This is a loaded question, that will not give you reliable answers.
If someone bought brand A and had a problem, he will say brand A is no good.
If another one bought the same brand A and had no problems, he will say brand A is great.
Same for brands B through Z.
Decide based on warranty/price/features. Cooling can always be replaced for custom cooling if that is necessary.
Alright, let me ask a few less subjective questions that might help me make my decision.
1)Is EVGA good about honoring their warranty and would installing an aftermarket cooler void it? I have seen some review postings that say it won't but I am not sure.
2)I thought I read that the GV-N470SO-13I from Gigabyte uses a PCB that gigabyte developed. Can anyone confirm this? I am guessing this makes it a non-reference card? Does this mean that it would not be possible to replace the cooler with an aftermarket model?
3)What about factory overclocked cards? Are these bad, good, beneficial, not beneficial?
4)Have people had problems with externally venting cards, such as the EVGA, overheating with the stock cooler?
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I would go with the stock cooler that vents out hot air outside the chassis. That said, some cases feature openings on the PCI slot covers and folks have mentioned that the hot air can be sucked back in if there is high negative pressure inside the case.
I have a stock EVGA 470 and when using Premier Pro / After Effects CS5 it "only" goes to about 62 C at most. The fan stays at the default 40% of max speed. The videocard fan is basically inaudible at this speed. Playing 3D games it goes up to around 72 C with the fan speeding up to around 45-50%. The version I got features larger (compared to the nVidia reference), square shaped vent holes.
If you will just be using the card for accelerating CS5, I wouldn't bother with an aftermarket cooler. I have had 3 EVGAs in the past couple of years... 6800 GTS 640 MB, GTX 260, and the GTX 470. I've had no issues so I never got the chance to test EVGA's warranty. I did register all three on EVGA's website... uploading the serial numbers of the cards and digital snapshot of the receipts.
I think you're overthinking things. The differences between cards are so minor you're not likely to ever notice in real world performance.
Get the cheapest one.
I have try 2 gtx 470 from Gigabyte and EVGA, the gigabyte performance was better.
Thanks for all of your replies.
@gtacyclist; it's good to know that MPE doesn't cause the fans to get kicked into overdrive.
@Jim Simon; I realize that the cards are identical, except for maybe the overclocked/superclocked versions. My only concern is that haveing to purchase a $70 GPU cooler shortly after I purchase the card will turn the cheapest one into the most expensive one.
@Crist OC/PC; your overclocked GTX460 is an interesting idea. I have seen multiple people recommending against overclocking the GPU with MPE. Have you had any noticed any problems while rendering? Still not sure if this reccommendation includes factory overclocked cards or not.
At this point I am leaning toward the EVGA, mainly because of the lifetime warranty and the multitude of positive reviews.
Some years ago many people said that overcloking the CPU was not recommendable and this is the future for GPU too. I have not experimented problems with the GTX460 it comes with 700mhz, I put it @ 900mhz and I got stability @ 880mhz. for a normal user it will be so simple to get 850mhz only by using the software O.C.GURU.
Btw Absolutely no problems while rendering.
This is your cheaper option, then you can buy more RAM which is more important later.
Take a look in http://ppbm5.com/ soon will be show the result of my pc with the GTX460
there will be some noticeable difference between 470 vs 460 whit SB 2600k ?
You have taken over first place in the BFTB chart with a score of 11. Congrats.
THX V.M. Harms
Nice upgrate on the PPBM5. I hoppe that my results will help to understand how to build a fast PC using a minimum amount of money. Ofcourse new technologies are not Always bringing the maximum effect relating money/performance.
You know, the differences ARE very slight as far as performance. A GTX470 from three different manufacturers will perform, given the same features (i.e., not the SSC version), nearly the same, not enough to notice. Having worked for over a decade as a software developer/database architect, I'm tied pretty close to the hardware guys. EVGA's customer service is not only spot-on (so is Acer's, but the prioblem is you have to USE them all the time), but their engineers are on the forums all the time and will directly answer your questions. So if you can get a great sale price on EVGA, it's a solid choice.
They also shine in one other area, but I think this only applies to USA folks: Almost every component I've gotten from EVGA has been tied to the dreaded Mail In Rebate, however, every MIR from EVGA got to me in under THREE WEEKS, even before these rebate copmpanies started this "rush" service if you take 10% less. During my build time in 2009 I had MIRs coming in from several companies, and EVGA was the clear winner. Corsair wasn't too bad either. Patriot Memory was more than a month but still doable. The absoluite WORST was Western Digital: I had two separate MIRs, each one taking nearly five months to get to me. Now I just look for the low price if I need a drive, I won't bother with their MIRs. SO, like Jim said, it comes down to the price, and if you see a mail in rebate for EVGA, don't shy away, it'll get to you in reasonable time.
EVGA would be the best choice in terms of manufacturer -- they have wonderful customer service, a very easy to use RMA process and very long warranties -- 3-5 years for some products, which is great.
You don't need an aftermarket cooler for any card unless you are having problems OC'ing it with the stock cooler, which can happen if you are pushing the OC'ed card hard under load. The GTX470 has a thermal threshold of 100 c or so, so 70-90 is fine for it.
Think about the GTX 580 though -- all of its cores are active, unlike the 470. It might be worth the price to you, or it might not -- it's expensive right now, since it just came out.
Then I would wait for the Gainward 580 with 3 GB DDR5 VRAM....