Thanks again for the help guys, I do indeed own the e7400. I also own a xigmatek 1283 that I could use with the darkheart, but obviously not with a mini-itx build.
I was running some quick cost breakdowns:
40 dollar cooler (http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.c ... cleID=2288
so around 270+ taxes etc.
200 shipped (no tax)
pretty small difference in cost.
The lan gear bag, while a bit too "extreme" for my taste, appears to offer sufficient protection while moving the darkheart. Does anyone know of similar cases for the sg05, or other mini ITX cases? I'd ideally like to carry it onto the plane (3-4 feet drops are terrifying for computers). Does the bag come with the darkheart? Since it looks like that type of bag would be at least 40 dollars somewhere else.
It also appears that I may have missed out on the mini ITX beta from lan gear by a day (Doh!). http://www.lan-gear.com/miniITX_spec_mom.php
looks fantastic, especially for me as I don't plan on having any more than 1 3.5 inch drive, maybe even just an ssd. I also certainly wouldn't want a dvd drive so that makes this compact system quite appealing.
I'm glad to hear the motherboard is solid, 50-60 dollars just seemed too little but it appears that's enough for a mATX build. Does anyone know of some good mini-ITX boards? It needs to be LGA 775 as that is the socket of the e7400.
If the dvd drive and 3.5 inch bay is not used could a 3rd party power supply be used in the SG05? That's another bonus for the lan gear mini itx...
Thanks for the reply hud, it seems that the lanbox isn't what I'm looking for, you've saved me some time and pain. I was considering grabbing it as the cheapest solution, but it's clear I need to go a lot smaller if I want to carry this on a plane.
EDIT: the cases have to be shuttle-ish. they can't be standard form factor as that would be more awkward to carry on planes.