It's my understanding that the "TOP" version is basically handpicked for their superb over-clockability. Too bad that the "TOP" version is already sold out on Newegg.
If I were to get the "Non-TOP" version, how close can I get to the "TOP" version by overclocking myself? It's a $10 difference between the 2 cards, but the performance gap is about 8% in favor of the "TOP" version.
"Non-Top" Core Clock Speed: 915mhz
"Non-Top" Boost Clock Speed: 980mhz
"TOP" Core Clock Speed: 1058mhz
"TOP" Boost Clock Speed: 1137mhz
To be quite honest, if it weren't for the extremely quiet noise levels, I'd be considering the MSI or EVGA equivalents due to their high clockspeeds (even on the non-Superclocked ones).
You never know what you'll get when you're OCing a GPU yourself. They're usually sold fairly close to unstable frequencies, as opposed to CPUs, which can often be OCed by 25% or much more (50% on lucky 2500Ks that can hit 5.0 ghz). You may find that you can easily hit the TOP frequencies, but you may find that you don't get any higher than the boost frequency (if you can't run stably at that speed, that's pretty lame).
No definitive answer for you, but that's how it is.
This is a subjective question, but how less noisy is the Asus GTX 670 vs. its counterparts from MSI, EVGA, etc.? I see the numbers (e.g. 25db vs 29db) but what does that truly mean? Is that difference audible when you're sitting about 5ft from the CPU case? (It's a "Gaming PC hooked up to Living Room TV" setup)
Others have mentioned that although the Asus GTX 670 is quieter, it's because of a quiet fan profile, and the temperatures aren't as favorable as the one featured in Techpowerup's review. How true is that statement?
Essentially, should I just wait for the TOP binned GTX 670 since an extra $10 gets me the unique cooling while yielding an extra 5-8% in performance? Or should I just zip it and get something that has higher clock yields?
We can't evaluate things like the fan profile without having the cards. That's something you can change, though. If you want quiet and hot, MSI Afterburner will get you quiet and hot. I think you should just get the vanilla 670.