Bravo! This was a good article, needing only a few benchmarks (definitely including heat and noise) to be GREAT. As much interest as I have in small systems, and encounter in the forums, I think this has been a very neglected topic. There seems to be a perception that "enthusiast" focus needs to be on multi-GPU, monster rigs able to play every game on "UltraMaxOhWOW" settings, without regard to space or budget.
I'd like to toss out some questions, and request some alternatives that may answer them.
You've addressed the "slim" case; can we see a "shoebox" build? While also limited to a single slot, can they fit a graphics card wider than just one slot, or do the coolers hit the case sides? Without going to something big like a Prodigy, can a more powerful graphics card be readily fitted into such a build, or is the HD7750 the best we can expect for now? How about an APU+HD6670 in Crossfire, or does the APU get too hot? What's the smallest case that will fit one of those little GTX650Ti cards?
Given the lack of a fan other than the PSU, what's the beefiest build that can be done in a Lian Li PC-Q07 without encountering thermal issues?
STORAGE OPTIONS! How about a laptop HDD + 2.5" SSD mounted in one of those 3.5" frames? Or, mount multiple 3.5" drives where a 5.25" optical drive would go, and make the optical drive external (when/if needed).
I've got an ASRock Z77E-ITX mobo just waiting for a brain. It has a mSATA slot on its underside, really opening up storage possibilities.
Finally, I hope you can really dig into mini-ITX builds. With at least two form factors available (three if you count big cases like the Prodigy), there are a lot of variables I'd like to see explored. Even if a HD7750 turns out to be a frequent limit, isn't that actually quite good when you look at average or typical hardware configurations on Steam?