Sorry Mike, I think you're the one misreading the spec. You're referring to area D, which in fact has a height restriction of 39mm, a whole 1mm higher. I'm referring to area C a 30mm strip at the "front" of the board away from the back panel, which has a height restriction of 38mm.
The socket area of many Intel M-ITX boards fall into area C.
Just checked on a couple of 1155 m-ITX boards, and they are both very close to the 30mm wide area C, but not less than 30mm. I would be surprised if the boards actually put the CPU socket closer than that to the edge, there'd be no room for the RAM slots which normally go there. But even if they do, since neither coolers nor cases adhere strictly to the m-ITX spec either, it's all kind of hit and miss.
It's not just the low profile cases which leave little room for the CPU heatsink, but also the ones that position the PSU above that area. If it's an ATX PSU, it can cover the whole length of the board.
But this business of the case not being staying w/in spec also holds true for ATX and mATX case design as well. The actual ATX case spec itself does not reflect all the innovations that have been implemented in cases that hold ATX boards, and these innovations have actually kept ATX viable for all the power/thermal increases that the original design was never meant for.
(BTW There is a standard for Thin iTX - its hidden in the latest version of the M-ITX spec. http://www.formfactors.org/developer%5Cspecs%5CMini_ITX_Spec_V2_0.pdf
. But thats a different can of worms).
Surely that min speed is a fan controller limitation, not the fan itself.
It was very much a function of the PWM Circuitry within the fan Gelid used - they specified a minimum of 1400rpm and no lower would it go, even though it reached this speed quite some way above the minimum PWM values available on both Intel and Asus motherboards. e.g with Asus Fan Expert, it reached 1400 rpm at a value of 50, setting the PWM value down to 20 had no effect whatsoever.
That does seem silly. We would have missed that because its speed was voltage controlled for our review; this was before Fan Xpert 2 on the Asus P8Z77-V Pro was adopted for PWM fan testing.