This was a side project I've wanted to do for a while, and the release of the AMD 480 made now the perfect time to do it. The Fractal Design Node 202 is an interesting Mini-ITX that is sleek as all hell on the outside and does its best to provide space to work in on the inside.
The build is going to serve as a living room/travel PC. With its small form factor and wifi-enable motherboard, I'll be able to bring this around wherever I go. Better yet, with a Steam controller and a few programs set to launch on startup, I can boot this up and launch all of my games without even needing a keyboard and mouse, making this damn near a console in terms of ease of use.
The hardest part of this build was the cabling, but luckily there's plenty of airflow with the Noctua fans and the blower-style 480 that spits most of the hot air out of the case rather than into the processor chamber, so not having the perfect cabling doesn't affect the heat much.
The system performs exceptionally as the 480 pretty much crushes any game at 1080p/60fps/ultra. Also, I am looking to sell this for any interested parties. I've maintained it since the build date and have rarely run it as my main PC sees most of the use during Summer.
A great processor for the price. Its a locked chip, so no overclocking, but it performs fantastic and won't be bottlenecking the 480.
I ended up picking this up from a Fry's when Newegg was telling me it would be 2 weeks to deliver the one I had ordered. I'm actually very happy with this motherboard as I wasn't originally planning on using a wifi antenna. The one included with this was easy to install however, and the antenna is actually magnetized so you can stick it to the side of the case to keep the PC's footprint small. The BIOS is really clean as well.
Well, not much to say about RAM, but it does its job. The motherboard only supports 2133mhz RAM but the 2400 was slightly cheaper at the time of purchase.
The reviews are to be believed - this card is a beast. AMD has long reigned in the mid-range GPU sector and the 480 is just another reason why. Handles damn near every game I currently own at 1080p/60fps/Ultra. Doesn't get too hot as AMD is getting better about their temperatures, however this is a Mini-ITX case so temperatures are hotter than most benchmarks out there since all the parts are crammed together. The blower style cooler is great for this case as it spits all of its hot air straight out the back rather than having fans simply push the hot air around the case.
Every since I saw JayzTwoCents do a build inside of this case I knew I had to have it. They have a very clever design with the GPU and CPU split into 2 chambers, with a PCI riser being used to bridge the gap between the GPU and the motherboard. There's a fairly sizeable open area that was perfect for stuff cables in to keep everything away from the GPU and CPU fans. Came with a 450w PSU which is perfect for this size of a PC. The case is extremely sexy as you can see by the pics, and has nice white LED that lights up when you turn it on. All in all, I'm even more impressed after building in it than I was watching the reviews. Its slightly larger than the original Xbox One, but its still small enough to fit next to your TV or on a shelf in an entertainment unit. It comes with a nice stand for vertical positioning as well.
A decent operating system that I actually upgraded to Windows 10. Not much else to say except I'm a big fan of Windows 10 in general.
Noctua remains the king of case fans and these are no exception to that rule. Easy to install, very quiet, and provide plenty of cool air for the 480 to suck in.