Description

My wife gave me $1000 to create my own gaming PC. This was my first ever PC build! Knowing I wanted lots of power in a small form factor build, I went for none other then the Node 202 by Fractal Design paired with an i5 6500 and a GTX 1070. The goal was to keep the system sleek, silent, and cool. I was originally thinking of gaming at 1440p 60 Hz or 1080p 144 Hz, but my budget didn't allow for the $250+ monitor that is required, so I will be gaming at 1080p 60 fps at ultra settings for the next few years without a sweat. I hope you guys enjoy the build! Please leave your comments!

The only thing I would change would be the CPU cooler, as the Intel stock cooler doesn't do a great job at keeping the CPU cool under 100% load. I have the case oriented with the CPU towards the bottom with the vent below it which is getting blocked by the stand. Running Prime95 (small FFT test) for 10 minutes yielded about 83 C and still rising with fans at 100%. During gaming, the CPU runs at about 65 C. Not ideal, but not bad for the space and airflow available in this system.

UPDATE: I just purchased the C7. This cooler looks great! It is also almost as loud as the stock cooler while having weird dial-up-like noises at certain fan speeds. So here is the information on performance with the system in the stand and cpu exhaust at the bottom which is being covered up partially by the stand. With fans at max the CPU hovers around 55C in Aida64 and with the tuned fan curve hovers around 60C. Using the tuned fan curve in Prime95, the CPU stays around 79C in the small FFT test. With fans at max, the CPU hovers around 76C.

UPDATE: I just purchased the Noctua NH-L9i. I combined the heat sink with a NF-A9 fan for more airflow 46.4 CFM vs 33.8 CFM of the low profile fan included. Both of these Noctua fans are much quieter than the C7 and stick coolers at their respective max speeds. The NF-A9 fan here has a max speed of just 2000 RPM vs. the 2500 RPM of the both the low profile A9 and the C7. So here is the information on performance with the system in the stand and CPU exhaust at the bottom which is being covered up partially by the stand. With fans at max the CPU hovers around 54C in Aida64 and with the custom fan curve use for the C7 hovers around 65C. Using the same custom fan curve in Prime95, the CPU stays around 80C in the small FFT test. With fans at max, the CPU hovers around 78C.

As far as the cooling for the GPU, the pair of Noctua NF-F12s are doing a great job at providing enough airflow to cool the GPU. I managed to overclock my GPU by adding 145 MHz to the core clock and the boost clock hit the golden 2.1 GHz. The GPU, while overclocked, reached a stable 70 C in Furmark after 15 minutes of stress testing. After hours of running Unigine Vally the GPU was stable at about 65 C. I have no complaints about my cooling setup for the GPU.

Edit: Finally, since the monitor and keyboard were technically not part of my $1000 budget, I came in just over budget at $1015.

P.S. The price list reflects what I paid for each item. Click on the following link to see the current market value for each item http://pcpartpicker.com/list/TWtDzM

Part Reviews

CPU

I love this CPU, especially for the price I got it. I have no complaints as far as performance goes. Great for gaming at 1080p 60 fps.

Motherboard

This board has all the features a typical gamer would need and then some. I also think the price point is spot on for a mid-range board with loads of extras. It includes dual band AC WiFi which is working great for me, as well as, an M.2 slot on the back for that interested in that type of storage. The WiFi antennae are extremely easy to install (just twist them on with fingers like a coax cable). The HD 7.1 surround sound audio is great and there are plenty of USB ports including a connection for USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers.

Memory

This was the cheapest RAM with a heat spreader at the time of purchase and it was 2400 MHz. It works. I'm happy.

Storage

It was cheap and does the job. My computer boots in 10 seconds. I have Skyrim Legendary Edition installed to this drive and loads into the game world in less than 5 seconds! I am happy with this drive.

Storage

Cheapest 1 TB 7200 RPM drive available. It is also a Western Digital company so the drive should be reliable. I have had no issues with this drive so far.

Video Card

What can I say besides WOW! I got a great deal on this graphics card. This was the cheapest GTX 1070 at the time of purchase. I feel like I received a much more expensive graphics card as I had no problem overclocking this card and get it to boost to the golden 2.1 GHz. So far I have added 145 MHz to the core clock speed and 500 MHz to the memory making the core specs: core clock = 1727 MHz and memory effective = 9000 MHz. I have not noticed any coil while and the card does manage to stay cool in my Node 202 build.

Case

The main reason I bought this case was its small form factor and the fact that it has an integrated 450W SFX power supply. Let me just say I love the case and its dual chamber layout, however, YES this case was difficult to build in (not for everyone). Cable management was a bit difficult, but not horrible. My biggest gripe was the size of the opening/cutout for the cables to pas through between the two chambers is small and all of the cables barely fit through. Other than that, I am more than pleased with the final product. I originally though about purchasing just the case itself and a 80+ gold extended SFX power supply as well, but I decided to take a chance on this one. My concerns going in were the noise and the bronze rating of the supply. These were alleviated as it hardly makes any noise and the mean time between failures (MTBF) of the supply is like 100,000 hrs (10-12 years!).

Case Fan

I can't say anything bad about these fans except maybe the colors, although this isn't an issue in my case and I kind of like the colors. They perform great and are providing sufficient airflow to keep my GPU cool in a Node 202 case. I am using them as static pressure fans in order to push air through the tight space in my setup. There are just a few mm of clearance between the fans and the GPU. I am definitely maintaining positive pressure as the vents on the case have nice warm air blowing out of them.

Keyboard

I bought this so I could interface with my computer once it was built. The keyboard and mouse work great actually. I like the combo, and the price can not be beat. I am using both the keyboard and mouse as well as my Xbox One Elite controller for playing games.

Comments

  • 39 months ago
  • 4 points

+1 for the Node 202. Welcome to the club! Clean build, love it!

I've currently got the Cryorig C7 on order. The stock intel cooler is god awful. I feel you there.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the +1. Let me know how the Cryorig C7 works for you!

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

After a bit of testing and overclocking my i3-6100 to 4.5ghz I have to say I'm pretty impressed by the Cryorig C7. Under full load it keeps temps around 78c. That's not to shabby considering its cooling a CPU that was never intended to be overclocked and has 0 case air flow. Very impressed.

On stock settings CPU files around 24c and under full load hovers in the mid 50s. Drastic reduction over the stock fan which was keeping CPU idle at 38c and max load 75c.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the info. How does it sound when under load and when fan is at 100%? Intel stock cooler sounds like an original Xbox 360 (mini jet engine)

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Under full load at stock CPU speeds it never came close to 100% fan speed, and it's about 1/3 as load as the stock cooler. I actually pushed it hard the last couple of days. I got my 6100 up to 4.65ghz which ramped the fan in the cryorig to 100%. It was loud, but nowhere near as loud as the stock cooler. And I was pushing it under extreme circumstances. At that overclock it kept the cpu underload at 78c, never broke 80c. Quite impressed overall for such a small air cooler.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice overclock with the i3! I did not make provisions to overclock my i5 6500.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

I thought all 1070s had backplates?

+1, clean build

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the +1. This was Gigabyte's cheapest model typically $399, and it does not come with one. I thought it would as well for some reason, but I don't really care as I wont see it, the card stays cool, and it OCs like a champ!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

if it ain't broke...

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

I love this build so much!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi,

yes the intel stock cooler is not up to it's job. I use a NH-9Li (with a NF-A9 replacing the bundled NF-A9x14) in an exhaust configuration and am very happy with the result. I'm using a 35W TDP CPU though.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Check out my build with new CPU cooler and cable management.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the GPU temps.....CPU temps not so much. I would be uncomfortable with 85°C., but I bet you would be able to improve that by getting a nice low-profile CPU-Cooler. Keep us updated.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

The CPU temps while gaming aren't bad at all right now ~65 C. Technically it thermal throttles at like 100 C, so I am not in a rush to get a replacement CPU cooler. I might also want to look at the individual core temps rather than the over CPU temp number.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

That sound pretty good actually. I thought those temps were during gaming, I really don't care for anything else myself.

