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Node 202 Build MKII

by makaseo



Date Published

July 24, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.4 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.594 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.008 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

70.0° C


Finally had the time, money, and need(?) to upgrade from my previous and first ITX build. With much faster processors and graphics available for similar or lower TDP's, it made sense to move on from my old parts, most of which were transferred over from an ATX mid-tower case. My choice in parts followed much the same train of thought as before: silence until reaching gaming loads.

My thoughts:

Case: The Node 202 is one of the few parts carried over from last time, so this will be more of a mid-term review. I still love the way it looks, and barring the Ncase M1, which doesn't sit horizontally like I prefer, is in my opinion the best-looking compact ITX case so far. I can see how temps might get pretty high with higher-end components than mine, such as an overclocked i7 or a GTX 1080, but it's not an issue for my needs. Now that I've had it for a little while, I do wish there was more in the way of GPU exhaust vents (there's plenty of intake), and I wouldn't mind the entire case being just 15mm taller. The Scythe cooler just barely fits with its slim fan, and I'd love to have more full-width fan options to replace it. Overall very satisfied with the case and no plans to replace it anytime soon.

Fans: As before, I removed the GPU support brace in lieu of having two fans underneath to act as both airflow and support. This did wonders for my graphics temps, and I'm happily seeing this setup help loads of people doing builds in the same case here. I did a little research and am currently trying out some NoiseBlockers to replace my old Noctuas. I really appreciate that the BlackSilentPro's also have the option for rubber frame covers to sit between the GPU and the fan frame. They do a great job in silently helping the GPU keep its fans off during idle and low-load situations. I'm not sure if they're that much of an upgrade over the Noctuas at the low speeds I keep them at (40% PWM) but at least they match the all-black theme? Fantastic quality though, would definitely recommend if budget allows.

PSU: Corsair's new SF600 has been making some waves, and while my old Silverstone SX600-G was fine, it would start up its fans a little earlier than I'd prefer, and would rarely turn off again while idle. During CPU-intensive tasks such as audio production, and for a few moments after closing a game, it would easily be the loudest component in the system. I took a gamble in "side-grading" to the SF600 and I can happily say it's everything I wanted and expected the SX600-G to be. Silent until absolutely necessary, and even under gaming load the PSU fan is never audible over the rest of the system.

CPU: As my music projects became more and more complex, I finally reached the point where I needed an upgrade over my previous i5-4670k. This time around, I went for a locked i7. I'm no longer interested in overclocking, and the lower TDP was a big factor. All my previous issues with CPU performance are resolved, and I love that I get this speed boost at a lower TDP than my old i5.

CPU Cooler: I picked the largest heatsink I could find, preferably using a 120mm fan, that would fit inside the case. This particular cooler just barely fits inside with the included slim fan, and does a very decent job keeping everything within reasonable temperatures. I have the fan at a constant 50% PWM (very very quiet), and I've never seen the CPU reach higher than 65C.

Motherboard: I really loved the EVGA Z97 Stinger from my previous build, so even though I didn't go with an overclockable CPU this time, I went with the Z170 Stinger out of pure loyalty. The UEFI is easy to navigate and has all the options I need. Component placement on the board is flawless for a mini-ITX model.

Memory: Upgraded to 16GB of DDR4. RAM isn't something that ever bothered me before, and I'll probably never notice the upgrade. But it makes me happy. I've also grown to strongly dislike the look of heat spreaders on RAM modules (weird, I used to love them so much), so plain black PCB's were the way to go.

Storage: I kept the 250GB SSD for the boot drive, but I changed my file organization system a little bit. Instead of a 2TB laptop HDD keeping everything, I now have a 1TB SSD holding games, music projects, and other immediate media. All my movies, shows, and my music archive have been moved to external storage. I like this system a lot more, and I'm definitely enjoying MUCH faster load times on projects and games.

GPU: Okay, so I didn't really NEED to upgrade from a 970, as I could already max out almost all of my game library at 1080p. But a huge benefit of the power "headroom" of the 1070 at the same TDP as the 970 is the heat and fan noise. I have my games capped at 60fps, and the new GPU works a lot less hard to keep that framerate. Load temps are the same, due to how GPU power/temp targets work, but the fans spin less often and more slowly when they do. I had a few choices of vendor despite the moderate lack of availability at the time of purchase, but ended up with EVGA because I valued HSF quality over factory overclocks. Matching the motherboard also played a tiny part in the decision.

Overall extremely pleased with the system-wide upgrades. Looking forward to taking this build with me between home and school.

Comments Sorted by:

SmartWolf 2 points 31 months ago

Very nice build! Though admittedly ITX node builds make me cringe (heat and lack of airflow...just makes me feel confined and suffocating :) But I do admire them! I like your 1070 logic...makes a lot of sense.

