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