I'm running an i5-4460 on an Asrock H81M-ITX
Case Thermaltake Core V1
I got rid of the stock intel fan and installed an Arctic Freezer i11 instead and using the 200mm case fan that comes with the case.
I'm pretty happy with the temperatures (Max 56C on CPU while gaming. 32C at idle)
I can't hear the video card. It's totally silent. Great job MSI.
But I do hear the CPU fan and the case fan a lot. The case is sitting at about 12 inchs above my head on a shelf. I really want to get the noise down without compromising cooling performance. The computer runs 24/7 in a shared and quiet office.
Should I go Corsair watercooling and get rid of the Arctic+Thermaltake fans? Should go with a Noctua instead? Replace the 200mm?
I'm new to cooling so I'm not sure where to head. Also the case can accept 1x 120mm fan or 1x 140 mm fan or 1x 200mm fan. Also there is 2x 80mm for more intake.
You have a couple ways to attack this, so I'm just going to throw a bunch of questions/comments out there.
Is the 200mm case fan fixed speed, or is it controlled by a fan controller or controllable motherboard header? You could consider slowing the fan down a bit with a controller and accepting a temperature hit, since 56C under gaming load leaves you with a ton of headroom (75C+ is not a problem for these chips). 200mm is an odd size, so your options to replace it would be pretty limited.
How loud is the HSF by itself? If its really well above what you'd consider acceptable, your options are to replace the fan or replace the whole HSF. IMO, I wouldn't have recommended the i11 because it uses a 92mm fan. The CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO is my default recommendation since it is cheap and uses larger 120mm fans. Bigger fan = less noise to deliver the same air flow. You can try to replace the stock 92mm fan with something quieter, but you'd then be more likely to have to sacrifice performance to reduce noise. Considering a good quality fan can easily be ~$10, and the 212 EVO is 20-30$, thats my recommendation to improve HSF noise
I wouldn't recommend a water cooler. With your i5-4460, you aren't going to be overclocking and the corsair coolers are going to be more expensive, more prone to failure, and add pump noise to the mix. Its just not necessary for your chip
Again, don't forget that absolute lowest temps are not particularly important since these chips can take a bit of heat.
The case I'm using is the Core V1. The maximum height of the cooling is 140mm so the 212 will not fit (159mm)
The main 200mm fan is PWM so I vary the speed. I can replace it with 1x 120mm or 1x 140mm fan or radiator since the case is ready to receive those things.
My main concern is that the way I have to setup my current CPU fan is making me reversing the airflow of the 200mm which pulls it out of the case, pushes it to my head, very annoying. I want to make it push air into the case so I have to change the CPU fan. Otherweise, both fan will be facing airflow.
Noctua have the NH-L9i wich is quiet but does not perform so well (had it with a, A4)
Thermaltake NiC-L31 would fit and is fearly cheep
Thermaltake Frio Silent 12 also, more difficult to find in Canada
Corsair H90 into budget
Corsair H55 into budget
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer