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SFF Gaming PC (Fractal Node 202)

by mellowz



Date Published

Jan. 9, 2017

CPU Clock Rate


GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate



Decided to build to this PC for gaming in my lounge room and occasionally taking it to a friends place.

Being my first time building into such a small case I knew I had to be very selective on the parts I bought.

I'll just highlight why I selected some of the parts:

  • MSI GTX 1070 FE: Considering I'm be connecting this PC to a 4K TV I felt the 1070 was the minimum card to use and in a SFF case the best type of cooler would be blower style to help exhaust the heat from inside the case. (Ideally I would of preferred a 1080 FE but that was out of my budget for this build)

  • Scythe BIG Shuriken CPU Cooler: After doing some research I believe this is the biggest air cooler that will fit in the case without having to modify anything. I plan on doing some slight OC so I needed the best cooling I can get without diving into water cooling.

  • Fractal Node 202: I was choosing between this case and the Silverstone RVZ/ML08 with a Handle. I preferred the ML08 because of the carry handle and it was slightly cheaper but the main reason why I decided the Node 202 was because of the additional support for 2x case fans and its a nicer looking case IMO.

  • Corsair ML120: A compromise between air flow and static pressure fans. (Was also considering Noctua fans)

Overall quite a fun build. It wasn't too difficult to build in this case but some order of fitting the cables and parts had to be considered. I also enjoyed the process of selecting the parts that would work in this case.

NOTE to anyone building in this case: Try to fit the GPU riser card before fitting the air cooling heat sink as the three screws that hold the card are hard to access.

Comments Sorted by:

Wolfemane 3 Builds 12 points 8 days ago

Another great node 202 build. +1

Btw, the whole section that holds the graphics riser is completely removable by three very easy to access screws. You can even leave the graphics card attached for quick removal.

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 5 points 8 days ago

Ah cools.. I just checked the manual and didn't see that.. thanks for the tip !

Wolfemane 3 Builds 4 points 7 days ago



jipster69 4 Builds 11 points 7 days ago

I always enjoy a good intimate peek at someone's Node =P

Congrats on the Featured Build spot!

nafs_asp 4 points 7 days ago

You could take a peak at mine, but you would have to pay me to open the case again.

jipster69 4 Builds 3 points 7 days ago

If I'm gonna pay for a peep show... it better be good.

ShadowBender178 2 points 4 days ago

Oh, I got a good peep show for you then...

Manu_Tech 2 points 4 days ago

wtf is this, reddit?

jipster69 4 Builds 1 point 3 days ago

Just Jip

although I hear all the time I should be on reddit...

nafs_asp 2 points 2 days ago

Okay fine I'll give you a free one.

(Actually, I ended up needing to open up the case to move the dust filter to the outside, the two HP-12s created enough suction to pull the mesh into the fans, so I got some pics and will be posting soon.)

jipster69 4 Builds 1 point 2 days ago

Sweet... I'll be watching ;-)

Eltech 12 Builds 7 points 7 days ago

That is one tightly packed, gaming rig. It looks clean and awesome. Plus one and congrats for feature.

Khaosix 19 Builds 3 points 7 days ago

Oh that's tight! Pun absolutely intended.

Congrats on the feature. Well deserved!

imakepcsdealwithit 2 points 6 days ago

I think only the 70s and early 80s kids will get it.

Chewy9141 2 points 8 days ago

Nice build. How does the cooler do with the i5 6600K

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 3 points 8 days ago

Literally just finished putting the PC together last night so I haven't installed windows yet. Let u know in a few days

Wolfemane 3 Builds 2 points 7 days ago

Very much looking forward to your temp numbers. I've got the same board and cpu now cooled with a "custom" Cryorig C7. I'm considering a new cooler. I like the C7 but temps are a little high for my liking.

nafs_asp 1 point 7 days ago

I have a 6600K and Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B in a Node 202, it does a great job keeping things cool. Idle temp is in the mid-20s overclocked to 4.0GHz, and so far I haven't seen temps much higher than 50 during benchmarks (passmark/3dmark)

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 6 days ago

Could you tell me what your voltage is set to? I would be aiming for around 4.0GHz as well

nafs_asp 2 points 2 days ago

Okay, so after a lot of testing I ended up coming to the conclusion that for mild overclocks in this case using a dynamic voltage is better in terms of temperature than setting a fixed voltage.

Right now my CPU is set to 4.2GHz (multiplier at 42, did not mess with BCLK or FCLK), with dynamic VCORE with a +0.005 offset. I have all power saving features (EIST/C-states) and turbo enabled. Turbo is set to 4.4GHz single core, 4.3GHz dual core, and 4.2GHz for 3/4 cores (note... this doesn't appear to be working properly because all four cores turbo to 4.3GHz at the moment, though only one is hitting 4.4GHz at a time. I believe this is due to a turbo feature on the gigabyte motherboard that I haven't figured out how to change yet). My cache is also clocked up to 4.2GHz, though I haven't seen any improvement in performance or increase in temperatures at this speed.

