Well, maybe no one cares about this project except me but I'm going to write about it for my own satisfaction anyway...
I got the last piece of the puzzle in the mail yesterday - my fancy ASrock miniITX FM2 board. I promptly installed it and removed the existing HSF mounts.
Of course a problem was uncovered instantly, some chips on the back of the board interfered with the HSF bracket so I elected to ditch it since the Coolmaster unit I'm using isn't really all that heavy. It does rely on the mounts to flex a bit to hold things in place securely though so I was careful not to over-tighten/flex the board and I'm reasonably pleased with the results. I had to use some small nylon washers as standoffs so the nuts that hold the mount in place didn't contact the board.
So the heat sink clears the RAM with ease (glad I got the low profile Ares series though) and the other shot shows you how much it sticks out of the case when installed. At this point I was pretty nervous I wouldn't be able to get the side back on.
...and then its on to the next problem I was anticipating - even without the bracket the mounting for the HSF interferes with the location of the hard drives. The 7mm slim 830 had no problems but the 9.5mm 500GB Seagate wasn't so lucky. I had a 7mm 320GB drive laying around though so it got called up to the majors (for now) so I could continue - its a close fit but everything is as it should be (picture below is of the 9.5mm drive).
Then it was time for the cable management game - and I'm surprisingly happy with the results, it really helped to build two previous systems into this case! The 4-pin CPU power cable did indeed need the extension I picked up, its the least routed cable of the bunch but there really wasn't anywhere else to go with it. All the main board power is bunched up into the corner, I really don't know what else I could have done there either. For me the magic is in the SATA, USB, and front panel connectors, I was able to just barely have them exposed in the front of the case at all and the back of the case doesn't look half bad - thank goodness for those 7mm hard drives or I wouldn't have been able to route the cables under them (cables were positioned first, then the drive cage dropped on top). Antec made the SATA power cables the perfect length but the standard SATA cable required a lot of fiddling - it would probably have been a good idea to pick up some short ones but it all worked out ok and the back closes easily.
So whats the end result? We gots problems... I am able to close the case up completely, my fan mod on the side just barely
fit - in fact the internal grille of the fan is in contact with the heatsink so it all looks great and like it should work but that's not the case (buh dum!). Temps are not good - not good at all, at least not with my mod in place (near as I can tell it overheats and shuts down as soon as I try to enter the BIOS). If I install the stock fan without the side on its works ok, BIOS reports 40C, haven't checked in Windows. I think I know what's going on though - because the fan is so big and the heatsink is right in the middle of the case/center of the fan there is a big dead zone right where I need airflow the most. This is made all the worse by the fact that the fan grill is touching the heatsink - maybe it there was a gap the shear volume of air moving though the case would take care of things but as it is I think the center mass of the heatsink is effectively walled off from the airflow.
I didn't do a lot of work on it after getting that far, I left the stock fan on the heatsink with my 180mm fan plugged into another header to make sure it wasn't a power related problem. Then I installed Win7 last night and some drivers this morning - will have to wait until this weekend to spend more time on it but a spacer for the side fan is at the top of my list of things to try next.