Early adopters sometimes lose out.
As for Palit submitting a GTX 460 with a heatsink on the VRM vs the retail units not having one, it is indeed interesting. Why they'd test with better cooling, and then sell with lesser cooling, is what intrigues me. Now, obviously it must be a cost saving venture. And perhaps they decided that they did not HAVE to put the heatsink on it, and thereby decided to save some cash.
Better cooling could certainly make this card perform better under an OverClocking situation, which many review sites these days are known to do. So there's an undue advantage there. But I can't imagine simply changing out that VRM heatsink has a large affect on stock game play. Unless of course the VRM was actually overheating under normal use conditions.