Description

Greetings all. This is my first computer build ever. I got inspired by all the other builds on PCPartPicker and want to thank this site and the community for showing me the way. Watched a lot of YouTube, looked a lot on Amazon, and studied what I could to make a PC that was cool, clean, and quiet. My goals for my noob build were as follows:

Use: Everyday PC used for internet browsing, web development and programming, virtual machines, light gaming (currently Starcraft 2 on ultra), and graphics programs such as Adobe CS4 and AutoCAD.

Cool: Performance at cool temps. I am more than happy with the performance of this build and the temps it runs at. This box starts up fast with the SSD and 16GB of RAM. I would say under 20 seconds without timing it. Long gone are the days of >5 minute boot ups. I got to say that I will never go back to booting up on anything slower than an SSD. i5 is fast enough for me and I didn't feel the need to spend an extra $100 for the i7. Just personal preference.

Clean: Wanted ultra-clean design of system with attention to wire-management. I like the shape of the Fractal Node 804 case as it was just about the smallest case that would fit the Asus Strix GTX970. I actually bought the Corsair 250D but returned it in favor of the Node. I didn't try to use the 250D, but just felt it would be too tight or would not fit the Strix. Whether it does or not, I am not sure. I also like the way you can hide a lot of wires on the non-visible half of the box to keep the windowed side looking simple.

Quiet: I don't know what quiet is, but I think it's quiet enough for me. The power supply fan does not turn on, the video card fan does not turn on, I can set all the other fans to quiet mode most of the time and other modes/fan speeds when I do light gaming. Runs almost silent.

Quality and Value: You get what you paid for. I liked all the parts I chose and felt they were of the quality I desired. Everything worked out of the box and I had no problems with any defects or non-compatible parts. I felt all of these were good mid-range value products that could last me for a while and upgradable to a certain extent.

Size: I wanted a small form factor and a motherboard with built-in Bluetooth, WiFi, and decent audio. Even though the Node can fit a lot of HDDs, I don't think I'll ever use them. My motherboard does not support all the drive bays, but that was not a concern for me cause I don't need them anyways. I still have room to add 1 SSD and 2 HDDs if I want to in the future. I also have no need for SLI, hence the ITX board.

Colors: I like the blacked out look with accents of white and metal. Kept it simple.

Got Lucky: I was lucky I bought the HyperX low profile RAM. I didn't know it at the time, but if I bought a higher profile (height) set, I would not be able to fit it with the H100i top mounted. I would either have to move the cooler to front mount or return the RAM for lower profile ones. I got lucky it worked out as I did not research this.

Weight: The Strix GTX970 is a heavy card and will sag on your motherboard if configured horizontally. I was able to cable tie the power cables of the Strix to the rubber lines of the H100i. The H100i lines are thick and stiff so they can support the end weight of the Strix card. That's the only reason the Strix looks so horizontal and well supported. Worked out well. Otherwise, the end of the card would sag a lot and even more over time I would suppose.

Accessories: Happy with the Cherry MX brown mechanical keyboard, AudioTechnica A900X headphones, and the office chair with mesh back and memory foam seat. I like the fit of the A900X better than the M50X which I also own and use. It feels more comfortable so far because it doesn't squeeze my head as tight as the M50X. Both sound great.

Future: I may add more LED lights, additional drives, or change out some of the fans to LED fans. However, I am very satisfied and happy with the build as it is now. Maybe an RGB keyboard and mouse upgrade? Yeah, I think the mouse is next up. The Logitech mouse has lag when I play games. I would also love to get the LG 34UM95 monitor someday when the price comes down.

Sorry, I have no interest in benchmarks and maybe will explore overclocking later, but for now, enjoy the pics!


Update: 02/19/2015

Added 2 Corsair SP120 white LED fans to replace the stock Corsair H100i fans. It seems that these new fans are much more quiet than the stock H100i fans. Turns out that the RPMs on the LED fans are much lower than the stock H100i fans. The stock fans seem to cool much better, but the LED fans are definitely better looking.

Also added a Silverstone Tek Flexible 30cm LED 12-Inch Light Strip (LS01W). Mounted it on the backside of the H100i to act as backlighting and seems to have worked out nicely. I don't think there was any other practical place to mount this strip with the setup I had.

