CPU cooling solution advice requested!

When I built my PC in early 2015, I got a solid deal on a Thermaltake NIC C5 Air cooler. It has worked well enough. Does a solid job with cooling, however, it is one noisy cooler. I am very particular about noise. I prefer my system to be as quiet as possible. I have been looking into getting a better cooler anyway for temps, but now noise. Here is my question:

I want a cooler that is at least better then my Thermaltake, but I want it to be as quiet as possible. To beat my cooler, it isn’t that difficult. I’ve looked at the Noctua NH15s ( I believe that was the model at least. ) I have also looked at some AIO water coolers, Particularly one from Be Quiet! If noise is important, would you go Air or AIO? And which cooler?

Personally I’d go with a closed loop water cooling. I only recommend closed loop over air cooling because you can always do a little more with them and I’m inside all my computers on a regular basis and for me it is easier access than dealing with a large air cooler blocking the way. The Silent Loop from be quiet is a good option I’ve used in the past. I’m currently using Corsair H115i’s in all my systems and they do have quiet, balanced, and performance fan option in the software. The quiet and balanced options to me keep it fairly if not almost quiet (depending on background noise/audio from computer speakers).

What CPU do you have? The options I recommended are fairly large cooling systems and depending on your CPU and whether or not you’re overclocking it might be a good option to purchase a small closed loop system, which can be even quieter with less fans.

A final, yet more expensive option, is to buy a large water cooler and some Noctua fans giving you performance and cooling.

I have a 4790K. I like how the giant coolers look, but I also don’t like the massive size, or the weight.

I have the 4790K, I do OC, I think it’s at 4.4GHz right now? I’m happy with my performance, I mainly want to kill as much noise as possible. I also have a Phanteks Enthoo Pro, I have a giant top that can fit a 420MM radiator according to the manual so space is no issue.

I mainly avoided looking to AIO’s due to due. Is it mainly the fans that cause noise from your experience? I hear people complain about the pumps in some units, but again, I have no experience personally.

It’s almost always the fans that cause the most noise. I can turn my fans on my H115i all the way down, and I’ll hear them (just because on this particular case how I have them mounted) but I’ll never hear the pump. And in a lot of cases, people are using the stock fans which are great but make a lot of noise in most cases. If you want to kill sound, size, and weight then I would go water cooling. The Be Quiet! cooler will probably be your best bet, and you can even compare the fans on that one and try to find some that have an even lower db if the noise still bothers you.

Another option is possibly spending money on a nice soundproof case, especially if all your parts are working fine aside from the sound.

Everything does work. I do like my case, but I did consider getting a Fractal or NZXT, or possible a Be Quiet! case.

I’d then keep this case laying around and do a future build with it. The noise I do hear is my CPU cooler. Everything else is quiet.

Probably be better to get a new case then. Even if you got an awesome cooler and quiet fans there is still a good chance you’d hear them depending on your background noise with how open your case is.

From what I could gather, I’m leaning towards a Noctua still. Seems to be the easiest, and quieter then the AIOs I looked at. Some AIOs were close, but doesn’t seem worth it to spend the extra cash for them when I don’t OC that hard. I also will probably get a Fractal Design Define S without window.

I"ll do more research on AIOs, fans, software, etc. I think that Define S will be what I need. Then when I build my next rig, I will use my current case for it.

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Agreed. Like I mention I recommend AIOs over most things just from the benefits you can get from them. But I say get the Fractal Design before you purchase anything else to see how much difference that makes, which should be a lot.

Last question for now, I know that a windowless case will be quieter, but would it be a noticeable difference though? I don’t need a window, but I do like to be able to see the inside of the system.

Akasa Venom Medusa
Noctua NH-D15
Thermaltake CLP0587
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
Scythe Fuma
Silverstone Heligon HE-01
ThermalRight Silver Arrow
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
DeepCool GamerStrom Assassin II
DeepCool Neptwin
Gelid The Black Edition
Cryorig R1
ID-Cooling Hunter VC-Twin
ID-Cooling FI VC-Twin
ID-Cooling SE-205

Pretty much all the same design as the Noctua NH-D15. Many of them perform similarly to the Noctua, and many aren’t the shit brown color like Noctua. I’d specifically look into the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3, Phanteks PH-TC14PE, and Cryorig R1 as alternatives.

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While I got some downtime at work, I’ll look into these. Thanks for the list.

I also found a kit made for my Phanteks case, it has some foam padding that I can put on the right side panel, around my windows, the bottom, and I can cover the top with this material that is cut to fit the case. I just ordered this. WIll help for sure.

In regards to window/windowless I know typically that cases with windows will allow more sound to escape. However when it comes to the Fractal Design I’m not sure the difference between their two, as they pride themselves a lot on silent cases. @Logan might know if there is a good difference in sound between the Fractal Design R5 windowed/windowless.

Zalman CNPS 12X and Akasa Venom Voodoo are 2 other options.
I personally had review the Phanteks and DeepCool Neptwin and they are awesome.

For me is always good aircooler or custom watercooling. For me AIO is a no-no.

Was using an H80i previously but it sprung a leak on me so I’m back on Air cooling for a while, currently using the Cryorig H7. Super quiet and stays super cool on my 6600k even with a moderate OC.