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 Post subject: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
Posts: 137
Location: IN, USA
I used to be more active around here, but now I have a wife, house, children, job, etc. My current PC is a C2D 6300 in an Antec Sonata, and it's time to upgrade. I want to play Elite: Dangerous, Civ: Beyond Earth. I do some modest home video editing. Lowest sound level possible is not a requirement, but I like coming here and I trust you guys. :) Does this build seem well balanced? Am I cutting any corners I shouldn't? Will this last me 5 years?

  1. Case Fractal Node 304 ~$80
    I currently have an ATX tower, but I don't see why computers need to be so big nowadays. I don't expect to need any expansion cards. I like that the MB is horizontal and a large tower cooler won't be cantilevered.
  2. MB Asus Z91I-PLUS $160
    This seems like a nice board without being completely over the top cost-wise (eg, Maximus VII).
  3. PS Corsair CX430M $40
    Need a small power supply. The Seasonic G550 is also recommended for the Node 304. But it costs a lot more. I don't know which is noiser.
    Now planning to use the SeaSonic S12G-550.
  4. CPU i5-4690K $235
    Will try to find a modest overclock to balance processor speed with noise and power.
  5. mSSD Crucial M550 256GB M.2 $155
    Installs on the back of the board. No cables, Mom! I might get a 256 GB if I get thrifty. I will keep the C2D as a file server.
  6. RAM Corsair 2x8GB LP $165
    Memory prices were high in 2007 also...
    Switched to Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB Low Profile kit.
  7. Cooler Prolimatech Megahalems $60
    Looks like it should fit. I could also do the NH-U14S or something else. Hard to know.
    Per CA_Steve and Lawrence's SPCR recommendation, now planning to use Scythe Kotetsu.
  8. VGA Asus Strix 970 $350
    It seems like a lot of money to play video games, but I'll be using it for a while. If microsoft could get out of their own way, I might have spent the money on an XBone instead.

Thanks for any feedback!


Last edited by Avalanche on Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 582
Location: de_DE
Avalanche wrote:
PS Corsair CX430M $40
Need a small power supply. The Seasonic G550 is also recommended for the Node 304. But it costs a lot more. I don't know which is noiser.

Seasonic, hands down.
The Corsair has a lower effiecency, a worse fan and is more likely to have coil whine.
Don't buy a cheap PSU or a cheap mainboard, errors stemming from those components are plenty and hard to pinpoint.

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Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit, Evga GTX 970 Superclocked, BeQuiet E9 580W CM


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 2072
Location: Guatemala
I would be a little careful with the ssd, i personally didn't go with the M500 or M550 because the temperatures it was reaching (the standard not the msata), i haven't seen issues related to heating... but i personally didn't like the temps it was getting as normal. I would stick with Crucial, but something like MX100 512GB, and mount it on the front of the case, yes cables... but i think its a better option long term, for $50 you duplicate your capacity and a more temp friendly ssd.

On the memory, i like more Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model BLS2K8G3D1609ES2LX0, it low profile (not corsair low profile, but real), its low voltage at 1.35v, and it should allow you to use any cooler and fans combo as the memory barely reach the tabs.

On the PSU, i like Seasonic G550, have done a couple of build with it, but at the same time the PSU fan will run always, to me was quiet enough for the builds, never notice them over the GPU fans or case fans, but its not the quietest. Maybe Quest sees the thread, he had some good suggestions for the Node 304, probably better than the G550.

On the Asus GTX970 STRIX, probably among the best you can chose, but be warned that a lot of reports of coil whining, not only on asus but on MSI as well, but some say they have none, some say its untolerable.... im personally undecided... was going to get a pair of GTX970 but the risk of getting whine... and i cant RMA that easily, if i was in the US i would gamble it some. Either way there are none that can guarantee coil free.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms | Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3247
Location: ITALY
Abula wrote:
On the PSU, i like Seasonic G550, have done a couple of build with it, but at the same time the PSU fan will run always, to me was quiet enough for the builds, never notice them over the GPU fans or case fans, but its not the quietest. Maybe Quest sees the thread, he had some good suggestions for the Node 304, probably better than the G550.

