Description

Quite pleased with this build. Started reading about the Steam Box and what people were doing with ITX builds, and got the itch to build one. Sounded like fun and possibly a bit of a challenge. I was surprised by how easy it was to put everything together given some of the comments I had read on various forms. I originally was going to wait to build a flatter smaller set up like the Steam Box, but found the Fractal Designs Node 304 and really like the design. Built this as my main PC to replace my 7 year old tower. I bought some of the parts a while ago, and others more recently and I was a bit lazy to go dig up all the prices I actually paid.

The Node is a really nice case! Quite small, about 1/3 the size of my full tower. It was fairly easy to build with too. I read comments on screws being really tight for some, and others having trouble with the one piece shroud. However, never had any issues with that. I liked the full size vent for the GPU that runs along the entire length of the card. It creates a nice inlet to keep the GPU cool. I did run into a bit of trouble deciding where and how to the Hard Drives and the HD bay. Part of that was a lack of sleep, and the other was the off centered CPU on the ASRock Mobo. With a nights sleep and the suggestion of a friend, I decided to center mount the Bay with both drives inside. I originally wanted to mount the drives with the cables toward the front of the case, but couldn't get the 3.5 to fit that direction. With only one power cable for both drives, I had to mount them the same direction as well. Note that if you mount both drives inside the bay, you will have to fidget with the power cable to get the heads installed as they will be facing different directions. I did see someone that made a custom cross bar mount along the top of the case and I may switch to something like that in the future for better airflow. While the center mount does give decent airflow to both the GPU and CPU, about 1/3 of the CPU Cooler in my instance is still partially blocked. Top mounting the SSD and 3.5 would alleviate this.

The Silverstone ST45SF-G is quite tiny! Nice quality too, and packs enough power for my build. The cables work well for this case as they are significantly shorter than ones that may come with a full size ATX PSU. Made it fairly easy for cable management. The only complaint I have is the fan in it is the loudest thing in my case. That's not saying much though, as this build is still fairly quiet. A low hum is all I hear. I get the feeling that had I went with the Silverstone G-Series, I wouldn't hear anything though! Still the small size and shorter cables convinced me to use this PSU instead. The bracket in the Node is designed for a full size ATX though, so you will have to use the conversion bracket Silverstone provides. It's not painted so will clash some with the case if that sort of thing bothers you.

With the ST45SF-G, I had no problems whatsoever with installing a GTX 770 The ACX cooler that EVGA provides is really quiet. Can't even hear it when it's not under load, unlike my previous GTX 460 which was louder then everything in this build. The vent gives this card plenty of airflow to work with as well.

The Noctua NH-U12S also worked out much better than I had expected. I was pleasantly surprised to find so much room behind it. In fact there was enough room for me to add a second fan for push/pull on the cooler. It has decent performance in the case, and I think if I were to move the drive bay and mount the drives elsewhere performance would be even better. I am still toying with the idea of going with a water cooling set up too. That is more because it does bother that the CPU is off center in this case and doesn't line up with the 140mm fan in the back. I forgot about that when selecting the mobo.

Speaking of which, a really cool option with the ASRock is the mSata port on the backside. I can add a 32 or 64 GB SSD there and use it as a cache for my 1TB HDD if I wanted too. Essentially this would turn it into a Hybrid drive! Pretty cool design and space saving as well. I'm looking into doing that when I find a good deal.

Comments

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Are you worried about not enough power?

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice one!

I'm looking into this whole m-ITX steambox HTPC combination thing too - and I will be pulling the trigger in a couple of months. My plans are nowhere near as powerful as what you've put together here, though, as my main rig is more or less that sort of thing as it is now. I love the Node 304 too - but I will need an optical drive in my build unfortunately :-/

I'm hoping for home streaming to be useful :D

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, if you want an optical drive and are looking to build a steambox, Silverstone has a few cases that seem pretty nice!

http://techreport.com/news/25918/silverstone-shows-plethora-of-new-cases

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I've seen those too - but I think my eyes are more firmly set on the CoolerMaster Elite 130. It's nicely cheap, and the airflow is good. Especially if you reverse the front fan apparently :-)

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, dude! I'm thinking about going for Mini build using the hadron case,however, I'm still debating... I may end up using a regular tower. I'm not to sure, yet =/!

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, I knew right away that I wanted to build one when I started reading about the mini builds. If you can't decide, it may pay off to be patient. I've been reading good things about the upcoming Broadwell processors. Supposed to have DDR4 support and fix some of the heating issues with the Haswell processors. Plus by that time there should be plenty of new mini ITX cases to choose from also!

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you guys for the response! I will consider it :]! However, for now just looking up more information and other peoples builds should suffice :P.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 71 months ago
  • 0 points

Very nice and clean build, great part selection. +1

Use that msata!

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I'm looking up some cards now!

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Just a small notice the Plextor M5M has always been the king of the msata SSDs, as this has a great price/performance ratio. Hope this info can ease your search.