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Duly Noded

by case1



CPU Clock Rate

4.4 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

27.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

91.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.033 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6.008 GHz


This is my first build. It hasn't been without its hickups. I would love to say this only took me an hour or two, but it didn't. I am confident that any future builds would be a breeze though. It was a great learning experience full of ups and downs, hope, disappointment, joy, and now a sense of accomplishment. But I digress..

First and foremost, I didn't set out to build a powerhouse gaming rig. I will consider playing a couple games just to see what kind of performance my machine is capable of, but for the most part this is serving as a (quiet) media hub and photo editing tool. I was tired of hooking up my notebook to my DAC (Tubedac-11) and monitor (Dell U2713H) every time I wanted to listen to my HD650's/ATH-M50's or edit some photos. First-world problems, I know, but I had "invested" heavily in some great equipment that I wasn't utilizing due to the inconvenience of hooking up my lappy, not to mention the loud wine of my notebook CPU fan when under load or even when falling asleep to music or YouTube videos. Additionaly, this PC should absolutely scream compared to my capable-but-aging Arrandale i3 ASUS notebook for not only photo editing but every other day-to-day task.

I feel I've hit a decent level of performance for the price. I patiently waited for sales on every component (except the motherboard) and diligently sent in my MIR's. I'm confident I could have attained a similar level of performance for less scratch but I had made the decision I wanted to future proof by opting for pricier Haswell parts. I was waiting for a deal on the i5-4570, but when the 4670k went on sale I couldn't resist; which then meant I might as well go for a Z87 motherboard since I have the unlocked CPU.

As for the build, despite the ups and downs I have really enjoyed the process. During the many, many times I assembled and reassembled this build I came up with some strategies in regards to cable management, which was almost therapeutic seeing what was once cramped and cluttered turn expansive and tidy. Given my inexperience I think I did well.

All in all, I am very satisfied. The Node 304 fit my concept perfectly: compact yet versatile, quiet, and cool. I also find the design and finish to be very classy. All the components are performing as I'd expect and it is a joy having all of my nice things hooked up to one machine that is ready to go at a moments notice.

As for the price tally below, it is certainly distorted since this includes many accessories, including a pricey Dell monitor. Looking at just the component cost of this machine it was roughly $860, including the operating system. I'm happy with that considering my Node should wipe the floor with a comparably priced Alienware X51 which I was previously admiring.

Comments, questions, and suggestions are all welcome.

Comments Sorted by:

XIscottyIX 3 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Solid build and nice photos!!! Probably could have gone with a modular psu for the node but if u only paid $19.99 for it thats a great buy.

SrgtMacfly 3 points 69 months ago

trust me, modular power supplies do not work well in the Node

canders 7 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Curious why a modular PSU wouldn't work here?

case1 submitter 1 Build 3 points 69 months ago

I assume SrgtMacfly is referring to the potential space problem with a modular PSU and a full sized GPU. Per Fractal Design: Graphics cards longer than 170 mm will conflict with PSUs longer than 160mm. A modular PSU would have to be even shorter than 160mm given the extra protrusion that is necessary for the modular cables. I'm sure there are some that work but I seemingly just didn't care enough to put in the research to find a modular PSU that I knew would fit.

SrgtMacfly 1 point 69 months ago

also here are ones that I would get if I had the node - http://www.silverstonetek.com/product_power.php?go=3&area=en although the prices may not match the corsair

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

I would have like to have gone modular but as SrgtMacfly mentioned, I was worried about possible issues with the Node. I'm sure there are some that would work but I guess I couldn't be bothered.

Thanks for the comment!

SrgtMacfly 1 point 69 months ago

thanks for telling him for me lol

ComputerNerd 1 Build 2 points 69 months ago

Excellent cable management ! +1 just for that.

OP monitor you have there!

All in all great build! Will serve you will

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Thanks for checking it out! What is OP?

ComputerNerd 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Overpowered. But it's absolutely awesome for your uses. Again great build!

flipins 3 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Nice build, scary price monitor.

case1 submitter 1 Build 2 points 69 months ago

Yea, the monitor was a big chunk of change but I was tired of getting prints back that didn't match up with what I was seeing on my screen. This monitor is intended for high-end photo editing and I think it serves its purpose well. Perhaps it is overkill but I had the money so I went for it.

AH__Banana 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

First build... and you use a micro case... Nice.

LeMonarque 3 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Excellent cable management! Way to use the frame to your advantage.

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Thanks for noticing! Fractal Design did a great job placing loops for cable ties and leaving gaps for tucking away small cables. It really made it a joy once I got everything sorted.

Hakumisoso 2 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

How is that gfx card doing at that res?

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Keep in mind that this is primarily a photo editing machine. It runs Lightroom and Photoshop very capably at 1440 but gaming at that res is surely not worth the hit to performance, although I haven't even tried gaming yet.

butch10x 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

nice build. super compact!

gseyffert 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

You're probably going to want to upgrade that GPU man. Especially for a 1440p monitor. Also, you might want to browse Amazon for monitors next time... They have some as low as $350 for 1440p. Very nice job on keeping cables out of the way though! All your other components look prime.

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

For gaming or just in general? I am still putting the machine through its paces but it seemed to handle my photo editing programs okay. As for the monitor, it wasn't just resolution I was going for. MAYBE one of those cheaper off-brand 1440p monitors would be sufficient but I had the money so I went for Dell's top of the line consumer monitor. I'm no monitor guru but this thing should be pretty hard to beat in terms of my primary usage.

