most of the noise in a system comes from the fans. replacing he system fans with quiet ones is the first step. Sound dampening material will help some, but a noisy fan will still be a noisy fan. If you can hear the vibration of a hard drive then the rubber grommets for the the Hard drive mounts might be in order. The same goes for vibration from the fans and using rubber fasteners.
The fan noise from a GPU or CPU that is being stressed will be reduced by sound dampening material, but at the same time the added material will reduce the case's effectiveness to cool causing the GPU fan's to ramp up sooner.
I use Fractal Design case's for all my non-budget builds for my home, friend, family and customers. there are several good quiet cases on the market http://www.quietpc.com/products/pc-cases
to answer your question, yes they work, but I wouldn't add noise reducing foam to a case not designed for it. Yes, i believe it is noticeable when combined with quiet fans.
I personally recommend these cases:
Fractal Design R3
Fractal Design Mini
Zalman Z9+ (no sound dampening foam, but a quiet gaming case)