Unless I choose the pricier red one, it looks like the Lian Li PC-Q08 case I planned to get may not become available, although I'm going to risk waiting through one more ETA cycle (06/12).
Otherwise, I can probably use the smaller PC-Q07 case, although it appears that it will only take a single slot GPU without resorting to a Dremel and likely creative drive mounting as well, the combination of which I don't consider a viable alternative.
Given that the games I play are mostly RPG, some RTS, but nothing more demanding than Dragon Age: Origins and Sacred 2, BUT that I'm using a 1920x1080 monitor, what's the best single-slot card I can use, and am I still going to be disappointed in the results? I'm willing to forgo AA/AF, but everything else I want high to max. It looks like there are a couple of HD5670s that would fit just fine, but I can't help but think they might be weak. I'm having trouble locating relevant benchmarks (although that's what I'm trying to do more of now that I am home from work). Your thoughts please?
Edit: Oh, and though I'm not sure it adds much, here's the template:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP (most other parts of this build will arrive tomorrow)
BUDGET RANGE: Open, but $125-$150
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: [MMO]RPG/RTS games (Guild Wars, Sacred 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Civ IV, older titles; Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III when they come out); movies, general use.
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: No GPU that will fit. PSU will be a 550W Antec Truepower New (Overkill, but was a "Guerilla" deal the other day)
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Will be an i5-650 on that ECS mini-ITX board that Tom's just reviewed. Both a 2.5" SSD and a 3.5" HDD.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, ZipZoomFly, will consider others in the New, not Used market.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Prefer ATI for multiple reasons; low power/heat is one of them.
OVERCLOCKING: Probably not, given the limited cooling in this case
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: ROFL
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080
Other comments were above. I actually hope this topic becomes irrelevant, with the PC-Q08 becoming available, but the ETA has already slipped twice, and there isn't even a date listed for the black one any more.
The PC-Q08 has two slot spaces, but the PC-Q07 does not. It looks like the bracket area could be Dremeled off, but I really don't want to do that, especially since the hard drive mounting will still likely prevent a wider card from fitting.
I have the XFX HD5770, and could take a look at that possibility. And yes, instead of a 3.5" drive, I could order a laptop drive instead. I don't have that much data (including pics, and MP3s), and there's always the eSATA port.
I considered the i3-530; in fact this machine is, among other things, going to serve as a prototype for similar, small boxes I may build for at least one niece; for her/them, an i-3 will be sufficient, with likely no more than a HD5570. For myself though, spoiled as I've been by the performance of my Q9450, if I couldn't have four real cores, I'd at least go for Turbo-Boost with my Hyper-threading. This entire build, though I have very high hopes for it, is as much experiment as anything else. Still, considering the cost, I'd like as much out of it to be "salvageable" as possible, in case the experiment ultimately fails, at least for myself (the niece machine shouldn't be a problem).
As I began, my fondest hope is that these questions lose their relevance when a PC-Q08 becomes available; I'd be sorely disappointed if I spent even $80-$90 on a GPU, only to have it turn out to be an utter waste. I'm not sure my games (and the settings I'm willing to accept, like no or minimal AA/AF) even need the HD5770, but from the few benchmarks I've found, the HD5670 looks a little weak.
Oops. From http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-530-overclo... : "Intel’s $115 Core i3-530 doesn't include Turbo Boost technology ..."
The 9800GT looks ok performance-wise, but also appears to be hot and loud, two things I do not want. I've tried Froogle to look for other sources of the black PC-Q08, but they're not in stock (even if Xoxide's page on it initially says they are).
Power will definitely not be a problem in this one. Depending on the case I choose for the niece-machine, there will likely be a 300W ceiling though, so I don't want to push it.
Well, 5:00a comes early, so I'm off to bed...Good night, and thanks for the comments. Sooner or later I'll probably start dreaming about this build...I've been documenting the entire process, trying to clarify my focus while leaving options open.