Well got it installed last night and its quiet as I expected. Ran furmark for an hour first (it IS an open box card after all; wanted to make sure its not a dud) and temps never went above 60C. I could roast marshmallows on my 4870 after doing that for hour even with its accelero s1 cooler on it.
Fantastic performance; BFBC2 is whole new game experience now. Before I was getting ugly owned; now I'm getting owned prettily. Its sweet.
Can't say I really noticed a difference in my current fav game (Civ5). But it definitely was $180 well spent considering how great BFBC2 look. I'm going to reinstall the original crysis to see how this baby does with it!!
Thanks again for all the recommendations. This card is the real deal.