Actually, the CM 812 was announced at CES back in January. Estimated cost around $70-100... A bit too steep for such a product but CM claims it does as good as some entry level liquid coolers. Honestly, if you are going to spend that kind of money and stick with air, you go with the double heaksink Noctua NH-D14 that outperforms the H80. It's also hard to refute the value of the EVO.
Btw, all modern PSU's have some sort of fan controller... That's just marketing speak of what you are reading. Nothing new except putting techno-jargen words to make something sound sexy, exotic and new when it really isn't... like what apple does. heh
If you see the 850w drop down to $80, you better snatch it at that price. I'm waiting till they go on sale again myself so I can grab either the 1000w or 1250w. The second I bought mine, I had a funny feeling that I should have gotten bigger for a few bucks more, but didn't think I'd be powering 3 cards this soon. Then the 570's went on sale and I went ape shit. lol
I am a little worried about the size of these CPU coolers and my case. Will I have any trouble fitting a Cooler Master EVO 212 or this 812XS in the Corsair 300r Case?
It should fit with no issues. The 300r is 8.3" wide... The CM EVO is 6.2"
Honestly, installing a back plate is not that complicated. Its 4 bolts and it doesn't matter about orientation for 1155 socket since the mounting holes are 75x75mm.
How should I apply the thermal paste? Pea-sized drop and let the cooler spread it by the pressure/force of attaching it or should I spread it myself?
Lots of different techniques. Each to their own, but I do the two or three thin rows myself on the heatsink. But I have used a paste spreader on my newer builds that I like better. You can also do the plastic bag method. The most important thing is to not over apply; you want thin as possible but no air pockets.
I am heavily leaning to the Socket 2011 mobo/CPU due to the 4-channel memory and abilty to use a 6-core or 4-core i7.
If you think you'd need to spend 1/3 of your budget on just the cpu alone (6 core), then close to $260-300 for an entry level mobo for "future-proofing"; more power to yah, but honestly I'd say be a bit reasonable of your budget and match your needs for your applications whether that be content creation software that can be heavily multi-threaded or games that barely use 2 or 4 threads. It's hard to stomach spending almost a grand on a mobo/cpu combo... The only reason I'd suggest a 2011 socket chassis is if you need a powerful 1P solution for crunching some numbers or you need the extra pcie 3.0 lanes for a triple or quad card gpu solution; otherwise it would be a waste of money.
And besides, only heavy memory intensive apps really need quad channel ram. Triple or dual is just fast enough for everything else, including gaming. For your budget, I'd still recommend staying with an 1155 socket i5/i7. If you want future proof, get the i7 with HT. Then invest more of your budget for a proper graphics solution.
If you compare the i5 2500k, i7 2600k, the new i7 3770k and the i7 3930k, your graphics potential is basically the same across the board; maybe a little more of the i7 3930k and the 3770k over the older SB chips, but we are only talking about 5% difference. Most applications, that aren't good at multi-threading, will pretty much run the same or be very close on all of these chips provided they are clocked at the same and everything else are the same.
Have you looked at NZXT cases? They got some nice compact mid-sized cases exactly like the 300r for half the price. I speak of the Source 220.