In reality you are talking maybe 5-10*C from the worst, XFX DD, to the best Asus 7950. All of these coolers, when you get down to it, are perfectly adequate for light usage like gaming, and terribly inadequate for extremely intensive programs like GPGPU usage.
MSI TF3 is relatively
atrocious compared to all the other 7950 models, but absolutely
, we are talking only a couple degress behind the Dual-X or PCS+. It's up to you how to interpret this - ie you are gaming so you never need to crank your fans so loud that this matters, you game but want the quietest possible 7950 so go for a IceQx2 or PCS+. It's all trade-offs here.
Sapphire Dual-X for a better/quieter cooler, MSI TF3 if you care more about aesthetics, build quality, and overclockability. If you use GPGPU usage inside a case, the better cooler of the Dual-X is great, if you run out of case, coolers don't much better and the TF3's memory voltage control will allow for significantly higher hash rates.
I'm going to be buying a voltage unlocked gigabyte 7950 off ebay, and simply buying VRM heatsinks and an antec kuhler 620 mod for it for about ~$50, putting the price at $275 ebay card + $50 = 325. That's a fair price for a card that will significantly outperform and outcool the high end Asus 7950 Dc2 or HIS IceQx2 anyways. I think the Asus 7950 DC2 is a great card too, but it's generally more than 275 and it's cooler isn't going to be as good as an h60/620 mod anyways.
I already posted about the FLeX, it uses Elpidas.
And quit spitting that bile about reference coolers being better than normal coolers, someone was claiming the turbo was a good cooler earlier and his posts got removed for being misinformation. They aren't, it makes no logical sense. All 'blower' coolers are doing is restricting the airflow. Coolers that exhaust the air into the case are able to cool the GPU significantly better because they are expelling way more hot air (though it will contribute to CPU temps significantly, though that usually isn't an issue as gaming isn't CPU intensive and even streaming isn't going to be as intensive as stress testing and you dont run the GPU during CPU testing). Also, reference coolers are literally 1/3rd the size of aftermarket coolers... no way it'll cool better:Edited by Belial - 6/4/13 at 7:53pm