I just bought an H100 ($99 @ CompUSA) and it's definitely worth the money. My i5-3570 runs at least 20c cooler under load than with my Hyper 212+. The only air coolers that come close are huge monsters that weigh 3 or 4 pounds, have 2 x 140mm fans, and get in the way of RAM slots and VR heatsinks ( http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm ) and they cost just as much. I can now use all my DIMM slots and they can have nice tall heat spreaders on them, and I'm not bumping into the heatsink every time I plug a wire in. Also, all the heat from the CPU now blows out the top of my case instead of inside, which helps my GPU to run cooler. Also there's no pump noise, and fan noise is fine even on highest setting. It's obviously a matter of preference whose processor you use and also depends on what tasks you'll be performing regularly. I always consider the upgrade path as well. Here's a very handy chart I found to compare high end CPUs http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html These are averages compiled from every stock clocked system that ran the benchmark and submitted it to Passmark. As you can see AMD's best CPU is nowhere near the top of the chart, although I'm sure it's fine for all but the most processor-intensive tasks. In your first post you mentioned 6-8 hours of research. That's a good start, but honestly it takes me 10 times that much research to properly build my own personal system (I want it perfect!). Things change fast, new stuff is available daily, and prices are volatile, so your picks may change right up to the minute you place the order.