I asked this question over on another forum, but I was hoping to get some more advice before I pull the trigger on which 580 card to get.
Basically, I was thinking about getting two 580s for SLI, but I was wondering if it would be better to do this with two reference cards or two non-reference cards. I'm wondering because I'm worried about the temps that a non-reference card can put out (generally lower temps, but exhausting heat into the case) as opposed to the heat that a reference card puts out (generally higher temps, but exhaust heat outside of the case).
More specifically, I'm wondering if I should get x2 MSI Lightning 580 cards or x2 EVGA SC 580 cards. I plan on using the two cards on a MIVE in a HAF X case, so I would only end up having about 1 empty slot of space between the two cards as well.
So for both questions, which one would cool better?
Honestly I wish I had bought non reference 5850s back when I was purchasing. Reference is fine for some things, but your case shouldn't have a problem dumping that heat out and the non reference ones will be quieter and cool better. I ended up buying aftermarket heatsinks for my cards just to quiet them down. Really, the only good think about reference is they generally support overclocking pretty well - I know some non reference cards can have the VRM locked so you're stuck at stock voltage. Not really sure how that applies to the 580s though, this was with AMD cards last year.