I've just finished a crazy project: a microATX board inside this case!
Antec ISK 300-65
Core 2 Duo e5200
ZEROtherm ATOM 30H
2GB DDR2 Corsair
500GB HDD WD
Sapphire HD 5570
(total system power consumption is around 110W)
Why microATX boards? Well, let's see:
1) They are less expensive (about two times less expensive, in my country)
2) They are available much faster than the mini-ITX boards, after a new chipset appears (by at least a few months, if not half a year)
3) Bigger motherboard means:
--a) more space for ventilation
--b) more space for connectors
--c) less heatsink compatibility issues
4) There are two advantages as far as low-profile video cards are concerned, because of the positioning (from side to side, versus the miniITX way, along the left side):
--a) you can use video cards which have two-slot cooling solutions;
--b) you can create better airflow to cool the video-card (see pictures below)
5) etc. (let's get to the interesting part: the pictures
What I wanted to do was to modify the case in such a way that I would not damage the mini-ITX mounting option (in order to still be able to install a mini-ITX board in the future, should I want to). For that, I used pieces of another (cheap - 20$) computer case.
On the left side of the picture you can see the four mounting points for the bottom part of the microATX board.
On the right side of the picture there are the two spacers needed for the upper part of the microATX board.
The motherboard installed. Not every microATX board is compatible, the width must be 210mm maximum.
Low profile 5570 video card installed. 2.5" hdd installed (will be replaced soon by a SSD). Original video card fan removed, replaced with two 60mm fans. The bottom one pulls air from the left side of the case (actually, that is the bottom, in my case... you will see why, in other pictures, below) and cools both the video card and the hdd. The second fan is placed on the stock cooler and blows air directly over it. The hot air is pushed to the right side (top, for me, see why below), and evacuated through the original vents of the case, on that side.
The cables from the 150W picoPSU extend a few mm off the side of the board, which would be a problem if the case didn't have the vents right in that area. Moreover, the area with the vents is curved outwards, so the cables do not even touch the side of the case.
I had to cut a big part of the left side of the case, for the I/O ports. I do not use a I/O shield, because additional cold air comes in through that big hole in the left (bottom) side of the case. Also, I drilled many holes to ensure ventilation for the video card. The big hole near the DVI connector is necessary, without it you wouldn't be able to slide the top part and close the case.
The result - the case (sort-of) VESA mounted on the back of my 32" LCD TV.
Noise is almost impossible to hear, AT NIGHT, in a quiet room!!! (the CPU fan is limited to 1500 RPM, by BIOS and software; the 60mm fans are connected to 5V).
Temperatures, under load: CPU less than 60 degrees, chipset around 50 degrees, video card around 65 degrees, HDD around 30 degrees (all Celsius).