yeah basically i built a desk that has my computer located inside the desk with a clear window tabletop, anyways i do a lot of CPU intensive stuff and im looking for a better cooler, however from the surface of the CPU to the bottom of the glass panel is only 4.5 inches. whats the best CPU cooler under $50 that will adequately cool my AMD FX 4100?
You can always go for closed loop liquid CPU coolers like the Corsair H-series. Under $50 is possible, i got my H50 at Frys for $30 and it works quite well when under load.
there is the H60 for $52 AR on newegg:
or the H50 with no rebate for a bit more:
There's a variety of other systems that are low in clearance and not bad in terms of price. The only thing i would advise is getting 2 of the same fan to put on the radiator for push/pull config to make it more efficient. the fan that came with the H50 was actually quite loud so i ended up moving it as a case fan and using a fan controller to slow it down.
The NH-C14 will fit but you will need to omit the top fan(it's 105mm without the top fan), also, make sure your RAM is not too tall so it will not block the cooler. However this is 80 bucks and might be too much.
Alternatively you can consider a cheap CLC like the Kuhler 620, Seidon 120 or H60.