As the title suggests, I'm building a new system and want it to be as quiet as possible within reason. I do not have plans to overclock unless it turns out that it's too easy to pass up with my configuration. Given that I have a host of health issues, this is unlikely, so silent > cooling power for my needs.
I plan to buy an E8400 chip either OEM or retail. I figure this fan decision is a major component in which I choose. I further plan to use an Antec P160 case that I already have. Should I replace its fan system as well or leave it be?
If you're not going to OC ("easy" is a relative term. OC is very easy once you've figure out how assuming your mobo is a good OCer), I'd stick with the stock HSF that comes with the CPU. Check out Frostytech.com. According to them Intel's HSF is the 2nd quietest HSF you can get! You won't need a better HSF unless you want to OC the chip.
Again, if you're not going to OC, any case with a decent exhaust fan will be fine (air flow wise). Sound wise, you can always replace the case fans with low decibel fans if they're too loud. ~$10/fan.
I second this. Stock cooling is excellent and quiet for, well, stock speeds. If you want even better cooling without more noise, the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro is excellent. However, due to the design of this cooler, the surrounding area of the cpu, like the NB, might not be cooled very well. Nonetheless, the difference can be made up with an exhaust fan.
I guess the question then is what fan is the quietest available, and is it worth spending the extra $15-$20 for the retail version of the chip + fan than it is to save the $20 and get them independently?