I decided to upgrade my living room gaming pc, which was already couple of years old mATX build with i5. Old case was Silverstone gd04 which was alright, but just slightly too big and loud for my preference so it was time to go mini-itx. Last push to this decision was that my friend updated his old computer to mini-itx. I just can't have bigger one!
I decided that this time I wouldn't cut any corners like I had done with my first build. I wanted to have as much and as reliable gaming performance as I could in reasonable price. I sold my old computer as a whole but kept only my GPU because there wasn't anything to upgrade from my rx480 at in reasonable price anyway. I also wanted to have as silent computer as I could but that reference rx480 will be loud till I replace it something new. So lets start waiting for new GPU generation!
Building & Cable Management
I actually build the computer together with that after mentioned friend of mine who had upgraded his computer to node 304. Built went alright but damn that cable management in case this small is actually pretty hard! Also - I thought my motherboard standoffs was broken because one of the screws didn't screw at all. Day after build done I decided to have a look again and realized that I had tried to screw wrong screw. Well it ain't computer build if you don't *screw up something right?
I had also ordered Noctua a9x14 fan to replace AMD Wraiths own fan so I could keep my dust filter on and have silent computer. I also had to have 80mm to 92mm adapter under the fan because Wraith's fan is with 80mm Screw points even thought it is 92mm fan. Well that plan didn't go so well either. Noctua fitted alright and was silent as well but temperatures went off the roof. Prime95 on CPU:s default settings got 90c in no time and even with 100mv undervolt it was coming to 90c after couple of minutes. I had no choice but change the plan, remove the dust filter and install Wraiths original fan back. It by ta way fits if you remove AMD-shroud over it and like I said remove the case's dust filter. I also ordered magnetic dust filter to install on top of the case so pc won't get dusty by time. (And that is the reason why there is Noctua fan on top of cpu in first photos)
Other than that everything actually went alright. Cable management was something I decided to do well this time cause my last case was a disaster on that front. Well - I'm kinda proud of my case right now. One thing that helped to do that management was the fact that we had to manage the cables pretty well to even fit every component in.
Something to note is that node 202 and sfx-l power supply are pretty hard combination. You have to install ssd cage first because after installing power supply cage won't fit because modular cables want to have too much space. If you install cage first you can get power supply to fit, but there ain't too much free room to play with after that.
Temperatures are actually maybe even better than I hoped in case this small. GPU is reference one so it hits about 85c in full loud, but it manages to keep surprisingly quiet thanks to Noctua in front of it sucking fresh air to gpu chamber. CPU temperatures after changing back to Wraiths original fan are great as well. I set undervolt of 100mv in bios (it's actually as big offset to negative as Asrock lets me set) and when running prime95 and Heaven benchmark together for full heat production CPU hits only 70c after 30 minutes of benching. CPU coolers fan ain't even at full speed in that point so I'm confident you could do some overclocking with this setup.
This was important part for me and I had Noctuas and everything. Well with stock cooler and that rx480 inside this ain't silent build, but it aint too loud either. Computer is sitting on my media cabinet so it ain't bad noise to couch but I can imagine that I wouldn't want to sit next to it when using as a desktop case.
Games like a champ. Or at least like a budget champ. Ryzen ain't best cpu for gaming, but I think it is better value than i7 and I didn't want to go with i5 and only 6 threads cause at least in my mind 12 threads sounds like more future proof option.
Choice of PC Parts
This have been moved to part reviews!
Well I have my new dust filter already coming so that would be one thing. Also I'm looking forward for new GPU generations because with this case I finally have space for even aftermarket coolers! Although is possibility that I get reference because that keeps other parts cooler but in that case I'm going for something that has better reference design and maybe uses less wattage. At this time it looks like I have to go back to Nvidia when changing GPU again.
Something I'm been wondering now because silence was a goal for me is that if I could change Wraiths fan to something else. I don't know the exact height of the fan without the shroud on top of it, but I think that maybe it is something like 25mm. If so I could buy 140mm noctua and screw it on the case itself and it should be right against the cpu-cooler cause wraiths own fan is already right against the case! In theory that should have maybe even more power to move air and would at least be a lot more silent than AMD:s fan.
