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Chipsets may well require active cooling however I would far rather install a quiet CPU fan - provided it is up to the job - and then install a large, slow, quiet case fan to handle the chipset.
Noise levels - yes, I agree that pitch, annoyance and volume are not necessarily the same thing but it can all get horribly subjective. With these coolers I found that the four-pin fans were better than the three-pin jobs as they can be quiet when the load is modest and spin up to speed when necessary. The Thermalright was very nearly a superb cooler and was much improved when I used it with the Akasa fan.
Installation: OK, tricky one this. If you're building your PC once and only once then the aggravation of the Asus or Zalman doesn't much matter. If you intend on semi-dismantling your PC every so often then the Noctuas are really good as you install all the hardware one time with the motherboard removed. Thereafter you can remove the cooler and part of the mounting hardware to gain access to the CPU without touching the motherboard.
I scored the Intel style of mounts highest as they are the easiest to use if you want to pop off the standard cooler and replace it with an after-market cooler. Changing from Intel to GELID, for instance, takes about 20 seconds.