With these settings I'm getting idle temps in the high-20s (27-29C) and max of around 66C after a few hours of x264. In Aida64 I'm not seeing temps over 61C, and running Skyrim on max settings in 1440p didn't even get my CPU up past 40C (though maybe a more modern game would).

RDowns 2 points 7 days ago

Is it quiet?

Bodom0511 5 Builds 2 points 6 days ago

Great build.

EncryptedCurse 2 points 5 days ago

This is a really solid build. Good job!

AwesomeBuilderXE1901 3 Builds 2 points 5 days ago

Awesome build.

SR91 1 Build 2 points 4 days ago

Your cable management is fantastic! Very impressive, considering this was your first itx build, and you picked one of the smallest itx cases out there and managed to tidy everything up like that. +1 from me and I hope you get a lot of uses out of it.

AlarmedShrew 1 Build 2 points 2 days ago

WOW!!! Very well done. I especially love the MagLev fans.

Solution 1 Build 1 point 8 days ago

A node 202 build is a feat, congrats and nice job looks clean.

darkus_f 1 point 7 days ago

Gotta love a good itx build! <3

Iceman320 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

MMMMMMmmmmmm SFF +1

Gooberdad 7 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

Clean build with good pictures. Congrats on the featured spot.

Gooberdad 7 Builds 2 points 7 days ago

Dude, I'm from Memphis, TN. That crap will get your *** beat. Lol.

You know Hood pictures

Yeah I changed it before it cemented. Thanks;)

Miniitx 1 Build 1 point 3 days ago

It could be cleaner ;). But it's still nice.

Gooberdad 7 Builds 2 points 2 days ago

I was being polite and congratulating the builder on getting the featured spot for an otherwise normal build. Nothing really here to shout about.

SilverWolf149 1 point 7 days ago

mITX builds are always a nice small treat. Glad you made this and it's working out. +1.

LionsTheBoss 1 point 7 days ago

Z270 boards and the 7700K are out...

SwiggityDerpy 2 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

Might as well unscrew the GPU backplate, if you're using it in a closed case where it doesn't contribute to aesthetics then it's just preventing PCB ventilation and creating hotspots.

Otherwise, great build, love to see what people can do with small cases.

Wolfemane 3 Builds 2 points 7 days ago

I actually did this with my EVGA 1080. Temps were no difference with it on or off. So I put it back on.

BABatron22 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

What are the actual dimensions of the case?

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

Case dimensions - Horizontal (WxHxD): 377 x 82 x 330 mm

Case dimensions - Horizontal, with feet/protrusions/screws (WxHxD): 377 x 88 x 332 mm

Case dimensions - Vertical, with feet/protrusions/screws (WxHxD): 125 x 385 x 332 mm

nafs_asp 1 point 7 days ago

I'm feeling a little jealous of your 1070, I built nearly the same build as you over the weekend, but opted for a GTX 1060 6GB, Intel 600p 512GB M.2 SSD, and Fractal Design Venturi HP-12's for the case fans. I think if I change anything in mine it will be getting a better PSU (I'm using the one that came bundled with the case and it's a bit loud) and the case fans. The Venturi are a bit loud and I haven't really had any issues with temperature, so I could sacrifice a bit of cooling for a quieter build.

ChinChest 1 point 7 days ago

Why did you choose the founders edition card? There are better cards for considerably cheaper.

jipster69 4 Builds 2 points 7 days ago

Because it blows!

thetortuga747 1 Build 2 points 5 days ago

^^ Blower-style cards are magnitudes better for SFF cases like the Node 202. It's worth the extra $$

anandmd 1 point 7 days ago

Congrats! Glad to see HTPC build being featured. I've been wanting to go for something similar and observed that you were able to fit the Scythe CPU cooler in Node 202. For some reason it shows as non compatible on PCPP parts list.

Someone suggested removing the GPU backplate for better ventilation. Would be interesting to see what kind of gains one would get by doing so.

Jerome54 1 point 7 days ago

Check Wolfemane's earlier comment about removing the backplate of the GPU in a Node 202.

The CPU cooler is shown as incompatible because the height of the cooler is greater than the max height written in the case's manual (even though it fits).

anandmd 1 point 6 days ago

Oh right. Thanks for pointing out Wolfemane's comment.

For the CPU cooler, I just checked on the Fractal Design website and under specifications it says: CPU coolers up to 56 mm in height while the Scythe BIG Shuriken stands 2 mm taller at 58 mm. Interestingly the 56mm height limit isn't visible on PCPP page for Node 202 and yet PCPP correctly shows the incompatibility warning.

Jerome54 1 point 6 days ago

No problem! You're welcome.

The CPU height is never written on the product page.
Take a similar ITX case: the Silverstone ML08B. The max CPU cooler height is 58mm (taken from the manual). But it's not written on the PCPP product page.
But when you choose the case you won't be able to use any CPU cooler taller than 58mm.

xalelax 1 point 7 days ago

Great build! It's very similar to the one I'm planning!

Quick question: do you have any good source that says that blower style cards are better in such a small case? Couldn't open air coolers be as efficient, or even more efficient?

anandmd 2 points 6 days ago

Don't have personal experience on this but here's one source that claims blower style coolers are better than open air ones in restricted airflow scenarios. Personally I find the guy in the vid quite convincing and his explanation does make sense to me.

