Alright lets make some stuff clear first...
Remember "$17 dolla thats gangsta" of a case? Well $17 dollar cases don't cut it. After a few months the top was sinking, the fan that came with it broke, a leg broke off and the hard drive + 5.25' bays were loose and rattling. I remember I wrote in my tutorial "Don't cheap out on the case" but fack I was a total hippocrate.
As for the heatsink and the cpu, I bought both on ebay. Thank god for ebay because I actually got something cheap (if it wasn't for Thundercunt telling me about how he got an uber cheap Phenom II 955 BE, i probably wouldn't have bothered looking). So I got a Zalman PerformaX Heatsink for $26.99 (its 156 cm in depth, but luckily it still fits in the antec 300. Just barely lol). I also got myself a phenom II 955 BE for $140, which is pretty nice (especially considering that all the local computer stores are practically out of stock of almost everything except lower end i7 models and i3's).
The Zalman PerformaX does not make a perfect fit. Actually I had to elevate the fan above the ram slots to make it work. I read the manual closely and in a brief section it states ram limitations. The size restrictions would not allow any corsair, patriot, a-data, G-skill (certain types) or Muskin to be slotted in the first ram slot unless you elevate the fan (the ram heatsinks for those brands are too tall). Whoopdeedoo, isn't that great. I dunno if I should blame Zalman for building a low heatsink or AM3 board manufacturers for building the ram slots too close to the CPU. It sucks that all the reviews I read about it used test systems with i7's (and probably to avoid this issue).
Why the trees?
If you noticed on the side of the 5.25' + HD bays there is this weird tree textured black linen. You see when I went to buy my Antec 300 case, the salesman offered a "noise reducing foam/silencer" special with the purchase of a case for only $40 (expensive cheap crap foam that they try to sell regular price $79.99). I asked what this foam actually does and apparently you are suppose to put it around your HD bays and Side panels to reduce the noise.
Instead I asked for two reusable linen bags, went home, and cut them to fit those specific areas of the case. Do they work? Well they do work, but covering the back side panel has literally no affect (and no change to temperatures I can see). Covering the HD + 5.25' bays actually did actually buffer a lot of noise from the front fans and filling the other side panel reduced the noise very slightly.
At least the two noisy coolermaster 2000 rpm LED front case fans are kept fairly silent (so I guess covering the bays actually does something). Still a majority of the noise comes through the 140 mm top fan. Also is this a fire hazard? I doubt it considering that the foam they sell isn't "fireproof" either (but if my case catches on fire, i'll be the first to post it in my blog =P).
Lessons Learned? and Final Word
You think you be saving money by being cheap, but sometimes it comes back to bite you in the ass. In the end it just creates more problems and becomes a money sink. Don't cut corners because of your budget. If you are building a computer be patient and save up till you are sure that what you are getting is decent quality.
PS: Your ears might bleed