Thanks Boost for the helpful links. The LGA775 tests provid some good information on how the Intel LGA775 stock cooler compared. It seems at the low power, the stock cooler has good noise level, and not any real advantages until you get into the higher heat/RPM ranges. For the Intel i3/1155 socket, I'm presuming the same/similar Intel stock cooler.
The only cooler that looked better is the Scythe BIG SHURIKEN. But the specifications
do not mention compatibility with i3/1155.
My stock fan only goes down to ~1100 RPM, as the ASUS utility only allows me to reduce the fan to 20%. Not sure why the limitation. Perhaps I just need a fan that allows me to go lower than 1100 RPM to achieve silence.
For my needs, it is HTPC, low power, low heat. I'm not trying to solve the problem of making a hot system to quiet. Trying to solve a cool system to silence.
I've been thinking of a passive cooler, but concerned about the occasion I use the CPU near capacity and generating a lot of heat, to which I would need a fan. Also, my PWM case fans don't run; that's how temperature cool my system is.
Perhaps the motherboard/CPU is smart enough to disallow overheating and throttle down? Therefore a passive fan will be silent and safe?