Fractal Design Node 804 Build – Part 1: Hiss, Pop, Bang!

The date – August 12, 2021. The time – approx. 10 past 5 in the afternoon. A normal, run-of-the-mill Thursday is brutally interrupted with the sound, sight and smell no gamer ever wants to witness. First, a yellow glow that rapidly turns to a bright, burning white. Swiftly, the brilliant white light is replaced with a bloody great 2-inch flame, erupting from near the RAM slots of my motherboard. Alongside the pyrotechnics, is a hiss followed by a quiet pop as all goes dark in my Tower 900—only to be replaced with the acrid scent of burning PCB, hopes and dreams!

And that, readers, is the origin story of the Fractal Design Node 804 Build that you find yourself reading about here.

This is not a planned build, but the expiration of my Tower 900 build has presented an opportunity I have been craving for many months. I have always intended to rebuild my main system in the behemoth that is the Thermaltake Tower 900 chassis. It is a superb chassis for visually intricate builds, particularly when used for its intended purpose that is rigid tubed water-cooled systems.

This series of build logs isn’t about the Tower 900 though, so we will leave it at that with those images and look forward to the plans for that chassis in the near future. That project is going to be a big one and I’m thinking Christmas time for it—funnily enough, the same time that photo on the left was taken in 2019!

As you can see from the above image, I had to get a system back up and running very quickly. This rig is the heart of the UGP operation. I do everything on it from the day-to-day running of UGP through to the evening’s gaming sessions. I haven’t ever put a system together in the time I put this one together and, well, it shows. It’s a heap but it’s a running heap.

Enter The Fractal Design Node 804 Case

It’s at this juncture the aforementioned opportunity presented itself. Fractal Design very kindly sent us a few cases earlier this year. We’ve got the Node 804, Node 202, Meshify 2 and Define 7 to play with. There will be a Node 202 build log coming shortly as that is a very cool, micro-sized chassis. Meshify 2 and Define 7… not sure yet but there will no doubt be something going into those two—the Sapphire TOXIC RX 6900 XT is still in stock and might suddenly find itself “lost”. What you can be sure of, is a review of each in due course.

Fractal Design Node 804 Case
Fractal Design Node 804

So, Node 804—what is the plan? The plan is to transfer the 5600X, PNY XLR8 memory and plethora of Samsung SSDs from the Tower 900 to the Node 804. These will be mounted on an ASUS B550M-K motherboard and accompanied by a PNY XLR8 RTX 3070 GPU. Power will be provided via an MSI MPG A850GF power supply that has been, ahem, borrowed from one of the test benches. Case cooling and lighting will be taken care of by Corsair. CPU cooling will be taken care of by an Aerocool L120 AIO.

I’m keen to build in the Node 804. It’s an incredibly well-designed case on first inspection, with a tonne of really nice features. Fractal Design does an immense job of providing for water-cooling options which, in case you hadn’t noticed, I am a big fan of. It does make me wonder, just what could I squeeze into that tiny little chassis. For now though, it’ll be a more traditional 5600X with an AIO and air-cooled RTX 3070 that call the Node 804 home—for now anyway!

So, there’s the premise and scene set. Part 2 will be all about the planning of the build. Looking at where things are going, getting familiarised with the Node 804 and starting to put things together. Throughout the series, I will attempt to offer guidance and explanation to help if you’re new to the world of PC building.

I’m also looking forward to answering three questions I have in mind, that this build will allow me to answer:

  • How close is the performance between an RTX 3070 and an RTX 2080 Ti?
  • Do you need a super-fast CPU for 1440p, 100+ FPS gaming?
  • Does a £100 motherboard have any impact on FPS compared to a £400 motherboard?

All three questions will be answered comprehensively as this build takes shape and I can’t wait to see the results.