The Gigabyte is what I have and it is a reliable card. The core doesn't get hot unlike Palit (crap) and has VRM cooling (rare only Zotak besides Gigabyte has that). The noise is next to nothing and is much more quiet than my case fans. None however has vram cooling. AVOID Palit no matter what they are the worst GTX 460 on the market and they have a lot of problems. on Newegg on wrote that some of the fins on the fan broke and most complained about not having any cooling on the vrm.
The Hawk and Cyclone has no VRM cooling either and only have good core cooling however watch your volts as I have found a Hawk that failed when the owner pushed it over 1ghz core at 1.28v. The card died... If you get the Cyclone get some Zalman ramsinks to cool the VRM and every GTX 460 needs cooling back there due to their designs. I am not sure how hot the GTS 450 runs though back there but it can't be all that great either.
The full cover isn't all that much different and the cooler is crap. Same crappy compound and the vrm and vram is worse off than the Cyclone. I wonder why only the two choices when there are more out there?
Do you have any other suggestions for the coolers? I prefer not to remove the stock heatsink coolers because I do not trust myself in modding the GPU, and I rather just buy one already with a good cooler
The Gigabyte is a easy card to work with and is better cooled plus it is low risk over time even with overclocking as it has a heatsink for the VRM. The next in line but very risky if heavy overclocking is the msi hawk. The absolute worst card out there is Palit.