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 2 points 6 days ago

Awesome share. I've watched some of his videos. It does make sense what he says and that confirms the reason why I choose the blower style cooler

Jerome54 1 point 7 days ago

You could check all the builds made with the Node 202.
That would give you the real world experience from users and their temperatures depending on their GPUs.

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 6 days ago

To be honest I don't have any good source that has done any testing over which cooler style is better. There are plenty of debates online on which style is better. I did see Jay2cents mention on youtube about using blower style coolers on his Node 202 build video even tho he didn't have one at the time. There are a few open air GPU coolers builds on this site as Jerome54 mentioned that you could check out. In my mind I just picked the GPU cooler that would work better in theory. Either way both styles will work so just pick the one that you prefer

Makian 1 point 7 days ago

Such power into a small case like node 202.. AWESOME!

popadopalis 1 point 7 days ago

You mentioned that you may take this build on the road or to a friend's place. I'm curious what you do(or will do) to easily mobilize not only the machine, but all peripherals and cables. Thanks, and nice build!

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 2 points 6 days ago

I plan on getting the ROCCAT TUSKO monitor bag to carry all my stuff around. I haven't got it yet so I can't comment on how good it is

adaverso 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

How many grams does it weigh

NickDVL 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

Oh, that's nice! +1

Miniitx 1 Build 1 point 6 days ago

Love it to see it featured. Love Node 202.

tadashi 1 point 6 days ago

Love the build, really nice.

ImperiousBattlestar 1 point 6 days ago

Always love the Node 202. +1 :)

ron.smith895 1 Build 1 point 6 days ago

Wow, I did not think it was possible to put together such a slim build with a 1070. Perfect for LAN parties and such. +1

Gentleman00 1 Build 1 point 6 days ago

Holy crap this looks beautiful :D

rocketbosszach 1 point 6 days ago

I really wanted to use this case for my mini-itx build back in 2015, but FD was dragging their feet with releasing it, so I went elsewhere. I realized later that going bigger (Rosewill W1) was a better choice for my particular application, but I still absolutely love this case. Great write up, great machine.

DeltaForceGM01 1 point 6 days ago

looks good, i would of tried to fit a 120mm watercooler tho

WirelessCables 1 point 5 days ago

With maybe just a touch of modding and a Mini-ITX GPU, you might have been able to get some water cooling in there. Regardless, +1! There's something about the Shuriken that just works.

iLLixer404 1 point 4 days ago

YOU CAN FIT FANS UNDER THE GPU?????????? nice build tho

Dawsoncody 1 point 4 days ago

Hey, if you could get the chance, can you measure from the bottom of the fans to the first PCI slot, as if there was no fans and had a single slot graphics card?i want to know if I could diy a 240mm rad

vanja123 1 point 4 days ago

really nice! i also made one, but my gfx card was too big to put any case fans: http://imgur.com/a/8nT1g

HTTPRO 3 Builds 1 point 3 days ago

I was thinking of doing a mod where the whole CPU side is tempered glass but then that removes ventilation for the CPU Cooler.

pedagogy 1 point 3 days ago

Does the cooler fit with the fan filter in place or do you have to remove it for the case to close properly? Only reason why I am asking is because I keep reading descriptions that it does close but no mention if it was done with filter being removed for it to be possible. Thanks.

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 3 days ago

I've left the CPU dust filter in place. It does fit and there isn't any obstruction with the fan blades. Maybe the dust filter and CPU fan housing could be leaning against each other, which is quite hard to visually see, but I haven't had any issues. I've added another photo to the collection showing the CPU fan opening on the side panel for reference.

PCBuildMan 1 point 3 days ago

Just a thought, but I am pretty sure the 450 watt PSU would not let the parts go to their full capability. I paired an rx 480 and a i3-6100 to a 500 watt 80+ and it works good, but the power needed for a i5 6600k and a 1070 I believe would need around 650 watts. Could someone justify why or why not I am right?

cmbarba 1 point 3 days ago

Nice build! I have a Node 202 (and ASUS Z170I) as well and was looking to get better cooling, but I want to keep the dust filters. Is the BIG Shuriken 2 short enough to allow the CPU dust filter? I've seen builds with coolers that had to remove it because they were just too tall or were pushing up against it making the case bulge out.

mellowz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 2 days ago

Hi cmbarba. Please read the reply I made to pedagogy. The dust filter does fit with the Shuriken 2 and there is no obstruction with the fan blades.

MTHD -1 points 7 days ago

Confused as to why this was given featured build...

jipster69 4 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

How dare you question Master manirelli!

Eltech 12 Builds 2 points 7 days ago

It's OK to question but it's not OK to insult.

I'm not saying anyone did at the moment. ;)

MTHD 2 points 7 days ago


Adrew24 1 point 7 days ago

I think it's because you wouldn't expect a serious gaming build like this stuffed into a tiny little htpc case. It's a sleeper build of sorts.

Marcseli -1 points 7 days ago

Literally anything gets features nowadays... No hate thought, I love your build.