Description

This is a tiny, but effective gaming rig. 3DMark2015 Scores: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/10334555 -- Not bad-for its size!

The graphics cards maintain cool temps with the two Corsair fans blowing air directly onto them and .75" tall feet. Even while running Furmark the temps never exceed about 72C, and the graphic card's fans never spin up beyond 30% (basically, they're not audible, though the Corsairs have a low hum which is if you're sitting right in front of it).

The Thermalright AXP-100 is a tight fit... but it does fit. You need to not install the two fan scews towards the back of the case. The case closes pefectly on top and they're not needed. It allows this particular processor to run at 4.4Ghz for all but the most strenuous workloads (i.e. Prime95 small-fft) without throttling. With Prime95 small FFTs (i.e. a very strenuous workload) and Furmark running 1600x1200+8xMSAA at the same time, it has worked for at least 8 hours at a stretch (I lost patience and turned it off after 8 hours of running both continuously). With large FFTs in Prime95, CPU temps mostly hover around 80C at 4.4Ghz. 4.5Ghz works, but given that this system was going to be deployed in a drawer (hopefully with some intake fan helping to blow some ambient air in), I felt safer with 4.4. The fan on this is definitely audible when it the CPU is hot. Running the CPU at lower overclocks mostly prevents this from happening (4.4 is ~25% overclocked).

A cooler CPU would certainly have helped things out with thermal temps and Prime95 small FFTs.. but who cares! It works great for normal gaming workloads!

The case, when mounted in a horizontal position, does better if it has another half-inch of clearance (so, perhaps .75" total) from the ground on the graphics card side. This would be about double or triple of what the included feet give. Without doing this, the graphics card gets to 80C, or you have to turn up the case fans to settings that make more noise. If you allow clearance, the SP120s can run at 40%, and temps never exceed 72C for the graphics card.

Notable casemods required the following: * 1/2" outside-diameter tubing * 1 set of wooden disposable chopsticks * a few small zipties.

With the two SP120 Corsair fans in there, the graphics card (which is moderately large) would droop and the fan farthest from the IO panel would come in contact with the case fans. This caused the other fan to spin at 100% continuously. I placed (er, wedged) a couple of pieces of tubing in between the case fans and the case, and one other length of tubing wedged between the case fans. These prop up the rear of the graphics card nicely and don't seem like they're coming loose any time soon.

The Node 202 has magnetic air filters to cover various inlets. In the case of my build, however, the air filter which covers the inlet for the graphics card compartment kept getting sucked into the center of the corsair fans and causing some rubbing noises. I cut a 'ramp' into the end of a couple of disposable chopsticks, placed them in opposite directions, wedged them in, and ziptied them together. This kept the fan filter from going anywhere near the fans, and, again, doesn't seem like it will be coming loose any time soon.

On cable routing: Cable routing in the Node 202 works quite well, but they could make a mode that would make it work even better. There is some small space between the HD holder and front inside wall of the case. If you're careful, you can wedge the power cables for the graphics cards and graphics card fans and power button, LED there, which vastly cleans up the cabling.

To improve airflow (given that the Asus Maximus Impact VRM daughterboard makes it difficult for air to escape), I removed the rear IO panel. Given that the case has positive air pressure, this should cause no dust issues.

A variation which worked well for this case involved using the Noctua NH-L9i instead of the AXP-100, and then placing a Thermaltake 140mm Luna 14 Slim on top of that. The fit was tight enough that it didn't seem likely to go anywhere, and it kept the motherboard (though not the CPU) temps down nicely (the case would actually be cool to the touch instead of warm, even when running Prime95 small FFTs for hours).

I suspect there is space to install an external 2x120 rad on the rigfht side. Perhaps the next build will include that...

Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

what the hell did you do to the chip? why are there scratches on the plate?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

my guess would be he lapped the cpu.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup!

  • 48 months ago
  • 0 points

Lapped it, but didn't lap it so much that it was 100% flat. The interior part is more indented than the exterior, and so it never had good contact. The sandpaper rubbed it a bit.

Given that it was allready concave, the scratches don't really matter-- the TIM deals with it just fine so long as it is macroscopically flat (which it is).

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Would you feel comfortable placing your LCD on top of this case when it's on it's side? Or do you think it's too weak to do so and may damage something? I'm trying to find out how strong this case is and the steel panels.

  • 47 months ago
  • 0 points

The case cover is all plastic is would most likely not stand up to any substantial amount of weight, so I would say definitely not.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I think it'd work fine with a monitor on top, except that the monitor would cover the vent holes, which, depending on the build could be ok.

The reason it'd be OK is that the middle of the case has a support (it bisects the case between the CPU/MB and GPU areas of the case.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! Just working on the Node 202 myself! What is that Noctua fan in the last photo?

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

That's the Noctua NF-A9x14. It's the fan that comes with their NH-L9 line of coolers.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the Asus VIII impact and am having trouble fitting the AXP-100 due to the Impact Power III riser board to the top of the motherboard. Did you have similar issues?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Nope, works fine here.