Description

Updated graphic card and cooling (June 2016) :

The rig is back to a single AIO (H60) in push-pull configuration with 2x F12 IPPC3000, and a 1070 FE in replacement for the 970 Hybrid. This upgrade allows for a much more silent build overall :

CPU custom fan curve : 0°>42° = 10% (340rpm reading?!) after that its 1 to 1 (max=58°/26% cpu fan).

GPU OC custom fan curve : 0°>40° = 40% then almost 1 to 1 (max=66°/70% gpu fan).

GPU max stable OC = +240 GPU / +500 memory. I was able to run steam vr test at +271/+508 but it's nowhere near real life gaming conditions.

Max observed GPU in 2h load = 2176mhz. Average = 2101mhz.

In conclusion : idle is completely silent, load without OC is barely audible (less than the Hybrid in load), load with OC is okay but you can clearly hear the air going through the blower.

Steam vr score 11 (max), 14368.

TimeSpy graphic score : 6514.

Firestrike graphic score : 20 736.

No CPU bottleneck so far, that old i5 is not retiring yet..

Note for 1070/1080 in node 304 with atx psu: there is about 2mm of clearance between the end of the card and the PSU outputs, it's a tight fit.


Last update "Stacked AIOs" (May 2016) :

I wanted to update my gaming node 304 to meet VR requirements (vive on pre-order..) and I got a pretty good deal on an EVGA 970 Hybrid (for Canada). I had to try the stacked AIOs solution in the Node 304 before getting a Cougar QBX, I was not expecting temps that good to be honest.

i5 3570k oc @ 4,4ghz

EVGA 970 Hybrid oc @1540mhz, sadly I hit power throttle if I try to go higher, a lot of room left temp wise. Noise curve is pretty flat, idles a bit louder than I expected but still acceptable, and I can't tell the difference under load. Note : I may use the step-up program if Pascal cards are worth it.

Old Steam vr score was a "capable" (3.7) with a Sapphire 7950. I now get a "vr-ready" (8.2) using 365.10 drivers (little improvement over the 362. drivers).

Comments

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Neato. Where did you find that hybrid for $420 CAN?

You may as well use some of that thermal headroom to quiet your pc down. If you set all your fans to less aggressive profiles, starting with your GPU, you should get some considerable noise reduction.

Are your radiator fans pulling air into the case?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Well I found a really cool guy on kijiji that bought it last week and had not registred yet, The Division key not used, I even got the Mail in Rebate.

The video card's fan (for the memory) has a minimum setting of 29%, that's not ideal, I played a few hours yesterday and that fan didn't go higher than 34%. I don't know yet if there is a workaround that would't involve modding the card.

The two front fans (stock) are intakes, I have no hard drive tray as the SSD is tapped to the case frame, then the stack is an exhaust setup like this : EVGA 120mm fan > H60 rad > Corsair SP120 > 970 rad

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I wonder if you would get better results putting the 970 rad towards the outside. You are pulling hotter air in than what you would see the other way around.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually the whole AIO setup is an exhaust with the 970 rad being the last component pushing hot air out of the case, it's kind of a wind tunnel where the exhaust is aligned with the two front air intakes.

I think the temps would improve if I had some kind of spacing frame to get a better airflow between the two pairs of fan/rad. I'll probably leave it like this to avoid damaging the 970 rad as it's already supporting its own weight + 2 heavy fans and a rad :/

btw your cable management is really impressive, I still have to work on that !

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Hmm I didn't notice that in the pictures, sorry about that. Output makes way more sense in this context...

I don't know if you could improve airflow in that manner. Parasitic fan current eddies are more than likely present, but I couldn't tell you how much of a negative effective effect these are having. Your temps are really, really good for an ITX case. AIO coolers for the win.

Thanks! Spent a good day on it trying to get everything how I liked it. Braided cabling helps.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

That's lucky. I considered buying the hybrid 970 myself for a while. It just didn't make sense with the case I chose in the end.

It seems the 970 hybrid is just a loud card overall. You could play around with the settings you have access to to prevent the fans from vamping up below 70-80 degrees. I don't know of any fixes for the idle speed.

As for the other fans in the case, you might hit some better temps (and lower db ratings once you adjust the fan curves) if you turn your fans to exhaust air with your gpu radiator right up against the chasis. Your GPU produces a lot more heat than your cpu, and it will do your system good to get that heat out of your little case sooner than later. If you have the time, It's worth a shot.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Old CPU new GPU.

+1.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

haha, well you can tell it was a cheap upgrade right ? That old i5 is not giving up yet..

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Holy moly never seen a double-stacked AIO rad setup. That's awesome.

Your GPU temps are phenomenal, too. Well done!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks !

Really I was just messing around with the rads to see how bad it would be if I stacked them in the node 304 (I was so wrong). It took me almost an hour just to mount the corsair fan between the two rads with 8 screws (4 on each side of the fan) and 8 rubber spacers, using a knife and scissors.

It worked, but if I had a hard drive bay mounted I think the temps would be much higher.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Lol I didn't know there was a watercooled 970! If I upgrade to that GPU, I'm getting that version!!!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Every card manufacturer does at least 2 cards per generation(and in EVGA's case, per GPU lol) that are absolutely over-the-top and put them on par or above the next card tier*.

