Seriously appreciating your advice, guys
--- Moving from Seagate Barracuda 1TB to the WD Green 1TB for $105 (-$4)
--- Dropping from Crucial M4 128gb ($219) down to its 64gb version ($139).
Would a move up from the Asus E53M1-I Deluxe to the Asus E45M1-I Deluxe (+$15) improve performance noticeably and somewhat balance the lopsided specs? It keeps the same TDP as well as the big passive heatsink. I'd like to go as far up the performance scale as I can while keeping passive with just the one case fan.
Since you're not gaming, the obvious choice would be Sandy Bridge. If you don't like Intel graphics, you've got AMD's Llano but the CPU part is inferior to Intel's.
Hopefully the board upgrade I mentioned above will suffice. If not, what'd be a suitable Llano? Again, I'm hesitant about Intel due to 23fps issue...
A better update might have been released since but look here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4499/fusi ... usion350ae
The Zotac Fusion-ITX Wifi this review mentions seems to be an option. Appears to be slightly less power-hungry and runs slightly cooler than the E35M1-Deluxe. The Zotac only accepts SO-DIMM memory, but I don't know if that will limit my RAM choice significantly.
The RAM clock is utterly irrelevant. The main point is that you have way too much if it.
Do you reckon dropping down to 2x2gb would see no drop in performance? I have a habit of opening a boatload of Firefox tabs/windows. Right now, on my current computer (4gb RAM, 32bit OS though), Firefox often crashes because I've got 4 windows open, each with 10+ tabs. Is this an issue due to lack of RAM or something else?
Still not sure about the case. Smaller case might theoretically mean more focussed airflow, but, along with perhaps cheaper prices, that's the only advantage I can see.
Case features I'm looking for,  being most important,  being least important:
 easily removeable dust filters
 120mm (or bigger) fan slot at front
 as few fan grills as possible; preferably just one at front and one at back
 separate PSU compartment and placement at bottom (preferred, not essential)
 wall damping/HDD suspension (would be nice, but can be DIY'ed, I guess)
 space behind motherboard for cabling (preferred, not essential; Solo lacks this)
Am considering the Solo II, Silverstone TJ08, Fractal Design Define Mini, CM Sileo 500, NZXT H2...still sorting through, recommendations would be great. I'm prepared to push the case budget above the $150 if it means getting most of these features, especially dust filters, which will reduce hassle in the long run.