Description

First time building in the ITX platform. Definitely some challenges, but overall a positive experience. This is replacing an i5-3570K build that is about 7 years old. I mainly wanted ITX so it fit better under a desk with limited counter space.

CPU Ryzen 5 3600 Needed reasonable horsepower, but nothing crazy.

ID IS-60 Great cooler for this particular build although I did replace the stock fan with an NF-A12x15. FWIW I'm confident the stock AMD cooler would work as well as it was essentially the same height as the IS-60.

Mobo x570 platform for PCI-e 4.0, but could have easily used a much cheaper 450 board and probably been fine.

Ram Technically, not listed on the Gigabyte compatible list for this MB, but works just fine. Chosen as it is low profile, which I needed to allow the CPU cooler to clear.

Drives Chose a 1TB PCI 4 for the main boot drive. It is stupidly fast. It sits under the heatsink on the front of MB. Chose a 2TB M2 for a second drive as the MB has two M2 slots. Connects on back of MB. Both the M2 drives come in a tin which double for breath mints. Samsung 2TB SSD as a third drive.

Video Card Originally built with a Red Dragon 5700. TERRIBLE card. For starters, too wide for this particular case. Second, it was never stable. I was getting BSOD and random flickers and after much troubleshooting, BIOS changes, etc. just swapped the card out for an RTX 2060 Super and had ZERO issues from then on. I would not recommend the Powercooler Red Dragon 5700 to anyone at this point. Not sure if I got a lemon or if it's just AMD driver flakiness or what, but it was a dud. PCpartpicker won't let me review items not in a build, so this serves as my review. I returned it to Amazon and hope they set fire to it.

The RTX 2060 super was only $339 when I bought it so it was cheaper than the 5700 and benches about 5% faster. It's longer than the 5700, but fits fine and is narrower and a better choice for this case IMO. It also uses 20W less and only requires one PCI-E PSU cable.

PSU Pretty standard 450 SFX unit from Corsair. Nothing fancy. Reasonable cables. Silent, zero fan mode.

Case I chose the Fractal 202 because I knew what to expect and many of the other great ITX cases are much pricier and crowd funded and hard to obtain. I wanted something to place vertically under my desk as there is minimal desk space taken up by monitor and keyboard. This is about the size of an Xbox One. My temps are great. As I type this my CPU is 45 and my GPU is 31. I added two NF-A12x15 as intakes on the case and they are quiet. The only noise is an occasional CPU fan ramp up, which isn't loud at all.

Cable Management Tricky, as expected in an ITX, but doable. I had everything perfect and thought to myself, "this wasn't hard at all"...then realized I hadn't run any of the PSU cables yet. Oops. I used the extra SSD slot in the drive bay of the case to hide a few cables.

Challenges Build was not without issues, minor and major. First, the ram was tricky to install as I placed the CPU cooler first. Hindsight says insert ram before messing with CPU. The original 5700 video card is too wide for this case and you can't insert one of the screws on the card cage as a result (see pic). I had everything together and then realized the tabs on the top fan bracket were hitting the CPU fan and had to dissemble everything and turn the CPU cooler around 180 deg as it is offset. That meant undoing all the cpu thermal paste, which might as well have been cement at that point. Got a little on the cpu pins and had to clean with ISO alcohol and a toothbrush.

Once built, as mentioned above, I had a terrible time getting the system stable and long story short, it was a bad video card. Tried numerous BIOS upgrades, roll backs, XMP disable/enable, DDU, a few choice words, and once I traded out the video card it was solid and no issues.

Other minor observations: -If you use two case fans, the PSU extension cable path is a little tenuous (See pic).
-The fans occupy the screw holes for the GPU support so you can't use it and case fans. -For what it is, the Node 202 is a solid case. Well built and functional. -Super unimpressed with the AMD 5700 card I originally bought. Nvidia is way ahead in the driver game.

Glad I ventured into ITX world with this. I have room to upgrade to Ryzen 7 or 9 and don't have too many worries about cooling as the temps I've gotten so far are solid. I would recommend every component listed except the Powercooler Red Dragon 5700 which should be tossed into a volcano.

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Comments

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 points

A nice fast mini ITX build that should last for years! Proof that good things can fit into small packages. Thumbs up from me. Enjoy!

  • 19 days ago
  • 2 points

So in hindsight, my issues with the 5700 card may have been inadequate power. AMD recommends at least a 600W PSU even though the card doesn't pull more than ~180 peak. Perhaps my 450W PSU was under powered on certain rails to keep the card going and that ultimately brought instability to the system. The 5700 uses 8+6 pin to power.

The RTX 2060 has no trouble with the 450W PSU and only uses 8 pin.

Lesson: don't rely solely on PCPARTPICKER compatibility check or system power calculations to determine PSU requirements. I was clear on both and had problems.

  • 6 days ago
  • 1 point

Nice build.

Just to point out. I am using the same spec, just like you, Ryzen 5 3600, 16 GB Ram and a RX 5700XT. And peak system power draw is around 350W. So i think you just had bad luck, because my Red Dragon works normally with a 500W PSU, of course there are some AMD driver issues, but overall, it is fine. But you made the right choice switching to Nvidia, it's driver is more stable.

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 point

Sweet build! My very first build was a 202, so I would say I decided to just make or break my PC experience on a tough challenge. Yours worked out beautifully. Question tho: Any concern with mounting your PSU fan up? I know there's a vent underneath, but then the power cable orientation doesn't agree, but I wasn't taking any chances.

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 point

Good point. I think I totally just blanked. I should probably flip it and have the PSU exhausting air through the vent. I'll look into that tonight. Sometimes the obvious things aren't so obvious. Thanks!

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 point

My man over here building in a node 202 like its no big deal. Nice job man! Really impressive build!

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 point

Great build in the Node 202, haven't seen one in a good long while here. FWIW, you could easily upgrade the PSU to 600W and the GPU to an RTX 2080 or above and have a superb gaming PC with lots of longevity. You could even with for the Ampere/RTX 3000 series due this year.

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 point

No question. I have another gaming system with i9 and GTX 2080, but if this one needs a gaming bump it would be easy to swap PSU for similar 600w and swap GPU as well. Monitor this 202 box it on is only 1080p, so I thought this might handle that pretty well.

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 point

Parts list has a RTX 2060 super, pics have a Radeon 5700?

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 point

Read the build description.