Need opinions on microATX case for gaming

I am planning to build a new machine for a friend that will be used for gaming (a birthday present). I have not worked out all the innards yet because I'm waiting to see how things flush out with the i5 introduction. I will overclock it and I'm leaning towards a card like a HD 4850 X2 2 GB at the moment. One thing I do know that he would prefer a case with a smaller footprint so I wanted to get some opinions or recommendations on microATX cases that provide good air flow.

I just finished a build for my daughter that uses the COOLER MASTER Elite 341 RC-341C-KKN1-GP case. This is a good budget case but I think for this machine I'd rather use something a little sturdier and with support for more fans.

Two cases that immediately come to mind based on reading this forum are: SILVERSTONE TJ08-B and Antec Mini P180 . Both look like they would be good candidates. Although the Antec case is a little larger than most microATX cases, I like their cases in general - my first build used the Antec 900.

From a pure size/aspect ratio standpoint, I am intrigued by the SILVERSTONE SUGO SG02-BF and Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BNS . The latter comes with multiple small fans.

I would like to know if any of the cases I listed are clear winners for my intended use, or if there are others that I've missed while scouring the pages of newegg :) And comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
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  1. I actually specialize more in SFF/mATX DIY rigs and here is a project log of rigs i managed to document :

    A card like HD4850X2 in a small casing needs good cooling and with my time with SG-02F: you'd best go with 9.5" cards with as much teeth you can cram in if the intention is to game Ful HD and my favourite are HD4890 currently :P A modular 80+ / active PFC makes cable management easier hence promoting better airflow. Those cases u specified should all do the job but depends on your preference, etc i guess ^^ There is also the SG-03B which is a tad pricier if u interested
  2. I think you will find the Silverstone case to be a bit classier and feel more expensive than the Antec, which may make a bigger impression for a birthday present.
  3. Thanks for the feedback. This should be a fun project.

    I personally will be starting with the i7-860. I'll use 4GB of DDR3 @ 1333MHz.

    One important thing for a SFF computer is that the P55 Motherboard is that the PCIe controller is now in the CPU. This eliminates the Northbridge which not only should make more room for things but is also more power efficient (the normal Northbridge likely wouldn't be 45nm).

    You may wish to get a board with SATA 600MB/second. (not "SATA3"; I don't know the official name). Also get at least one eSATA connector.

    other points:
    - the PSU should pull it's air from the top and blow out the rear (don't blow hot case air across the PSU components).
    - instead of blowing air from the graphics card out the rear, try to blow it DIRECTLY out the side of the case. Either buy one pre-modded or add something like an Arctic Cooling solution.
  5. Does anyone one actually make a board with SATA 6 Gbit/s or are they still under development (like boards with USB 3.0)?
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