Overall, I like the appearance a lot more now and feel a 100% satisfied with the rig. Planning to add some Asus VN279QL 27-inch Full-HD LED-lit LCD monitors soon. New pics came out a lot clearer due to upgrading my phone from a Galaxy S4 to the Note 4.


Update: 03/12/2015

Added two Asus VN279QL 27-inch Full-HD LED-lit LCD monitors. Love the ultra-thin bezels and the real estate of the dual monitor setup. Will help in all activities including web development, CAD, and other work related activities. These monitor stands are the best I've ever used so far in terms of adjustability. Picture is very bright. If they make the same design in 1440p, I will be very tempted to switch when the price comes down.

Also added the Corsair Vengeance M95 mouse. It feels much better in terms of build quality than my Logitech M510 wireless mouse. The sensitivity and movement speed on the M95 is much higher and it will take some time for me to adjust it to find the right settings. Excited to see how the macros record and how the programmable keys work. A large, high quality mouse pad will definitely help anyone with one of these. The two just work really nice together. Now, I hope to see much faster response times while playing SC2. I was getting a lot of lag and delay with the wireless mouse.

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Comments

  • 62 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, love the gif.

  • 62 months ago
  • 2 points

I like how everything is squeezed together perfectly. +1

Maybe get a couple more LED fans to go on the radiator? I think a little more light would make the window display look better.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I totally agree and will update pics when I switch the H100i fans out in the near future. Any recommendations for strip LEDs?

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I saw this NZXT LED strip that looked really high quality (around $30, I think) but I think any LED strip will be fine as long as it's tucked out of sight behind the window. Your call.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

i have the blue rope light from them, its ok, but there are better

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I will check the NZXTs out. Thanks!

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Picked up some LED fans and LED strip per your suggestions and I think it looks a lot better. Added some new pics for everyone. Thanks for your input, Cheers!

[comment deleted]
  • 54 months ago
  • 2 points

I just picked up the Node 804 with the Optical Drive you have. How is the Silver Stone drive working for you, and did it come with all the needed accessories to hook it up? Thanks, and great build.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Excellent build! I too am looking to put a mITX board in the Node 804. This is the first time I've seen it utilized in an appropriate fashion. Good work!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I love the kinds of builds that are small, compact ,and are powerful. Grreat build m8

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

you wanted clean look, the entire room is following your theme. Nicely done :)

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree and am jealous!

DjB

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks all!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. You got all the parts to overclock, but choose not to. That's a shame. It's kinda like buying a sports car and not driving it fast.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I plan to bump things up in the future once I find the time to learn how. This sports car won't be in the garage for too long... :)

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the same mousepad and I have the same keyswitches on my G710+ (I'm using both right now. +1 for a great build.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I think the mouse pad is great and like the big size.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

That keyboard is pretty BA. Fine looking computer, too +1

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The keyboard was pricy, but I have come to enjoy the benefits of a mechanical keyboard and the color match to my system. The DAS has a metal top faceplate and a solid construction build. Feels like high quality compare to other plastic keyboards I have used in the past. Recommend a little wider (in both directions) wrist rest than the one I have shown in the pics. I think it increases my typing speed about 10-15% over a non-mechanical keyboard. Cherry MX brown switches by the way.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Love that case! great work!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build. IMO don't get an RGB keyboard, your Das is perfectly find and will last a great amount of time.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, will take your advice!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Does the card sag a lot? I don't really have anything in my case to support it? Are there lighter gtx 970's?

Great build though.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't know how other cards are, but I can offer some advice on the Asus Strix GTX970. This card is solid and heavy IMO. It comes with a metal backplate and many metal parts for the cooler. On my board, the unconnected end will sag down noticeably if not supported somehow. As a noob, I would be worried that the motherboard connector slot would somehow be damaged over time if not supported, but I don't know that for sure. Appearance wise, I could not handle the look of a sagging card and try to get perfection if possible. For other cards, you may have to look at spec weight and length to see how much sag may occur in your build. I have seen another build with a Node 804 and the Strix on this site where the owner supported the card from the bottom of the case with foam blocks of some sort. You can search and find it and see how it looks to you. That may be another solution to consider if it looks all right to you.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I'll do some research. Do you recommend the card then?

