Description

I wanted to share my experience building my Node 202 with everyone. I actually built this PC up twice, first with the stock Integra PSU (made by FSP), and the second time with a Corsair SF450. I'll post pictures of the internals with both so you can see the difference/potential cable management with each. I've also seen some people go with SFX-L sized PSUs, but I can't recommend doing so as from what I've heard this requires removing the SSD bracket and leaves very little room for cable management.

Here's an album of the build in case Imgur is easier for anyone.

Building the Damn Thing

So, first let me say that it's really important to plan things out with a mITX build like this. I went in the first time thinking it would be pretty easy/straight forward, and boy was I wrong. While I was able to get everything together I had a few issues caused by not planning ahead. The biggest issue was that I forgot to connect the USB 3.0 header to the motherboard before mounting the CPU cooler, and damaged one of the pins trying to get it in without removing the CPU cooler first. I may attempt to desolder the damaged pin and replace it at a later date, but for now I don't have any need to.

As I hinted at before, working with the Integra PSU eventually led me to switch it out for a Corsair SF450 for two reasons: cable management and noise. The potential to get your cables neat and out of the way with the SF450 is much greater than with the Integra, and the Corsair is a little quieter overall. I managed to pick up the SF450 for $75 from eBay (via Newegg) the last time eBay had a $15 off coupon.

While the cables for the SF450 are fairly stiff, they aren't nearly as stiff and bulky as the ones on the Integra, and they were much easier to bend and get into different positions. They're also very flat, which allows you to easily route the cables through some of the other components to get them hidden better.

I was able to route the CPU power cable and the system fan/CPU fan cables between the two sticks of RAM, freeing up a good amount of space between the PSU and the motherboard. I was also able to route the USB 3.0 cable and audio cable through the GPU bracket and riser, leaving some empty space between the motherboard and the wall of the GPU compartment. Lastly, I was able to tuck the SATA and SATA power cables into the extra space in the SSD bracket.

For the bulky 24-pin connector cables, I did my best to loop them and compress them in a couple spots with zip ties, then used a zip tie to secure the bundle to the bottom of the case.

Components

For this build I went with an i5-6600K and Asus GTX 1060 6GB Turbo. My total cost for the build (not including the monitor) was $1175 (including both PSUs). I was able to get an excellent price on the CPU ($185), motherboard ($125) and M.2 SSD ($140) at Micro Center, which brought them to about $70 less than what I could have got them for online, even though I paid tax at Micro Center and wouldn't have online at the stores I was looking at (Newegg, SuperBiz & OutletPC).

As for cooling, I went with the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B. At 58mm it's just outside the supposed CPU cooler height limit, but it fits just fine. I've heard of some people having issues with other varients of the Big Shuriken, and I could imagine that if your motherboard sat a tiny bit taller in the case then even this one wouldn't fit. From what I've seen the Big Shuriken 2 Rev B is probably the best CPU cooler that will fit in the Node 202. For case fans, I went with two Fractal Design HP-12 PWM fans. I strongly considered getting some Corsair or Noctua fans instead, but the HP-12s fit the look of the case quite well and had good reviews. They perform great as well, and are quieter than the GPU or the CPU cooler, so the amount of noise they add is pretty negligible.

Performance and Temperatures

So far this PC is performing beautifully. I have my CPU overclocked to 4.5GHz using a positive dynamic voltage offset (can't remember the specific offset, but I think +0.09 sounds right) and enabling all power-saving features. I'll probably try fine tuning it a little more later, but for now it's very stable (haven't had a single issue related to the CPU during normal use, stress testing, benchmarking or gaming).

My GPU is also slightly overclocked using MSI Afterburner. The base clock is bumped up to 1725MHz, a 219MHz increase, or around 15%. My GPU memory clock is also bumped up to 8600MHz from 8008MHz. I have a +5 offset for Core Voltage and power limit set to 102.

As for temperatures, my CPU is usually under 30C during light tasks (Chrome, Office, etc) and my GPU hovers around 30C, but tends to get up to 32C after the computer has been on for a while.

During stress testing my CPU will get up to about 70C (aida64, x264), but I've never actually been able to get it that high doing anything else. During gaming the CPU has ranged from 40-65C, depending on the game. On the other hand, stress testing and benchmarking hasn't stressed the GPU as much as gaming does (probably due in part to how long I'm gaming for vs how long a benchmark runs). Most benchmarks get the GPU to the low 70s, and aida64 only brought it to the low 60s, while games like Witcher 3 and Doom (both at 1440p/Ultra) bring the GPU up to about 76.

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Comments

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Does it get loud under load?

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I could probably back off the fans a little bit since my max temps are pretty moderate, but during gaming with my current fan curves it does get pretty loud. I usually have the volume up or headphones on though, so it doesn't bother me much.

