Originally Posted by Mr357
At 100% fan speed the reference cooler can keep the thing below 80C at load. Most say it's loud, but I think it's pretty epic.
The point of a reference cooler is
to be barely adequate, and cheap. Those on water cooling, such as myself, like to pay the least possible for a hunk of metal and plastic that's not going to be used except for initial testing.
People who run water-cooled graphics cards represent a tiny portion of the overall consumer base.
AMD's been in the business of producing reference hair dryers for quite a while. nVidia's done a little better job on that front, but I'm just not a fan of turbine coolers. (No pun intended) AMD could take a page out of nVidia's book in this regard, but it would be a little harder for them to win price point battles if they did.
The GTX 560 Ti had my favorite reference HSF to date - Radial fan, 3 heat-pipes, PCB heatsink, well-designed shroud, great fan, and most-importantly it was quiet - all the good bits. I'd like to see some scaled-up designs for higher-TDP parts. (For reference models, that is)