I saw ampedsil's MicroATX Gaming Build on here and liked the concept, so I decided to go with something similar for my first build.
- I'm blown away by the graphics and load times after coming from a low/mid-end laptop.
- It's not completely silent, but quieter than my laptop, and practically inaudible for light tasks when set behind the side of my desk.
- The motherboard is the maximum specified MicroATX size (9.6x9.6 in.), so it was a bit of a hassle figuring out how to place it in. That's why the optical drive is out in the second picture.
- For the case, having a little less drive cage may have helped significantly with the motherboard, though it appears already shortened a bit in that area. Also, using any fan as a side intake at a medium-to-high RPM tended to produce a loud, annoying buzzing. Otherwise, the side panels, thumb screws, filters and such are very nice.
- I had a 2.2Ghz Phenom II on my laptop and hardly ever hit 100%, except with occasional transcoding, so I figured the 965 would be a decent deal. Overclocking was a delightfully frustrating experience, but I eventually reached something stable. The CPU-NB is running at 2600Mhz.
- I've got it running on a dual monitor setup with a Dell S2440L (currently $199 on Amazon if you can wait a bit) and a KDS VS-5 (I got it from a friend for free years ago and it refuses to die). The keyboard and mouse are the Microsoft Sidewinder X4 and the Logitech G500.
- And, yes, I have since put the last few screws in my motherboard