By high-end I would include fx5900se, fx5900 stock, fx5900 ultra, 9800 pro, and 9800xt.
Also, are any of these cards loud enough to be annoying? I don't mean annoying like the old 5800 ultra, but annoying in that you might have trouble hearing a game or movie without extra volume. For example, I've heard EVGA makes a fx5900 ultra that is overclocked out of the box, but it is pretty loud (performance is reported to kick ass, though).
Best bet is the U.E. for a quiet card, but you do pay a bit of a premium. A wise choice, an R9800PRO U.E. it's just about as good as the XT and cheaper. You would lose the Thermal Monitoring though, which would be handy.
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The 9800 Pro using that sink is likely to run cooler than the 9800XT and therefor less likely to NEED the "optional" fan.
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Don't get me wrong, my R9600PRo goes pretty much unheard in my case, and I run whisper fans. But there is something to be aid for NO noise at all. :cool:
I was surprised to see that video (linked above), as the R9800XT does seem (only slightly) louder than the FX5950. From what I've heard solutions like that of the HIS ICE-Q R9800PRO ae VERY VERY quiet while allowing wicked overclocks. I would really like it if ASUS came out with a Gainward-like solution that has liquid cooling blocks facotry installed. I am tempeted to go that route, simply for a new challenge in my next 'gaming rig' project next year. I do appear to have a good line on some specific/special cooling should I decide to go that route. However that is still a while off.
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