I am building small desktop system for a small business. Part of the job requirement (30% of work) is editing photos and short videos (Adobe Lightroom). Video conferencing using Skype is 30% of work. The rest is Microsoft Office/QuickBooks and internet browsing. No gaming. I have a Windows XP license that I am planning to use for now and will upgrade to Windows 7 eventually.
Here is the case that I already have:
-APEX DM-387 Black Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer Case w/ ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) for $50
- I have an older 250GB hard drive for the system drive, which is OK since we use NAS to store all the work in the office
Question: I want this setup to last for a while (~4 to 5 years). I think that USB 3.0 is pretty important for next generation of cameras/accessories. What about DisplayPort? We teleconference with other offices and may get a large (~30 inch) monitor for Skype on FIOS. I can't find AMD board in mATX factor with USB3 and DisplayPort on it.
The case is really small and runs surprisingly cool. With the right monitor, one could actually attach it to the back and save space. If its of interest, I'll complete the build for you.
Twoboxes: Thanks, I actually seriously considered this case/mobo. The only thing that stopped me was having to get new slim CD/DVD and 2.5" hard drive (I wanted to re-use some of the stuff I already have).
What and how much memory did you go with for your system?
I gave her 4GB, 1333 cl9 memory. Since it was her birthday, I threw in an SSD (and a 2.5" disk though a 3.5" disk fits) too. She actually smiled when she saw how quickly she got to "iGoogle" after pressing the power button.
Though I'm not sure her smile was really worth that much money
Anyhow, the onboard graphics were plenty for her since she doesn't "game" at all. The main issue for her was streaming nature vidcams while doing email while loading books onto her iPod while watching TV . . . while cooking. And the little box does it all, small (fits on her kitchen "desk"), cool, and quiet.
Your use of an HTPC case told me you wanted small, so I thought I'd mention it. This case is so small you can put the monitor on top of it and not notice the height . . . especially if you have monitors that allow you to lower the screen. If not, it can stand on its side alongside, or you could bolt it to a pedestal of a desk.
The only thing I ever worried about is those included power supplies. I really prefer only using well-reviewed, specific units. But you were already going down that psu path, and they do seem to work.
Twoboxer: Got it. I am planning to lay the case flat under the monitor stand. I really want to avoid snagging the wires hanging down from the table down to the computer on the floor every time I stretch my legs.