I am not, and will not be, an aggressive overclocker. I was running my i5-750 @ 2.8ghz using the stock intel heatsink when I started getting intermittent temperature warning beeps under heavy load, after moving to a new place. I had to drop the speed back down to reference. The room where my computer is gets quite warm in the summer months, wouldn't be surprised if it was 25-30c ambient. I am investing in a better air conditioning system to improve the ambient cooling in the room, but I put off replacing the heatsink during the winter months and now is the time to get on it (before it gets too warm again)!
As I said, I am not looking to heavily overclock this chip but a mild bump would be nice (if doable with the high temps) where I am now.
I don't want a very massive heatsink. I looked at non-tower options, but there does not seem to be many so I am okay with going that route and I look to have around between 175-190 mm clearance from the motherboard surface to the side panel so I should have the clearance.
Basically for my cheaper options I am looking at the (highly touted) Cooler Master Hyper 212+ or the Xigmatek Gaia SD1283. To push a mild overlock with the high ambient temperatures though, would I be better off doing with something slightly pricier such as the MUX-120? Those are the 3 options I have come across where the price seems reasonable to me, but I am open to other options though I with doing mild OC at best, I don't want to spend a ton. Also, what are good 120mm recommendations if I wanted to set up a push-pull configuration on any of these heatsinks in conjuction with (or replacing) the stock fans?
I am also looking to replace my 3 case fans. Noise is not a huge factor, though obviously less is better. I would prefer them to be PWM fans if possible since I have the headers available. I need a 120, 92 and 80mm fan with the 120 being the intake at the front of the case. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Additionally, does anyone have any suggestions on good filter type systems for the 120mm intake fan? The computer being low to the ground, the 120mm intake tends to pick up a lot of dust, hair etc. into the case. I don't mind blowing out the case every few months, but it would be nice to not get as much in there I am sure.
What motherboard do you have? PWM fan headers are unusual, excepting for the cpu.
There are very few pwm case fans available. Most case fans will have 3 pin and/or molex connectors.
For cooling, most any aftermarket cooler with a 120mm fan will cool better than the stock cooler, and will be quieter under load.
I see no real need to go to the best unless you are looking for a maximum overclock. The CM hyper 212 is well reviewed, and there are others.
Fan noise is mostly related to the rpm they run at. Under 1000 rpm, they will be quiet. Over 1600 rpm, they will be noisy.
Smaller fans, like 80mm need to run at 1500rpm and more to get any significant airflow.
The best quiet fans probably come from Noctua. But they are expensive. Plan on $20 + for them.
^+1 it's probably better to buy a new case like the Antec 300 geofelt has suggested.
It comes with two quality fans with speed contols and intake filters.
Will also fit the 3 coolers you're looking at.
Btw i own a 212+ on an i5 760
MUX -120 with an i7 860
Both are excellent coolers and the TR is dead quiet(20db).and works with 4 dimms filled and 52mm tall ram = worth the extra dough
Out of all the Heatsinks that I've used, the Prolimatech Megahalems are my personal favorite. It keeps my temps quite cool with a core i7 930 oc'd to 4.0ghz. You'll need a big case for the Megahalems though. This thing is big, but does a great job for cooling.
That's just my opinion. If you have the money, I don't see any reason to get the Hyper 212 over the MUX-120. The MUX is just a better cooler in general, hence the price difference.
As has been suggested, I'd consider looking into a better case while you're at it, if you really want something that won't clog up with dust so often. I have a CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced, and there are dust filters on basically everything except the side panel. The front panel just pops right off to be blown off, and it comes with a dust filter for the bottom intakes (including the PSU) and top panel. The Antec 300 is also a nice case... it's basically a cheaper alternative to the CM 690 II. Then there's CoolerMaster's HAF series, where most (if not all) of the cases are wider than the usual ATX mid-tower. Another of my favorites is the Lian Li Lancool - it's almost as wide as the HAF series, and is really relatively cheap for being of Lian Li's superior build quality.
Those are only some of my recommendations, if you want to look into a case replacement as well.
Quite a number of replies and helpful discussion while I was gone for a meeting! Thank you everyone for your input, to answer some questions raised.
I was wrong about the PWM headers, I only have 1 PWM header in addition to the CPU on this motherboard, which is a Gigabyte P55A-UD4P. The others are the normal 3-pin, so PWM or not is not a big deal. I have not had the case open since I moved so that slipped my mind.
The case I have is a C3, which based on their offerings now would be a C3-CT. I did not buy it with strictly cooling in mind, purchasing it in 2006 for a X2-4800 build,. I like the case though, and want to get as much life out of is as possible while still being able to play games in the summer without heat alarms. The 120MM is a front intake fan, and then you have the 92 on the back near the CPU exhaust and 80mm blowhole type on the top. That also means I don't mind if the fan is flashy and lights up , but I want the fan underneath to be solid as well which is more important.
I would rather not replace the case if possible. I plan on putting together a new HTPC in the near future (Xbox 1 is kinda.. old) so I would rather just replace the case fans with strong performers than the plain things I threw in when I first built this up, call it a day and spend the money on a nicer HTPC case for that project. I won't be running my desktop outside of when I am using it when that comes to pass, so fan noise is not my largest concern.
As I said in my original post, I am not going to overclock the CPU much, if any, at present. If I do overclock it, it would likely be a very mild from 2.66 stock to 2.8 or possibly 3 ghz. Just looking for the best performance that can help when summer rolls around and this room turns stupidly hotter. I am leaning towards the MUX-120 at this point and sticking with its stock fan. So far I have found the Cooleraster for ~$30 and the MUX-120 for $45 + S&H. In people's opinions, would replacing the Coolermaster's stock fan with that $15 something significantly outperform the MUX-120's stock configuration?
Dimensionally(cooling mass) not much of a difference.
212+ - 120 x 79.7 x 158.5 mm
MUX-120 - L133 x W58 x H160 mm
Basically the same size the MUX is thinner and taller which allows better compatibility with tall ram kits all dimms filled.
Btw the X-Silent 120mm fan is not PWM but like i said it's quiet.1200-1300rpm
Stock 212+ R4 Blademaster is PWM but at least 30db+ max.2000rpm