I'm planning to build a PC based on the Gigabyte GA 945P S3 motherboard and Intel's Core 2 Duo E6400. I need a quiet CPU cooler that will fit this processor and motherboard. Keeping the noise under control is a key aim with my new PC, as I am sensitive to noise.
What's the best CPU cooler to use? I'm not going to use a windowed case, so appearance is not an issue.
Scythe Ninja, is the most highly recommended (readily available) quite heat sink on the market. Also on the Scythe you can easily change the fan to a model of your choice, but the included fan is not much louder then a Nexus fan 120mm fan at the same rpm.
My issue with Zalman coolers (other then the price) is the fans they use tend to use do not have the best acoustical quality. Personally I really wish Zalman would move to fluid dynamic instead of ball bearing fans to help reduce bearing noise.
Suprisingly, the factory cooler is both fairly efficient and fairly quiet. Its biggest drawback it its a pain to mount correctly using Intels "push & snap" method. If you bought the retail CPU, and arent planning on overclocking, Id save the extra money and go with that.
On the Ninja mentioned by others, be careful, its a tall beast and may not fit in your case. It wouldnt fit in my full tower.