SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Web browsing, Flash games, light MMO and RPG gaming, office stuff
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, DVD Burner, Monitor
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: pricewatch, newegg, tiger direct, wherever is inexpensive
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: small form factor, AMD parts, micro-atx or itx mobo, half-height video card
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: see below
My girlfriend says If I get a new PC, so does she. Her current system (pictured above), is a small, cheap E-Machines small form factor PC from Wal-Mart that's been pretty reliable, if seriously underpowered. The system has a 1.6 GHz Athlon 64, an onboard 6100 with a dedicated 128MB, plus shared with the main memory, a 160GB Hard drive factory split into 2 80-ish gig drives), and an 18x DVD burner. It came with 1 GB of DDR2-800, I added a second stick. We have a 19" 1440x900 monitor we'll continue using. She also uses an old 60 GB drive as an external.
Her primary use is web browsing, light word processing, reading Manga and watching DiVX video, and flash/java games. She does like older RPGs (Like Baldur's Gate) and city builders, and the system can run several free Korean-style MMOs, and just barely runs Dungeons & Dragons Online. A newer system should be able to run modern games (dragon age especially) and upcoming MMOs (Star Wars The Old Republic especially) at 1440x900, but she's not going to be running Crysis or other FPSes.
the tricky part is she doesn't want a full tower case. She wants a small form factor desktop style case she can lay flat under a shelf in her desk with the monitor on top of it, similar in size to her current model (3-4 inch height). A small, full height case like a Cube-style won't fit. My plan is a micro-atx AMD Rana-class processor (Athlon II X3 435/440), 3-4 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 640 GB hard drive. The small case rules out a full-size card, so I need a decent half-height card. I fret about using a pre-included power supply in these cases, but Its hard to find non-ATX power supplies. cooling in a small case is also a concern. If I can squeeze it into the budget, a PCI (or PCIe-x1) Wireless N would be good too. On Mobo also might work, but I expect the card would be cheaper.
Any suggestions for cases, power supply, and card?
Well a mini ITX case is definately in the question here, the main issue is whether she wants a flat style mini ITX case like the one you linked to or if she'll be ok with a box style mini ITX case like
A box style case would be a lot easier to work with on your side of things (the builder i'm assuming) and in my personal opinion look very nice.
it would be better. If I could use a box style, I'd cannibalize my old HD4850 for the graphics card. However the shelf that the case must fit under is only 5 inches high, necessitating the HTPC style case, and a smaller one at that.