Description

I have been mainly a console gamer since my first console, the Atari 2600.. (Yes, I'm that "old"). Played PC games on several occasions (Doom 3, System Shock 2 etc) but mostly stayed on the console scene and owned every major console ever released (now PS4 and Xbox One).

This is one of my first PC build (I actually have two "first" build.. read on to learn why). Though I have been tinkering PCs and servers before, this is the first time I assembled a PC from scratch.

I built the "Dark Soul" for TWO reasons:

  1. Since both Xbox One and PS4 architectures are very much PC based, I'm expecting most multiplatform games will look better than their console counterparts. Yes, I'm pretty much into graphics performance on games. So the PS4 and Xbox One games will be limited to console exclusive titles while my PC shall play multiplatform titles. Its a good time to be a PC gamer..

  2. I WANT TO PLAY DARK SOULS 3 AT 60FPS. I am a big fan of the "Souls" series (including Bloodborne). Hence the name of my build. I finally decided to build my first gaming PC, knowing how much improvement in terms of performance I can possibly achieve with a well spec PC based on Bloodborne's PS4 visuals.

Details of my parts' specification selection:

PC CASE : The Fractal Design Node 202 was a love at first sight. And since I was planning to put my build side by side with the consoles, the Node 202 was the best looking ITX case in comparison to other similar models (Silverstone RVZ02 and Phanteks Evolv ITX).

CPU : The Intel Core i5-6500 is a great CPU with great price / performance package. In theory, the i5-6500 could easily outperforms the consoles' Jaguar CPU.

CPU COOLER : Stumbled upon this cool looking CPU cooler, which complied with the minimum cooler height requirement of the Node 202 (56mm).

MOTHERBOARD : I didn't do much selection or research on the motherboard specs actually. It's the first motherboard I selected on the part list and basically fills my performance target and budget nicely.

RAM : Same with the motherboard. Picked what was available within budget and target (minimum 8GB of DDR4 RAM)

HDD : Also same again, picked whatever I saw in the parts list. SSD hard drive is a must and I only need one for my build.

PSU : The Node 202 with the built in Integra PSU is not available in my region. I was recommended to choose either Silverstone 500W SFX-L or the 600W for the PSU unit. Without checking out the specs, I selected the 500W version because its cheaper and 600W sounded like overkill for my build. Later on, I learned that the 600W has smaller dimensions, which COULD have made my built process way easier (read on for details). Also Corsair is also coming out with their own SFX PSU. Oh well.. Proceed with the 500W.

GPU : Since the consoles are utilizing AMD GPUs, the Radeon R9 380 4GB was my choice of visual power generator. But here's the thing; I initially I bought Sapphire Nitro Radeon R9 380 4GB but due to case fitment issue, I had to buy ANOTHER R9 380, this time from Gigabyte. It was frustrating. I'll explain in the build process below.

THE BUILD PROCESS :

  • NOTE TO BUILDERS WITH CRYORIG C7 AND ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING MOTHERBOARD IN THEIR PART LIST : The backplate will NOT PROPERLY flush fit with your motherboard. This has been acknowledge by Cryorig and you need to contact them the get the free replacement washers. I've seen several builders here doing some workarounds with the C7's backplate but the thing really doesn't fit well with the motherboard. See my pics to see how the washers work. I have to wait almost a week to get the washers. It was agonizing.

  • CABLE MANAGEMENT : You REALLY need to plan out how are you going to manage the cables when building your rig with the Node 202. Space for cabling is VERY limited once you put the PSU in. It COULD have been easier if I have chosen the 600W version, where there will be much needed space between the PSU and hard drive cage. Having the maximum length of 130mm, some of the cables need to be routed to the GPU chamber and force folded into tight sections of the case. I really recommended if you have the cash, go with the 600W SFX model from Silverstone and Corsair to save yourself from cable management complexity.

