1.) Only cases designed to connect directly to the hot components are able to operate passively. Since these cost several hundred dollars, I'll assume you're looking at standard cases, all of which require fans.
2.) USB drives can be connected/disconnected while windows is running, just click the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon on the task bar.
3.) USB 1.1 is 1.2MB/s max. That's 100x slower than the fastest drives peak performance (from cache), and 50x slower than the average drive's max transfer from media. It's also 25x slower than the SLOWEST part of most modern drives.
4.) I recommend nVidia chipsets mostly for AMD processors and Intel chipsets mostly for Intel processors. I stay away from VIA chipsets because that company screwed me as a service person.
5.) DC power feed?
<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>