My goal is is low noise and low volume. Something about a full size ATX board just bothers me. The sheer size of it and mass when I don't ever see myself needing more than what this here PC has. Micro ATX also seemed like a bad compromise. Not much compactness, but a lot of lost abilities of full size ATX. In order to achieve low noise I needed a case that could provide good compatibility with big GPUs and big CPU coolers along with providing pretty good airflow. I didn't want a big mini itx case though, since that kind of defeats the purpose.
The Node 304 seems to fit that bill. It can fit massive 2.5 slot GPUs and you can even put a huge dual tower cpu cooler in here if you cared to. Beyond that it provides relatively good airflow by having a front intake, that's mostly uninterrupted in my setup, and a large exhaust along with a dedicated GPU intake area.
Primary use is gaming with some non intensive software development (web apps and such).
This thing is dead silent on idle. Under load it's pretty quiet as well. Definitely not audible with my headphones on and any audio playing. One thing I've come to realize is that custom fan curves are what lowers the noise outputs the most. By default the GPU keeps itself pretty cool in the high 60s C, but it ramps the fans up to the mid 50%, which is very noticeable. My custom fan curve keeps the GPU at 80C, which means the boost clock still comes in, but the fan speeds are at 30% if that. Massive difference in noise.
I'll say Asus' RGB features are pretty cool. You can build an otherwise sleek and simple looking system that can be colored in fun ways. I don't really get to see them though. I'm hoping Fractal updates the Node 304 at some point (or creates an alternative) to not be so NAS build focused and come setup for SFX PSUs only, which should free up room for bigger intake fans and maybe have a top window option like the Corsair 250D.
Beyond that I've gone for simplicity. This is the reason behind the m.2 nvme ssds, no cables and clutter needed for storage as it's all on the board.
Very quiet, very ugly, very good cooling performance, very easy to install. That's pretty much it for all noctua coolers. I wish their fans weren't so ugly.
Best mini itx motherboard you can get now. Full of features and it has two m.2 pcie slots on the motherboard. Good looks and the aura underglow is pretty cool.
Note, the audio quality on this guy is not as good as the maximus viii impact. That one actually has a saber dac, like the rest of the modern maximus motherboards, which is actually a very good dac. This just has some cheap audio solution with Asus' software on top of it. I use an external dac/amp for my headphones, so not a huge issue, but if you're wanting to upgrade from a previous maximus board for added features and such, you'll get a very noticeable drop in audio quality from this.
Great ram. Good performance and compatibility with it being low profile. Good looks as well.
Amazing. The only question I have is whether I should've just gotten the 500GB one, but I think I'll be fine with this for os and core programs only.
Amazing. No need for storage outside the motherboard anymore with this. This means ability to remove sata data and power cables needed for traditional 2.5" SSDs. Only wish they made a 2TB of the EVO series. The PRO is far too expensive for my needs.
Best SFX PSU for a full mini itx build out there, except for the cables. These cables are terrible. They're super stiff and very inflexible. That's the one part that silverstone has corsair beat. Their short cables are very flexible and much more manageable. If you're building with this I strongly suggest a custom cable kit from cable mods or similar. In general custom cables help a lot more in small form factor builds anyway.
This PSU also does not come with an ATX bracket and Corsair's bracket that you can buy is not ideal as it leaves the PSU floating mid air. Silverstone's ATX bracket is much better as it leaves it flush with the floor of your case.
Expensive, but needed if building in a case that normally is ATX PSU only. This also leaves your PSU flush with the bottom of your case, unlike Corsair's adapter.