Honestly, I have the reference type Asus GTX480, and it really seems solid. I can overclock well past 800mhz with no problems. I think Asus uses really high quality components. My 3dMark Vantage GPU score is: P20,487 @ 800mhz.
For a non-reference model, there are a couple with custom heatsinks that really lower the temperatures and noise:
With a reference cooler, I idle at 47c and full out max game at 90c. Those are typical temps and exactly the way the card was designed. The reference fan exhausts heat outside the case, so it has minimal effect on your overall system temperature. With the custom cards I listed, they will exhaust heat inside the case.
I highly recommend replacing the thermal paste on the heatsink, which lowered my idle temps 5-10c on average, and lowered the average fan speeds at load. It's also really easy to do.
The big question is how loud is it? Since my fan never goes above 71%, it's really not an issue. Subjectively, the sound is normal, quiet at idle and not a distraction during gaming. The noise threshold where things get noticable is when the fan goes above 80% with manual adjustments. But on Auto fan, that just isn't going to happen.
The card is extremely fast. There is no game it doesn't conquer with ease, and overclocking just isn't necessary at all.