Ok, finally got this thing together. The vendor I ordered the Asus board from turned out to be a bust, but I did get the same board from a different place (more $$ >:( ). I did get the SG05 which is a decent case, but I want to cut off the power supply cables I'm not using.
I got a slim blu-ray ROM drive, 60 GB Vertex 3 HD and Win 7, plus the CPU and 3TB hard drive mentioned before. I was able to get all 4 cores unlocked, but something vexed the large drive (not sure related). I dialed back to 2 cores for now.
I haven't tried any games yet, but have had ZERO crashes, rare occurrences of fan noise (running stocks), and a pretty decent Index score, the only problem is the built-in 4250.
Since it's a small computer, I was thinking of hunting down a ceton card to throw in (almost doubling its value!), or I could get a 6450 for $20 today. I personally don't have a use for ceton, but if we switch to cable or I give it to my mom, that's a different story. If I start installing games, they're probably going to be fairly old titles, so a vid card upgrade shouldn't make too much of an improvement.
Any opinions/ideas where to go from here?