Well, the Scythe Mugen 3 goes for 50 USD. The fan is really good and can run inaudibly but according to some users here at SPCR the surface that touches the CPU is concave. That translates into a worse thermal performance. But this might be a bad sample.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is quite cheap and the performance compared to the price is incredible! That makes it an incredibly popular CPU cooler. The only downside is that Cooler Master isn't known to make acoustically good fans, but since it's so cheap you'll have enough money for an aftermarket fan.
Yeah the Scythe is worth considering but it seems to be pricey in the UK, pretty much the same as the Noctua UH12P SE2 so I'm leaning towards that. The CM will be way too big for my case unfortunately.
Is there anything you have against it touching? 1mm might be immaterial.
I have a Corsair A50 in a Lian-Li A04 and it is at least 1-2mm too tall, but you would never notice from the outside.
Don't mind too much as long as it won't damage anything when I take the case door off.
My 158 mm tall Noctua UH12P leaves imprints on the damping material in my Define Mini, so I wouldn't get anything taller. It's fine to have it lean on the padding a little (free support!), but if you regularly remove the panel to do cleaning et cetera, I don't like the idea of physically dragging my cooler along as I open and close the panel.
Noctuas are certainly worth the investment: you get the best possible retention system, flawless base, excellent quality control all around and the fans are top notch to boot. You can't go wrong.
The Scythe Mugen 3 is a good less-expensive substitute in the heavyweight category, also check out Thermalright Macho. I regularly recommend the Cooler Master already mentioned for budget builds, but the fan really is pretty average - and that's a bad thing.
Thanks that's really useful, that rules out the Arctic i30 then. I won't be removing the panel too often so I guess the Noctua is an option. The Macho (162mm) is going to be too big I think and the CM Hyper 212 Evo is 159mm. Will the foam come back up if it only leans on it a little or has it left permanent prints? I am really tempted by the Noctua UH12P SE2, it's more than I want to spend but I can see it is high quality and the fans are worth quite a bit on their own. The Noctua NH-C14 is only 130mm in height:http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=37&lng=en
Might be worth considering too? I take it the Noctuas would perform as good as the Arctic i30 (if not better) whilst being a lot quieter?
It might be worth considering the recently introduced Thermalright Macho 120, a smaller 5 heatpipe version of the Macho with a 120mm fan as its name suggests. More importantly it is only 151mm high so would fit without any conflicts. Available from Amazon
amongst other sources. This is one of the early reviews
Good shout but I can't find it anywhere in the UK yet