Add Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste.
Get i5 2500k(VERY simple overclock to get to i5 2550K level).
Get the HAF 912 case.
It'll go down in price by $10.
Why would the OP need Arctic Silver thermal paste? CM cpu coolers come with a small tube of MX-4 thermal compound which is about as good as it gets. This is the second time Iv'e seen you recommend Arctic Silver to someone who already planned on purchasing a CM cooler.
I'd go with the HAF 912 also, purchase x2 200mm fan for the Front(intake) and top (exhaust) and move the stock fans elsewhere, maybe the side and you'll have great quiet cooling. Price shouldn't fluxute too much
Well I decided to stop by Frys today and just check out the cases in person and Im glad I did. I found out that I didn't like the Antec 300, but I also don't like the HAF 912 either. The Antecs front panel and buttons felt cheap. The 912 was just ugly. (Sorry if Im offending anyone here, I know a lot of people have these cases. Just a personal preference.)
I was leaning toward the HAF 922 because of the fans it comes with, but its even uglier than the 912. Thats when I saw this:
Its a little bit more expensive at $99 before rebate, but the overall quality of the case seems much better. It doesnt have as many fans as the 922 or 300 Illusion, but that's an easy upgrade if I do need more airflow.
It has a dust filter on the bottom as well which is nice and also has and a very nice cable management system. Besides the 2 ugly blue usb ports on the front, this beats the 300 and HAF hands down in the looks department (again, just my opinion).
The only problem I can see is that the front ports are USB 3.0, and my Mobo only has USB 3.0 on the back panel. Not a huge problem though. I can live without USB on the front for now, and I think they make adapters that go from 2.0 Motherboard to 3.0 Case ( at 2.0 speed).
Edit: Just noticed the 400R comes with a 2.0 to 3.0 USB adapter. Woohoo!
Yea, I was sitting there for about 30 minutes going back and forth between the two.
I do like the 922, just don't think I could ever get used to how the front looks.
I kept going back to the Carbide 400R though. Solid buttons, well made, interior paint, cable management, sleek front, ect. Just really liked how it was designed. Only concerns were the USB and FANs, but both are any easy fix.
And what the hell, I am already well over budget. Whats another $20... right?