Description

This was my first build ever. I've always wanted to build my own computer, but I've never gotten around to it. Since it's become a little difficult to partake of my other major hobby (guns) right now, I decided this was the time to divert some of my time and funds to building a computer. I thought my budget was going to be in the $500 range and use last year's parts. But once I started doing research, that quickly ballooned out of control. I just had to have all the new toys.

I wanted to build in a discreet, small form factor case since this would be in the living room. I also wanted the challenge. I originally started with the SilverStone SG08 in mind, but at $185, it was gonna be expensive. I eventually went with the Fractal Designs Node 304 because of the great reviews, decent thermals, and $55 price on Amazon. The other major decision I had to make (that killed my budget) was the GPU. I was originally going to go with the GTX 760, but after looking at benchmarks, I decided for me the extra power of the 770 was worth the expense. "Used" on Amazon Warehouse Deals (I believe it was actually brand new), I got the EVGA GTX 770 SC w/ACX for $377. Done. Everything else was what could fit and keep me close to the $1000 budget...

The build itself actually went pretty easily save for one problem that was totally a rookie move. I've never had a problem installing RAM, but these sticks were really tough for me to get in. So much so that I didn't realize they weren't seated properly. Of course it wouldn't start up. Then I took the whole dang thing apart, and only then did I figure it out. So it really took me putting this thing together twice to get it going. The inside is kindof cable spaghetti right now, so that's still a work in progress.

Future plans for this build: I'm working alright off of the single 120 GB SSD and an external 500 GB drive for the time being, but I need to add a 1-2 TB HDD. Just waiting for that awesome steal. Thermals are pretty good I think, so I've stuck with the stock CPU cooler for now. I may add a Cooler Master Hyper 212+, especially if I venture into light overclocking. Any suggestions are welcome, as I'm still pretty new at this.

Comments

  • 76 months ago
  • 3 points

Nothing bad to say about this at all. I just hope you aren't gaming on that keyboard ;)

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

Haha. For the time being, I am... And it is legitimately awful for gaming. Fulfills HTPC functions nicely though.

  • 76 months ago
  • 3 points

running some ****** acer keyboard, i know how you feel

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

That processor has good potential to be overclocked, I'd skip on the 212 and get a Corsair H50 or H60 closed loop watercooler to allow for greater overclocking and cooler temps down the line.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

That's the reason I went with it. But to be perfectly honest, I know very little about overclocking. Where's a good place to start? I'd like to dabble in it at some point in the future.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

Not too much literature about optimized overclocking for our Haswells. Start with increasing the clock multiplier and upping the voltage (VERY slowly in small increments of .01). Keep in mind these chips are designed to handle a lot of voltage, that isn't to say they aren't invincible. Do a little googling for specifics to any other chip, but the main idea is to increase clock multiplier and increase voltage to be able to supplement that (each chip is different, some can only overclock to a certain level say 4.1, and some can reach up to 4.5 with less voltage needed, it's known as the silicone lottery). With proper thermal solution and a bit of hesitation and cautiousness it's an easy process, once you've tried your hand at it and learned the basics, you can shoot for a higher OC.

ALWAYS test your processor at an over-clocked speed before you start using it at that daily, I recommend Intel extreme tuning utility.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks a ton for the advice. Looking forward to trying it out.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem, have fun!

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Just as an add on, the Haswell chips tend to get way hotter than Ivy or Sandy at similar voltages, so keep track of those temps when testing OC's. I suggest HWmonitor.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Just to let you know. The Hyper 212 and the H50/60 perform largely the same for twice the price. The radiator is simply too small to dissipate the heat any quicker than a decent sized air cooler.

The only reason you should ever get something like a H50 or 60 is if you couldn't fit a Hyper 212 Evo. You'd start seeing decent temp differences with something like a H80, but for that price, you may as well get a Noctua NH-D12. Which would do even better.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Eh, The H50/60 AIOs aren't all that great. The Hyper 212 EVO is great for cooling an overclocked CPU on a budget.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

What is this builds main purpose? Gaming? Video editing?

