Description

To start with a name explanation, this computer has nothing to do with Apple. It does, however, remind me of the main character in Mike Tyson's Punch Out! for the NES. He was so small and simple, even fragile-looking. But boy did he pack a punch! If you were lucky enough, you could even take down Tyson himself. That is what this computer is like (without getting your bike stolen after every Title Bout).

My wife and I have used laptops for most everything since we got married, but now that our kids are getting older and need access to a computer as well, I figured it'd be easier to have one central, do-everything computer, and we could do our more individual tasks through phones/tablets. One computer to rule them all. So, I put this together. I figured, "go big or go home".

I want this to be able to last our family for the next 5-7 years, hence the 16GB RAM, ridiculous amount of HDD space, and K processor (which I won't overclock now, but as time wears on and I need that extra "oomph" from my hardware, I can OC a bit to keep up the standards of a quick machine). I will definitely be getting a new mouse/keyboard soon though. While the mk520 does what it's supposed to, it just doesn't feel as nice as I'd like.

My wife likes small, stylish products (whether kitchen appliances or phones/tablets), so I chose the Node 304 in white. It has a really nice look to it, and a small footprint. I know she wouldn't appreciate a 3-foot tall tower sitting in our living room. The screws for the case could be more sturdy, but I knew what to expect from reading reviews before I bought it. I was lucky that I didn't strip any.

We both value low noise levels, which is why I replaced the h80i stock fans, as well as the stock fans for the case. Even when running at load, this is very quiet. Had to take the case off twice just to make sure all the fans were on. I chose the 780 vs the 780Ti specifically for the reviews on noise. Everyone says that it is the quietest of the powerful cards out there, and the MSI Twin Frozr isn't available anymore for the 780Ti (no idea why). I realize that this means I may have to replace the GPU before the rest of the components, but that's ok.

The idea is, I like to play games, and now I can across multiple monitors. Everything I own runs smoothly at max settings, which is a new experience for me, and I like it a lot. I always had "gaming laptops" before, since I needed portability for college/work, so I was able to play a lot of games (Skyrim, Civ V), but nothing like this. The smooth gameplay and incredible graphics settings are fantastic! I'll never buy a gaming laptop again. My wife is big into photo/video editing, which pose no problem now, and go quickly. My kids like to play flash games and surf the web. We all like to watch movies and listen to music.

So, the OS, all my games, and most of our other applications are on the SSD, which has ample room for expansion, as Steam sales continue (plus, with how long it's taking for Half-Life 3 to come out, that game must be huge, so I'll keep an extra 100GB space for that. Sigh... if only. But it did cost me almost $3k to put this together so.... Half-Life 3 confirmed?). The Black drive is for applications that I want to run quickly, but are less crucial to our needs. The two Green drives are for media storage. I have about 3.5TB of movies currently on an external drive that is hooked up to my wireless router, through which I stream to our Smart TV. I figure by moving that to the internal storage, the traffic will stream a lot more smoothly, and it will be quicker to access content. The on-board wifi is amazing. The software bundled with the motherboard also lets me use my phone/tablet to control the computer, so I can change the music we're listening to or movie we're watching without having to get off the couch or leave the room, if we're playing a game at the kitchen table.

I have tinkered around with computers when I was a teenager, and can swap out hard drives, etc., but this is the first time I have actually attempted to build a computer from scratch. I had a friend help me so that I wouldn't screw up anything too bad.

Temperatures are good, which was the thing that worried me most about the small chassis. With ambient 24C, the CPU sits at 27C idle, and GPU is 28C. I'll benchmark it officially later, but so far I haven't been able to make CPU or GPU go above 38C. The short cable set really helped free up space for air flow. I know I could have saved some money by waiting for seasonal sales, but we needed a computer now. Say what you will about the price vs. performance levels, but for our family's situation, this fulfills our needs perfectly.

I forgot to start taking pictures until I had a lot of parts out of their boxes, so sorry about that. Right now it's sitting on my desk at work, where I was when I finished putting it together. I'll take it home with me tonight, but you get a good idea as to what size it is.

Comments

  • 64 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! Excellent parts and it looks real clean, especially considering the form factor. +1

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

sweet!.. like the name for the build :)...haha i don't know how but i automatically knew you weren't referring to apple even before reading your description... Really want to get a build like this started soon! personally this is what an ideal itx setup should be...good job man +1

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

why did you get blue ram if everything else is red?

looks great otherwise :D

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I chose Ares over Ripjaws because I thought I'd need as much space as possible. In retrospect, the heat spreaders on the Ripjaws wouldn't have gotten in the way, but oh well. It's not like this thing has a window, so I'm the only one that will ever be looking inside of it.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

should have gone with Corsair LP imo

build still looks sleek anyway

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

how the hell did you fit 3 3.5inch HDDs in there???!

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

It has room for six. Four with the video card. If you got creative could probably fit another SSD in there too. It's tight, but it works beautifully.

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

VERY nice build and love the clean look. In other thoughts, I am very anal about cable management and almost killed myself looking at your pics. HAHA Sadly, that always leaves me with a giant case but I am trying to get over my cabling issues.

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

I redid the cables yesterday. Much cleaner now.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks like a minifridge

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

nice work! and very helpful info. i'll be putting together a somewhat more modest rig -- about 1/2 your budget -- but a number of your priorities match mine. your build has given me some great ideas and answered a number of key questions i had, particularly concerning the cooler and replacing stock fans to help reduce the run-time dBs. thank you for posting this.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

I love the build! +1 Only question I have is what /where did you find that black fan shroud for the outside rear fans?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Those are the front fans. The shroud/filter came with the case.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Whats the refresh rate on the monitor?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

How has nobody made a "Big Mac" joke yet? This is insanity!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

sweet build man! I like the white for the case and, of course, ITX. Where did you get the Silverstone cables for so cheap?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I think I bought them from Newegg during a sale. I'd have to go back and check though...

[comment deleted]
  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

if you had read the first line of his description, you'd see the name has nothing to do with Apple.