I have faced the same challenges as City4United1 was writing about:
Small and Quiet seems to be a bit of a holy grail at the moment.
I have a similar project in mind. I would like to use 2 TV cards, so I need 2 PCI slots. I have been going round in circles trying to come up with a solution: build my own case / go for a A64 with cool 'n' quiet / undervolt a mobile XP.
I'll probably end up going for the smallest (shallowest) ATX case I can find. I suspect that the SFF is a good option if only one tuner is required (I'm tempted to compromise my 2 TV cards requirement and go this way myself).
Another option is to get hold of one of these Pentium-M microATX boards. I would if I could.
I'm going to set up a HTPC with a DVB-T tuner PCI card. I'd like to have 2xPCI slots to have an option for a second DVB-T card. The system will run Linux and VDR. I will also edit my home videos on the same PC and store all digi photos in it.
Many/All HW parts are under consideration. I have found lots of help from the recommended section in SPCR. Thanks for that.
Below are my current thoughts/options, and I would really appreciate some help to get me out of this puzzle. I have a limitation for the size of the PC case. The plan is to put the PC will in a stereo/video cabinet below my TV, and the max dimensions for the PC case are 550x450x370mm (WxDxH), of course there should also be some room for the ventialtion, so I have considered small desktop cases, cube PCs and SFF PCs.
The requirements set for the lack of noise from above (my better half) are very strict, so I've also considered a completely fanless system like HUSH, but those only have one PCI slot and also otherwise suffer from the lack of other options (connectors, mem card readers, etc.)
Please, give my your feedback and experience about the following cases and PCs I'm considering. I wrote some of my own thoughts after each option:
1) Shuttle XPC SB83G5
- How silent is that?
- Can I keep it silent/avoid overheating if I stick 2xDVB-T cards in it?
2) Asus Pundit AB-P2600
- Any experience on this one?
- Which mother boards fit and provide good power/heat/performance combination?
3) Antec Aria
- This is the case of my dreams, but the PSU fan was rated loud.
- Has anyone been able to change the propri sized PSU to a more silent one?
- Any hints for a good micro-ATX mobo + CPU combination?
4) SilverStone Lascala LC03V
- Good looking, enough room, but according to the article in
systemcooling.com, needed quite a lot of modding (which I'm afraid of)
5) MSI MEGA 180 PC
- Also good looking, but only one PCI slot?
As you probably noticed, I'd like to get to the goal with minimal modding, and would like to avoid sawwing the case, installing extra fans, etc. I have the (maybe childish) belief that a silent enough system can be made from the recommended parts without extreme modding, just by plugging them in... Please educate me.