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Says Gaming/HTPC my friend

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

To make me poorer. :P It's really gaming and HTPC, not video editing. I haven't done video editing in a while, so I doubt if I ever do any of that on this thing. And mostly it has really been a good temporary distractor from my gun hobby.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

how's the quality of the used card you bought?

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

It appears to function perfectly. I bought it from Amazon Warehouse Deals. It was described as "Used - Very good. Item may come repackaged". The box had been opened and resealed, but the contents were all there and in perfect condition, including the stickers and stuff. The card itself had no visible damage to it. I was even able to register the S/N with EVGA. I suspect this was just an open box item or damaged retail packaging. Gambled and won, I guess.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice. I'm tempted to do the same but really scared at the same time lol. Really hard to gamble with used electronics. I guess I can always make some inquiries to Amazon.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Agreed. The only reason I gambled on it is because Amazon has great customer service and a good return policy. If it wasn't good, I could easily send it back. Just read up on the Warehouse Deals' policies, so you don't get burned.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Good job, everything looks good.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

I am planning on using this case and a full sized graphics card (maybe 760/770 but haven't decided). I notice you only have one of the three hdd bays in. Would it be possible to add one more with the full size gfx card in there? I assume the gfx card prevents you from having the 3rd hdd bay but can you add the middle one in still? I will have more then 2 hdd so I will need 2 bays. Thanks!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

You can definitely fit a second one in there with your graphics card. The airflow will be affected, but it should still be fine. If you want any tips regarding this case, the following thread has tons of info regarding parts and configurations that fit.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1266342/official-fractal-design-node-304-owners-club

This is a fantastic case. Have fun building in it!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh nice thanks! Ya I am concerned about getting a PSU that is Haswell ready and is short enough to support a full size graphics card.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Anything under the 160mm specified by Fractal Designs should fit with one caveat: modular PSUs must be significantly shorter. The Cooler Master i600 that I'm using fits perfectly, but the fact that it isn't modular is less than ideal. From what I've read in that Overclocker forum, the Seasonic G Series 550W is a favorite because it has flat cables and is modular with the connections very high on the PSU. This works very well because when you mount it upside down, the connections sit very low, and the cables can pass underneath a long video card. Another option is to remove the PSU bracket to buy yourself an inch or two, and use double-sided tape or something. I'm not sure this makes sense without pictures, but there are tons in that forum. Good luck!

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. Ya a friend of mine built a HTPC with this same case and used a modular PSU and said he thought it would actually be better to use a non-modular because the connectors stick out too far. I checked out the Seasonic you mentioned and it looks like this is 160mm long so I wouldn't think this would be a preferred PSU for people using this case especially since it is modular. I will check into it a little more but thanks for the heads up!

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

It's complete coincidence but I ended up with the SAME EXACT BUILD except for the PSU. How's the clearance on yours behind the GTX 770? Mine's...kind of bad but it was an impulse buy because I was frustrated that the first one I had bought didn't fit.

  • 73 months ago
  • 2 points

I actually have pretty good clearance with the CoolerMaster, but it's not modular which is kind of a pain to deal with. I have a bunch of cables zip tied and tucked right where the front I/O cables come through. If you're still looking for a solution, from what I read although Fractal Design specifies 160mm PSU, modular power supplies have clearance issues if they are 160mm because the connectors add significant length to the cord causing them to run right into long video cards. I'm posting a link below to a great thread regarding this case and what works. Their PSU of choice is the Seasonic G 550W. It is modular, but the way the connectors are arranged, it allows them to come out below the video card. It also uses flat cables and you can use a short cable kit to make it even more manageable. Hope this helps.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1266342/official-fractal-design-node-304-owners-club

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that place right where the I/O cables are is pretty much the only place in the case where it makes sense to route some slack. Thanks for the wealth of info. I ordered the SilverStone short cable kit and hoping all the cables are compatible with my Corsair RM650. That will ahve to do for now. And yes, I know full well the problem with the 160mm PSUs. That's 100% it. They should really say 150mm or less. The problem with that though, is then you're running into territory where the PSU is too small/not powerful enough for the GPU causing the fitment problems to begin with. Chicken and egg situation.