Introduction: With the help of my friends and a little persuasion, I decided to build my first ever PC. One of these friends was building a new PC and decided to give me some of his older components such as the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and the 2 SSDs in the enclosure. I decided to build the PC to step away from laptop gaming with my Lenovo y700 which is aging and for some CAD modeling while in Engineering school.
The Case: The same friend introduced me to SFF PC building and recommended the Node 202 for my first build. I was a little bit skeptical with SFF since it was my first build and I was unsure about having enough space for the parts that I want. However, doing more research I decided it was something that actually interested me, being able to use 100% of the case through space optimization. Doing the extra planning that is involved with SFF builds was a lot more fun that I had originally thought. The Fractal Design Node 202 is very sleek and minimalistic, which sat very well with me.
The Graphics Card: The Gigabyte GTX 1660 was the choice for my build simply because it was good for my budget and was the performance I was looking for. I did not want to spend hundreds of extra dollars at the moment while at college and did not really need the high performance seen by other current cards. It runs everything that I need well and that is all I can ask for. The size of the GPU was also pretty nice since it fit really well within the Node 202 GPU compartment. GPU Noctua Fans: I decided to deck out the case with as much Noctua as I can possibly fit. I added the dual 120mm fans to the GPU compartment to help with decreasing the recycling of the hot air displaced by the GPU. I went without the PWM fans because I wanted them to run constantly, both for continuously cooling the GPU and also adding some positive pressure throughout the case.
CPU Fans: The CPU cooler was obviously chosen for the mobo/CPU set. I have also design and 3D printed an air duct that attaches to the CPU cooler to help reduce the recycling of air to the cooler. The airduct is just a simple, funnel type shape from the CPU vent. The dual 40mm fans are also added to the top of the case to aid with the exhaust of the case. I have seen other posts on adding these fans, but all were physically attached to the top, removable half of the case. I went against this simply for ease of access and not wanting to have wires attached to both halves of the case. What I did was some simple jerry-rigging with some trusty zip ties, attaching the 2 40mm together, and then one side to the PSU bracket included with the case. I would have liked to attach them closer to the CPU cooler, but the fan headers prevented me from adding a 3rd 40mm to the row.
The Desk: I decided to do a small project with my father and that was to build a new computer desk for my room. The desk is made from a 74"x25"x1.5" Birch Butcher Block from Home Depot and a 1"D steel pipe frame, put together by us. We applied 4 coats of natural danish oil to the table to keep the natural look and feel of the table while also having some protection from minor spills. The frame was spray painted with matte black to keep with look of all my other components.
Future Upgrades: I plan on replacing the PSU very soon. The included PSU preforms completely fine for me, but both for aesthetics and for wiring I want to replace it. The cables for the included SFX are very hard to work with and, personally, very ugly mismatch of colors. The motherboard, CPU, and RAM are also up for upgrades in the future once I find the need to upgrade to some current gen components. Also plan on buying 2 new monitors and a desk arm for them once Cyber Monday comes around.
Future Edits will include some performance results