Description

Case: Originally I wanted to mod my old NES, but it was just too small to what we had in mind. I considered the Silverstone Raven RVZ02 but didn't care for the look. I also considered the Lian Li PC-O5X but it was larger than I wanted and full view window was too much for the family's liking. In the end, the Node 202 was just what the Dr ordered. It's sleek, small, and looks like it belongs in a TV entertainment center. Concerning the case orientation, most agree the best for heat dissipation is vertical in the provided stand. I like the horizontal position for aesthetics. To provide a bit more airflow, I put the stand under the case, which lifts it about 3 inches off the surface.

CPU: I went back and forth between I5 and I7. Heat, power consumption, OC possibilities, intended usage, future possible usage. I could have settled for an I5, but I suppose I just like nice things.

Motherboard: Early on I knew I wanted ZI70 over Z97. I have used ASUS motherboards exclusively since the mid-90's and this build is no exception. I did compare against ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI, but in the end none of the others wowed me enough to move away from ASUS.

RAM: Since RAM isn't all that expensive, I went ahead and maxed out the RAM. I needed low profile RAM and the Corsair Vengeance LPX line fits the bill nicely.

Storage: mSSD makes the most sense given the small case. I went back and forth between the 256 and the 512. In the end, I can add up to 2 additional SSDs if/when needed. For now, 256GB is more than enough for OS and a few games. We already have a NAS for big time storage items like movies, pics, and anime.

PSU: In my research, most Node 202 builds utilized the bundled 450W PSU or used the Silverstone 500W SFX-L PSU (which is slightly longer than standard SFX). I for sure wanted a modular PSU and didn't like the extra room the Silverstone took up. Corsair just released their line of SFX PSUs, so I figured I would give them a chance. Initially I had the 450W but later decided to upgrade to 600W since technically my video card says not to use a PSU under 500W.

CPU Cooler: Research, research, research... This case is a heat challenge for sure. I've been all over the place on this. Noctua L9i, Cryorig C7, Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B, Thermalright APX-100, Silverstone AR06... I was leaning strongly toward the APX-100, however, there are some compatibility issues with the ASUS motherboard I chose. The Prolimatech SAM-17 w/ Scythe fan concept came late in my research and seems to match the cooling profile I am looking for. Depending on the orientation of the cooler, the fan may interfere with two black clips on the case top for the dust filter (dust filter must be removed as well). I had to move the fan over a couple mm to fit and attached it via tie straps instead of the stock screws. I also put some rubber washers between the fan and the heat sink. If you are wanting max cooling power and don't care about noise, get the Scythe 2000 RPM fan. Otherwise, the 1200RPM works great and is much quieter. I will note that the Scythe is not a variable RPM fan. It's running at 100% or not at all. I would have preferred a fan with variable RPM, but given my heat sink choice, there just aren't any variable RPM fans at 12mm. I tried one of my case fans (15mm) but it was too tall.

GPU: The NVIDIA GTX 970 was always my target. For now, all the gaming will be at 1080p. A 980 would be overkill and be much more expensive. I had to add some rubber between the video card and the hard drive cage in the case to support the card's weight and prevent rubbing/vibration.

Case Fans: I considered no case fans since the video card fans would actively pull air in. However, I wanted some static pressure so went with the slim fans to not interfere with the video card. Using two fans means the video card support devices must be removed. Depending on the orientation of the case, a supplementary support like a rubber tube may be needed for the video card.

OS: I was hopeful that Windows 10 Pro 64bit would deliver... and It didn't. I have had many issues connecting Bluetooth devices, driver issues, and DirectX issues. There are some nice features for a HTPC on a TV, but so far its been more of a pain than anything else.

Keyboard: The Logitech K830 keyboard is great. The back-lit key are awesome for a darkened living room and TV watching. Its a solid keyboard and I recommend it for any type of non-desk keyboard situation.

Comments

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Got to love the node 202. Great build!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I might do one of these build myself +1

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

The Node 202 is awesome.

What are your CPU temps on idle and load? Not many people have the i7 6700K with the Node 202... I have a very similar build and am considering delidding to see if temps go lower.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

With the 1200 RPM fan, it idles between 32-33c. With the 2000 RPM fan it idles around 28-29c. I am not happy with the 1200 RPM as it just doesn't have enough air flow to cool things as they need to be. The 2000 RPM fan does a better job but it is loud. I am strongly considering trying some other heatsinks with variable speed fans to see if they can achieve the quietness I want when at idle or under low load and the cooling I need under heavy load.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

That's weird.. I'm idling at 40 C at stock settings with the Cryorig C7. I installed it without the backplate but it's stable with the washers on the back.

What is your idle CPU voltage?

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

One thing to remember, you may have a different cpu, also he has a 120MM heatsink, you have a 92mm.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I was looking at the same fan heatsink combination and I thought of going with the same company as the heatsink. They have a 15mm version that's pmw as well.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

If you got a quiet version I would be very interested in ! I have an AXP-100 and it is to loud IMO...

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, thanks for posting! I have pretty much the same setup and was looking for better cooling, I'll likely go for the same sink + the 2k rpm fan since I don't mind noise

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, nice build! Did you have any troubles installing Windows 10 to boot from the Samsung 950 Pro?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Nope, no issues with installing or booting on it.

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