  • GPU : Now here's the real issue : Take note that the backplate of the Sapphire Nitro R9 380 will block one of the screw holes of the GPU mounting bracket, near the GPU output right beside the place where you will screw the GPU in the PCI slots. I have tried several times, ensuring I have properly mounted the GPU on the bracket but the Sapphire Nitro Radeon's backplate is either too tall or too wide that it blocks one of the screw holes of the bracket. Ironically, there are few builders here that managed to fit in the R9 390 version from Sapphire. Further checking showed that the 390 version has a tapered backplate while the 380 version has a vertical or rectangular backplate. Frustrated and disappointed, I immediately ditched the card and went out to buy the Gigabyte Radeon R9 380 G1 Pro Gaming, which has a shorter / narrower backplate. Now this one fit within the GPU bracket as intended.

OTHER NOTES : - Initially I did not put any additional fans on the GPU chamber but after seeing the temperature readings on GPU reached almost 90C with Witcher 3 and Unigene Heaven benchmark, I installed the Cooler Master XtraFlo 120mm Slim to cool things off. Due to my bad cable management, I was only able to install one fan in the GPU chamber. After further configuration to the GPU fan profile via Gigabyte OC Guru software, I managed to get the temperature down significantly, within acceptable noise level.

Challenging building process it was, overall I was quite satisfied and proud of what the final rig looks like. And as for that Sapphire Nitro Radeon R9 380 that I ditched? I used it for another rig, placed in my office for some off duty gaming. ;)

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

Really love that case, been seeing it more and more. I wish more cases had a PCI extender like that to get more open airflow right onto the GPU.

I built a PC for the first time last year instead of getting a console and it's served me well. Nice build!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. Yes. This case compliments my gamingm centre pretty well. The only drawback with such compact case is that the GPU can get quite hot without any additional fans. Plus, complex cable management too. In the end, its worth the extra work!

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

Love the node 202. I myself switched over from console last summer. I'm never going back!

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

Haha. I'm still going back to play console exclusives such as Uncharted 4.. You wouldn't wanna miss that!

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the build, already sent an email to cryorig because of the washers, waiting for their reply... big thanks for the tip.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Cryorig already replied (less than 48h), washers incoming. :-)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Great job. Cool case. +1

My brother is a huge fan of dark souls & bloodborne

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Love those games so much, I had to build special gaming rig to play them. ;p

[comment deleted]
  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm planning to build a pc in the node soon, and I planned to use this r9 380 http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/sapphire-video-card-100384nt4goc2l Is that the r9 380 that didn't fit properly in your case?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup. That's the one. On paper the dimensions look nice and comfy. But as I said, its the backplate / PCB board of the card that is just too wide / tall that it partially covers one of the GPU bracket's screw holes by a mere millimeters.

Either you get another GPU brand or you can use this guy's method here http://pcpartpicker.com/b/8Gpbt6.. Also with the same GPU problem.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the reply, though, I've changed my mind on the case to the Thermaltake Core V1 with a m12ii 520w psu. Hopefully I don't have any problems with the graphics cards now.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build for awesome games! Personally, I'm thinking of doing almost the exact same build. How loud is it while playing demanding games?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

That really depends on your setup. I have added 1 slim case fan in the GPU chamber.. And adjusted the gpu fan curve (~65% fan speed at 70C).. Playing on Witcher 3, fan noise is noticeable, but not that intrusive.. Sorry I don't have the tool to measure the noise level.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Can you tell if there's enough clearance between the case frame and C7 to install a standard 120mm intake fan? Trying to consider if that's an option for my build.

Also, is that washer issue just for the Asus boards? Or does it apply to apply Skylake boards?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes. There's plenty of room between the case frame and the C7 since the cooler's height is right below the limit.

As for the washer issue, I did emailed Cryorig, trying to get the list of compatible motherboards that can fit the backplate. Unfortunately, they were unable to provide the details during that time. For now, Asus Z170I surely needs the washer.

But they also have publicly stated that all C7 manufactured after December will come with the washers included. Do check if its included before you buy.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

I already had the C7 from a previous build and it worked fine then. But I did reach out to Cryorig for the washer anyway, just to be safe. Hopefully I won't need them. We'll see when my case comes in. Thanks for letting me know.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Seems sort of stupid buying a Z170 board for a i5-6500, especially when you mention that your budget is limited. B150 would have been completely adequate, and saved you at least 50-60 bucks