> Well, how casual is "casual gamer?"
Actually I do enjoy occasional action games , like HL2 or Doom 3 and racing simulations, so I think I'll need a stronger GPU than the integrated Intel 950. I would be happy with something that matches the 9600XT performance I get on my desktop. Good to know that the ADD2 solution works, it would be great for 2D or slower 3D graphics it seems, and is one third of the price for a 6600, which is itself on the cheap side.
I am starting to lean towards a 6600 (e.g . low profile XFX) that seems both affordable and able to yield decent frame rates for 3D (see http://pcworld.about.com/gi/dynamic/off ... g,6,00.asp
At this point I think I won't get a 7300GS, the risks of excessive noise, heat and power consumption is not worth it IMO.
Thanks for your input - please let us know if your 900 series makes a significant difference in the heat load. I did read that it should, thanks to the 65nm process.
Also, I played a bit with the box last nite - happily surprised at the noise level overall, while I agree with you on the power supply. It's not too strong but a tad annoying because of its high pitch. But I can live with that and will have it hidden away more than that a future so it should be acceptable. The front fan definitely speeds up when using sustained processor power, curious to see if you see a difference with the 900 series.
I think a lot of the people complaining about "a lot" of noise on the cnet reviews did not make sure the case panels where not moving - I looked inside and could see how things could rattle. Laying it sideways stabilizes that whole left panel. Some units may need internal shims to prevent couple of components (especially side panels) from rattling. I find that at low CPU utilization the dominant noise source is the seek from the hdd - a Seagate 7200.7 series. That's a sign that this box is overall pretty quiet, I think. Much quieter than my other SFFs - shuttles SN41G2 (noisy) and SN45G (pretty good).