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

One of the few times ive seen someone attempt and actually manage a VERY good cable management in such a small case! How are the noise levels with such a good uninhibited airflow?

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Noise isn't bad at idle, but it gets pretty loud while gaming (the blower and the CPU cooler especially). That said, I could probably dial back my fan curves a little bit and let the GPU get to ~80C, since the CPU pretty much never goes over 65C (except during stress tests).

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, just made this account to ask a few questions but first of all: awesome build!

From what I read in your comments I wonder if I should go for a non blower style card. I also want to get the shuriken so it seems even if the average temperatur inside the case rises the CPU is still fine. And since the blower fan is also the loudest part this might be a good optimization?

Then again I am super scared to buy anything atm because everyone tells it is best to wait a bit with ryzen around the corner. I don't think I have the patience to wait for ryzen ITX mainboards anyway but maybe in a week with more numbers out intel will drop prices (if ryzen really is competitive).

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

That cable management is so tight!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. If you click the imgur link you can see a "before" picture from when I had the original PSU.

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Fantastic cable management, well done! For lower GPU and CPU temps you might want to consider removing dust filters if you didn't already and maybe turning CPU power cable 90 degree so it's not blocking your main CPU exhaust.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I probably wont mess with the dust filters, I live in an old house and we get tons of dust. I might try rearranging the CPU power cable next time I pop the case open though.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Love that you posted this and especially in detail!! I currently an using the CRYORIG C7 on my GPU and I get 40-50c on idle/light load and usually 74-76c while gaming. This is my CPU not GPU. I have two noctua NF-12s on GPU so temps are cool with load not going above 72c. CPU is what's killing me though. So should I switch to the she cooler you have for better temps?

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Hmm... What CPU are you using? That's pretty high for idle, but the max temps are okay.

You might want to try some cable management around the motherboard to improve airflow a little or reapplying thermal paste in case the paste you used isn't very good or it wasn't applied properly (I really recommend the Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut stuff and used the "pea method"). If that doesn't work I might suggest a better cooler. The Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B is probably the best you can fit in the Node 202.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm using a 6600 non k. And yeah, that's what I'm thinking as well. Might need to re-apply thermal paste or something. I'd say overall my cable management around the Mobo is fairly tidy but I can try to make it better. I also might attempt to return my CRYORIG C7 and get the Sycthe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, from what I've read a C7 is a bit better than a stock cooler, but the big shuriken really outperforms it. It's got a much bigger heat sync and a 120mm fan.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, and dat cable management is absolutely on point. Well done.

p.s. What's the noise output of that blower card like?

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The blower is the loudest part in the build for sure. It really only spins up while gaming, and I usually have headphones on or the volume up on my speakers.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

But what about the neighbours? :P

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

lol, there's a brick wall between me and my neighbors, and if my roommate is home I use my headphones, it's not thatttt loud. Actually the biggest issue I'm having with noise right now is the fans not following the curves I set. I noticed that sometimes they speed up way beyond what the fan curve should be . I already switched the computer's cooling policy in windows 10 to "passive" but I don't think that's fixed it. It's odd too, because the temps aren't very high when they spin up more.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

What you said about the fans sound odd, were the fan curves were set in the uefi right? Though as someone who doesn't have their own pc (yet!) I can't really talk.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

How much clearance did you have between the case fans and the GPU? Or did you remove the stock cooler and case? I can't tell from the photos.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm not really sure what you mean by the stock cooler and case... the two case fans I have are 25mm tall and fit under the GPU just fine.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah sorry I hadn't looked into the case enough, I thought there would be little to no space between fans and the GPU but after more research I realize there is plenty.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

what monitor is that

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Look at the part list. Dell U2515H

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

You have a 1tb hard drive in your parts list. This is a concern for me when thinking about this case, can I fit a hard drive in this case?

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

I can see half of a very gorgeous looking mechanical keyboard for a fantastic setup. It's always nice seeing fellow clackers.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, I'm considering a build very similar to this - I just have a couple of concerns that I hope you will be able to help me with: 1. Motherboard temperatures at load - in my last PC build, although CPU/GPU temps themselves were fine, my MOBO temp sensors would sometimes read into the high 70's and 80's, what sort of temps do you get with this small enclosure? 2. Asus GTX 1060 Turbo - I noticed in your pictures the card seems to sag a little, whats the general build quality of the card like? I have had big Asus cards in the past that have a huge amount of sag, this concerns me since I will be using this PC for live video work, and will often get moved around. I have made brackets to support GPU's in the past because of this issue. Would it be worth the extra 30 quid for the founders edition?

Thanks in advance!

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  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

It puts my node 304 to shame. I didn't thought of using zip ties on the power cables. Really really neat!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm pretty happy with it, and hope others can take some ideas from it.

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  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! It's a Cherry G80-3700HAU from 1996, quite rare at this point (:

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