The G-series have a conservative fan controller, which speed up the fan very quickly when the PSU temp rise. On the other hand, it's a very good PSU: that's all.

Among the 140mm units, more or less quieter than it there are: the CM V550S, the CM G550M, the Corsair CS-550M. Quality wise they all are better the Corsair CX, but just the CM V550S is on par with the Seasonic G-series.

Given the relatively cramped space inside the Node, whether oc'ing will be mild, I'd also consider smaller heatsinks (along with short PSUs) than the Megahalems/NH-U14S, maybe like the NH-U12 or the Armageddon Black Series.

OT: Abula, did you get my last three messages?

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 2072
Location: Guatemala
quest_for_silence wrote:
OT: Abula, did you get my last three messages?
Yes, but im on the road, havent had time to settle with my laptop... reach hotels without interent. Ill check them tomorrow when i reach home.

_________________
GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms | Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3247
Location: ITALY
Abula wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
OT: Abula, did you get my last three messages?
Yes, but im on the road, havent had time to settle with my laptop... reach hotels without interent. Ill check them tomorrow when i reach home.

Don't worry, my request was just to have a check.

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:46 pm
Posts: 19
As an owner of a Node 304, I'd say you can't do much better than a G-series Seasonic due to cable connector location, you are not impeded by the 160mm PSU length at all as the connectors are all below the GPU card. When I was using mine I had a 450W G in there with an AMD based Twin Frozr(though it died and never replaced), plenty of power and outside of dust on the fan filter you'd never know it was on. That was with all fans replaced with Noctuas for PWM control.

EDIT: Meant to say that cooler will be right at the ragged edge of fitting, check out the Node 304 owners club on overclock dot net for good info.

Connectors relative to GPU on mine, initial build before fan replacement -> water cooler -> back to air cooler for noise
Image

Last iteration before going sub-6L, so much empty/wasted space

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:37 am 
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You might consider a narrower tower cooler for an easier fit. Lawrence noted interference with the SSD/HDD cables and the cooler in the 304 review. You don't need to go massive to cool the i5, even with conservative OC. Take a look at the Scythe Kotetsu.

To the 304 users: did you replace the case fans with something quieter?

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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:46 pm
Posts: 19
CA_Steve wrote:
You might consider a narrower tower cooler for an easier fit. Lawrence noted interference with the SSD/HDD cables and the cooler in the 304 review. You don't need to go massive to cool the i5, even with conservative OC. Take a look at the Scythe Kotetsu.

To the 304 users: did you replace the case fans with something quieter?


The Fractal fans weren't bad but I replaced mine with all PWM Noctuas, the front with the 14mm thick 92mm units and 140mm in back(that one originally to replace a Kraken 140mm which was loud)) . The advantages were two fold; 1) PWM control of all fans and using LNAs run as low RPM as possible, and 2) get rid of the fan switch and need for a molex power line going over there which cleaned things up quite a bit actually on that side of the case.

Made a drive hanger using openbeam stuff which also eliminated any contention with coolers etc(in second pic in post above). Prior to that I mounted a 2x2.5 adapter for a 3.5 bay to the side of the middle hanger closest to the PSU to get them away from the cooler, kinda ghetto but it worked nicely. Eventually went to an AXP100(except running a Prolimatech 140mm fan, super quiet lumbers at 390 rpm) for my 3770K.

Image

Image


Last edited by Stevo_ on Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
Posts: 137
Location: IN, USA
Awesome, thanks for the advice everyone. Stevo, thanks especially for the photos. You documented your work really well! The SeaSonic S12G 550 looks like a perfect match, so I'll go with that. Abula, the Crucial low profile RAM seems like a no-brainer. I have no idea why Corsair sells a "low profile" line of RAM with decorative heatsinks sticking up. Steve, thanks for pointing out the Scythe Kotetsu. It hadn't been on my radar and it looks like a better unit at a lower cost, from the SPCR review.