I'm pretty proud of my new pc. Only thing I'm anymore wondering is if I could use that 140mm Noctua to cool the CPU, but maybe I will test that some time. Now I'm just going to game with it until something new appears in GPU department.
External dust filter has been on for some time alteady and is working well but... CPU cooler change is inevitable cause even thought spire fits without internal dust filter, it being in touch with top panel it makes just too much noise. Fan itself doesn’t hit anything but the case panel still somehow resonances with the fan when on high speeds. That makes noise which is to me at least intolerable so now I have to find new CPU cooler for this system.
Final conclusions in end of April
So finally I have new CPU cooler to replace Wraith Spire. I was originally waiting for Cryorig C7 Cu, but in the end decided that it probably won’t be worth the wait when my pc was so loud with Wraith. So I decided to buy normal Cryorig C7, and gotta say I’m actually impressed with it. People say it’s loud af but when compared to turbulence my Wraith Spire had it is actually little bit quieter. Cooling capacity is great as well.
With cpu cooler I actually bought new 120mm Noctua fan too. It’s for gpu chamber but doesn’t actually have big difference in temps. It keeps GPU little bit quierer but because my RX480 is reference model it has plastic shroud right in front of the fan, therefore it does not get all that cool even with the extra fan. New fan is mostly to future proof the case so I can buy open style gpu next because I’m pretty sure I won’t listen any more reference fans after this RX480.
So I have had computer for over a half a year already and I've pretty much had enough of the reference coolers noise. Therefore I decided that screw it; I already have 4k screen so lets upgrade GPU to have something that is even somewhat capable to produce 4k gaming. So I bought used gtx 1070ti from MSI and it's beautifully silent!
Node 202 has some problems because when its laid horizontal it is so close to ground that even my Noctuas' wasn't enough to cool this new GPU and in half a hour GPU usually hit 83 degrees and boosted to max fan speed. That wasn't quiet as I wanted so I propped case up with some plastic feet thingy I had around. With this extra half a centimeter of height my GPU finally stayed at 76 degrees with somewhat silent fan profile.
Open style cooler makes CPU hit higher temps when gaming. CPU used to be somewhere around 55 to 58 degrees hot with reference card when gaming and now it hits 65 degrees. That is not really a problem and when doing something cpu heavy only it still hits only 72 degrees so finally my pc seems to stay cool and somewhat quiet!
CPU – Ryzen 1600: Seems to be pretty much best bang for a buck cpu on market. i5-8400 was other option but I wanted to have more threads than 6.
CPU Cooler – Wraith was too loud in the case because it was so close to side panel, so i bought Cryorig C7. Seems to be more silent and cools almost as good as Wraith. Little bit loud though.
Motherboard – Asrock Fatal1ty ab350 Gaming-ITX/ac: Well this just seemed to be best choice for itx ryzen system. Memories could be more stable. I had to turn my settings down to 2933mhz to stay stable.
RAM - G.Skill Flare X 3200mhz cl14 - Wanted to have something that absolutely works with Ryzen and this is made for AMD. Also 3200mhz seems to be sweet spot for Ryzen. Couldn't finally really hit that number but they are still fast and low latency is appreciated
SSD - Crucial MX300. Well I wanted 1tb ssd and this was cheapest. It is actually pretty fast too and I've had no problems with it.
GPU - Msi GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8gb. I bought this used for 4k gaming. It can't handle it in ultra presets but it's possible when lowering some settings. It's silent thought which is fine!
Case – Node 202: I wanted something console like that could sit nicely on my living room with my tv. Silverstone rvz02 was an option too but I went with node 202 cause I wanted to have fractal for a change. Also rvz02 seemed little bit more gamery and I wanted to have something that doesn't jump on eyes from my cabinet.
PSU – Silverstone 500w sfx-l: I wanted to have something more quiet than normal sfx power supplies so I went with sfx-l.