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I recommend the Strix and have no regrets about buying it. I looked at the other GTX970 cards when they first came out and originally wanted the EVGA ACX2.0 version and thought it looked nice. Then I realized it didn't come with a back plate and had a lot of complaints about coil whine and cheap materials. Also looked at the Gigabyte and MSI. I chose the Strix because of the value for the price and I liked the way it looked compare to the other two. It runs silent (fans don't spin) until you reach a certain temperature. I only play Starcraft 2 on ultra settings right now, but the Strix fans don't even turn on after I've been playing for an hour or two. I'm sure if you play more taxing games, they will turn on. I've had no coil whine issues so far. This card is well built, solid, silent, and good performance. Just check out all the reviews on Amazon. The only thing is that it is quite tall so make sure your case can fit it. It's one of the reasons I returned the Corsair 250D case. I didn't know if it would fit. Hope this helps.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm pretty sure mine will fit, its definetley not as 'tall' as my hyper 212 evo cooler! One final question, is it at all possible to tweak the 0db fan mode so that it turns on at a lower temp! Just curious, thanks.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I believe you can use Asus GPU Tweak software to do so, but I have not tested this out myself yet. Just search for this and you should find lots of resources out there who can give you expert advice.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

very nice

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks really cool. Nice man!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Like the build my friend! Question though, I am in the middle of building my first, and does the optical drive matter that much? I am thinking about getting the one you have but idk how fancy it has to be or anything! Any help or advice much appreciated!!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a slim optical drive because the Node 804 case does not fit a standard size drive. This case only fits a slim, slot-loading drive (no door). I think there are a handful of these out there and not that many to choose from. I wanted to spend less money on the drive, but these drives cost more than the standard ones (standard size with the door).

In researching what was out there, I think Silverstone was the only brand name I recognized so that's the one I ended up buying. $69 for an optical drive has not much value in it. I only used it to install Windows and a few other software which I have on disk only. It fit in this case great with no problems so if you have this case, I can say it's recommended and compatible. Also, if you have this case, you will find out that the only way to eject the disk is by software only. You can't access the physical eject button on the drive when installed in this case. That's the only negative hassle for use.

I don't have DVDs to watch so I can't tell you about the performance on that, but I have no doubt it will work fine. If you have a case which fits standard DVD drives, then you don't have to get the slim slot type. I think you can get an Asus DVD drive for $20-25 and should be fine. As things are already moving away from optical drives, their value diminishes over time. If you watch a ton of DVDs on your computer, investing in a good one may be good for that. But if you used it like me, it's better to get away with a base model which doesn't cost as much. Everything seems to be cloud based and streaming now. Hope this helps.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Build looks great! You might not see this but I'd still like so ask how much clearance you have with your GPU to the window? Asking because I have a GPU barely wider than yours and I'm eyeing this case.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Greetings and thanks! For my Strix 970 GPU, the part closest to the window is the silver pipe (see photos). The clearance from that to the window is approximately 1 inch. The Strix is on the taller side of cards, but it fits comfortably in the Node 804. No worries about the card hitting the window for me. Hope this helps. Good luck with your build.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

How good is the mouse? The m95 looks hella sexy and I am planning on buying on with my next build.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I got the mouse on sale for about $60 on Amazon. The quality of the mouse feels premium and solid. I don't think you can get another mouse with a better build quality. I think it looks and feels great also. However, I think the mouse is designed to the wrong proportions. I think I have average hand size and the mouse is a bit too big. My thumb cannot make contact with all the buttons effectively, although it fits perfectly in the blank thumb spot on the side. So the verdict is that it looks and feels great, but is basically unusable for what it was designed to do with my hand size.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build mate. +1

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks James!

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Good to see more people using the cube style case. Node 804s' rock! Nice build!!

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks Chief!

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice ly done. I like the small form factor. I have to use your video card sag mod on my rig lol! +1

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Rob!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Did the X61 not work out for this build? Also how loud did the stock fans on the AIO cooling get?

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

What is your desk? :)

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Beauty. Thanks for the pics with full desktop setup for scale. +1