I watercooled my Node 202 (with an AIO)


Efficiency Noob
Original poster
May 18, 2017
So this is kind of an older project of mine which I did not share at the time, but I just found old pictures of it and thought you guys might be interesseted.

Roughly three years ago I had my PC in a Fractal Node 202, but I had two problems: it ran kind of hot and was loud. Now that's a general issue with SFF PCs, but I also made some bad decisions, because I like shiny stuff. The two main problems were that I bought an i7 K cpu and an ASUS Impact VII Mainboard (with it's daughterboard blocking airflow to the top).

So I did some calculations and measurements and came to the conclusion that there is enough space for a 120mm AIO watercooler thanks to my short GPU. It did require some modifications though.

First of all I had to cut another hole into the side panel for the cooler to work efficiently. But that was surprisingly easy. The node 202 has a steel (I think) sidepanel with a plastic panel underneath it. so I bend way the tabs that held the steel panel in place, cut a big hole into the plastic panel with a saw, rotated the steel panel by 180deg and put it back on. The vent hole that existed in the steel panel for the CPU cooler was now in the perfect spot for the AIO. And you cannot notice the difference from the outside.

With that in place I had to do a few more little changes, like removing the SDD cage, cutting a hole in the middle support to make space for the tubes, coating the sharp edges to protect the tubes (I used the isolation from a cable for that) and removing a bit of the isolation from the cables of the front IO so I could bend them more which. Otherwise the AIO wouldn't have fit. I ordered a NZXT Kraken (another shiny thing that wasn't ideal. If you want to do this yourself be smart and get an AIO with smaller more flexible tubes). It required some bending and cable ties but in the end I could make it fit.

And it worked. My computer got noticeably quieter and cooler and there was no sign of my modification from the outside. No ugly hole in the side, no vent cover that felt out of place. Only problem: the PC crashed every time I put all the screws in. I guess then sidepanel pressed on something that made contact with metal and the PC shut down. I never figured out what it was, but the PC remained useable anyway, so I wasn't bothered to much. I've since moved on to a Velka 3 and might soon start buildung my own case.

Unfortunatly I don't have a picture of the finished case.