Honestly, I'd go for the H100i myself
I'm running a 3930k at 4.6GHz with my H100i and 4 Noctua F-12 fans in push-pull (sadly found out, pull not worth the extra fan money for me with the rads) with steady temperatures, quite below maximum in Prime95 at max 80% fan speed for a good noise balance for me, some people would like cooler in Prime but I have a hot ambient, Prime95 is a pretty unrealistic scenario for real world to be honest and I even have headroom in fan speed. Has been stable in all application I've performed for nearing 6 months now since I got the H100i. 240mm (even thin) can be quite sufficient! Past it you're even pushing into territory where for a single CPU, surface area isn't a main contender for temperature bottleneck.
The H110 was unfortunately outdated on release due to their planning and development of it with their earlier manufacturer, it may have more surface area but the H100i is generally more polished and a features a very nicely improved mounting system with better integrity and ease all around. But to the meat of the point, 120mm fans are more optimized for radiator solutions in terms of their focus, pressure and flow. Buy two good 120mm new fans (or four for push-pull, minimal (5c~) improvement from experience however) for the H100i and it'll beat the H110 stock in both noise level and performance. Of course you can upgrade the fans of the H110 as well, but they lack the balance that 120mm fans possess so while gaining radiator surface, he'd be losing fan cooling effieciency. Stock vs stock, the difference wasn't massive to begin with and if he can afford some new fans for the H100i, don't think there'll be any regrets! Much larger offering of fans for 120mm vs 140mm too in general. Summarizing:
- 120mm fans can offer a better, more optimized balance overall than what 140mm offerings can for radiator use
- H110 with stock setup is quieter & has a minimal temperature advantage (3-4c~)
Quieter, Small Temperature Difference
- H100i with stock setup is a more polished, improved construction and product compared to the older design H110 - noise levels will be higher, fans are of high quality comparable to the SP120 Corsair fans with even more power, temperatures can be matched with easy but the fans have a steep noise curve
Overall Improvement (Build Polish, Mounting System), High Quality Fans but Steep Noise Gain/Cooling Potential Ratio
- H110 with custom, good selection fans setup is limited somewhat by the superior 120mm balance, extra surface area that may not be as helpful as such
Limited Compared to H100i 120mm Fan Options
- H100i with custom, good selection fans negates the benefits offered originally by the H110, negates the extra surface area of H110 to the extent of custom fans not being as balanced in offering, large range of 120mm fans to pick from compared to 140mm
Gap Significantly Narrowed Between H110 no matter what (proper comparison needed) for Cooling Capability and Noise, General Build Superiority (as stated with stock)
I hope this was helpful information in the slightest possible way, I believe mostly quite accurate though the specific gap for 120mm vs 140mm fans needs to be researched on the H110. Difficult task overall to perform tests due to many higher quality offerings for 120mm with superior noise/cooling ratios not being always available for 140mm due to a lot less popularity, more limited potential for cooling perhaps? One reason or another. Either way, basics covered in that regard I think!
Quite possibly overdone my post is for something for a friend but I hope it was helpful, informative and whatnot. I always seem to overdo these things... apologies if it was a bit too long!
I swear if my characters in each post were divided and split into seperate posts, it'd probably end up in a value that depresses me.Edited by CoD511 - 4/25/13 at 12:32pm