Introduction: Hello all! Build number 2# is finally here. Some of you may recognize some internals on this pretty little thing from my first build. The reason this all happened was because the temps were simply not working out for me on the node 202. Water cooling is THE way to go and I will never go back to any case that doesn't somewhat support it. I would really like to do a custom loop system but at the moment AIO cooling it is. As always, let me know your thoughts and opinions! So let me tell you a bit about her.
Case: The Define Nano S was exactly what I was looking for. It fits a 240mm Radiator on the front or top. I can even add a 120mm Rad. It has mounts for a reservoir and pump. Its sleek and simple. Doesn't take up much space. It's got great price and not to mention that great build quality that Fractal has kept me very happy with.
To put it simply: I F**** love this case. Also shout out to mnpctech.com for the acrylic side panel. They also supplied me with an led strip, so let me know your thoughts on it!
Note: I'm soo OCD about dust I added a mesh on the front side vents. It's a cheap easy mod. I posted a picture of it.
Motherboard: As I mentioned in the previous build. The Asus Z170I seems like a pretty popular choice for mini-itx builds. I wanted something with Wifi that didn't need any tinkering. It's not the best looking motherboard, but it does the job great. The BIOS is on point.
CPU: Boy am I glad I got the unlocked version in the previous build (I almost purchased the 6700). I wanted that option to overclock down the road and here I am, down the road. lol. So it was a smart decision. For you overclockers out there. I got semi-lucky with the silicon lottery. I was able to squeeze 4.3 ghz at 1.21 Volts. If i'm not mistaken at stock settings it runs at 1.2 volts. So I got a nice little increase while keeping the voltage practically stock (AKA Lower temps, AKA a nice quiet rig). Also in case your wondering I did try and get more out of it. I was shooting for 4.6ghz, but the amount of voltage required was getting this setup much hotter then i'd like it. Not to mention I hands down prefer a quieter system at the expense of minimal performance gains.
Note: If you're looking to build a quiet pc and/or would like lower temperatures. Consider Undervolting your CPU many more benefits then overclocking if you ask me.
CPU COOLER: The H100i V2. Sigh. Here's where some trouble began and don't even get me started on those awful fans, we'll get to that later...
As many of you know there are pretty mixed reviews regarding these coolers. I like to think mostly positive, but I wasn't one of the lucky ones. My pump randomly failed on me and my CPU temps went through the roof. At that point I was looking into getting a predator 240 from EKWB. But with the somewhat hefty price tag I decided that if i'd be spending that much I might as well throw down some more money for a custom water loop setup. In the meantime I gave the h100i another shot as It was covered under warranty. So far so good.
Memory: I figured 16gb was plenty. Not to mention it's getting cheaper and cheaper so If I ever need to upgrade it won't be a big deal. The 3200MHz is overkill but for a few dollars more didn't really mind.
GPU: For this case I would've really loved a 1080 seahawk, considering my whole point was to switch to a water cooled system! Unfortunately my wallet didn't agree. Sigh. Either way I'm happy with my blower GPU and as I've mentioned in my previous build: the 1070 is an excellent powerful graphics card. A blower option is also optimal for this case as the PSU takes up a good chunk of space. So if you have this case and your not watercooling, get a BLOWER!
Radiator Fans:* You people have no Idea the amount of research I did for these damn fans. I had sleepless nights. Researching the optimal sound/rpm ratio or CFM/RPM. Going back and forth between options, etc, etc. Totally Mindf myself. The stock h100i fans sound like a jet engine. Not to mention I don't want to use some lame *** software just to control my fans. I would rather have it permanently setup on my BIOS. And because they aren't PWM even that would have been a pain.
So new fans were clearly needed and I was pretty much deadlock undecided between the Noctuas 2000 PWM, Gentle Typhoons, and Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition (which were my third choice). I never actually decided between them. What happened was My friend gave me a dual pack of these SP120's that he ordered by mistake and the rest is history. Theyre great! In terms of decibel level at least. Very quiet and seem to be cooling just fine.
Note: Sometimes I do wonder if I'll get slightly better temps with the latter options. One day I might pull the trigger on the noctuas and see if they're worth the hype.
Case Fan: AF120 Quiet edition. Was happy with the Rad fans so decided to stick to Corsair for this one as well.
Note: If your wondering why I took the o-ring off its because I thought it was ugly.
Storage: SSD all the way. Because lightning fast boot up! Would really like to get an M.2 for even faster boot up, but I heard these are so finicky that most of them are DOA (dead on arrival) I know 2 different people that had to exchange them a total 4 times until they got a working one.
In conclusion I'm very happy with this build. I definitely enjoy having the clear side panel to look back at all my work and wondering what I can do next. I have a good idea on what that will be, but we will leave that for the 3.0...