I'm still undecided about the 2.5" SSD vs the M.2 unit. I saw the Puget Systems article about PCIe M.2 drive temperatures, but they didn't test an M550, which is a slower drive. If the M.2 port was on top of the Asus Z97I-Plus, then I could have the option to put a heat sink on it, or a fan.

I'll update the top post to indicate the changed configurations. Then I'll start shopping, see if there are any deals and hopefully get the parts in the next two weeks or so. I'll update this tread when I have something to report. Anyone else with opinions is welcome to weigh in! Thanks again! :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
Posts: 137
Location: IN, USA
Thanks a bunch for the advice, everyone! I’m sorry it took me so long, but I owe you all a report on how things went. This post is going to have to discuss the build only, not the power or overclocking results. I’ll post that stuff later.

As I said before, my last build was a Conroe C2D 6300 (built in February 2007) in an Antec Sonata with an HD4670. I was in school at the time, so cost was a big factor. This time around, I felt comfortable with a more generous budget although I can’t help but be practical. And X99 (for example) is not practical.
Image

I wanted to do a mITX build because I have really only used two expansion cards in the last 8 years: a GPU and a TV Tuner. I’m going to keep the Sonata for PVR duties, basically using WMC to time-shift OTA sports broadcasts to watch after the kids are in bed. So one expansion card is enough. I also liked a few other things about the Node 304:
- Fits large tower coolers
- Uses a full-sized PSU
- Horizontal MB
- Small but not tiny
My main complaint is that the front panel connectors are on the side. Since I (currently) use this desk with a cabinet, I wouldn’t be able to access the front panel connectors. The worst part of this case (and I read this complaint somewhere else also) was installing the motherboard standoffs. I am not sure if the sheet steel was threaded for the standoffs, but there was so much paint in the holes that even with a nut driver I stripped one nearly bare.

Here’s a few shots of the components. Thanks to Abula for the RAM suggestion. These DIMMs are super short, not even taller than the clips that hold them in. You can see they take up about half of the available height in the plastic package. Similarly, the M.2 drive is miniscule! It’s like the size of a stick of gum! Yes, I went ahead and got the M.2 drive. No, it doesn’t make much sense. I just think that with SSDs, the conventional form factor is antiquated. There’s no reason to need a dedicated power cable, the SATA connectors and cables are awful, etc.
Image

The Z97I-PLUS board is nice. I can’t imagine how much stuff they much have crammed into the ROG Maximus board, but most of that didn’t seem practical. I didn’t need WIFI built in, but the board checked all the boxes I wanted. Installing the cooler with roughly equal torque on each bolt resulted in uneven screw depths. Perhaps this means I did a bad job somewhere.
Image

The M.2 drive was a bit of a puzzle. Asus provided this ridiculous little bolt at the end of the drive, although it is so short that I don’t think you could use it to secure anything thicker than a few sheets of paper. My solution was to install the bolt, drop a dab of hot glue on it then push the drive into the hot glue. So far, so good.
Image


Last edited by Avalanche on Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Formerly active poster seeks advice on Node 304 build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
Posts: 137
Location: IN, USA
Main mistake: I would have sworn this was a modular PSU. I was pretty surprised to open the box and find the cables attached. I think I just looked at components until my eyes were crossed. As Steve pointed out, the cables exit the PSU in a good place. I really thought my PSU would look like his, above. You can see, there's a boatload of cables attached to this thing. Eight SATA power cables, three molex.. Who could use all of these?
Image

I chopped off the last two Molex, really was tempted to crop off a bundle of the SATA. Instead, I stuffed them in behind the GPU as best I could. Clippers at the ready:
Image

The Strix 970 is really nicely built. It does feel like a couple hundred bucks. This was the best I could do without chopping up more cables. The airflow path from front to back is actually pretty open, although that isn't obvious.
Image

Thanks all for your help. I'll update this thread later with some overclocking, power and temperature results.

EDIT: I'll try to improve the photos also.


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