Anyway, thank you for the comment and checking out my build!

gseyffert 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Ah well yeah for gaming I mean. It's more than enough for photo editing and general use, but I don't think it'll hold up to well with games at that res, especially more demanding ones.

Gigglerump 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Great cable management for such a small case! Beautiful build!

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Thank you very much! It just seems silly now that all that work tucking away cables is hidden from sight. Oh well, it was a labor of love.

canders 7 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Nice looking build. Like how you got all the cables tucked away.

whitespace 1 point 67 months ago

Nice build! I have a similar setup... same motherboard, same case, similar video card.

I'm rather curious as to your reported motherboard's "System" temperature, as opposed to CPU temp? I get comparable CPU temps as you (27C idle, 70C under load - although I'm not overclocked) but my "System" temperature is up at 51C when idle, at reasonable fan speeds. The system temp will start at 36C on a cold boot, but gradually creep up to, and stabilise, at around 51C over the next 10-15 minutes. Under load I've seen a max of 58C, so I'm not too worried, but an idle temp of 51C does seem rather high! Particularly when it's so much higher than all the other reported temps in the machine!?

What is your experience with the "System" temperature on this motherboard? Have you any idea where the sensor might be located? Thanks.

case1 submitter 1 Build 2 points 67 months ago


I have had my computer on for a few days and using the Gigabyte EasyTune program I am seeing idle system temps of about 47C. I ran Prime95 for about 20 minutes and my system temp briefly reached 61C and settled in around 59C. My case fans are set to medium speed.

Seems you are running a little cooler under load and a little warmer at idle. Perhaps this idle difference comes down to room temp and ventilation? My room was around 73F during the tests.

I haven't a clue where this sensor is either so I'm not sure what we can conclude about these readings anyway. :/ Curiously, I did notice when ending the stress test that the CPU temp rapidly dropped from 91C to mid 30C while the system temp dropped far more gradually.

whitespace 1 point 67 months ago

Yes, I would appear to be seeing a similar pattern with this motherboard (and case). From other research and comments I've read, this relatively high system temperature would seem to be relatively "normal" for this board!? The few degrees difference could also be down to our different coolers, resulting in different airflows inside the machine, our different PSU's (I have a BeQuiet 530W) ...and my ambient room temp is a few degrees higher at around 77F.

I have a Corsair H60 liquid cooler, so this sits very differently inside the case to your Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo. I guess my lower max CPU temp is down to the liquid cooling? I too was running Prime95, for about an hour.

My idle "System" temp has been on 52C the last couple of days - up 1C! However, I do also tweak my main system fan (attached to my radiator) using SpeedFan, as otherwise the motherboard (SmartGuardian) seems to ramp this up to the max (2000rpm) as soon as the system temp creeps above 50C. But even with the fan on max it is not sufficient to reduce the system temp by more than a degree, so the fan stays on max nearly all day! This is actually a little noisy (I'm sat right next to it!) and unnecessary it seems. Using SpeedFan I'm currently on 1500rpm (75%) at a stable 52C and this is considerably quieter. But I digress...

Yes, the CPU temp can fall (and rise) very rapidly, but this "System" temp is far more gradual (and not so extreme).

I also have the two front case fans set to medium. Do you have any other case fans fitted? To be honest I don't notice any real difference in setting the case fans on "Low", "Medium" or "High"! I can physically see that they spin faster on high, but I don't see any noticeable difference in the reported temperatures. (Or any difference in the noise for that matter - but they are classed as "silent" I guess.) Maybe the differences are more noticeable when the ambient temperatures are higher?

In light of this "System" temperature I have considered fitting an additional case fan - although I can't think how or where I could fit this as yet?

Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated.

Sabotage 0 points 69 months ago

Great name!

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Thanks! :D I was worried no one would get it.

sketch24 9 Builds -1 points 69 months ago

Really nice build. The only thing that stands out is that you spent $1750 for components and cheaped out on a $20 corsair cx power supply. The power supply is a great budget power supply, but it is a cheaper quality PSU, made with cheap caps. It has ok voltage regulation and ripple suppression. For $20-30 more, you could have gotten a much better power supply.

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Hehe, I know. The PSU was one of the first things I bought and I really did consider ditching it and opting for something of higher quality. I do feel that given the power requirements of this machine it shouldn't be taxed too heavily. My dilemma was that I didn't want to go for a PSU much higher than 450w or 500w. I was having a tough time finding a quality PSU in that range with solid reviews at a price that made sense so I guess my eyes just lit up when this $20 PSU came along that had decent reviews. :/ I certainly don't mind spending more for quality but I just wasn't seeing anything that really stuck out as exceptional in my power range. If you have recommendations I would be curious as it may be something I consider upgrading in the future. Thanks!

Oh, and keep in mind that the computer only cost about $800 in components (Case, CPU, GPU, MOBO, RAM, PSU, HDD, SSD, CPU Cooler).

sketch24 9 Builds 2 points 69 months ago

Some good PSUs in the 400-600 watt range are the XFX 550watt, the seasonic 520 watt, pc power and cooling mkiii 500 watt. They have all japanese caps and great voltage regulation/ripple suppression.

Even if it's $800 for the components, that's still a lot. If for some reason the power supply blows, it will take $800 worth of components with it. It's not likely to happen because the corsair cx are pretty good on a budget. But if you $800 to spend, might as well spend a little more for a little more piece of mind. Also, a better PSU with better voltage regulation/ripple suppression will be better for overclocking.

case1 submitter 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

You're right. For the cost of this build it makes sense to shell out the extra $$$ for a higher quality PSU. I am making a note of the ones you mentioned and if the right deal comes along I'll snatch one up. Thanks again.