Alright, I've ordered the Node 304.
Its a great case, but the most important thing you need to know atm is the case is very peculiar into which psu can be used with a long gpu, specially long PSU (over 160mm) are out of the equation, and its preferable 140mm, be very careful with modular PSUs as its a very tight fit. One PSU that its very popular among owners of the Node304 is the Seasonic G550
, because of where it has the modular cable/holes it allows you to install long gpus. Be sure to check OCN [Official] Fractal Design Node 304 Owners Club
, in there you will find tons of builds, and you can even see things you are thinking of buying like CPU coolers or PSU to get an idea into what will work best for your build, be sure to take some time and go by the pages, its a really big thread but worth spending the time checking it out.
1. For the CPU cooler you recommended, the Kotetsu, the Noctua NH-U14S and the Argon. The kotetsus is kinda hard to find but I could probably get my hands on one if it's really worth it. For me the easiest ones to get are probably the be quiets and the noctuas but that doesn't really matter, I'm ready to spend what is necessary to make it completely inaudible even if that means buying a Noctua NH-D15, honestly that is my #1 priority for this build so anything less would be kinda disappointing. But honestly I don't in which direction to go.
The NH-D15 should fit, but probably not with both fans, only the middle one. The Single tower coolers are a tight fit, but most of the time they are good regardless if you don't populate all the hdd brackets. Check the thread i posted above you will find builds with twin tower coolers and single tower, etc, grab some ideas there, and you might even find something cheaper that might be worth searching in canada. Upon seraching on the limited places i know in canada, there are very few cheap options there, but one that seems decent is the Prolimatech PRO-ARMGD 14cm CPU Cooler for Intel Socket 1366/1156 Motherboards
you will still need to add a fan, it was reviewed by SPCR in case you want to read more about it, Prolimatech Armageddon & Coolermaster V8 CPU Coolers
2. Do I really need to get the Asus H97I-PLUS to be able to accommodate a larger cooler or will the GIGABYTE GA-H97N-WIFI be fine? and will I need low profile ram?
The Gigabyte has the CPU as the Asus so in essence you should be fine mounting the NH-D15 from the motherboard perspective, crosscheck the bottom of the motherboard to not have any chips that will not allow to mount the bracket. I would recommend at least standard height ram, personally i like a lot the crucial ballistic sport because of the low profile, weather its needed or not will depend on the cooler you chose.
3. Do I need to install the software on the MSI to make it silent at idle or is it automatic? I use to have a 980 GTX Strix with just the nvidia drivers and it seemed silent without playing around with the software.
The way the Vbios is setup, you shouldnt need to install software, the MSI should be silent on idle or low light load, it wont be inaudible on load, but should be quieter than the Asus. You can still use MSI Afterburner if you wish to change the behavior of the fans, or the MSI APP which is a light app that allows you presets like silent/normal/overclocked.
4. Case fans, I'd like to replace them.I need a 140 and 2 92mm.
I would test them first, they are not the best but not bad either, most users will be happy on the low settings, from what i remember on a friends build, the 92mm didn't like the low settings one of the fans didn't spin, i believe the mid were fine, not too noisy either. You can always change them later on if they don't furfill your quiet requirements.
For the 140mm I was thinking this one http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608035
otherwise the bequiet! Silent Wings 2 140?
If you dont like the included fans, the be quiet should be a good option, personally i would go with Noctua NF-P14s redux-900 Fan (140x140x25mm, square frame 3-pin, 900rpm)
or Antec True Quiet 140
for the 92mm I'm really not sure... if I can't find a silent one, can I just remove them?
For 92mm not many choices out there, i would consider the Noctua SSO Bearing Fan Retail Cooling NF-B9 Redux-1600
**still uncertain about GPU brand**
If you are unsure you want to go with MSI, go with what you like, Asus makes great cards, i just find them noiser on load than MSI, but its still one of the best noise wise, but remember its your money and you have to feel confortable with what you are buying, so no matter the advise i or others give you, the final decision is yours, and you are the only one that has to live with whatever you built.
Good luck with the choices, and be sure to spend some time on the the OCN thread, really good info there.