Originally Posted by pkscout
I have a core i3 in a Silverstone GB04 case with a Scythe SCSK-1100 Shuriken heat sink/fan. I use SpeedFan to vary the speed of the case and CPU fans. It's a bit of a trade off between heat and noise, but at "idle" (that is nothing going on but XBMC running) the CPU temp is around 46C, the CPU fan runs about 1100RPM, and the three case fans run about 700RPM. With those settings, a cabinet with a somewhat open front, and a quiet room, I can just barely hear the fans running. If the CPU starts warming up, SpeedFan adjusts accordingly. At full out the fans run at 2200RPM (CPU) and 1200RPM (three case fans). That can be loud, but it generally only happens when we watch a Bluray movie, and that usually has enough noise to cover the fan sounds up.
For my upstairs computer, have a Dell Zino with a single fan (I plan on replacing), and I can easily hear it from 20 feet away, many times when the system is playing, too. For my HT system, I went FANLESS. Yes, no fan. It's an Intel i3 currently running at about 43C, and I've been using the computer all morning. It's an HDPlex case, which is expensive, but given that I HATE fan noise, it's worth the price. Every fan I've ever had gets too loud once dust gets on it (i.e., in a real environment).