So I am thinking about upgrading, but I know its not urgent with my current 570, so I would be looking at going as cheap as possible. I wouldnt even think of buying anything less than a 670 or a 7970, probably the 7970 even though I prefer Nvidia. So I'm seeing lots of reference 7970's on ebay, from different companies like HIS, Sapphire, XFX, and I know that the cooling is not going to be good on these but is there any reason why I would go with a $360ish new 7970 (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=5736415&sku=P450-7976%20GAME4) when I could buy a reference 7970 for probably $280 or so?
More aboutreference 7970 quality
The non-ref cards have extra to them, better cooling for a start, and the manufacturers bump up the cards, example: My GTX 550 Ti for Gigabyte is pre-OC and has different Connectors. I would ask around before buying a Ref design card.