And boys and girls, THIS is why we need competition in the market place. Nvidia, et al are gouging us on gpu prices right now. Despite who you prefer, we ALL need AMD to release their next gen gpus!

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

Yeah the Node case was definitely the limiting factor when choosing components, but I weirdly enjoyed the challenge.

AmericanGamer21 1 point 31 months ago

I am working on a build similar to this, but every time I select the Node 202 the Big Shuriken doesn't show up on the parts list or vice versa. How were you able to get both of them on there?

Great build by the way, I will reference it when I start putting mine together.

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 3 points 31 months ago

I did my research externally, and bought the cooler on Amazon for their return policy in case it didn't fit.

For PCPP, I turned off the compatibility filter to be able to add both parts to my list. I've also submitted the compatibility info, so hopefully they should update that soon.

Glad you like my build! Hope it helps you in the future.

EDIT: As stated, you don't have to remove the dust filter at all. I keep mine on the inside of the case, and there's still a tiny bit of clearance from the filter to the fan.

AmericanGamer21 1 point 31 months ago

How did you turn off the compatibility filter?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

When you're picking a part, there's a checkbox on the left.

squats 1 point 31 months ago

You have to remove the dust filter on the cpu side panel, some have done it before. It's definitely worth it as most small coolers will barely improve temps.

Miniitx 1 Build 3 points 31 months ago

No need to remove the dust filter. I didn't removed it and its all ok.

LocoMoto 1 Build 2 points 31 months ago

I second that, didn't have to remove it on mine either.

Bee66 12 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

Very nice, neat, clean all flat black colour scheme


makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

Thanks man!

Miniitx 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

Nice to see those builds. I have also the Node202 with the Scythe CPU cooler.

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

Thanks! It's a great cooler, I like it a lot.

Bartendalot 1 point 31 months ago

Not sure what kind of display you are using, but you should consider either 1440p, or 144hz with this much system powering it.

Congrats, compact and powerful!

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

Thanks much! Currently have a 1080p monitor. I agree that my next upgrade is DEFINITELY my resolution. I'm considering ultrawide...

pegotico 2 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

Back in black!!

Nice and clean all black theme! +1

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

Thank you!

pegotico 2 Builds 1 point 31 months ago


Stereotypical_Whale 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago


makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

Hen_Ree 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

Hey this is such a cool build and funnily enough every similar to what I want to do trying to decide a case though would you recommend this over the Rvz02? Also a look over my build would super helpful for me.


makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

Honestly it was a tough call between the 202 and the RVZ. From reviews and other builds, I'd say the Silverstone is the safer bet. Personally, I just really loved the look of the Node, and was dumb enough to decide to compromise airflow and thermals for the aesthetic. Especially since you're planning to run a 980ti, which is a higher TDP part than the 970 or 1070.

Otherwise, your build looks solid. I know others have done similar builds with reassuring success.

Hen_Ree 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

they both look equally as good imo the node has slightly simpler styling than the silverstone. I have been reading that my GPU temps could be slightly lower in the node as I can put the 2 fans in the GPU section. Even so I will only be using a 60hz TV for at a few months with shouldn't stress the gtx 980 ti that much. Still deciding haha

lucasmalacas 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

Are you having problems with fans under the GPU causing a lot of noise? I don't think it's a physical contact but mine's pretty loud and I'm pretty sure there's no contact between my GPU and CPU fans. I am just getting the noise with 2 fans turned on.

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

No, not on mine. What kind of noise is it? I have my two fans set to a constant 40% speed in my motherboard UEFI.

lucasmalacas 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

It sounded like the fan at the front side of the case is touching the gpu. But I don't see any physical evidence. What I did was removed one of the fans and installed the gpu standoff (whatever that's called). That fixed the problem.

I might try doing your setup with fixed speed though. I suspect too much air going in without a vent creating a turbulence? lol I don't even know if that's a thing.

CodeGrue 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

What is the purpose of the added GPU fans when the linked GPU card (and most others) has a layer of fans already built in?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

It's to keep the GPU cool when it's own fans are off at idle. They help the GPU stay in passive mode for longer, and my 120mm fans are a lot quieter (pretty much silent) compared to the GPU fans at their lowest speed.

LocoMoto 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

For one it offers alot better airflow than just the GPU's fan(s) And as such it will also allow for a lower fan speed and therefore noise. Secondly, in conjunction with number one, these fans help move air out of the case at a faster rater. That helps in cooling other system components as well.

CodeGrue 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

Where str the SSDd? Do you have a photo with them?

Also, what is the purpose of having two of them?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

They're in the separation between the power supply and the GPU chamber. There's a little box there, and the drives are inside. I have one for boot, and one for projects and media. As I say in my description, I used to have a 2TB spinning drive, but upgraded that to solid state. I didn't want to lose my boot drive so I kept that in there.

