Description

Transferred everything but the CPU heatsink and the PSU over from the old Define R4. Not as flashy, not as silent, but able to be taken back and forth between home and school.

My thoughts:

Case: It's VERY small. I wanted to have a computer I could easily take with me out of state, and I love the idea of having a competent computer that isn't much bigger than a console. It was between this and the Silverstone ML08, as the ML08 can fit their SFX-L stuff, as well as a 3.5" drive with an easy hack. I decided on this based on looks alone. The GPU support works a lot better than I expected it to, though I think there should be a third fan filter for the intake above the CPU. I bought some extra Silverstone ones and just moved everything outside of the case to make it easier to clean, as they're all magnetic.

PSU: To be honest, I actually bought the case with the included 450W PSU. From everything I've read, I believed it would be just enough to power the whole system. But for whatever reason, occasional power draw spikes from the GPU would freeze the display and overheat the card until the fans maxed out. Since getting the 600W gold-rated replacement, I've had no issues. It's nice that it comes with shorter cables, but there are four SATA power connectors and the extras get in the way, as well as an extra 8-pin PCI-e that I don't need since the Strix 970 only takes one. Cable management got real annoying real fast.

CPU: Originally bought to overclock inside the nice big Define R4, cooled by an NH-U14S. Now it's just a very decent quad-core running at stock speeds. I've actually since de-lidded it and replaced the TIM once with Coollaboratory Liquid Pro on the previous ATX motherboard. Couldn't be bothered to buy it again when swapping motherboards, so now it has Noctua NT-H1 stuck in there. No noticeable temperature difference.

CPU Cooler: It fits within the motherboard VRM heatsinks and the case ceiling. Not overclocking anymore, so that's fine. I really liked my old NH-U14S, so I went with Noctua again.

Memory: 8GB of 1600MHz memory is plenty for me. I removed the heatsinks for clearance reasons, and I think I like the new look better.

Storage: SSD for OS, programs, and samples. HDD for games and project archives. I have an external 3TB with all my movies and shows as well. A little disappointed that I couldn't fit a larger drive in there, as 2.5" only goes up to 2TB at the moment. Perhaps setting up a NAS will clear up the extra USB cable and power line required for the external drive.

GPU: Upgraded to a 970 from my previous 760 shortly before I decided to go mITX. My framerates in most games have doubled, and I absolutely love the current fan-off-when-idle trend. HOWEVER. The case obviously doesn't handle hot loads all that well, and the fans don't stay off for long, even when watching Netflix videos. I found out that standard 25mm-thick fans fit perfectly under the GPU, so I took out the GPU support bracket and put in two 120mm Noctua fans with nice rubber corners. The temperatures plummeted, and the two 120mm fans spinning constantly at 40% speed is still much quieter than having the GPU fans ramp up and down.

Regarding the infamous mITX cable management, I'd say that once you plan everything out, there aren't any spacing issues, but plugging stuff in and out and trying to get cable ties around stuff is difficult. The two extra SATA power plugs were an especially giant pain. The power supply was a very expensive oversight as well. But the build turned out well in the end, and I'm quite pleased with it now that it's done and over with.

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Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 4 points

you my friend have built a great pc! this deserves to get a +1

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :D

  • 48 months ago
  • 3 points

I love these small form factor/high power builds. +1

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 Love these small form factor builds. :D

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome build and great description! Things sure look snug in there...

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

This is fantastic! What's the performance like? Love small builds. (+1)

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Performance seems fine so far. Haven't had time to bench lately, but there's no difference than before with gaming :D

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi, I am thinking of getting this case I also have a aftermarket cooler, I was going to get 2 noctua fans to put in the GPU chamber, how much did that help the temps?

Thanks

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

The idle temps are much better, and I'm pretty sure the card is never under stress with the additional airflow. I'm sure the GPU fans at max speed would be more than enough to keep the card at safe temperatures (less than 80), even during gaming load, but that would be really loud.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Ive got some questions. Is it worth buying the in built PSU or should I go out and buy one which I can dd myself. Also with the fans. Are extra fans needed or not?

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm planning a similar build in the Fractal 202. Your temps don't seem too bad. Are you using this standing vertically or horizontally? I want to build a bedroom PC gaming console, but I've been reading conflicting opinions on whether a non-blower GPU works with this build when using it horizontally.

Hopefully a few Corsair SP120s in the GPU chamber and a good aftermarket CPU cooler will alleviate concerns?

EDIT: Do you recommend CFM over SP for the GPU Chamber fans?

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the late reply. I have mine set up horizontally. It really depends on your GPU TDP. My 1070 is just fine, but I'm not sure how an R9 390X or overclocked 1080 would fare.

I always recommend SP for ITX systems like these, since there are so many barriers to airflow.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 nice little build!

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Very clean and great build. Whenever I get the chance to build a PC again, it'll definitely be in this case.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I especially like the apperance below your desk!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

If you set the case sideways, do you think the structure of it and the sidepanel are strong enough to place your LCD on it?

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah definitely. These panels are solid steel, I'd have no problem putting even a large monitor on top of it.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

How hot does the 970 get?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey sorry for the late reply. In case you still wanted to know, it hits around 67C playing Overwatch at highest settings.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

That's surprisingly good. Thanks!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

What are you using for audio?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I have an external interface (NI Komplete Audio 6) for monitoring and recording.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you have the Noctua fans near the GPU set for exhaust or intake?

How are your temps during gaming?

Thanks

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I have them set as intake, since they're under the GPU which draws air from the bottom. I've set them to be on at a constant 40% PWM.

GPU temps are 33C idle (fans off), and 65-75C depending on the game. The GPU fans kick in and obviously it's pretty noticeable then, but I game with quiet speakers and it still doesn't bother me.

Hope this helps.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

I was also thinking of including the double NF-F12 cooling on the Node 202's GPU chamber. The GPU I'm considering (MSI RX 470 or 480) is slightly thicker than your 970, but only by 2mm. Do you think it could still fit in there or would I need to get thinner fans? I really want to use the NF-F12s without having to resort to more expensive, louder, and worse 12-15mm thick fans.

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

Should be just fine!