I'm thinking about building my own system and I've never done it before, so I've been doing some research the past few months (well I started at the end of last year, and just picked it up again). I want my computer to be small and neat, so I'm set on a mATX board. Actually I really like the LANBox Lite case and will most likely go with it. The computer will be used for general computing, some CAD and graphics, watching movies, and possibly playing games (now that I would have a computer that could actaully do it). I was set on an ASUS P5Q-EM G45 board and HIS 4850 IceQ4 512MB video card. However, when I was studying the picture of the board I noticed that the ASUS board has a heatsink right behind the PCIe slot, which I can't see how it would not get in the way of the dual slot card. I started to read up a little more on the P5Q-EM board and read that the G45 chipset is not very friendly with newer GPUs. So I dug a little deeper and I read a lot of good things about the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H, however this board has an nvidia 9400 chipset.
So my question is how will the 4850 GPU act with the nvidia chipset? I have no desire to do crossfire or sli, and being that the board is going to be a mATX there isn't any boards with multiple PCIe 2.0 slots anyway. from what I've read about the HIS 4850 IceQ4 gpu I really like it. It seems to have the reputation as a fast card, that runs quieter than most, and has a very good cooling system. What would the experts on here say as the options to go with, and please try to keep personal brand preferences (ATI vs nvidia) to a minimum, I really want to know if the two will interface well in the system I want to make. Any helpful advise is welcome.
The other key components, if the information is important are:
Thanks for the info on the case. Yes the LANbox is a mATX case. The Thermaltake website says that longest the graphic card can be is 9.6" or the width of the board. That said the card that I am looking at is just under 9.7". That is only 1/16" longer than the longest recommended card. However the hard drive cage is what limits the the length of the card and I doubt that the tolerance of the of the design is so tight that the cage is right up against the mobo. But if it is, the cage is removable and I'm planning on moving the cage slightly anyway and mounting it on a pad and velcro to isolate the hard drive vibration and noise. So I think the graphics card should fit.
I'll look into the differences between the Q9400 and the Q9550. The price difference seems to be about $50 which isn't a HUGE difference if the performance is that much better, but if I say that a few times the total price of the system could easily go up to 2000, lol, so I have to draw a line somewhere. I will look at the performance difference between the two.