CodeGrue 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

Did you have to add any cable extensions or were the stock cables sufficient? I read a lot of concern around this case deals with cable management.

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 31 months ago

The stock cables were perfectly fine, and some like the motherboard 24pin cable were actually a tad longer than I'd have liked. You won't be needing extensions at all.

lucasmalacas 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

GPU fans moving air in our out?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 30 months ago


joetargetman 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

Sorry can I just confirm the fans above the GPU are pushing air onto the card or pulling out of the case?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 30 months ago

Pushing. I considered flipping one to pull, but my computer is so quiet and the temps are so reasonable that I've given up that idea.

joetargetman 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

Thanks for that, another question if I may how do you think I would go having 1 x Venturi PWM fan and then use the GPU bracket, instead of 2 lower priced fans. It seems to be a great fan do you forsee that being enough air to cool an Asus GTX 1060 dual or better to go 2 x fans.

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

I think the use of even one fan in the GPU chamber would require removal of the support bracket. With a dual-fan 1060, I'm not sure you even need any fans at all. I would say try without fans and just use the support bracket, and if you think temps get a little too high, then maybe try one fan.

Whisperfoot 1 point 30 months ago

Does the CPU cooler touch the top of the case and if so, does it increase noise from vibration? Also does the vent about the CPU have a dust filter?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 30 months ago

It does not touch, therefore it does not increase noise. I mention in my description that I wanted as silent a build as possible. And yes, there is a dust filter on the bottom side of the vent.

joetargetman 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

Did you put the cpu fan on after you cabled up the mobo or before? It looks like it would be hard to organise those cable under and around that fan.

And any advice on planning your cable management with such a tight build like this would be helpful.


makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 30 months ago

After. It's fairly easy to snake the CPU fan cable under and around the heatsink.

As for advice, I'd say take your PSU cables and place them around your motherboard (before putting any components on) to get a feel for how long they are and how much space they'd take up. Just be mindful of where your case has space for cables, and how much.

Reprisalgaming 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

How is the i7 6700 im building a pc but i don't really care about overclocking. The i7 6700k stock is 4.0ghz out the box and the i7 6700 stock is 3.4ghz? Is it a huge difference?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 30 months ago

The 6700 is 3.4 with 4.0 boost, the 6700K is 4.0 with 4.2 boost (before overclocking, of course). If you're not overclocking, you'd be paying a little bit more for the clock boost. As for the difference, it depends on what you're using it for. If only gaming, I wouldn't bother with the i7 and just go for an i5-6500. There's absolutely nothing besides music production for me that would require anything more than an i5.

Reprisalgaming 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

Yeah it's for video game and editing for youtube

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 30 months ago

If you have the airflow and cooling for it, I definitely think spending the extra $30 or so is worth it. I don't do any video editing myself, but from what I've heard from my friends, overclocking does scale with regard to performance. If I was building in a larger case or didn't mind the noise of a higher fan speed, I would have gone with the 6700K and overclocked the snot out of it. As it stands, I wanted the lower TDP in my tiny case :D

Riza00 3 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

I have a Core i7-4790K haswell in my original build not knowing what I know now. I am now building another pc with a node 202 case and a i5 6600k skylake for my second computer. I agree, from the research I did the i5 is good for gaming if thats all your really going for.

CodeGrue 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

How did you attach your BlackSilent fans to the case? It doesn't appear you used the stock screws, which stick out into the filter area.

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 30 months ago

I used the Noctua rubber thingies that came with my old fans. They work great! They were already in my case, and I couldn't be bothered to look for shorter spare screws.

CodeGrue 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

Don't these rubber thingies stick out into the filter area preventing the magnetic filter from going on? I am assuming you have these:


makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

No, I have these:


They come with most Noctua fans, and they're only one-sided so they don't get in the way of the filter at all.

0x2a 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago


this is a very nice build. I have a node 202 as-well, but without a graphics card. I like to change that and inspired by your build the evga gtx 1070 is pretty high up on my list.

If you do not mind I would like to ask two questions:

  • does the card sag (as the gpu support has been removed)?
  • how much space is there between the fans of the case and the fans of the card?
makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Thanks! To answer your questions:

The card does not sag. It's actually supported by the rubber corners of the fans.

Because of this, it's hard for me to answer your second question. If you're asking frame-to-frame, they're in contact, separated only by the rubber corner for protection and vibration dampening. For fan blade-to-fan blade, I'm afraid I can't really measure that, but I'd say probably within the range of 3-5mm.

0x2a 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

Great, I just bought a EVGA card and will complete my build over the weekend. I'll publish a build guide on it to illustrate how it went.

