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Is there any difference between reference and non reference besides pcb layout?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
In other words does one perform better than the other? I read that companies change design of the card to cut costs, is this correct?
post #2 of 5
From what I've seen, non-reference PCB's may just have altered layouts of onboard components to hold aftermarket coolers, such as MSI's Twin Frozr II.

Most non-reference PCB cards voltages aren't adjustable, because of the lower cost components used.
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Marshmallow
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post #3 of 5
My Galaxy GTX470's are non-reference and can't be watercooled. They're my last non-reference purchase.
Every vga watercooler manufacturer I've ever heard of says up front that their blocks are for reference cards only.
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post #4 of 5
Usually non-reference cards have better air cooling. Sometimes they have improved PCB's like the HAWKs with their triple voltage adjustment or ASUS which likes to beef up VRMS. Rarely do non-reference cards get a full cover waterblock made especially for them, Palit's 3GB 580's are one of those exceptions.
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post #5 of 5
I completely missed the point of the OP, once again.
Performance was the question. From what I've seen written and my own experience with a pair of non-reference video-cards, IMHO, they do perform, in varying degrees, better than reference cards. Just don't forget, video-cards are as individual as cpu chips. No two can ever be expected to perform the same. My two Galaxy cards certainly don't perform the same as each other. I tested them individually before installing them in Sli, using exactly the same settings with MSI Afterburner and one is a little faster than the other. Also, the slower one actually runs about 1C hotter than the other so I placed it in the top slot when I Sli'd them so it would have better heat dissipation.
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Samsung SSD 840 500GB Toshiba Desktop 3.5" SATA 6GB/s 3TB 7200RPM 64M... Pioneer BDXL Corsair H100i 
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