Cooling for Fractal Design Define Mini

I'm about to start my first build in a Fractal Define Mini. With one newegg shipment yet to arrive before I can get to it, I'm wondering about improving the cooling system. Two things:

1) replacing the stock CPU cooler, since I've read with some motherboards the Mini's CPU cutout is a touch too small for attaching brackets, so might as well do it from the get-go?

Relevant specs:
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870
PSU: PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB-1333
SSD: Samsung 830 Series MZ-7PC128D/AM 2.5" 128GB
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

I'm not planning to overclock at the moment but who knows what increased computer literacy may bring? And I don't think I want to get into water cooling, unless someone can make an argument for its suitability/ease of use for a self-building noob. Case specs say it supports CPU coolers with heights up to 160mm. From my searches of similar queries, I've seen conflicting responses as to whether the Cooler Master 212 Plus/Hyper Evo or Scythe Mugen 3 would work, and I've also heard good things about the Thermalright True Spirit 120 or Zalman coolers (many of which seem to date back to 2005? but are still getting good reviews on newegg?). I think the most I'd want to spend is ~$50-60.

Does anyone have any recommendations or experiences with clearance in this case/motherboard?

2) fans
The case ships with two 120mm fans. I was thinking I might move the rear one to the front and add a 140 mm as the top exhaust. Does that make sense for this build? Recommendations for quiet fans for the top and/or to replace the front intake fans? I've heard Scythe Slip Streams and Gentle Typhoons mentioned as good choices but am open to other suggestions.

Any input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    I agree, there is no need for the complexity and expense of water cooling unless you are seeking record overclocks.

    The case is even a bit wider than norm, over 210mm. It should fit a 160mm cooler with ease.

    The cm hyper212 plain or evo is a good value.

    About the best and quietest coolers come from noctua. Look at the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 . It is more expensive, but comes with two of the best and quietest fans.

    As to cooling, the fans are best arranged as either push or pull. Namely put two fans as intakes in the front, or two as exhaust in the rear or top.
    If you have extra's, then fine.

    It is not clear to me if the case has air filters in front. If it does, then putting two fans at the front intakes will do a better job of keeping the case dust free.
  2. Thanks, geofelt. I went ahead and ordered a 212 (seems like the widely popular choice and a good "starter" cooler, if nothing else), and I'll try the two fans in the front. Last components should arrive today...!
  3. Best answer selected by mswn.
  4. Hi mswn,

    Looking at getting the Fractal mini and was wondering if you can remove the front fan filters without removing the fans. Because they're mounted with screws and not clips I wasn't sure.

    Any help would be great, looks like a great case.
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