Riza00 3 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Dude thank you for posting this! I went ahead and bought one of the Scythe SCBSK-2100 BIG Shuriken 2 fans because of you and have the node 202. The compatibility mode made me think I could not fit this in the case until I saw yours. I went with a Asus Z170I PRO GAMING Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard though ( I wanted a all black with a hint of red color) and Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 Memory instead and hoping the Shuriken 2 will fit with the DDR4 memory. If not I had ordered also the CRYORIG C7 40.5 CFM CPU Cooler both from Amazon and can thankfully take one of the cpu coolers back if they cant fit. I just would like the option to o.c if I want to but of course the Cryorig is not meant for that.

polygraph8482 1 point 28 months ago

Hi! Love the build! I noticed you said you prefer the horizontal look. My question is, If I were to build this and put it upright, standing vertically, what would the support be like for the GPU? Would I need to remove the two blacksilent fans and put in the GPU support bracket?

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

It depends on which side you choose to be the bottom.

If you choose the left (GPU) side as the bottom, then yeah I'd consider going with the GPU support bracket. In that orientation, the GPU is hanging from the PCI-e riser slot and supported only by the output-side screws. The bracket would add some support from the bottom against gravity.

If you choose the right side, it wouldn't matter, since the GPU would be resting on the PCI-e slot, which by itself is more than sturdy enough. The support bracket would only prevent side-to-side play, which the screws handle anyway, so populating both fans would be fine.

Sorry for the late reply. Hope this helps!

polygraph8482 1 point 28 months ago

Haha I didn't even think of orienting it vertically with the gpu on top! I assumed the way they showed on the website was the only vertical orientation because, you know, people are sheep. I think I'll put the fans in beneath the gpu and then orient the gpu on top! Thank you! I don't like my gpu temps always at least 60 degrees C if my computer has been on even just 15 minutes. Much appreciated input!

SFX_MODz 8 Builds 1 point 27 months ago

This build is very...cable-y...how's it held up for you thus far? +1 for the Node 202! I just built in this case, check it out if you get a chance...

Th3ArCh0n 6 Builds 1 point 27 months ago

Loving the system! I was really tempted to try and fit everything i wanted into a Node 202 but decided on the much bigger Phanteks Ethoo Evolv ITX instead. I came from an H440 so it's still a very significant size difference for me!

cugabuh 1 point 27 months ago

I'm planning a similar build in the Fractal 202. Your temps don't seem too bad. Are you using this standing vertically or horizontally? I want to build a bedroom PC gaming console, but I've been reading conflicting opinions on whether a non-blower GPU works with this build.

Hopefully a few Corsair SP120s in the GPU chamber and a good aftermarket CPU cooler will alleviate concerns?

ceej2k 1 Build 1 point 26 months ago

Thanks for sharing! Never realised that a full-sized GPU can have this orientation instead of perpendicular to the motherboard. I'd like to have this setup. It would be great if Fractal Design can come up with a similar design that can accommodate a slim ODD.

defessler 1 point 26 months ago

Have you tested temps with something like Prime95 and Small FFTs (Max Heat)?

I am having heat issues with my 4790k using the Noctua NH-L9i. The practical use is compiling a large codebase with visual studio. In games I stay in the 80s which is still a bit hot for my tastes.

My build for reference: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/defessler/saved/gcMFTW

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

No, I never saw a reason to for my personal use case. In games the max I've seen my CPU reach is 70C. My most demanding application is Ableton Live with about ~300 plugin instances.

This is exactly why I specifically went for a 6700, not a 6700K. From what I've been told anecdotally, the 65W TDP makes a good bit of difference over the 91W of the K-variant. You might want to look at undervolting at stock speeds if you're fine with losing overclocked performance.

gentlemansour 1 point 25 months ago

This build is sick! I'm looking to go from a full tower to the Node 202. I have two questions for you that really are my deciding factors for me. The first is how are the temps? I don't really think I plan to overclock all that much seeing as the 1070 and 1080 run great at stock. The second question is do you think it's possible to mount a single fan radiator in this thing? I'm thinking it's not, obviously but I'm wondering if it's possible. Anyway, nice build mate!

makaseo submitter 5 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Definitely not possible to fit any AIO in here, at least not without heavy modifications and some component sacrifices. A guy on YouTube (BitWit) managed it but had to take a dremel to the case and squeeze a half-length GPU in.

The temps are just fine. I just played Overwatch for like two hours (2560x1080, epic settings, fps capped at 75). I usually keep HWMonitor on when gaming or rendering audio projects, and the max I've seen the GPU go is 65 C with its fans at around 50%. That said, I'm not sure how a 1080 would fare, so I'd look around for hotter build in the 202 if you're planning that. CPU heat is never an issue (keep in mind I have the non-overclockable, lower-TDP i7-6700).

Hope this helps.

gentlemansour 1 point 24 months ago

It does man, thanks a lot!

xiiistephan 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I was browsing Google images for Node 202, your build came up and all I could say is "wow"! Thanks for posting this.

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