2 tasty bits of kit and also led me to be subjecting you – the reader – to my ramblings.

    Right then; a double first.

    First first – I won a competition. Well I'll be damned!

    Second first – I write a review on the Fractal Design items I won.

    A caveat: I'm not going to add any pictures to the reviews. There's plenty photographs of the two items I've won on the web - shot by pro's, lighted by pro's, composed by pro's – to illustrate what I'm reviewing without my cack-handed efforts being held up for derision then included in the “Inept Photographer of the Year 2015” shortlist. Also, DDY's done all the work for me

    My system:

    CPU – Intel Core i5-3570K, sitting at a very conservative & safe OC of 4182 MHz (41 x 102)
    GPU - Asus GTX 760 DirectCU II (2 GB)
    RAM – 16GB Mushkin DDR3 1333MHz
    Mobo - Asus P8Z77-V LX2
    Main HD – Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD
    Case – Corsair Graphite 600T (with mesh side – more on this later)

    So here goes......

    The Fractal Design Kelvin S24.

    I already have (or had) a CPU cooler by way of a Corsair Hydro Series H60 and it did the job just fine. Prior to installing the Kelvin S24 I thought I'd better get a bit of empirical evidence in place in order to make this review a comparative one. So, I sacrificed 24 hours of PC usage (suffering in the name of research) and let prime95 (with Real Temp monitoring) do its thang.

    At the end of the 24 hours the temps with the H60 were as follows:

    Idle.

    Core 1: 22º
    Core 2: 23º
    Core 3: 26º
    Core 4: 21º

    Load.

    Core 1: 66º
    Core 2: 73º
    Core 3: 71º
    Core 4: 71º

    “Righty!” sez I, “Let's see what this Kelvin can do!” and I set about the onerous task of cleaning my CPU of all that thick, grey thermal compound pre-applied to my H60 (I remember when I initially installed it that the slab of compound Corsair pre-applied resembled a thick slice of some rather unappealing cheese). So, with a nice clean chip back in my mobo, I applied the thermal paste Fractal bundled in with the S24 and set about installing the cooler.

    That done it was time to assemble all the bits & bobs from the S24's box of tricks together – really quite easy, no dramas here. Installation wasn't as easy a task as it was with my H60 given that the bolts provided to secure the cooling plate/waterblock to the mobo are hex types (this has been discussed here http://www.******.net/articles_pages..._review,5.html) but being a shotgun-nut (real guns, not digital ones) I have a rather spiffing array of gunsmithing tools to hand, among which is a set of long shafted (ooer!) Allen/hex keys. Popped the side off my case to get access to the back of the mobo; 5 minutes of careful tightening and boosh! Job's a goodun'!

    My case has a rather beefy top exhaust fan in place which I was loathe to sacrifice in order to mount the reservoir & twin (funky white blade) cooling fans so it was an easy task to mount these 3 components to the mesh at the side of my case – really easy! A-bairn-with-a-biscuit-for-a-head-could-do-it easy.

    Everything's been in place and running (quietly) with no major stress applied to the CPU for the past 9 days (PC constantly on): yesterday I decided it was time for a bit of hot luvv in the form of prime95 again. I immediately noticed that the pump/fans are so much more quiet than those of my H60 (when prime95 kicked in you could hear the H60 working like a navvy to keep things cool), however, with the S24, although it's still pumping & the fans are turning, it's far less noticeable both audibly & palpably than the H60. No dB numbers to dazzle you with I'm afraid but take my word for it – it's quiet. Granted, there's a bigger reservoir/more liquid going round the closed circuit and there's 2 fans instead of 1 but the difference is there.

    Now, the moment you've all been waiting for – how does it compare to the H60 temps-wise? Real Temp gives the following numbers with the S24:

    Idle.

    Core 1: 19º
    Core 2: 20º
    Core 3: 21º
    Core 4: 20º

    Load.

    Core 1: 62º
    Core 2: 66º
    Core 3: 66º
    Core 4: 67º

    To me, those are really encouraging numbers, so much so that I'm going to fiddle about with the BIOS and get that chip running a bit less conservatively than I have it running at present.

    So, pro's & con's to finish this section off:

    Pro's:

    It's solid build quality feels bomb proof – lots of nicely engineered knurled bits
    It's modular so I can add water-blocks to RAM, GPU should I ever get the mad urge (and also should I ever get a GPU that will accept a waterblock which – to my knowledge – my GTX 760 DirectCU II will not but hey! She's a fading starlet of the mid-range chorus line so I'm not going to bother trying to tart the old girl up...)
    It's quieter than my H60.
    It runs my CPU cooler than my H60
    Those white fans are sexy
    It was a doddle to install
    It was free!

    Con's:

    The hex-type bracket/water-block securing screws and that's me being a right picky Alan B'Stard.

    Overall it gets the Eggenberg seal of approval and my wee girl's well chuffed with the H60 sitting on her Q6600 G0. Daddy the Good Egg!

    Stay tuned for the next review (a WIP): The Fractal Design Node 804 Micro ATX case...... which will be a “My impressions of a case I haven't bought the components for yet” type of “review”.

    p.s. I've run posting this in here by DDY and he's cool with it - cheers mate.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    I think they would like it if we posted them in the Reader Reviews section

    http://forums.hexus.net/reader-reviews/




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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    I considered posting this thread there but I decided GH would be a better place for it.

    At least for me, I wanted to mix in the review with a build log, I've got a larger watercooling cooling loop on the way which I'll be installing once pick a new GPU.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Apex View Post
    I think they would like it if we posted them in the Reader Reviews section

    http://forums.hexus.net/reader-reviews/

    I initially considered doing that Apex but there's no Post New Thread facility available to me in that section and a PM inquiring where the review should go wasn't answered so I piggy-backed DDY's.

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    .OOps double post
    Last edited by jimborae; 16-04-2015 at 10:27 PM. Reason: double post

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Also ditto, on the Fractal hardware. Awaiting arrival of contents of new build.
    Hmmmm, aren't Mods barred from entering Hexus comps? And they should certainly be barred from winning!

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    Hmmmm, aren't Mods barred from entering Hexus comps? And they should certainly be barred from winning!
    Why? Because, as UNPAID volunteers helping to run this place, we don't deserve the same chance to win as any other members?

    HEXUS Staff are, IIRC, excluded. Mods aren't staff, except for a few that are both. And having been entering competitions for over 10 years, it's the first win.

    But if the powers that be aren't happy, all they have to do is say so.

    So, why should mods be banned from winning? Do we, that spend hours every week, if not every day, helping to run this place deserve to be punished for it? What's your logic?

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    Re: Fractal Design, Node 804 Chassis & Kelvin S24 Cooler Build/Mini-Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Why? Because, as UNPAID volunteers helping to run this place, we don't deserve the same chance to win as any other members?

    HEXUS Staff are, IIRC, excluded. Mods aren't staff, except for a few that are both. And having been entering competitions for over 10 years, it's the first win.

    But if the powers that be aren't happy, all they have to do is say so.

    So, why should mods be banned from winning? Do we, that spend hours every week, if not every day, helping to run this place deserve to be punished for it? What's your logic?
    Saracen, apologies mate it was intended as a bit of light hearted humour/banter between fellow competition winners and not a serious comment as I think you've taken it. No Hexus member deserves to win more than you for the years of outstanding service you've given, so if you feel my post comes across as offensive and not as I meant it please delete it. Apologies once again.
    Last edited by jimborae; 17-04-2015 at 08:10 AM.

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