LOL.How true!!! I do like the Zalman, compared to stock cooling. But Infinite has a great point, its all trade offs. If there was one catch all solution, people wouldn't be trying all sorts of crazy things. If you want quiet, efficient cooling, then an SP-94 with a smart fan or a fan controller is cheaper, but isn't as good as water. But water is more expensive.
When I started out experimenting with the 3.2 E. I bought a Zalman, didn't like the temps, so I bought an SP-94, still wasn't quite satisfied, so I bought a couple Panaflos, then i wanted to O/C so I bought a fan controller and modded my case, couldn't get the results i wanted, so I went to water. Now, $500 later, I am at 3.9, and bored, so its on to finding another step! Whetther that s a chiller or something else, I dopn't know.
Its an expensive process, but one that can be made cheaper and easier asking for advise from others, knowing what you want to begin with, and a little research.