Alienware Aurora R3: reference vs non-reference gpu

I currently have an Alienware Aurora R3 (don't hate, I've always wanted one back before I knew how to build a PC), and I'm thinking of upgrading my EVGA GTX 570 HD for the newer 670 or HD 7970, but I've realized the case for the R3 has only one intake (server) fan that's also dedicated to ventilating the case of warm air.

My question was, there's two types of gpus I can look at; reference vs non-reference, which is the best for a case that lacks efficient air flow?

From what I understand the reference boards have the blower ventilation that pushes air out the back of the system, which would probably make since for use with the Aurora case that only has basically airflow that goes through the case in one direction (front-to-back). The case has no other place to expel air except the top, but air isn't being pushed that direction (no fan to push air up).

Non-reference/3rd party manufactured cards (like my 570) has air being pushed up towards the board to keep it cool, but the warm air is spreading throughout the case. The cases fan then pushes the air out the back, but I would assume all the warm air is heating up the rest of the components.

Any advice? Hopefully there's another Aurora owner out there that's experienced both a reference gpu vs non-reference.

Note: my EVGA 570 currently runs peak 60C, idle 40C with ambient temps 26C, peak 40C

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  1. Well, coming from a reference 6950, I would say go with the non-reference. The reference models dont have much of an advantage (unless you have the 6950 that is) in terms of cooling or speed. Generally non-reference custom PCB is the better option in even a well cooled case.
  2. What about a case that's not well cooled?

    I mean, I have the case fan running 65%-75% during gaming, 35%-50% any other time...
  3. Best answer
    I would still say go for the non-reference, just because they are quieter and run cooler. My 6950 runs in a very cool case, but still gets up to like 70-75C when I game for awhile. And the cooler sounds like a jet.

    Non-reference will generally run cooler.

    And while you may think the Aurora doesnt cool well, the thing it does have is space. Where my case is small, your case is large and will probably manage heat generated better.,3217.html

    Here's an article pitting up a few GTX670's. You can see the reference model is in there too if you just skim it. The reference model does not cool as well.
  4. Best answer selected by oipractechie.
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