*Offer not valid for Titan and Fury X class GPUs

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, that's cool! Are those cards hybrid 980 Ti and this 970?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

EVGA launched this card a bit late for the current generation, but this version is still relevant if you go with a high overclock as it can keep up with some stock 980 and with low temperatures. If the 970 price drops even lower this card could be a solid option for a cheap upgrade.

Regarding the idle noise issue, I think the stock fan that goes on the rad is the culprit, I may have to switch it for something better.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Go with some Noctua fans!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello. I am also thinking of using this case for my first build. http://pcpartpicker.com/list/pNqjXH Do you think i will have space if I used an 1tb hdd or do i need to go full ssd? Thanks

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi!

The node 304 comes with 3 drive racks, you'll only need one of them of your SSD+HDD. The rack will go on the front above the PSU, there are 3 positions but the one on the right might not be usable (1070 backplate/Power cables). This means the rack will partially block the airflow from the front intakes (2 x 92mm) and with the cpu cooler you've chosen that might be a problem.

So my advice would be to go with a different cpu cooler (taller) or reverse the airflow in the case by changing the direction for both front and back fans. also there is an air intake at the end of the 1070 that will get less air if you reverse the airflow, but I don't think it will make much difference.

Also have you checked the clearance for the cooler/ram combination on that motherboard ? I'm just asking as I have no experience with them.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

This is a fantastic build, well done!

I'm curious how did you connect your fans and set the profiles?

I got all Noctua fans in my 304 but they are pretty audible even at the lowest setting of the fan controller, so I'm looking for a way to set a custom fan curve for the case fans.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks!

I used a fan splitter (Silverstone CPF01 3.94" PWM Fan Splitter Cable) to plug both F12 fans into the motherboard's CPU fan header. I've been using gigabyte Easy Tune to set the curve as it was more precise than the options available in the BIOS.

On startup I think they run around 40% for a few seconds then settle down. Front fans are still the stock ones from fractal, they're not moving much air but they are silent.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

This was my first attempt at a SFF and close to inaudible build, so some mistakes were made, I thought I could get rid of all the fan noise by just buying Noctua fans, so I got 2x A9, a P12 and a F14.

I bought the fan splitter you mentioned so we'll see how it goes once I get it, thanks for the answer.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I also have this processor but was wondering if it was too slow to support the GTX 1070? How has your experience been?

Also i have very similar RAM, do you think this is too slow?

Thanks

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I play on a 1080p60 tv screen so absolutely no CPU bottleneck (GTA V, The Division), your experience may differ if you're playing on a 144hz screen. I've noticed some frame drops when playing VR (vive) on some cpu heavy games (i.e: Raw Data) and while using supersampling (I run vr games @ 4536 x 2520). That's an extreme scenario as the system needs to output a steady 90fps at more than 4K.

Some people on reddit (/r/nvidia) running stock 3570K are reporting cpu bottleneck on Fallout 4, but 1) the game is not a good example of optimization 2)a "K" processor is not meant to be run on stock clock (IMHO). Regarding the RAM, I use to have an OC (with voltage tweak) but it didn't make any difference for me (neither in game or benchmarking).

tl;dr : single thread performance on an OCed 3570K is on the same level as an i5 6600K, so you should be fine unless you're playing on an ultra fast monitor with a cpu heavy game. I won't change cpu/mb/ram before next year :)

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

I have this case and an H90 cooler. I currently have an EVGA 780TI SC graphics card (air cooled) and was thinking about upgrading to a 1070 or 1080. I liked the idea of going water cooling on the graphics card as well but wasn't sure if there was even room for another radiator. Looking at your pic, I guess you just stacked them and made it fit. I find it interesting that you just switched to the blower style 1070 and said it is now a much quieter build overall. What is quieter? The graphics card, case fans, CPU, etc. I am looking for a quiet (and well cooled) build and figured going to a hybrid graphics card would help for both sound and temps but your comment is making me doubt going to a hybrid card now. Care to explain a bit more? Thanks and nice build!

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry I've been working a lot and didn't check in here for a while. If you're still interested :

The stacked aio solution I was using previously gave a lot of headroom for overclocking the gpu, but the idle noise level was higher. Because the minimum rpm for the GPU fan (the one on the card itself) was higher, and having the heat from the gpu rad going through the CPU rad means that the corsair stock fan for the H60 had to run to a higher rpm. So the improvement came from the NF12x2 instead of the stock cpu fan, and having a single rad (cpu only), they could run at very low rpm.

In my experience, this AIO watercooled gpu will be more silent on load than any FE or non-FE card (it's basically the same noise level at idle/load).

By the way I've switched to a CoolerMaster Nepton 140XL / i7 6700K combo, this case has a lot of potential !

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Can you post more pics of the setup, I'm looking into a hybrid card and water cooled cpu itx build and is like a dream. Thanks.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry I've switched the watercooled 970 for a 1070 blower a few months ago, I don't have more pictures :/

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks ! The rad itself is really good, slightly bigger than the H60 rad, the tubing is less rigid than corsair and it helps in a small case, overall the cooling is above expectations. The noise level is ok under load (better than every card I've had), but I was not expecting to have the same noise level all the time, It's louder than my 7950 vapor-x in idle. That's mostly due to the stock 120mm fan, as I said I'll be replacing it with a more quiet fan that I'll plug into the motherboard instead of the videocard to avoid having that constant rpm and get a real silent idle :)

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