Just keep an eye on your motherboard temps as well, I guess there isn't too much airflow in there.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. I will do that.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

The system/motherboard temps were basically the same as my CPU temps.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Sounds ok.

However I hope you don't exceed 65°C too much, because a motherboard really shouldn't get too much warmer than that.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

My motherboard temps are closer to 40C and my new CPU temps with the C7 are maxing out around 70C.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

I found out after some testing yesterday that my CPU can get a whole 5-8 degrees cooler when laying flat and and not blocking the vent near the CPU with the stand at the bottom. I might have to try a different desk setup for my PC to make that more feasible.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

+1

How did you manage to get your gpu for so cheap?

  • 39 months ago
  • 3 points

A website named Jet :)

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

very nice build and for a first i would of never expected you to build a itx but looks amazing :)

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Flash. If I have the time and patience, I might redo some of the cable management. Just found out that there is another routing cutout for cables behind the 2.5" drives.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

your cable managments better then mine and i have a full atx case lel

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

I just got a new CPU cooler and improved the cable management a bit.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you had any problems with power draw? Im getting a 1070 & i7 6700(non k) and just worried 450w won't be enough.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

No problems at all. You will definitely need an aftermarket CPU cooler.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, I am tempted to get a separate gold rated sfx psu instead of node 202 integrated psu. Are you still happy with the integrated psu? I read some builds and articles, where people are getting the corsair gold rated 450w sfx psu because it is quieter.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

The integrated PSU does its job and isn't that loud (I am aiming for silence, but this is also my first build), however, I have still thought about swapping it out for the Corsair 450W PSU. The only uncertainty is with the included cables for the corsair and how they may affect cable management in such a small case.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello , I will be building my first PC build ever and I am curious to ask about Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Windforce OC performance, since I have it as the cheapest option for my country. How far is it in terms of performance from Gigabyte G1 Gaming?

I am very surprised there is a lack of data on the internet, particularly about this windforce graphics card from gigabyte, so I am bit cautious.

g1 gaming costs 60$ more in my country.

Below I will include some graphic cards from from my local store and within my budget.

1.)Asus PCI-Ex GeForce GTX 1070 ROG Strix 8GB GDDR5 (256bit) (1506/8000) (DVI, 2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort) (STRIX-GTX1070-8G-GAMING) - 500$

2)Asus PCI-Ex GeForce GTX 1070 Dual 8GB GDDR5 (256bit) (1582/8008) (DVI, 2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort) (DUAL-GTX1070-O8G) - 500$

3) MSI PCI-Ex GeForce GTX 1070 Armor 8GB GDDR5 (256bit) (1556/8008) (DVI, HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort) (GTX 1070 ARMOR 8G OC) - 490$

4) Zotac PCI-Ex GeForce GTX 1070 AMP Edition 8GB GDDR5 (256bit) (1607/8000) (DVI, HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort) (ZT-P10700C-10P) - 470$

5) Gigabyte PCI-Ex GeForce GTX 1070 Windforce OC 8GB GDDR5 (256bit) (1556/8008) (DVI, HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort) (GV-N1070WF2OC-8GD) - the card that I most inclined to... 480$

6) Palit PCI-Ex GeForce GTX 1070 GameRock 8GB GDDR5 (256bit) (1556/8000) (DVI, HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort) (NE51070T15P2-1041G) --- 475$

Could you please advise me something?

Thanks

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually my experience with the Gigabyte 1070 Windforce is great! I thought i needed some superclocked or overclocked card to achieve the best performance but i actually ended up with a card that was cheap and boosted to amost 1900 MHz out of the box. I dialed in a 2,050 MHz/2.1 GHz OC easily and overclocked the ram to 9 GHz/4.5 Ghz Dual channel. Awesome stability and thermals. I have two case fans under my card in the SFF Node 202 and thought i would get crazy high temps. low and behold my temps never go above 67C while OC'd even under the most difficult GPU Stress test Furmark for hours.

The only con I have is that there is no backplate. But the backplate is not neccesary to achieve great performance.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

What screws did you use, The ones that comes with the A9? or the ones already attached cpu cooler

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

I do not remember which it was. They did come with either the heatsink or the new fan.