Originally Posted by blued
Nvidia reference cooling is outclassed by the brands who do their own cooling solutions, ie, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, etc. I was so dependent on Afterburner or RT to cool my cards and mitigate the hair dryer loudness of the fans until I switched to a non-ref cooled card. With idle in the 30s and load in 60s, fan control software is not needed. Its unlikely that I will ever buy a reference design card again.
To each his own. Personally the main reason for reference was hot air exhaust blowing out the rear air flow bracket out my tower, as opposed to being dumped inside my case raising ambient temps.
I like to OC my CPU and RAM and inside a mid-size tower can hurt final results a bit. I sacrafice a little less GPU overclock for a higher CPU and RAM overclock.
Others who own mid-towers with poor cable management or just poor designs in general that don't have good ventilation, reference is better.
A reference 570 and a non-reference 570 will dissipate the same amount of heat. Natrually the non-reference cards are kept cooler being blown right off the card while the reference has the hot air inside the shroud trapped for a bit before going out the back.
In general, non-reference cards over clock better due to being kept cooler and allowing pushing it futher, but at the cost of ambient temps inside the case going higher.
Lastly the reference cards are the best cards for water cooling or after market air cooling as the non-reference dosen't have this option. As for the fan sound I could care less as I don't hear it until I game and event then I'm into my game and not paying attention, dosen't bother me.
Both have a purpose, it varies from person to person what their wanting more out of their GPU. Personally the higher temp dosen't bother me because it dosen't hurt the card in the slightest, except for that difference in OC. In return I get a cooler CPU & RAM.
I got my580 OC to 923Mhz core with 1.1000v which is pretty good for air cooling alone. Some of the non-reference 580 cards 950Mhz core, so we're talking 27Mhz. **OFFICIAL**GTX 580 Overclocking Club**