Description

This is my "not so much portable but at least not a total hassle to transport or ship" build. I had always wanted to build in an ITX case, but didn't find a case I liked until the Node 304. What attracted me to this case was the full dust filter coverage, and support for large air coolers and long video cards. Overall the case turned out pretty nice to work in, getting my stuff in wasn't that hard and there's plenty of tie points.

I did however, improvise my SSD mount behind the PSU with velcro. At first this was to not block the airflow so much, but as it turns out Corsair likes to ship their SFX units with their stiffest cables in the universe. I just could not get these things down without the ends popping out of the sockets where they block airflow a little. I might order custom cables one day, but until then, they're just gonna have to stick up like that. (I also pulled out the cable for the fan controller since it's useless to PWM fans).

AND yes, I had to bite my lip and think happy thoughts when I paid for the video card. It's a long story as to why I even had to do it (I was originally planing on re-using on old one :/). A like-new 1080 Ti isn't so bad though.

Update: I caved and bought custom cables from CableMod (Modflex ones). 100% worth it, they look so much cleaner and are super flexible.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Quiet and cool. Noctua never disappoints.

Storage

This is where I splurged a little. Lots of storage very fast, for far less than Samsung's equivalents.

Case

Compact and surprisingly easy to work in. I like it.

Power Supply

A good PSU by itself, and the automatic fan shut-off feature is nice, but oh my god are the stock cables garbage. They are unbelievably stiff, which is hell in an ITX case.

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Comments

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

I arrived at this build because I am building a NAS/Living room game system. Small factor, quiet, but beastly powerful. As yourself, I am also attracted to the ability of adding a full height GPU.

Unlike you, though, I do want to add at least 2x 3.5" HDDs for storage, next to an SSD as a boot drive. In your setup, it doesn't seem possible due to the large CPU fan. Is that correct? Additionally, you have quite a lot of fans. Do you need all of them to get rid of the 1080TI's heat? I'm sure the CPU block could do without at least one! Great build, and thanks in advance for a reply!

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

You can fit the 3.5" sleds with a U14S installed, however it's a really tight fit. https://pcpartpicker.com/b/VwM8TW It looks like it's the same story with most tower coolers, even shorter ones like the U12S due the depth of the fins + fan. I don't know any good AIOs to recommend (I've never used one before lol) but a 140mm AIO mounted to the back would probably back connecting the drives a lot easier.

If you do go with a tower cooler one fan is fine. You could also do one fan on the tower and attach it to the back, I'm not sure how it would affect temps but it would free up space for cabling too.

My GPU has a blower cooler so most heat from it just blown out the back at the expense of it being a blower cooler so the ratio of to thermals noise sucks. IDK how differently an axial cooler would work, but either way you can't rely on the 92mm fans to get air to the GPU with their position and limited intake. The fans that come with this case are 3-pin and they connect to the included hub, so I would least get a 140mm replacement with PWM to set the RPM high enough to create negative pressure and bring air to the GPU through the inlet next to it, and if you have an axial cooler, take some heat from the GPU out.

And one last thing really important about this case is it pretty strictly only fits two-slot (as in 40mm) video cards and smaller. A lot of axial GPU coolers are "2.5 slot" now which will brush up against the edge of thr case and stop the fans. Whatever GPU you get make sure it's no wider than 40mm.

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

800 usd for 1080 ti isnt so bad. Nice build!

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Very cool build! Although the Noctua fans do disturb the colour a little but still very good build. I can’t believe you managed to fit all that top tier things like 2TB of SSD in 1080t i in it. +1

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Hello. Very cool build. I was interested in doing something similar to yours. When I check your part list, it says there is a compatibility issue with your PSU and the case. Was that incorrect? Thanks for sharing!

  • 23 months ago
  • 3 points

It's flagged as incompatible because out of the box the Node 304 only supports ATX power supplies. The SF600 is an SFX unit, which I picked to free up space and stick the SSD where I did, so I needed Silverstone's adapter bracket to fit it in.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/QL98TW/silverstone-technology-universal-atx-to-sfx-power-supply-bracket-rl-pp08b

And thanks! I'm glad you like it.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

How are temps and noise levels? I'm hoping with that many fans they never have to run very fast to keep the system cool.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Strictly speaking for the CPU (the video card can get loud but that's just because it's reference) the case really chokes airflow in the front so I have to keep my OC down to 4.4 GHz, but at that level temps and noise levels are just fine. I'm getting 35C/Inaudible (as in no louder than ambient noise in my room) at idle, and 65-70C at load with a dull hum. It doesn't get any louder/hotter than that unless I'm specifically trying to torture my CPU.

In retrospect a second fan on the U14S was probably a little pointless, but fans are at least easy to re-use later.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

That's an impressive build. Kudos! Were you able to connect all three case fans to the motherboard? I'm considering a very similar build and I noticed the motherboard has only two case fan headers,

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

I was. The 140mm exhaust is connected to the first fan header, and the two 92mm intakes are connected through a PWM y-splitter to the second.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for superb build. Having done one so very similar in the FD Core 500 I appreciate the space constraints but was wondering if you feel you've benefitted in having the two front 92mm input fans albeit with suppressed air access ? To achieve best air dynamics at lowest noise a 120-140mm front intake and meshed panel away from the PSU would be the ideal. I've used two slim 140mm fans as top intakes and in combination with my NH-D15s seems to keep thermals of my de-lidded and 4.8GHz o/c'd i7-8700K pretty steady. I also took the blower 1080ti GPU route (to keep case temps down) and have that overclocked too.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build!