I am finally up and running and at a point where I can post my case project and pictures. Suffice it to say, even simple case mods take a ton of time, though when you're done they don't look near as big a deal to anyone else but yourself. At any rate, I finally settled on an Antec P160SW Performance case. My first step was removing every part from the case and creating the blowhole in the top:
I mounted a low-noise Panaflo 120mm fan under the blowhole, using rubber washers to dampen the vibration. Next, I sleeved my Enermax 470w PSU, replacing all the Molex connectors with black ones. I used Vantec EZ Grip ones for the 5.25"s to make them easier to work with.
And all the fans:
I cut out PaxMate case dampening material and added it to the top, bottom, and backside of the case. The second picture here looks like the paxmate is one complete sheet on the underside of the case; it is not, I cut it to fit around the support stanchions on that side.
At this point, I mounted everything back in the case. Pictures shown are with my cables only 80% cleaned up.
I put the windowed side on to give everyone an indicator of what it is like with the case fully together:
Things I still have to do:
(a) Mount a Fanbus to connect all the fans. I have one, but am going to mount it in a project box, and haven't had the time yet. Will take some creative plastic cutting and a bit of epoxy.
(b) I'm thinking of re-sleeving the PSU ATX cable; it would void my warranty but that cable is way too inflexible with that metal sheathing. If I do this, I'll also replace the Enermax PSU fans with low-noise Panaflos for longer life and lower noise. I also had to remove the Northbridge fan while doing this project; it's failing and the buzzing noise was getting ugly. Don't know if I'll replace it, I really don't think I need to.
c) Wire my SB Audigy 2 to the front panel audio connectors. I have the pinouts, but I have to devise a solid way of connecting them. Alternatively, I may just say "chuck it" and go back to my Soundstorm, even though its analog audio isn't as high quality.
d) Wire up the two temperature sensors that are part of the case so I can display the temps on the front panel.
Hopefully at some point I can switch over to SATA hard disks, which will clean things up further. Hope y'all liked the post.