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The Video Card
For this build I'm disabling the onboard IGP and favor of the Palit GTS 450. Not only will I get full DirectX 11 support and halfway decent gaming performance, but the card is designed for half height installations.
Adjusting the fan speed seemed to be counterproductive in that the fan got louder but the GPU didn't get any cooler; it's almost like the fan is spinning and yet starving for air. Cranking the fan up to 6000rpm did drop idle temps down to around 40c but made the system annoying loud and completely unsuited for HTPC use.